Right now I am engrossed in Jim Collin’s newest book Great by Choice. As a business consultant and unapologetic fan of Jim’s work, I recommend that every business leader read this book. For those who are currently too buried in other must-read books (we’ve all been there), I’ll summarize some of my personal favorite takeaways from the book in a series of articles on my blog.
The book itself is a study of the most productive and successful companies in America—those companies that have consistently performed 10-times better than their competition, despite economic conditions. Why did they outperform us all? What makes them so darn special? The book answers these questions by analyzing the common behaviors of the leaders of these companies, with fascinating results.
One of the most interesting behaviors is what Collins refers to as “Empirical Creativity.” Basically, this means the leaders made a point of moving on new ideas (products, services, trends, etc) they had control over. The market changes, and these leaders focused on what they knew they could control to push towards they future they wanted.
So basically, as you strive to find new and creative ways to compete—whether that’s hopping on the latest technology trend or changing the way you service your customers—don’t take things at face value. Do the research. Analyze the data. Do a study of what your customers want.
Remember that the loudest customers may not always represent the larger community so don’t rely on the opinions of a few squeaky wheels to drive your business strategy. Don’t rely on your guts either. Do your homework to make sure the move is grounded in real intelligence and not someone’s pet-project ideas.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should favor analysis over action, but made sure you put in the time and due diligence before steering the ship onto its new course.
A little paranoia is always good for business. More on that later…
Howard Shore is a business consultant who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential. To learn more about how an executive coach, management consultant, leadership training, or business coach can help your team, please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.