One sad comment I hear over and over again from disappointed employees is “The company I work for is just bobbing along going nowhere”.
What a waste. That man or woman was once a child with stars in his eyes and dreams of all the wonderful things he would be a part of achieving. It’s also a crying shame for the company. The most common question I receive from CEOs is: “Why am I not seeing people’s potential? They are not thinking for themselves and turn to me to solve even simple problems.”
I had a fascinating conversation with two businessmen today. They were quite cheeky- though maybe that was me too! One was a salesman. He was passionate about the construction products he sold- an impressive range from bicycle stands to car park bollards, yet he admitted sales were tough at the moment. He believed that was just what to expect in this tough economy.
2921 UK companies grew at 15% or more each year in each of the past 3 years. They did that while others thought growth was not possible.
Do you believe these myths?
1. You must be in a growth industry to grow
So many business people believe this yet is just a myth. While 17% of the 2921 are in financial services, 8% in energy, and 5% in high tech/ IT many of the remaining 70% are growing in tough industries such as construction, automotive and retail.
Imagine a 50 foot high water pipeline. It takes a huge amount of effort to pump water up to the top.
Then imagine that the pipeline bends horizontally and, because of many leaks, most of the water leaks straight back out again! Would you not be appalled? What a ridiculous waste.
Is your company leaking?
That is exactly what most businesses seem to be doing. Consider any industry. Let’s start with Telecoms companies. Choose any of the big names. They make some impressive claims to win your business. Yet the reality is often a bit disappointing. Their automated voice response systems sound the same. Their call centres seem identical. The metrics they focus on are very similar. In fact their business models are so alike that, if you took the logo away, would you be able to tell one company from the next?
Now think about banks. Are they any different? Restaurant chains, hotels, insurance companies…… so the list goes on. 90% of companies are small businesses. A few of those stand out as doing something different but most of them suffer from exactly the same problem as the big companies.
Time to take the brakes off
Why are we all copying each other? Who taught us to do so? Do you remember when Tesco was not doing so well? Back in the 1980s was it? Well, their transformation began the day their CEO suddenly realised they were spending far more time focused on Sainsbury than on their customers! Whatever you think of Tesco, their growth since that day has been incredible.
Fast growth firms follow no one
Do you realise that the companies enjoying phenomenal growth behave in a totally different way?
Their vision sets them apart. Everyone in the company is excited about how different they are. They target a specific type of customer and give their customers what they want to such a degree that they are hooked. As a result the rest of the world watches in awe.
How will your company authentically stand out from the crowd this year? Or will you keep the brakes on?
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