All business leaders today are looking for ways to decrease costs, while increasing productivity and profit. Many businesses today are taking a one time profitability boost by reducing costs at the expense of the employees.
Cost cutting always seems to be the first action taken by companies as they try to increase their profit. I understand that some businesses are in trouble and this may be their only recourse. However, many businesses rely on this cost lever rather than looking at all the other options available to increase profitability.
Most people know that Henry Ford was quite famous for piloting the assembly line factory and for increasing the productivity of his factories. But did you know that he was able to simultaneously increase profits while decreasing production costs, increasing productivity, and increasing employee’s wages?
Disruption is highly uncomfortable! Purposefully causing disruption inside your business seems like a stupid thing to do! For what reason would you want to disrupt something that is running smoothly?
Well, for starters, building a business that never changes is a flawed business strategy. A business that is too rigid to change will be obliterated by the fast-changing marketplace! As Clayton Christensen pointed out in the Innovator’s Dilemma, the fact that you are successful makes it hard to keep the edge you need to win in the future!
We do not have to look too hard before we find prime examples of businesses that were once at the top of their game and now have failed or are basically on their death bed! It is clear that they were not relentlessly committed to self disruption.
The easy examples that always get the spotlight are businesses like Blockbuster, Sears, and Toys R Us. But, there are countless others including Radio Shack, Vitamin World, Gymboree, Swissair, Woolworth’s, Sharper Image, Polaroid, and the list goes on!
So, what can a business leader do to productively disrupt their business?
Have you ever played the game “Would You Rather? It’s a game where you ask the question; “Would you rather do X or Y?” It is usually a younger, more “silly” crowd that plays it . . . like my own kids when they were teenagers. They could entertain themselves for hours with outlandish “would you rather” scenarios!
I recently was at a conference where Andy Moore was speaking and he challenged the crowd with the statement; “we can take a path of preservation or a path of innovation.“ You cannot do both. You must choose one or the other.
This really made me think about business leaders and the seemingly innocuous decisions that we make every day that shapes our destiny and the destiny of our businesses and our employees.
Any business that chooses to take the path of preservation rather than the path of innovation will die. Preservation may seem like the safe path because it is the path of least resistance. It may be the path that is the least painful up front. However, it is the path to irrelevancy and decay.
Preservation = Death
What do you think about when you think of the word preservation? Treated lumber is preserved. Petrified wood is preserved. Fossils are preserved. Mammoths are preserved. Egyptian mummies are preserved. And all these preserved things are dead! The path of preservation inevitably ends in death.
There is no future in the status quo. There is no future in preservation!
Innovation = Hope!
If you cannot write out the plan for where you are taking your business in 15 minutes or less, chances are, you do not have a plan!
If you don’t have a plan then you and your business are just floating through time and you are at the whim of the marketplace and all of your competitors! Basically, if you cannot articulate what you are building or why you are building it then how do you know what you are doing or where you are going?
For those that regularly read my posts, you know that Thinking Business has a very detailed business blueprint that you can download (from our Business Tools) and apply to your business. We call it the Thinking Business Blueprint. It takes you through all aspects of your business to ensure that your business model and strategy are defined clearly at all levels.
However, I was recently challenged by a client to come up with a simple, high level, tool that would allow a business leader to summarize their business and their strategy in one simple page. This one-page tool must be simple to implement yet powerful enough to capture the very essence of an organization. A leader must then be able to take the completed tool and easily communicate it to any and all of it’s stakeholders.
To meet this challenge, I have come up with the “15 Minute” Business Blueprint described below.
This past year was a year full of transitions, amazing challenges, and stunning opportunities!
It was a year that saw many extremes including:
- Outrageous political antics
- Frightening political standoffs
- Stunning Bitcoin valuations
- Record breaking stock indices
- Oil price climbing back to the $55-$60/bbl
- Continued company downsizing
- Record company profits
- First recycled (reused) rocket
- Great advances in hyperloop technology
- #metoo movement
Some businesses experienced amazing growth (NVIDIA, Google, Apple, Amazon) while some saw their business shrink (Sears, Macys, GE). Others saw their market shift in an entirely new direction. Some took advantage of this shift and others were damaged by it!
This unprecedented rate of change and marketplace complexity can cause business leaders no end of sleepless nights and stressful days! However, this is where Thinking Business can help you thrive!