Twenty years ago companies were given ample warning against industry shifts and rising competition. Today, products and services are tested, implemented, and are posing a significant threat before most people know the “Disruptor” product or even its company exists.
Once the largest cell phone company in the world, Nokia was brought to its financial knees by a company with less than 1% of the financial backing and number of employees. “Waze” leveraged free community-driven data to power their navigation app while Nokia spent over $8 Billion on physical infrastructure. Bought out by Google in 2013, every one of the 100 Waze employees became millionaires. Time from concept to cash in? Seven years.
From 2015 to 2020 the number of people with access to smart technology will double to over 5 BIL- LION. It would be foolish to think that there are not companies like Waze and Uber out there looking at every industry, including ours.
It is not likely that you will wake up tomorrow to find the face of our industry unrecognizable, but it is naïve to think that we will not be impacted by the “Amazon-ing” of the world. To best prepare for this, I offer up the following three time-tested strategies for success.
Focus Your Team
In a recent Deloitte survey, 86% of CEOs stated that their number one focus is to engage employees, yet only one-third have a plan of how to make this happen.
Creating an engaged team doesn’t require out-of- town retreats with pages of textbook content. Below are four things you and your team can do right now to give you an edge. Do it together–people are more committed to the big picture than the daily tasks. Tie your team’s heart to your Company and Service, and you will see better retention and stronger commitment – you will be rowing in the same direction.
Brand Purpose: Create a short and concise statement that clearly states the reason your company exists and the difference it makes.
Values: Identify your top 3-5 unwavering principles that guide the decision-making of the company.
Vision: Imagine ten years into the future and describe what it looks and feels like to be in the company. How many employees are there? What are the revenues? What geographic areas do you serve? What are all the products and services you provide?
Goals: Create a cascading set of goals: five year, one year, and quarterly. Your quarterly tie into your annual goals must feed into the success of the 5-year goals.
Build Strategic Alliances
Disruptors don’t add office square footage and hire more employees, they leverage technology and strategic partners to stay relevant and focused. They capitalize on collective genius to avoid problems, identify solutions, and drive success.
There are times when being nimble and focusing on core strengths means trusting others to be a part of the equation.
Here are the top three things to consider when partnering proves to be a good offense and defense: Synergy: You might be surprised what you can achieve by working with a complimentary partner – even someone who may seem to be a competitor. Starbucks and PepsiCo teamed up and created the popular coffee-flavored drink, Frappucino.
Culture and Values are Different Stories: Vinegar and oil do not mix, but they do make for a great salad dressing. You don’t have to be cultural twins, but you do need similar values. Spend time really getting to know the staff and clients of the partner you are considering. They will be a direct reflection on you, and vice-versa.
Fair and Equal are Not a Science: Daryl Hall draws bigger crowds (and a higher average ticket price) when John Oates joins him on tour. Hall doesn’t need Oates to have a career, he needs him to have an easier and better one. Partners don’t always bring 50/50 to the table, but respecting each other’s contribution will stave off painful and costly breakups and keep the hits coming.
Share, Learn, Execute
Every day at 9:46 a.m. we all get together to “Huddle.” During our huddle we discuss: The top three things needed to be accomplished that day; Challenges standing in the way of achieving goals; And we spend five minutes discussing our book of the month.
The world is changing fast; fortunately there are great books and video blogs letting us in on some of the secrets. The three books below are, in my humble opinion, key to success. Not “should reads”—they are MUST READS:
Exponential Organizations by Yuri van Geest and Michael Malone: The inspiration for this article and a must read.
The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande: We in- creased accuracy and customer satisfaction on nu- merous tasks by implementing the simplest of tools: the checklist.
Second Lean by Paul A. Akers: Without a doubt, this book saved us over 1,000 hours in 2015. By applying basic efficiencies to everyday tasks, we made things better, faster, and stronger.
Extreme Ownership by Leif Babin and Jocko Willink: Two Navy Seals reminded me that while not everything is my role, everything is ultimately my responsibility. Awesome correlations between battle and business.
Leading with Purpose by Marc Koehler: A business coach since 2014, Marc helped empower and focus the Del Toro Team. He developed a program that delivered massive impact on our alignment, our trajectory, and the bottom line. He also teaches people how to use it as a “Family Plan” as well.
Nothing can guarantee a business, or even an industry, will last forever, but you know what they say about an ounce of prevention…