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Posted On Tuesday, 09 July 2024 17:06
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4th of July is celebrated in recognition of the signing of the Declaration of Independence and the formation of these United States of America from the British Empire. There were many things that led to this occurring and, if dealt with differently, might have led to a completely different result. As throughout history we can look BACK and identify specific things that took the world down one path verses another. Studying history allows us to discuss these choices and outcomes.

American history isn’t the only history we should be looking at today and the long holiday weekend. Our personal and professional history can be very helpful to review from time to time. While personal history is a much deeper topic than I can help you with here, a review of your own professional history can be very valuable.

Today we are at the beginning of the third quarter of this year’s business cycle. However, we also know that we can easily identify our projected production through the third quarter by just looking at our current pipelines. We can quickly compare these numbers against our business plan to check where we are in relation to where we expected ourselves to be. We also know that it is unlikely that any business arriving after November 20th will close and get us paid to count in our 2024 income. That means while we are just past the halfway point in the year, we only have about 109 days left to produce results that will add to our income this year!

The next three days are the start of those last 109 days. What will you do to be sure you have a plan in place to take advantage of each and every day? What calls will you make? What people and places will you visit? Even just one hour of specific effort this weekend can make a huge impact on your bottom line for 2024!

Many of you who read this are not where you want to be in your professional lives. Why not use the Independence Day weekend to help you achieve the professional independence you desire? History will show you if you are on the right path or if you need to make a change. If you need help with that plan for change, please just send me a message and we can talk. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted On Tuesday, 09 July 2024 00:00 Written by

Right now, we are experiencing technological advancements at an unprecedented rate. From self-driving vehicles to generative AI like ChatGPT, our landscape as both business leaders and consumers is changing exponentially. In fact, I believe that change is too mild a term for the advancements in innovation we are seeing. Technological transformation is far more accurate.

In today’s rapidly evolving world, merely being agile in our approach to innovation is not enough to sustain an organization in any industry. As technology advances exponentially, our strategies for internal and external innovation must also evolve. Staying ahead of the competition requires anticipating future developments.

However, my process must also evolve with the times to help organizations and business leaders turn disruptions into innovative opportunities. For many years, I have used a three-step process to help clients become Anticipatory Organizations, and this approach remains highly relevant in the current climate of digital transformation and exponential change.

1. Always Begin with Certainty

This may sound counterintuitive, as the future often appears to be an ever-changing, unpredictable force, but many aspects of the future are certain. It is not impossible whatsoever to see what is certain about both your future and the future of the world outside your industry. You merely have to be willing to stop being reactionary.

It is that simple, and here is why:

All change moves in patterns, including changes in business. Cyclical change is exactly how it sounds – it occurs in cycles, creating a predictable circle that you can use to anticipate what comes next. For instance, it is inevitable that inflation and interest rates will rise, and recent trends confirm this increase. However, it is equally certain that they will eventually decline after reaching their peak.

On the other hand, Linear change is a pattern that does not repeat. This is an instance that will occur once, often transforming whole industries, and thereafter, time keeps moving forward. An example of this would be Baby Boomers aging out of the job market and Gen Z entering the job market. There will always be older generations retiring and younger generations coming into the workforce, but this specific iteration of it will never happen again.

Netflix began as a temporary movie rental service, but there were already multiple companies that held a large portion of the market – Blockbuster, specifically. So what did Netflix do? They looked at the Hard Trends of the industry, such as consumers pursuing convenience. Consumer convenience will always be a necessity in any industry.

However, how consumers pursue convenience was the Soft Trend. At the time of Netflix’s origins, instead of waiting for a movie to come out on television, consumers went to stores like Blockbuster to acquire rentals. Netflix decided to influence this Soft Trend by mailing DVDs directly to consumers, enhancing customer convenience and cementing themselves as innovators in the industry.

2. Continue to Anticipate

Once you have a firm grasp on Hard Trends and Soft Trends, you can begin to anticipate the future instead of just reacting to it. Today especially, reacting to technological advancements means that you are already behind. And especially with how fast information travels, once the cat is out of the bag so to speak, it moves fast!

Business leaders need to be what I call pre-active – taking action now to positively impact their future from the inside out. Change typically comes from the outside in, where outside circumstances disrupt processes and keep you continuously striving to put out fires. By anticipating these disruptions, business leaders can instead focus on turning those disruptions into opportunities for innovation. They create transformations from the inside out.

Again, let’s look at Netflix. Do you think they thought, “Hey, mailing DVDs to customers is working. They’ll never need anything else”? Of course not! They looked at the current technology of the time – the internet, increasing bandwidth, and the surge of video streaming capabilities – and saw it as a Hard Trend. Netflix concluded that the internet would only increase in bandwidth and processing power, using that observation to launch their own streaming service.

In turn, they became the first streaming platform for movies and TV shows. What Netflix did was become the disruptor in their own industry before someone else had. To this day, they are still one of the largest streaming platforms, and now the potential future disruptions they look to pertain to what type of content they provide customers. Perhaps they will move into the video game industry next? What about music? Could they break into the online education industry?

You cannot just be a crisis manager when it comes to innovation. You have to also be an opportunity manager. Netflix looked to a Hard Trend future certainty and pre-solved a disruption that would have disrupted their whole operation. In turn, they leveraged it to their own advantage. That is the real competitive advantage!

3. Focus on Transformation

It is not enough to simply change how you do things. This is far too slow to keep up with rapidly evolving technology. Much like continuing to anticipate what is to come, you need to continue creating transformations. Whether it is the products you sell, how you service customers, or how you complete internal processes, transformation is the cornerstone of great innovation!

That is not to say that you should completely scrap your current business model. Transformation comes from adjusting current processes to build something never before seen. A caterpillar does not stop being a caterpillar when it enters its cocoon. It uses its current form to morph into something beautiful and new.

Netflix did not completely scrap its business model of providing consumers with convenient access to movies and TV shows. They adjusted how they provided their service, creating a streaming platform where one never before existed. They created transformation, and will continue to do so with future innovations regarding streamed media.

It is up to you as the leader of your organization to:

  1. Anticipate the disruption that technology and the market pose to your industry and use that information to become the disrupter instead of the disrupted.
  2. Anticipate the needs of your customers, but take it to the next level by providing them with products and services they did not know they needed.

To do this, leaders need to let go of their reactionary mindsets and become agents of transformation. Focus on what you are certain of about the future, anticipate disruptions before they occur, and do not create change – transform your industry.

Posted On Tuesday, 09 July 2024 00:00
Posted On Monday, 08 July 2024 18:15

Are you one of those relentless comparers? The one that constantly compares themselves to others? Here's Top #3 from SmartWomen/SmarterChoices to get you off the comparison game!

 

 

Posted On Monday, 08 July 2024 16:38 Written by
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