Looking for Growth.

Looking-for-Growth

Looking at the Same Old – gives the Same Old.

You have to work on “today’s business” to bring the money in. Generally, the same activities and operations as yesterday. It can be hard to find the time to tackle serious innovation for growth, especially if the heat is on for immediate profits.

Start by creating a circuit breaker from the “same old”.
I had the benefit of listening first hand to Jack Welsh when he was working a merger with Honeywell. (it didn’t eventuate). One question was how he would do the people integration. His reply was “I turn the business on its head and spill jobs every 3-4 years to avoid the “same old” syndrome”. “We lose some productivity in the turmoil but we sure get some motivated people looking for profitable growth”. Now thats a big circuit breaker!

Circuit Breaker

A circuit breaker means things have to look differently tomorrow compared to today.

  • Change job roles (if you don’t someone may do to you)
  • Move all the offices around simplifying some processes
  • Change the entrance to the business
  • Change the uniform completely
  • Be as big and bold as you can afford

Then embark on using innovation for growth…

Don’t do a Kodak

kodak-and-fujifilm-sales-over-time

Kodak failed for simple reasons.

  • They didn’t want to canabalize their profitable existing film business for “digital”
  • They couldn’t see the recurring revenue astray were getting from film.
  • They didn’t diversify fast enough (too little, too late)

What’s interesting is the board took advice for this big step. Kodak had invested in the digital patents. They had the future in the palm of their hands. So they took lots of professional advice on how to move forward.

  • Prominent photographers, both commercial and artistic gave opinions on the future of digital photography to the board.
  • Digital specialists described the time delay before the digital image was of high enough resolution for a quality print.
  • Overall, the conclusion from the experts was it would be a long time before there would be a future for digital photography in the professional space.

Can you see what is wrong with their picture? An educated board listening to very experienced professionals, many of whom had digital experience?

The professionals were not the “growth” customer set. The Mums and Dads were the growth set. There would be a thousand more digital photos taken of family than a professional one.

They couldn’t think of how to make recurring revenue from this new media. So they abandoned enforcing the patents. The rest is history.

The professionals were right, of course. They would continue to use film for many years past the digital introduction.

As Stuart Loxton reminds me: “technology is always “over hyped” in the short run and always underestimated in the long run.

Who is your growth customer set for tomorrow?

  • Look at competitors who have grown quickly. Are they more active in a different customer set?
  • Dont block out customer sets as “unprofitable” yet. (Remember Kodak)
  • Stay with the process to be clear where the growth is.
  • Don’t move on until this is clear.

What will you sell to this Growth set?

  • Map your revenue to the “age” of your products or services. Do this in a big ticket way.
  • Estimate the growth you are getting from the product age map.
  • Do you have the product(s) for growth?

Innovate for Growth

  • A structured journey of the problems the growth customer set is having with competitors and your products.
  • Strict observance of the voice of the customer. Avoid recommended solutions, stick to the problem definitions.
  • Turn the problems into solutions using our innovation process (see other blogs)

Every Client deserves Innovation

Innovation can shift the needle on growth.

There are management decisions on timing:

  • Loss of profit on legacy products.
  • Change management of processes.
  • Marketing investment.

Doing the Impossible

On the other hand, you could achieve all this without a drop in profits in the short term!

Read all of Bruce Loxton blogs on innovation, simplification and doing the impossible.

 

“Welcome to Hell”.

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Courage and Pain

“Welcome to Hell,” a caver once told me by a campfire at night. “Where happiness goes to die. . . . If you wish to survive, you need to cultivate a strong mental attitude.”

“Why do you do it?” I asked.

“We do it for the unimaginable pleasure of conquering the unknown.”

True exploring spirit with unbelievable courage; and, as far as I could tell, a numbness for pain. Have you experienced these emotions without the cave?

Hard to find a customer in such a place

There is a business reality that should keep you out of dark caves. It would be hard for most of us to make money in that environment. (Tongue in cheek: there may be some who say they do have customers from there…)

In the Innovation game, you need, in my opinion, to both swim in a sea of customers AND crawl into a private cave. You need customer problems and space to think through solutions. In an ideal world, one should quickly follow the other to keep the vision fresh. Continue reading “Welcome to Hell”.

Which one can do the impossible?

Doing impossible in desert

Can the Helicopter Leader see the impossible?

In a helicopter at 1,000 feet you’ll be able to clearly recognize what you’re looking at with the benefit of seeing a higher perspective.

From this perspective, you can elevate your thinking from the tactical day-to-day operations to a higher level. At this higher level

  • You expand your perspective to understand how the core essential elements of your business fit together and provide best value to customers.
  • You think in both abstract (higher level) and specific (lower level) terms.
  • You link the two together is a structure of business plans.  For some, this approach is ‘business as usual’; for others, with a more hands-on approach, it can take a little practice.

But can you see the impossible from the helicopter?

The helicopter has the disadvantage of an apparent “see it all”. Can you set “impossible goals” based on the perspective you have? Have you got it all-too mapped out? Continue reading Which one can do the impossible?

View from the Proverbial Canoe.

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Picture yourself as the one in the canoe. You don’t have all the information but the confused water speaks for itself.
How worried would you be? Just getting to shore safely would be a common response.

This picture represents crossroads we often face in business:

  • Lack of all the information,
  • Things look murky on the surface
  • Action is needed to recover.
  • Those watching have frozen looks of fear.

If you are at these crossroads, here are some tips on handling fear in your team:

  • Validate the current downside risk: Unless it is death or destruction, dispell the gravity of the danger.
  • Validate the unknowns: Eliminate low probability unknowns. Reinforce the most probable unknowns.
  • Simplify the problem statement in one sentence: Dumb down the visuals to non threatening simple problems.
  • Focusing on the best case scenario will ease feelings of fear. Your team will move in a positive direction. Thoughts have tremendous power to visualise the universe, so make sure you create a good one!

Continue reading View from the Proverbial Canoe.

Response – can it be over the top?

Response-time-to-call

Its hard to go over the top when you simplify communication

Younger people respond faster and with more brevity.
However, you may get 3 letter acronyms that take a few seconds to process. Once learned, they are fun.

This form of communication is usually short but maybe sometimes obscure!

Simplifying a business can be started with simpler communication. Lets start with email and break a few rules to get to “simple”:

  • Unless it’s a policy, don’t “CC” the crew. This loads up their inbox and takes more time.
  • If it is policy, keep the CC list as brief as possible.
  • Unless you are handling sensitive legal documents, abandon the footer disclaimer.
  • Keep your footer short with no images and best contact phone number.

Continue reading Response – can it be over the top?