Innovation is something that is sorely needed – in our businesses, in our communities and in our country. Yet despite its benefits, innovation is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve.
In the business world, innovation is often described as “The process of translating an idea or invention into a good or service that creates value or for which customers will pay. Think of the GE slogan, “We Bring Good Things to Life.” However, I tend to favor Scott Berkun’s definition, “Innovation is significant positive change.”
What does significant mean?
In this broader context, significant is a 30% or more improvement in something. So, you could argue that any time changes are made to anything that results in a 30% or more improvement, you’re innovating. To simplify further, innovation is not invention.
Think of the BASF slogan … “We don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.”
This makes innovation a little bit easier to tackle now, doesn’t it?
When will you begin writing that first book you keep talking about? Make a firm offer on the dream home you have wanted? Take that dream vacation? Move your career in a bold new direction? Start the exercise program you have been putting off? If not now … When?
Is today your ‘When’ day … the day your life really takes off?
Stop dreaming and take action. Let’s face it, we are all procrastinators to some degree. It is part of our nature, a part of our DNA. However, if we are going to live the life we’ve always dreamed about, then at some point in time we have to put a stake in the ground and take responsibility for making it happen.
As a child, I was a BIG dreamer and had a long wish list of things I didn’t have. My dear sweet mother had a great way of bringing me down to earth. When my ‘Wish List’ got to be too much for her she would say, “Wish in one hand and poop in the other, and see which one fills up the fastest.”
Most of us would be quick to answer, “A perfect sales call is when the buyer says ‘yes’ and signs the order.” We are all hungry for that next sale, the next order, the next new customer. In fact, the vast majority of new businesses that fail do so because of a lack of sales.
So while it would be hard to refute the logic, I think there is more to the perfect sales call than just getting the order. For example, a perfect sales call could be when the prospect says ‘no’ very early in the call. You don’t waste time chasing rainbows, and can move on to the next deal. However, would you really feel a sense of accomplishment if the end result was a no? Probably not.
“What if it all goes right?” – Mendhi Audlin
I love the thought process that goes into the title from Mendhi Audlin’s book. What if it does all go right? Are you enjoying this level of success and personal fulfillment in your selling activities? What does it feel like to have everything go right? In a previous article I talked about the 7 ways that you could be sabotaging your sales efforts. In this article I want to share some thoughts on the perfect sales call and how to make it a reality.
Do your best … that’s all you can do! This is my youngest son’s mantra and it has served him well in his early adult life. However, what if it isn’t enough?
What happens when your best just isn’t good enough?
Throughout our lives we’re encouraged to do our best, try harder, keep pushing, don’t give up, etc. However, most of us already have or will encounter obstacles or challenges seemingly too difficult to overcome, despite our best efforts. So what’s the right course of action when your best is not enough?
If we assume failure is not an acceptable outcome, then we have created an irresistible force paradox. The classic paradox formulated as “What happens when an unstoppable force (you) meets an immovable object (obstacle or challenge)?” This paradox arises because it rests on two premises—there exists such things as irresistible forces and immovable objects—which cannot both be true at once.
“If you lean in the direction of success, you will make progress even when you fall.” – Grant M. Bright
The hardest thing for most of us to accept is failure. We have been conditioned to believe that failure is a catastrophic, ‘end of days’ type event, rather than a life lesson. However, in this world we are a part of, there are no such things as irresistible forces or immovable objects. Something must be changed. How can we strive to do our best against all odds knowing the end result in some situations will not be favorable?
One of the harsh realities we all must face at some point is dealing with adversity or a major setback. Many of you may be experiencing this in real-time today as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adversity or setbacks represent a “reversal of progress”. This reversal of progress can take many forms – i.e. a job loss, divorce, financial hardship, major illness or injury, the death of a loved one, etc. How we respond to adversity or a reversal of fortune reveals a lot about our character and ultimately how successful we’ll be in dealing with life’s future challenges.
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis
How will you deal with a major setback when it comes? Will you be a better person as a result of the experience? Here are some suggested ways to overcome a major setback when it occurs and move forward in a positive way.
Can SMART goals produce dumb results? The short answer is “yes”. But the better question to ask yourself is, “How can we keep this from happening to us?”
SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.
The main problem with SMART goals, or goals in general, is that they are just ideas, thoughts or expectations. They generate no energy, no forward motion until you take action. If you make a half-hearted attempt to achieve them, or are not fully committed, then what happens? Poor or (dumb) results are the eventual outcome.
Goal-setting and planning are balance sheet approaches. They offer only a snapshot of what is important to you today, and how to get there from here. However, there is no momentum, no “wood behind the arrow”. Without this momentum being generated and directed, it’s hard to reach the intended target. A P&L approach is what’s required to make them come to life.
If your overarching goal is to build a successful legacy business that will be around long after you are gone. And your horizon plans extend beyond the next 90 days. Then please read on …
In this article I want to share some thoughts on why you should consider globalizing your business, if you are in it for the long haul. So stay with me.
“Globalization is becoming a strategic imperative for survival and growth.”
Whether we choose to acknowledge this fact, or not, it is true for small businesses as well as large, multi-national corporations. I have been writing and speaking off and on about this topic for the past 10+ years. My first book, GLOBALIZATION: America’s Leadership Challenge Ahead, provides an in-depth look at the major challenges we must overcome in the complex, rapidly evolving global society we are all members of.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Many of you reading this introduction are thinking this does not apply to me. “I’m just a local small business owner and have no current plans to expand globally.” I have spoken to numerous business groups, and heard this comment more times than I can count.
What I’m here to tell you is “there is no such thing as a local small business in today’s global economy”. You’ll understand why I say this as you read further.
Are you finding it challenging to connect and engage in meaningful conversations with people these days? Or for that matter to just get a response from the other party? It can feel like we‘re speaking a foreign language, or the communication link is down.
At no time in mankind’s history, since the Lord scattered the twelve tribes, has language and basic communication been so complex and confusing. This presents a big challenge for many businesses attempting to enter new markets either regionally or globally that are not familiar with the local language, customs and preferences.
How do you communicate effectively and ensure that your message is heard by the target audience when there are so many language and communication variables to consider?
No, this is not another fan rant about the Dallas Cowboys lackluster performance on the football field this year. Although there are some similarities we’ll draw upon here. Rather, the article is about you. If you’re a business leader who seems to be stuck in neutral and unable to find the ‘winning formula’ to move to the next level.
None of us grew up with the notion of being average, just being good enough.
Whether it’s in sports, music, grades, business, etc. We have all been ingrained with the notion of being the best in our chosen pursuits. Does this seem realistic? There is nothing wrong with the quest for excellence. However, not everyone can ascend to the top of the pyramid and stay there. Real life just doesn’t work that way. And that’s OK!
Are your expectations aligned with reality?
Let’s talk for a moment about the ‘BIG LIE’. The big lie is what we tell ourselves when we have a bad day, or when things are not going our way. “Things will get better”. They won’t. Things are not going to get better until what? Until we do. In order to consistently achieve success at any level we must take risks, make changes and sacrifice to get there.
Several years ago a good friend gave me a copy of the 20th Anniversary Edition of Bob Buford’s book, Half Time®: Moving from Success to Significance. I enjoyed the book so much that it was added to the required reading list for my Business Leaders Forum℠ mastermind program.
Buford believes the second half of your life can be better than the first. But first we need to figure out what we want to do with the rest of our lives. In Half Time®, this transition is described as moving from ‘success to significance’.
While attempting to come up with a strategic plan for himself, Buford was asked a simple question: “What’s in the box?”
The answer to this simple, yet penetrating question will help to determine how successful we are at fulfilling our future life plans. Whether we’re still young adults, have reached the midlife point, or are already into our second half. Let me explain.