I find it both interesting and educational to watch how organizations react to a crisis of any kind. I don’t have to go into detail as to the many challenges we currently face in this country … especially in the business world.
However, upon close examination, there is an obvious pattern to how the business world reacts to these challenges. “Losers” and “also-rans” have a tendency to “play-it-safe,” “sit tight,” and “wait for business to return.” I see it every day.
Over the past year, I’ve also witnessed many of those companies cease to exist … falling victim to their own strategy. Some of the companies are well-known and have been around for some time.
On the other hand, you can witness the “winners” and “survivors” utilizing a different strategy. I like to call it “throwing more darts.” It’s actually very simple. When things stall and aren’t going well, they simply try new options. They add new products and services. They change the way they used to do things. They look for new opportunities or enhance existing strategies.
They often fail, but they keep trying until they discover a winning strategy. They feel that the more “darts” they throw at their target of success, the better chance they have of hitting it. They don’t feel that “sitting and waiting” is an option. It leads to destruction and death.
Don’t take my word for it. Watch the news. Note that leaders in every industry are constantly “throwing more darts” in their attempts to rebound, grow, and thrive in today’s challenging business environment. When they do hit a speed bump, it’s usually a temporary set-back because they continue to pursue their goals. They don’t dwell on set-backs … they continue their journey to success.
Ford and GM have enjoyed a tremendous comeback in recent months after experts predicted their demise. They did so by eliminating a herd of sacred cows in their efforts to discover successful alternatives to long-term challenges.
Starbucks is expanding its product line to grocery stores worldwide, recently established its first of many locations on cruise ships, and is now pursuing the challenge of bringing instant coffee to more than 500,000 hotel rooms across the country! Now that’s throwing darts!
McDonalds is investing more than a billion dollars to remodel its stores nationwide to include comfortable couches, fireplaces, big-screen TVs, and free Wi-Fi to lure customers at a time when its competitors are merging, selling, or going out of business as they play it safe waiting for business to return.
Two weeks after Netflix announced major price increases, Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, started streaming many movies the same day they come out on DVD. It now offers 20,000 titles that can be viewed on almost any device with Internet access, from computers to televisions to Sony’s PlayStation3 and other Blu-Ray disc players.
The strategy is obvious. The more darts you throw—the better your chance of hitting your target. Try new darts. Remodel your existing darts. Try a new method of propelling your darts. You may even want to change your target. Many will miss their mark. Throw more. I can promise you this—you’ll never hit the target with the darts you don’t throw! Think about it! Then take action!