Winners and losers in the "New Normal" economy: The top 10 differences
Talking to industry leaders or to employees?
It is amazing how much time business leaders will devote to their industry events. They sit on committees and attend conferences for their own industries, spending more time talking to competitors and industry gurus than they do talking to employees who are in daily contact with customers. The successful businesses seldom send people to events in their industry. They spend more time reviewing employee surveys than industry surveys.
Have you recently asked employees about what customers are saying that could open the door to new products and services?
Preparing for best of times or the worst of times?
The struggling businesses are clinging to their existing products and services and focusing on cutting costs in all areas to protect cash in the short term. These businesses assume things are only going to get worse. However the successful businesses say they are seeing more volatility and they are having some of their best months and some of their worst months all in the same year. Thriving businesses are focused on finding things that will help them in the good months and the bad months. They are breathing life into more experiments with new product and service ideas than ever before. Analysis has shown that most of their revenues today come from products and services they did not offer a few years ago.
How much of your revenues and profits come products and services you did not offer a few years ago?
Focusing on jobs or projects?
The most dynamic companies today have 80% of their employees spend more of their time on projects and only 20% doing routine work. It seems the struggling businesses are caught up in traditional management hierarchies where employees are viewed as having routine job descriptions. Management wants employees to do the routine work faster, rather than finding the next breakthrough opportunity. Successful businesses seem to recognize and manage projects carefully, as they find this is where they generate most of the new ideas and breakthroughs.
How much of your company is project focused versus routine focused?
Doing more or less?
We are so busy we tend to stick with existing methods because we don't have enough time to stop, reflect, research, and implement better methods. The struggling businesses add new work to employees' to-do lists. The successful businesses have regular exercises to find things to stop doing, so that employees can find free time to do new things.
When is the last time your company had an exercise to see what you could stop doing?