September 12, 2019

How do we get in front of Change Train heading our way

Drew Bickel

Drew Bickel
Data Scientist/GOW Consulting

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The business world is full of people who have been run over by the latest and greatest. Just look around you and you will see them. They are struggling to try to keep the Lotus 123 operation going. Isn't it time the business world got in front of technology? I would say yes. So how does that happen?

First, we must lose those feelings that the old days were better and that the employees are serfs to our kingdom. Come on, when you look at the new companies they seem to be more efficient but really they are just as bad, they just look different because they have less old days.

Second, and probably most important we must realize we do not know the future and in many cases, we are clueless about the present needs of our client and customers. If that is true we are heading into a period of "boy I hope this works". Does it sound familiar?

The third point in my attempt to make you feel bad is that your life experience is not the same as the clients and customers coming into our business world. Most of us do not understand the gen x, y, z abc. that is not a bad thing but it certainly makes selling and servicing them harder.

Fourth do you know what your core competency is? You better find out. Stay true to core beliefs it will help you with decisions that can cause you to miss the mark on new initiatives.

Now let's see what we can do and in many cases are doing whether we realize it or not.

1) We must understand the devices, Apps, systems that the customers use and we must be able to look at them without going well that is not how I would do it. Honestly, your customers and clients could give a crap what you think. In the current world, the customers and clients communicate in many ways not just email or phone calls, so you must be well versed in the current media they use. It is not hard but it does require you to learn to expand and become uncomfortable. By the way, you will get great satisfaction being on the front end of communication rather than saying oh I don't do that new stuff. 

2) Ask questions, (listen to the answers really listen) the current way most businesses are working today is we have a product and we say how great it is but we cannot be like Henry Ford and only sell black cars. The customer has many options so you should try to find out what they want. Don't try to make your round product fit into the customer's square need. Adapt don't fight. Figure out how to satisfy the need. You may choose to not make the changes necessary to meet the needs but you will have considered it and that will prepare you for next time.

3) Now one of the big things we have learned from these new customers is that they like to stay close to the style trends so from a company point of view we must be able to flex. The days of building the same thing over and over are slowly falling by the wayside create an environment of change within your organization. Make your product flexible but stay focused on your core values. If you are a shirt making company don't start selling games just because you have a shirt with the name of a game on it.

4) Communication must be fast and actionable in this new rapidly changing world is more important than ever Do not have weekly staff and status meetings, although these are profitable do them on a quarterly basis to keep everyone informed and not slow down the fast-changing world of business. Have a documented plan and all changes flow through that plan. That way everyone can be in touch with the current focus.

5) People must have the authority to make decisions and then be held accountable quickly and fairly. The more you can move the good solid decision making closer to client or customer the easier it will be to react to trends and changing styles. If a bad decision is made, and there will be, fix it quickly and use as a learning experience for all involved. Praise good decisions but don't go overboard. Do not fire the bad decision maker but teach why they were bad. Your staff will react better to fair and quick feedback.

The world will keep evolving. we all think it goes too fast when in fact it goes at its own pace. Do not fight it, embrace it, your business will be the big winner.

Drew Bickel

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