BLOG #4 Check the pulse in these 5 business areas to ensure you’re leveraging the new normal

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist; necessity is the mother of invention.

When we’re told to name an inventor most of us will default to someone famous, for example Edison, Bell, Curie, Hopper, Kwolek, and the like, but have you paved the way for an inventor to emerge from your own business? Now I’m not saying we have to reinvent the wheel or throw out all those tried and tested processes you’ve got going but I am saying that the potential for improved efficiency, reduced cost, better customer experience and increased sales lies in your workforce and their experience at the coal face.

Consider these 3 steps to drive ideation in your business:

Necessity really is the mother of invention – especially at a time like this, as we are defining the new normal and when change is a daily occurrence so ask your staff to name the top 3 challenges they face delivering your product or service. #saywhat Yes, I mean it – ask them to get real and give you their top 3 issues and no I’m not referring to the cheap coffee machine that’s been an issue since 1979 (although you should really get that fixed – bad coffee is a big no-no), these challenges have got to make a serious impact on customer experience and therefore revenue (although one could argue bad coffee may have that effect). They should be centered on culture, people, processes, brand and automation or technology. Once you’ve agreed on the top 3, drive engagement through an internal competition to solve them – encourage friendly banter and creativity, get everyone involved from finance and HR to sales and marketing, make a big deal about the winning solutions and then set up a project, choose an executive owner and a team to take accountability for progress and feedback. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by two things:

      1. The problems that come out, some of which you may never have heard of
      2. The solutions that are always right there, in the room (this is one of my favourite learnings, shared with me by a former boss – thanks Guy!)

Experiment – invention doesn’t exist without experimentation, which is obvious. I’m however, talking about creating a safe environment with minimal blow-back that encourages experimenting, creating, and even breaking, with the objective being to raise the bar for your employees, your partners, your customers, and even your industry. Encourage the weird and wonderful, you just never know what is possible outside of your comfort zone until you become a regular to that theme park.

Outside looking in – whilst there is no one who knows your business better than your staff, sometimes, just sometimes an outside view is interesting if not important. I certainly don’t mean an outsider should take over the show, internal accountability is key to any business culture. A project that runs over and above an everyday job description (within reason of course) helps your employees spread their wings and gives you the chance to identify the superstars. What I mean is this, an external opinion could help you focus on the right 3 issues – you could run it past a key client, a loyal partner, or even an industry body if it’s going to have that much effect. Getting input sometimes helps you see the wood for the trees and you want to make sure you’re putting your team’s energy in the right place – it’s finite and the quicker you can see the results the better for everyone.

In any case, if you do decide to try out these steps have fun – we already have enough everyday stress so bringing a little merriment and comradery to finding the solutions to your key business challenges can work wonders for your team and company culture.

Get in touch if you’re looking for an ‘outsider’ to support your team on their quest to solve your business challenges – I promise to be rebellious, forthright, and practical.

In my final blog of this series, I’ll go into detail around safety – emotional, cultural, and yes, of course cyber-safety.

Photo credit: TeroVesalainen

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