With a new year upon us, it is a natural time to reflect on the year in review and look ahead to the prospects of a new year. We live in an unprecedented and exciting era of change. As we, at AscendWorks, reflect on our perspective of business and the new economy, here are some observations we have made:
- Mindsets Are Everything: There are two prevailing mindsets we see. The growth mindset and the fixed mindset. The old economy played to the fixed mindset types of workers. Keep the status quo, build organizational structures and refine. It is not so today. The only true mindset which prevails is the growth mindset. It is the attribute of people who are on a continual journey of learning. Technology is now a commodity. The main factor now is utilizing talent and knowing how to put the ingredients for success together. Talent comes from people who have a growth mindset. Everyone else is pretending and scared. They are in the wake of the talented people making new rules and new pathways.
- Iteration Trumps Perfection: The new generation of entrepreneurs and knowledge workers grew up thinking in terms of options. Generation Y does not use manuals. They pick up a new cell phone and start figuring it out. They can do that with any technology. It is because their brains are trained on failing fast rather than getting it right and being perfect. Getting perfect takes too long and is impractical. It is required in fields for precision, but less important where results and movement are critical. Today, you can build new marketing approaches, strategies and systems quickly. If it does not resonate, you can tear it down and build a new one. It is an art form. Knowledge workers are equipped to be artists rather than technicians today.
- There Is No Secret Sauce: It is amazing how much money people will throw at gimmicks which promise to be the thing that works for their business and life. The lure is the illusion of some well of prosperity; many think “if a new technology is bought, many new customers will buy.” I always challenge customers to think, “If there was a secret sauce, wouldn’t everyone be using it?” If it did exist, then others would find it and copy. The truth is that there is a big difference between 90% and 99%. If you drive a finely tuned sports car compared to a practical sedan, there is an entirely different driving experience and value between the two. Sports cars are built with 99% precision. Sedans get you transportation. To win in the new economy requires sweat equity and savvy thinking. Most people can get 90% of the answer. Very few will pay the price to discover the 99% answer.
- Winners Are Few, Whiners Are Plenty: Everyone has access to the same tools and technology. There is an overwhelming amount of technology coming online every year. It is easier to create it today than it was ten years ago. What runs your business or changes with it next year takes foresight, leveraged thinking and know-how. The difference lies in the talent you hire or tolerate. Everyone is not talented. Winners solve problems. Whiners lament at problems. Winners seek to deliver value. Whiners seek to just keep their job. Your business will thrive or struggle based on the talent you align yourselves with. Poor talent with world-class technology will produce a poor and costly result. The eight ball is talent, not technology.
As a new year approaches, think through how you are growing your business and skills. If you work hard at ineffective or outdated methods, you are merely busy, not productive. To be strategic today requires agile and bold thinking. Everyone’s market is being affected by the incessant tides of speed, technology and culture acting upon us as buyers and sellers.
Who you align with is more important than what tool you pick. Having a mindset committed to continual refinement, iteration and failure is necessary to winning in the new economy. Your success largely lies in your ability or inability to see the game being played today.
We wish you much success in this coming year as you commit to being a player in the game.