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Vol. 1 issue #88 Dec 11, 2003 
 

 

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When Was the Last Time You Upgraded Your Business?
2003 By Michael Angier



 

It seems that we constantly have to upgrade our computer software and equipment. We only use our programs and computers a few months before it makes sense to replace them. It's not that they're completely obsolete; it's just that there's usually something much better and often for only a bit more cost.

Do we treat our business models that way? Not very often. If we're lucky enough to find a business model that works, we usually keep on using it--to our detriment--with little
modification.

Why should our business be any different than the tools and equipment we use? It's critical that we make regular changes that will keep pace with our customers, our competitors and the  market.


                                                                                 

 

400% MORE

 








Business is changing more rapidly than ever before. What worked last year may not work any longer. Entire industries are emerging and fading in less than a decade. To be competitive, we must be able to change with everything else that's changing around us.

Tweaking and improving what we already have may be sufficient. But often we need to make more radical changes. Our business model must sometimes be scrapped and replaced with another.

Some Obstacles It's easier to keep doing what we're doing. We're all creatures of habit and we have a tendency to dig holes deeper instead of digging new holes. This keeps us focused on what we're doing but not necessarily what we're attempting to accomplish.

We think making a change labels what we WERE doing as wrong. Our stakeholders expect consistency. They don't like change any more than we do. And most business leaders are reluctant to let go of the old way and embrace the new because they fear being judged as having been doing it wrong.

 

 

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The staff doesn't like change. The owner or manager who is willing to lead and affect change often has a tough role because of a we've-always-done-it-this-way mentality. This resistance is a serious challenge.

Customers don't ALWAYS know what's best. Listening to our customers and attempting to fulfill their needs is a valuable practice. Certainly we need to help our clients solve problems and overcome challenges. But we can't DEPEND on our customers for this. If we do, we'll miss many opportunities to lead the market with products and services that our customers didn't even know they wanted.

A Few Solutions Embrace change as a good thing and not just something to be tolerated. As long as we make what we were doing wrong, we thwart our ability to make good decisions. When we lock onto the old, we have little ability to welcome the new. Even a trapeze artist has to let go of one trapeze in order to catch the next one. Develop the attitude that we're making an improvement instead of not doing what we did before.

Nurture a culture of creativity and innovation. A world class business leader knows that they must create an environment for creativity. They know they need to always reward thinking outside of the box. The safety to question anything and everything is paramount.

Conduct 'What's Not World Class Meetings'. On a regular basis, small groups and large should be convened to challenge what's being done, what's not being done and how it's done. Every aspect of the business must be looked at with a fresh eye and an open mind. What needs to be scrapped? What needs to be added?
What no longer serves our customer? Where are we looking good and where are we looking bad? Establish priorities and take action.
 


 

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Make a habit of holding these meetings and you'll start to see real progress. You'll find that the process will continue even after the formal meeting ends.

Recognize that your biggest expense is the money you DON'T make.
Every business leaves money on the table. It's our job to discover ways in which we can maximize all of our revenue. There's always a way to do this. Pretend your company is being bought by another corporation--what are some things they might do to uncover hidden revenues?

Step back and away from your business and your industry. Critical to creating a world class business is to constantly gain new perspectives on what you do and how you do it. Abraham Lincoln once said, "If I had three hours to chop down trees, I'd spend two hours sharpening my blade." That's what getting away to conferences, symposiums, classes and master mind meetings can do for you--sharpen your upgrade blade.

Read, study, listen, explore. Take every chance to expose yourself to new ideas and be reminded of things you already know. And don't make it exclusive to your industry. If you're clear on your mission and your purpose as well as the major problems you're striving to solve, you'll get ideas from anywhere and everywhere. Read something unrelated to your work. Study something dramatically different from what you normally do. See for yourself how your perspective will improve.

We need to keep what works and change what doesn't. We need to stay fresh and have a better perspective and yet remain consistent with the things that support our mission.

Being a business leader requires one to constantly balance the unchanging principles with strategies that need to be tweaked and updated. Constant and never-ending improvement is the watchword of business in the 21st century.

I urge you to look for what systems, models, departments, processes--and yes, even people--need upgrading.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Copyright Michael Angier. SuccessNet.org and WorldClassBusiness.com help you and your business grow. Get their fr*e report 10 Pillars of a World Class Business by sending an email to wcb@SuccessNet.org No-cost subscriptions, memberships, eCourses, eBooks and SuccessMark Cards are available at http://SuccessNet.org
 
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