Go for big change
What is required to succeed in today’s fastpaced, ever changing, increasingly competitive environment? You must look ahead, look out over the horizon. You must do as entrepreneurs have always done – see the future before it arrives. You must position your organization to be the innovator who capitalizes on the mega trends. Your enterprise has no inherent right to survive or prosper. Failure to successfully predict the future will leave you by the wayside.
So how do you do this? How do you see the future before it arrives? You look for inflection points. Or better, how do you invent the future as Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Toyota Prius, Whole Foods, Southwest Airlines and WalMart? How do you prepare for the coming bust or boom? The answer - breakthrough innovation! Breakthrough innovations position you to leverage economic expansion and insulate you from economic downturns.
Empowering leaders see innovation and invention as their primary job. You must be more than the caretaker of a legacy or a manager of a practice. Your job is not incremental improvements. Incremental improvements are the job of the frontline. Yes, you encourage incremental improvements; you craft a culture that ensures incremental frontline improvements are a way of life, but you don’t see it as your job to create these continual improvements, sourcing, finance, human resources, supply chain logistics, information systems, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing. Your job is not finding ways, methods and practices that create reasonable profits, profits that are equal to or a little better than industry norms. Instead, you see it as your job to create dramatic breakthroughs in product innovation, distribution and finance. You seek breakthroughs that are *“order of magnitude” in scope. You see it as your job, your role to create an organization of empowered associates that
accept it as part of their responsibility to create paradigm breakthroughs in their areas of responsibility. This is your part in creating an empowered, energetic, dedicated team of high performers.
You see it as your job to ensure that no energy is lost in internal turf battles or competition for attention. Instead you create an organization where open communication and trust abounds. The focus is forward; the question on everyone’s mind is, “How can we serve our customers at higher levels?” “How can we be ‘Best in Class,’ the industry benchmark?” “How can we secure dominate market share in our chosen niche?” and “How can we secure new markets to increase our sales?”
You move beyond the practices, methods and disciplines of the managers who preceded you. The status quo is not an option. You will be purchased, forced out of business, or you will grow and purchase or replace your competitors. Start today; get out of the box by questioning every assumption.
*Orders of magnitude are generally used to make very approximate comparisons, but reflect deceptively large differences. If two numbers differ by one order of magnitude, one is about ten times larger than the other. If they differ by two orders of magnitude, they differ by a factor of about 100. Two numbers of the same order of magnitude have roughly the same scale: the larger value is less than ten times the smaller value.
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