13 October 2015

How to become the market leader in your field

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It's risky business to up and change your business model or any integral part of your strategy for that matter. If you miscalculate or misjudge, you stand to lose much more than if you had not made a change at all.

So why change what isn’t broken? The answer is, if you want to be the very best in the biz, you can’t afford not to.

Gary Pert took this approach when he accepted the role of CEO of Collingwood Football club.  At this time, the club was in great debt, not winning premierships and trailing behind the top performing clubs in terms of membership.

Gary’s vision was for Collingwood to become the best football club in the world. He believed he had 2 options to turn things. Option 1 was to keep pushing his staff year on year to improve. He could achieve this by assessing his employee’s and player’s capabilities and setting goals that were ‘realistic’, within their reach. He knew this would yield incremental improvements year on year. The thing was, he needed much more than incremental improvements. He needed a herculean shift.

Option 2 was to set goals for the club that seemed completely unattainable. This would mean completely reinventing the club’s strategy, purpose and values.  Option 2 didn’t involve hitching the club’s wagon to his employees but rather the other way around. Those that were not willing, or capable, of achieving would sink or swim because regardless of who was on board the club was going to achieve its goal of becoming the best.

Needless to say the later was Gary’s choice. By adopting this method, Garry created a tension between the club’s aspirations and what was currently being done.

He focused on changing people’s minds by redefining what was possible. Before long unprecedented innovation was occurring. Namely, the club’s coach came up with the concept ‘rotations’. A system of rotating players on and off the field multiple times during a game. This allowed them to compete with much bigger and stronger players by ensuring that their younger players were only on the field for short periods of time and therefore always remained fresh. Subsequently, the club went onto win their first premiership in 20 years. Their membership also grew to be the largest in the country.

So how can we all get the same results as Gary Pert? Create opportunity for big innovation.

Here are 6 tips that all business leaders can apply to enable big innovation:
1. Set ‘unachievable’ goals and stick to them
By setting your sights high, you will create a tension between what is being done and what needs to be achieved. Inevitably innovative processes, systems and methodologies will surface as a means to achieving them.

2. Find ways to revamp your customer experience

  • Identify why it is that your customer purchases your product/service.
  • Can you leverage new technologies or processes to transform your customer experiences?

3. Identify redundant expense categories and find ways to reduce or eliminate them

Are there expense categories that you could dramatically reduce or eliminate altogether? This could be time, financial or human capital.
4. Reduce or eliminate purchasing risks for your customer

Is there risks for your customer in purchasing your product? If so, is there a way to reduce / eliminate upfront them?

5. Engage your employees daily
Find ways to keep your staff motivated and ‘active’ in their roles as opposed to passive. Disengaged and toxic staff will cost your organisation more than you’ll ever know.  

6. Assess any adverse side effects of your product/service and find ways to reduce them
Are there any negative environmental, social or cultural effects of your product/ service? If so, can they be reduced or reinvented?

From a young age Luana wanted to become a teacher. She would line up her teddies in a row and teach them for hours on end. However, she eventually grew tired of their nonchalance and has ended up leading a team of producers instead- which she finds far more fulfilling and stimulating!  

Luana comes from an experienced production and management background. She has produced and topic generated events across Asia and Australia.

Luana enjoys learning about emerging trends and drivers for change and loves the notion of the 'butterfly effect'- that change can start small but grow immeasurably through a ripple effect.

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