In his book, “Good to Great,” Jim Collins said “Good is the enemy of great.” In the new global economy good enough just won’t cut it anymore. There are countless former market leaders who settled for good and are paying the price of lost revenues, profits and customer loyalty. Companies like RIM (Blackberry), Sony, Sears, Bally Fitness, and Hostess are just a few examples.
If you decide to take my challenge and dare to be great let me warn you it won’t be easy. If it was easy every company would do it. When you consider the alternative of not becoming a great company I think you’ll get the motivation necessary to jump on board.
Over the past few years I’ve been researching successful business leaders who are making great strides in this demanding economy. I’ll be sharing their stories in my upcoming book, “Leadership in the New Economy”. Today I’ll share twelve key lessons learned that will help you in your quest to dare to be great.
12 Dare to be Great Lessons
- Have a vision that inspires. If you don’t have a vision that helps people rise above pettiness, egos and personal agendas your company will be doomed to major in the minors.
- Tend to your culture. Whether you have three employees or 30,000 culture happens by design or default. The choice is yours.
- All customers are not alike. Focus your time, energies and resources on attracting, acquiring and retaining customers who will help you reach your vision.
- In the battle for market supremacy the product with the best marketing wins not necessarily the best product.
- The three biggest factors in determining your success are your business category (Standard Industry Classification), your Business Model and luck. Don’t confuse the three.
- When it comes to human capital be sure to win with your winners and don’t lose with your losers. Make sure that you hire, develop and retain people with your vision clearly in mind so that they: Get it, want it and have the capacity to do it.
- Stop looking in the rear view mirror. Accept the fact that what got you here won’t get you where you want to go.
- Leadership matters. Great leadership can’t fix a broken business model but poor leadership can kill a great business model.
- Customer loyalty is a contact sport and every contact counts.
- Before you change your company, look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I ready for this?” Change must be led not managed. If you’re not up for the challenge don’t put yourself and your people through the aggravation. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you will. Recognize what you’re great at and do more of that. Everything else must be done by others. This means delegating it, developing the capability internally, acquiring it or outsourcing it. To change the company you must “be the change.”
- Embrace innovation and agility. As you move into uncharted waters the number of “known unknowns” will be replaced by the” unknown unknowns”. Your speed to vision will be measured by how quickly and effectively your organization can self-correct their course. Failures will happen. That is guaranteed. Learning, adapting and speed of recovery are optional. Fail, learn, adapt or simply fail.
- Monitor the signals in the noise. Every great leader must become like hockey great Wayne Gretzky and “skate to where the puck will be.” The new global economy is producing lots of noise in every market. Determining which faint signal will result in a full bloom market trend is both art and science. If you’re not diligently monitoring and discerning signals you’re flying blind.
Before you accept my challenge to dare to be great take a moment now to imagine what your business will be like if you do. Create a clear and compelling picture in your mind’s eye of your business when it is great. Specifically how will it be great for your customers, employees, the marketplace and you?
If that image inspires you to dare to be great then take the next steps to make it happen. Assess where you are now. Determine what you need to achieve your vision. Develop a plan. Implement.
If you want a quick strategic snapshot of where your company is now take the Growth Positioning Survey (GPS). It’s a short online survey that pinpoints how your company is performing in twelve key growth factors. The insights gained from the GPS will give you the focus and confidence to accept my challenge to dare to be great. To get your free access now go to: http://philfarisassociates.com/gps/ click the “Free Instant Access” button to get your copy now of “Growth Positioning Survey!”