Archive | creating success

All Failure is Failure to Adapt

Adapt_or_Die_1What made you successful in the past will not make you successful in the future.

“What got you here will not get you there.” – Marshall Goldsmith

Using the past to understand the future

When we look to the past to understand the future we compromise our ability to envision change and see a different possible future. Never take it for granted that your last successes will continue into the future. In fact, your past successes may be your biggest obstacle: every situation, every market, every customer engagement is different, and you cannot assume that what worked before will work today or tomorrow. You must cut yourself free from the past and open your eyes to the present.

“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.” – J. Paul Getty

Here are 3 things that hold most organisations back:

1. Defend and Extend Mindset

For most people and organisations success is believed to come from defending and extending what was done in the past, every day, every week, every month and every year. Success is believed to come from seeking out extensions to prolong what was previously done successfully. In Defend and Extend thinking the manager’s first priority is to understand the existing business and work to maintain and continue what worked in the past. This means focusing on core capabilities, core customers, core services, core assets, core functionality – whatever is considered core to the business – and firstly defending the core and then secondly looking for incremental opportunities to extend it. Having done this, Defend and Extend Managers believe that the future will successfully take care of itself. They believe that avoiding mistakes is their No. 1 priority and they believe that those who don’t screw up are more likely to succeed than those who take chances.Defend_and_Extend_26.01.14

The longer management tries to Defend and Extend its old business, the larger the Reinvention Gap becomes. The larger the gap, the less likely a business will ever reinvent itself, innovate and create new growth opportunities.

Creating growth = disrupting or inventing your business

2. Lock-ins

Lock-ins are driven by economic necessity and require the organisation to commit to a set of behaviours, structural process, or a cost base to achieve a perceived benefit. They effectively promote doing more of what worked in the past. Lock-ins create blindness to alternatives, reinforce the need to do more of the same and create sacred cows. Lock-ins create a culture of continuing the past at the expense of creating the future. They create a culture of maintaining the status quo.

Learn from the past, but don’t live there

3. Anchors

Anchors are those beliefs and values that tie your thinking to the fixed point in the past. Anchoring is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the “anchor”) when making decisions. During decision-making, anchoring occurs when individuals use an initial piece of information to make subsequent judgments. Once an anchor is set, other judgments are made by adjusting away from that anchor, and there is a bias toward interpreting other information around the anchor. Anchors are often expressed or justified as:

“we’ve seen this before, we need to do….”, “sure we tried that once and ….”, “Let’s ask Bill, he has over 30 years experience.”, or “that’s not the way we do it around here.”

Question: What are you going to do to break with the past and align your business with future growth?

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The End of Certainty: The Beginning of Creativity?

End_of_Certainty_1“The future ain’t what it used to be.”Yogi Berra

We are in a period of massively disruptive and unprecedented change. One of the first victims of massive and disruptive change for many businesses today is certainty. There just doesn’t seem to be enough certainty left in the world to go around. More than ever before we are confronting uncertainty, and its two siblings ambiguity and contradiction.

You are probably thinking: “Wow, that is a lot of bad news all at once.” Well, I would encourage you to think again. Maybe, just maybe, we are entering a period of enormous opportunity, possibility and choice. Why? Because uncertainty, ambiguity, contradiction and chaos are the necessary ingredients for experimentation, innovation and creativity.

“The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers.” Erich Fromm

Uncertainty, ambiguity and contradiction are the fertile ground of creativity.” – Deepak Chopra

ExperimentationWhat are the 6 keys to creativity?

  • Insight
  • Intuition
  • Imagination
  • Intention
  • Inspiration
  • Choice making

How can you bring about a collective shift in thinking in your work place to move people to the new paradigm of abundant and unlimited creativity?

  • Adapt endlessly. Become open to the unknown by suspending the need to know and the need for certainty. Experiment, explore, inquire and question the future.
  • Get comfortable with ambiguity and contradiction. Become more mentality agile by re-framing the question, changing your mind and challenging your assumptions, values and beliefs.
  • Start practicing “Intelligent Adjacency”. What are the logical extensions or possible connections that you can make? Where could adjacency-thinking lead you?
  • Relinquish entitlement-based thinking. Stop trying to maintain the status quo. Forget about what you think you are entitled to. Let go of the past so that you can move into the future.

Take Away: Certainty -> Uncertainty. Uncertainty -> thinking creatively about the future you want to bring about. Uncertainty is the new Certainty

Question #1: Are you a ‘prisoner of the past’, a ‘victim of the present’ or someone who is creatively ‘shaping their future’?

Question #2: What are you doing to accelerate your personal and organisational creativity?

 

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Customer Adoption is the new ROI

Customer Adoption is the ultimate measure of Return On Investment. Period! I hear a lot of people talking about ‘Time to Market’, but I don’t think that this is what they really want to achieve. “Great, we have our new offer in market, but the channels aren’t familiar with it…..yet”, or “customers cannot find it on our website…..yet”, or “we cannot handle orders over the phone…..yet”. So, what is the use?

Time to Market is necessary, but not sufficient.

Time to Market, based on this definition, is a misguided and a delusional goal. A far more meaningful and useful goal to aspire to, to plan for and to measure is ‘Time to Revenue’. The two metrics may be used interchangeably but I would argue that this is a dangerous error. Because the difference between Time to Market and Time to Revenue is Customer Adoption. (see diagram)

Time to Customer Adoption:

“There is more to success than hard work.” – Anonymous

What are the drivers of adoption and what are the barriers to adoption? And how can we align with those drivers and overcome the barriers when potential customers are evaluating and considering purchasing our products and services?

Consumer psychologists tell us that dissatisfaction is the beginning of all behavior. If we were not dissatisfied, we would simply stick to what we have. There would be no need to change what we do. The gap between where we are now and where we want to be is what drives us to make changes in our lives, and of course that is what makes us change the products we own and the services we consume. Geoffrey A. Moore’s work on “Crossing the Chasm” tells us that Innovators and Early Adopters will be cognisant of their dissatisfaction and unmet needs and take positive action to resolve them. Customer adoption then is all about helping the early majority and other post-chasm customers to feel the need and follow the lead of the Innovators and Early Adopters.

People make emotional decisions that they then rationalize and justify with logic.

Success means eliminating Barriers to Adoption:

1. GAIN vs PAIN. If the perceived GAIN is less than 10 X the perceived PAIN, then the effort (also PAIN) to change will be considered as insufficient to be worthwhile. Business Implication: Sell the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION. Use a diagnostic conversation to help the customer probe for PAIN. Take them to the negative future. Let them ‘wallow in the PAIN.’ Then take to the positive future, to the un-troubled state where they can enjoy peace of mind AND then show them how they can get there with minimum time and minimum effort by adopting your products and services.

2. Align with consumer’s self-perception. Consumers choose products that are consistent with their perceptions of themselves and reject those that are incongruous with them (Sirgy, 1982). Business Implication: Determine what you stand for as a Company, your core values and then align your product, service and company values with those of your target customer groups.

3. Re-frame the Customer’s Perceived Risks:

Uncertainty leads to “no decision”. And uncertainty in business has never been higher than it is today. Business Implication: Cloud Computing and SaaS are a perfect antidote or cure for business uncertainty because they put control back in the hands of the business. As one customer said: “The rate of change in business today really puts you at a disadvantage if you make long-term investments in anything.” That is an outstanding endorsement of the benefits of the Cloud.

Question: What are you going to do to accelerate Time To Revenue by maximising Customer Adoption of your Products and Services?

Read blog post: The Buyer’s Journey Part 2
Read blog post: The Buyer’s Journey Part 1
View slideshare: Customer Adoption is the new ROI
Read Book: Outside in: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

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Collaboration: your path to Sustainable Competitive Advantage?

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”Helen Keller

Web apps and the internet have changed the way we work and live. Today we live in a world where the creative quality of work improves as we move along the “Hierarchy of Communication” from Connect to Communicate to Collaborate to Co-create.

Where would you place your organization on the following 4Cs Hierarchy of Communication?

1) Connect: is all about connecting and being able to connect with others. Connecting with those that you know and those you don’t yet know. Today this has never been easier, simply click to connect, without leaving your office and often without leaving your application. A ‘presence’ indicator lets you know who is there on-line and in your virtual neighbourhood right now.

2) Communicate: Once you have connected you want to communicate. Speaking with the other person now includes speaking with many other people through online virtual meetings. Communicating now includes: chatting, speaking, texting, sharing documents and sharing screens to facilitate the exchange of information and ideas.

3) Collaborate: you communicate so that you can collaborate. There are lots of different collaboration tools, applications and platforms available today that enable us to collaborate effectively across multiple boundaries: organisational, geographical and time zones. Examples vary widely: Skype, TeamViewer, Lync, Office365, Google Apps and Webex to name a few. All allowing you to share, review and contribute to a common project and collaborate together with others.

4) Co-create: you collaborate so that you can create. The desired outcome of collaboration is to create new ways to solve old problems and invent new ways to capture future opportunities. We brainstorm using rich media to engage the collective brain of the virtual community. We build ideas based on human interaction. We invent, create, develop new or better ideas and ways to achieve specific goals and objectives. And we build virtual teams that can deliver continuous creativity which will ultimately lead to sustainable competitive advantage.

Sustainable Competitive Advantage: The ultimate goal of co-creating (and therefore collaborating, communicating and connecting) is to maximise the quality and quantity of your business goals. Sustainable competitive advantage is the sum total of your organisation’s current abilities and future capabilities. By enabling your people to connect, communicate, collaborate and co-create they will produce exceptional solutions to today’s problems and create wonderfully innovative ways to develop future opportunities.

Takeaway:

People, Processes or Platform? The challenge isn’t the technology it’s you and your people. The challenge is moving your people along the 4Cs Hierarchy of Communication. So they become more collaborative and adopt and use collaborative applications and tools in their everyday work. You need to set an example by demonstrating an ‘inclusive mindset’ and a bias towards working collaboratively. The cultural change required of your company will be far more difficult than the technological changes.

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”General Eric Shineseki, Retired Chief of Staff, U.S. Army

Are you ready for the new reality?

View: Collaborating in the Cloud: Opportunity or Threat? by David Ednie, posted on slideshare.

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Managing Your Mindset. Your #1 Challenge in 2009

Woody Allen said “80 percent of success is showing up.”
Thinking about it, this is very practical advice, and for people in sales a good rule to live by. You can’t influence, persuade, or sell yourself or your ideas if you aren’t sitting in front of the person you need to influence. Now ask yourself this.

How often have you chosen to simply send an email or make a phone call rather than holding to a face-to-face meeting?

Essentially you are choosing between sending your message vs personally delivering your message. Using email and the phone is easier for sure. However, it is also easier for the other person to choose to ignore, misunderstand or fail to take the desired action in response to your message. Less investment in time and effort equates to less commitment to influence. So, showing up wins? Yes, no contest. But, I think that there is a critical and unstated assumption here. Let me explain. Showing up, how and in what state of mind? Showing up when you are unprepared, uncommitted, de-motivated, tired, or sick means that we may have been better off sending an email or making a phone call. Showing up when you are well prepared: having a plan, being fully committed and having a positive mental attitude is what will deliver success. Continue Reading →

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