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.”
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?
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.
The old adage that “you don’t get bigger by getting smaller” does not always apply in the modern world. In order to thrive in today’s fast-paced global marketplace you must think differently about what is essential to growth, and where and how to invest your time and limited resources.
Big corporations have gotten it wrong for decades. To artificially “pump up” stock prices and appease shareholders and the board of directors, they have historically downsized and reorganized during the fourth quarter to improve short-term financials. However, if you do not make fundamental changes to improve operational performance, this is a “slowly bleed to death” strategy that ultimately leads to disaster.
“When you remove just the right things in just the right way, something very good happens.”—Matthew E. MayContinue reading…
Who am I? Why am I here? What’s my motivation? What is my ‘Why’? These are all purpose-related questions most of us will struggle with at various stages throughout our lives.
What is purpose and why is it important?
Purpose is “the reason anything is done, created or exists”. Everyone has or needs a purpose, otherwise we are just flopping around with no true sense of direction or meaning to our lives. However, defining our purpose in meaningful terms can be a major challenge.
We quite often hear the term, “find your purpose”. Every time I hear this I want to respond, “I didn’t know it was lost”. But in reality, it wasn’t lost because in order to be found it had to exist. Therein lies the difficulty for many people.
“If you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” – Lewis Carroll
Why having a purpose is so important:
Drive and passion.
These are just a few of the things that come to mind when we consider why having a strong sense of purpose is so important. Continue reading…
What is the #1 question that most often gets overlooked?
You will have to wait a bit for the answer. However, I will give you a hint. The answer is shown in the image below.
As we begin to wind down the 2017 fiscal year, most business owners are thinking about or already beginning their planning cycle for the new calendar year ahead. They’re going through the early stages of the goal-setting process, reviewing the quarterly performance, and putting together annual budgets, forecasts, staffing plans and financial projections for the coming year.
It’s an exciting time of the year and right now, looking through those rose colored lenses, the future looks exceedingly bright. But what is missing? What’s missing is a reality check. Have we done our due diligence? Have we asked the most basic, fundamental question that should be answered before we charge ahead? Probably not. Continue reading…