SNw 017 Survival of the Fittest -- by Leon Kaplan Created by James on 6/19/2013 3:40:53 PM
I'm focusing on specific strategies you could implement to help you and your company get through the current economic setbacks.
The following is a seven point plan that works as long as you work each point in the plan.
They are proven strategies to SERIOUSLY consider and they all have to do with better thinking, effective planning, and relentless execution.
Yes retreat-I can hear you asking "are you for real?" Absolutely!
It's impossible to come up with innovative solutions when you're charging around putting out the latest fire.
It doesn't have to involve going to a resort for a few days. Save that for the party to celebrate your survival.
If you can't take a step back and free up a few hours to focus on strategic issues, it's a huge red flag that you can't afford to ignore.
If you're indeed in a downward cycle, face the fact that your current plan and strategies are not working. It's delusional to think that you can survive and prosper without making changes in strategy, marketing, innovation, and execution.
2. ACCEPT REALITY
Accept the reality of your situation AS IT IS, not as it was or as you wish it to be.
Once reality is accepted, then you must act decisively. Most mistakes and self-engineered fiascos that people and companies create, regardless of position arise from not being willing to face the true reality of a situation and then acting on it.
You have no choice but to see the world in the purest, most transparent way possible, or you can't make decisions on a rational basis. You must embrace this profound virtue, as you simply cannot make legitimate progress by evading facts. Accept the true facts of reality as an absolute.
Accepting reality sounds simple - but it isn't. It requires that you remove filters that screen out the things that you might not want to see, acknowledge shortcomings and accept the need for change. Also, acting with truth often means saying and doing things that are not popular, but ONLY by coming to grips with reality will performance improve.
3. CREATE MORE VALUE
When times are uncertain, you should place a premium on the creation and delivery of greater value.
What people want at all times is value creation - that is, solutions that help them eliminate their uncertainties, capture their opportunities, and reinforce their strengths. When you focus on providing these three solutions, then growth, progress and achievement should follow.
Be compulsive about delivering outstanding customer service. Happy, satisfied customers are your meal ticket to economic security and ultimate survival. When times are tough, you can't afford to lose even one customer to the competition. Don't overlook the importance of value creation!
4. SIMPLIFY EVERYTHING
Simplicity is one of the critical strategies for surviving downtimes. It creates a sense of relief and freedom in this increasingly complex world.
Simplicity is an art form, with many definitions: To an engineer, it's clean, functional design with fewer parts. For manufacturing it means judging a process not by how sophisticated it is, but how understandable it is to those who must make it work. In marketing it means clear messages and clean proposals to consumers and industrial customers. And, most importantly, on an individual, interpersonal level it takes the form of plain-speaking, directness - honesty.
It was Colin Powell who said, "Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand. The result? Clarity of purpose, credibility of leadership, and integrity of organization."
5. VIEW PROBLEMS AS OPPORTUNITIES
You should stop focusing on the problem(s) and embrace the solution(s). Your best option is to change your focus and view every problem in your life and business as an opportunity for growth, learning, maturity and the only road to recovery.
Change is a big part of the reality of life. Your willingness to view problems as opportunities is a competitive strength, and if you wish to survive and prosper in these turbulent times, you should learn to look on change as a friend.
One of the keys to dealing with change is understanding that change is never over. Change brings opportunity to those who can grasp it, and the discontinuities of the current business climate offer unlimited opportunities.
6. BE OPTIMISTIC
Expect to win and maintain the thought that you will come through these rough times stronger, wiser and more prosperous.
Optimism and pessimism affect your entire worldview. Your whole approach to living is either empowered or neutralised depending on which style of thinking predominates.
An optimistic outlook creates conditions for success by focusing and acting on possibilities and opportunities. Optimism is the attitude of champions, the fuel of hope, the enemy of despair, and the creator of the future.
Developing and strengthening this dynamic life skill is one of the most effective ways of adding to your personal power.
No matter how realistic and rational you may be, you have no choice but to focus your attention and attitude. Optimists choose to focus primarily on thoughts, events, and interpretations that induce joy, encouragement, pleasure, and constructive activity.
7. LIVE SPEED AND EXECUTION
The effective use of speed is critical and clearly a competitive weapon. Move fast, or become history as everything you do increases your competitive position or moves you one step closer to being competitive "toast".
Confronted with a constantly shifting array of customers, competitors, strategic alliances, technology and market volatility, the only hope for increased productivity lies in developing the ability to move and change at least as rapidly as your competitive environment.
Customers, supply chains and associates within a company want things faster, easier, smoother. And once they have experienced the combination of quality and speed, they ask themselves, "Why should I tolerate an inferior experience of slowness?"
The company or individual that does not embrace the importance of speed will be hammered. In fact, as a strategic weapon, speed is the equivalent of money, productivity, quality, even innovation.
A FINAL THOUGHT
While constructing your game plan, following one or two of these seven steps, while challenging enough by itself, is unlikely to be enough.
Realizing three or four will be a bare minimum. You WILL need to develop the ability to fight simultaneous strategic battles on multiple fronts and to excel in all of them.
Those who can't or won't achieve that level of mastery are unlikely to be overly troubled; its highly improbable that they'll even be around.
And one final point-an 8th step-may very well be the most important of all:
Develop a solid plan of action with key measurements and strict deadlines. Remember that life nor business will go according to plan if you do not have a plan.
Use the Planning program to get yourself in the best possible position for success and save big in the process.
This may prove to be your most important decision!
Leon Kaplan, The GoalsGuy Africa www.goalsguy.co.za
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