Business leaders are faced with daily decisions whose outcomes impact both short and long term results. Constantly trying to balance both results a business leaders has to justify which result, short or long term, becomes the most important factor in their decisions.
It becomes difficult to focus on long term when the environment is demanding changes today. Changes demanded by markets that want your attention to matters deemed important today. Matters such as ROI, customer satisfaction, competitive threats, product/service quality, media sentiment, revenue growth, expense controls and the list of issues grows long and tiresome. Then the “market” begins to “shift” to all this social stuff and leaders are again forced to react to the short terms issues while trying to figure out the long term implications.
What are the Implications?
Lucas Wyrsch writes: “Today, billions of connected people around the world can cooperate to make just about anything that requires human creativity, a computer, and an Internet connection. Unlike before, where the costs of production were high, people can collaborate and share their creations at very little cost. This means that individuals needn’t rely on markets or capital-intensive firms to make or trade all of the goods and services they desire. A growing proportion to the things we value, newspapers included, can now be produced by us or in cooperation with the people we interact with socially, simply because we want to.”
“This sounds like a potential threat to business, but, it’s an opportunity for firms to learn how to harness this creative potential in their businesses.”
“We are at a tipping point in the economy where recession is probable so CEOs and top managers need to quickly shift their strategies for 2008. The CEOs who will be tossed out by their boards in a year or two will be the ones who simply focus on cutting costs over the next twelve months, allowing competitors to smack their companies hard with new products and services as the economy begins to grow strongly again in 2009. Smart managers will focus on innovation during the tough months ahead and come out swinging by the end of the year. This is what Apple tends to do so look to Apple—not for its products—but for its strategy.”
To Gain Ask What Must Change
There is an old expression which says “If you always do what you’ve always done the results will remain the same”. So the critical question for business leaders is “what must we do differently?”
Here is a short list of suggestions:
- Creativity lies in the minds of people. The more people you ask the more ideas you get
- Innovation can come from finding a need yet fulfilled and creating new value by filling it beyond expectation
- Finding a need yet fulfilled comes from listening on the fringes
- Conversations can point you to the fringes as long as you maximize your imagination of the possibilities
- Ask yourself, your entire company: What can be done that is not being done but if done represents more value than people expect? (The term people refers to more than what you call the customer)
Everyone wants answers to the challenges they face. The answers to finding strategic solutions that can produce improved results lies within the questions asked. The best business leaders are not the ones who think they have or are supposed to have all the answers. The best business leaders are those that know how to ask the right questions. The collective responses to their questions lead them to innovative solutions that satisfy a markets need better than others.
The short and long terms solutions aren’t about doing the same things over and over rather it is about doing things differently. All this social stuff represents an entire market of people doing things differently and telling others about it. Get it?
What say you?