There is a seemingly endless trail of businesses whose journeys were cut short due to Leadership Myopia. The inability to see beyond the narrow window of current logistics is one that often eludes leaders and usually drives towards the inevitable finality experienced by deteriorating businesses; Stagnancy by Irrelevance.
Outdated ideas of management and Leadership often hinder the ability for a business to stay relevant and adapt to changes in their market.
The business/retail world used to be a simpler place. Because people had only local choices to purchase products, businesses and retailers had the power. From books, to wine, to clothing, to news, and everything in between; competition was limited and businesses need only have the product available with a marginally effective pitch and they would get the sale.
This system turned organizations into product based and quantity based models with leaders and managers that were taught the importance of order filling (ignoring the need to update and keep the product relevant and the workers happy).
Today, the one-world system of commerce makes products available anywhere and to anyone with a touch of a button. This opens the door to a complex need to adjust and remain relevant in a global economy that nurtures competition, technology, quality, and ease of purchase.
Moreover, with the bombardment of commercial messages that people see daily, a pitch for a product or service must be as effective and efficient as possible. The increase of speed and delivery of information to potential customers combined with the exponential growth of the available products requires relevance and will inevitably weed out companies that don’t make the adjustments.
From Kodak to Blockbuster, the list of companies that went from top position to extinction continues to grow. While the declines of these companies can be forensically analyzed ad nauseam, the crux of the cause is undoubtedly leadership shortsightedness.
Today’s leaders must know that the old style of management is dead… just like the businesses that employed their methods. A leader in today’s economy must be adept in the ability to make all adjustments necessary for the survival and growth of their company while also effectively influencing the workers towards the peak performance mindset.
The most successful leaders in today’s business environment are the ones who can avoid stagnancy and cultivate an overall company environment that is conducive to growth, expansion, and market relevance.
So how do we, as Leaders, make the adjustments WE need to make in order to help our company make the adjustments it needs to make? As a Business Consultant and Behavioral Scientist, this is what my focus has been for nearly 20 years. As with all other great endeavors, change begins with us, the Leaders. Often times, the hindrance for progress is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge. We think we know so much that it prevents us from learning. We have so many outdated methodologies in our mind that it blinds us from making the proper adjustments and invariably leads us to mental stagnancy.
The greatest step to learning and enhancing our mindset is found in the ability to unlearn and let go of outdated information.
I’m reminded of the ancient maxim to “Empty Your Cup”.
One of my favorite renditions of this timeless story concerns famed martial artist, Bruce Lee, and his desire to be trained by a local Master. At the time, Bruce had extensive fight experience and a background in martial arts training. He approached the Master, and after making the customary bows, asked him to be his teacher.
While they went through the traditional motions of discussing the Student/Master agreement, Bruce began to talk about his experience and rambled on and on about the many fights he had won. The Master listened patiently and then began to make tea. When it was ready, he poured the tea into Bruce’s cup. As Bruce watched, the cup slowly filled until it began to overflow, first on to the table and then on to the floor. Bruce was trying to be respectful, but he couldn’t hold it in any longer and shouted, “Stop, stop! The cup is full; you can’t get any more in.”
The Master stopped pouring and said, “You are like this cup; you are so full of your own ideas and opinions. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can’t put anything in. Before I can teach you, you will have to empty your cup.”
This story is an old one that surely has been retold throughout the generations, but it continues to be played out in our day-to-day lives. As Leaders, we can become so enamored of our own ideas and opinions, and so trapped by our outdated education that we fill ourselves up to the brim and nothing new can get in. Because of that, we become judgmental instead of analytical (there’s a difference)… and mental stagnancy flourishes; giving rise to Leadership Myopia. Change starts within… Empty your cup!
Once we become open to new information, we can project our inner potential into outer change. The company and all of the employees benefit from a Leader who is operating at the best version of themselves.
On to Relevance… 5 Things to Consider:
1. NeuroMarketing Strategies Work
Our scientific understanding of Behavioral Psychology has revealed to us that we can resonate with all people with a well-developed marketing plan. Through careful research of market base demographics, a marketing campaign can be designed that ensures emotional and practical relevance.
2. Know the Why of Influence
Most people are moved to action (purchase product, join membership, purchase service, etc.) when these basic functions are triggered: Something abrupts their cyclical thought pattern. Something appeals to their senses. Something gives them a sense of community. Something reinforces their values.
3. Context is King
Everyone on Earth is operating on an agreement with reality. The most effective influencers are able to create a contextual story within the parameters of a specific demographic and influence from within that story. With the advent of Behavioral Sciences, your Sales Department has more tools than ever available to them for developing a pitch and marketing campaign that is effective on all levels. Sales is a science… When sales drop, adjust the strategy and reshape the context.
4. Relevance is Dominance
In an age that sees constant updates from technology companies, the common consumer has become accustomed and condition to expect product adjustments. Consumer Behavior models show that people will determine the viability of a technology by how often it is updated. This mindset has permeated into how a consumer sees ALL products and organizations. Consumer are even likely to purchase products of inferior quality if they have a more active webpage, social media, or marketing campaign. Products that are most active are not necessarily superior to their competitors, but will often have more sales because of being seen as more relevant.
5. Your Customers have MANY Options; Act Accordingly
Many companies expect loyal customers without providing loyal service. This has been the visionary failure of countless corporations. The most successful businesses have Leaders who see the correlation between Customer Service and Sales; not as separate departments, but as complimentary components for growth. Just as you would focus on developing a great Sales team, make sure your business is creating a Customer Service experience that is so good that it demands loyalty. As I have demonstrated for successful corporations throughout the world, the neuro-science of influence enables us to engage with our customers and clients more effectively than ever before. There is no excuse for providing poor customer service.
Relevance is viability… and in today’s global business environment, entrepreneurs can’t afford the fiscal and social death-sentence that comes with stagnant thinking and outdated modalities. While most Leaders shy away from change, it is the willingness to change that will determine the viability of the business and the longevity of its success. As Leaders, we must embrace change and continue to adapt, refine, and improve. Stagnancy will suffocate any business. We must embrace a new Leadership method in which we are dynamic and evolving, so that we may ensure the successful growth and longevity of our businesses.
– Steve Maraboli