I’m the first to admit that today’s fast-paced world leaves very little time to stay abreast of what’s happening in the news.
However, know this! Leaders in every industry find time to do so. They either make time in their schedules to do so by delegating and empowering others to deal with less important tasks, OR they have someone to monitor current events and keep them informed. They’ve made a conscious decision that there is tremendous value in observing life outside our own realm.
We have one client that has actually created a team of three talented employees who do nothing but monitor the news, determine what can be learned from what’s happening, consider how their organization can benefit from adopting and/or adapting concepts and then making it happen.
Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that you copy other people and businesses. What they’ve done simply may not apply to your needs and goals. However, you can certainly use their accomplishments to stimulate your own thinking in new directions.
Many of today’s successful and accepted products and services were inspired by observing totally unrelated influences:
- Zip lock food-storage bags
- Pet-grooming shops
- Henry Ford’s assembly
- Liquid Paper
- Snow shoes
The list goes on and on.
At a time when the economy, for so many reasons, has closed or down-sized more businesses than ever before, I’ve witnessed many organizations growing and prospering because they’ve followed the simple formula of Looking, Learning, Thinking and especially DOING!
In the past two weeks, the news has reported many examples of what I’m talking about:
The airline industry reports $3.4 BILLION in bag fees over the past year! Not only is that up 24% over the previous year, but it’s also a major reason the industry made money after three consecutive years of losses. I’m not happy with the fees myself, but it’s a fact that this idea saved a floundering industry.
At a time when everyone seems to be “waiting it out” in hopes that things may someday change, Southwest Airlines purchases AirTran to become the nation’s first megasize, low-cost airline. “Calculated” risk has often been the decisive factor in achieving success while others flounder.
Target initiates an aggressive “full speed ahead” campaign at a time when the retail industry remains dormant and very cautious. Target is currently remodeling more than 400 stores, opening smaller urban stores to ward off the assault of the many dollar store chains, planning to expand to Canada, and totally overhauled its website … soon operating independently of Amazon. Target is also expanding its fresh food offering as well as adding a new higher-end clothing line and expanding its housewares line. Target is approaching today’s soft economy by taking action while so many of its competitors “play it safe.”
Did you ever think you’d enter a fast food restaurant to find fire places, free WiFi, comfortable faux leather couches and chairs, or large flat-screen TVs? That’s all part of a $1 billion+ make-over that McDonald’s has planned for more than 14,000 of its U.S. locations. McDonald’s is even doubling the number of its drive-thrus. “McChanges” may just be the word to describe this ambitious game plan for the home of Ronald McDonald and his friends. By the way, this strategy was inspired by observing the emergence of the Apple stores. The CEO pointed out that “entering a new Apple store makes you feel as though you’ve actually entered an IPad and never want to leave. We want our customers to feel the same about their visit to any McDonald’s location.”
Do you see a common thread among these examples? Daring leaders in successful organizations are opting to “take action” to strive, survive, and succeed in one of the worst economies this nation has ever witnessed.
I’m not suggesting that you duplicate any of the efforts mentioned above. I’m suggesting that you watch these organizations closely to see what works and what may not work. Note their creativity, strategies, daring, and precise planning efforts. Then create a powerful strategy for yourself. “Sitting and waiting” is no longer a feasible strategy … it’s a “death wish.” Do something!