It’s not 1985 anymore. At that time, you were a good boy or girl for following orders and maintaining the status quo. The reason is that the world around you was linear. It was ok to stand still back then. The whole ecosystem – your vendors, customers, co-workers, bosses – could not affect you with work and change as easily. Things were harder to get done. We just didn’t know it then.
Fast forward to today. It is easy to get things done. It is easy to organize a movement. It is easy to communicate and make happen whatever you have the initiative and gall to do. The reason you have so much email to get through every day is because your ecosystem can communicate with you easily. After all, they are in front of a computer right now as well.
If you act like it’s 1985, you are rapidly becoming irrelevant. Insisting or hoping on doing things the same – managing projects, selling, servicing customers, marketing – is constantly changing. Your competitor is figuring out how to do it better. They have access to the same tools you do. The tools are cheap, and they can subscribe to them for a monthly fee.
It is an exciting time today. You can make happen whatever you like. However, you may be tied down by old mindsets, habits, outdated company culture, or a lack of initiative. Generally speaking, we humans do not change unless there is a crisis. I am here to tell you that today is a flash-point between the old and the new. There is too much proof of smaller teams who act like elite green berets in business rather than old, stodgy infantry who are throwing people and artillery at solving business problems that require much more agility. It is easier to do much more with less.
Here are some signs that you may be in the slow lane while the world is moving on:
- Too Many Servers: Are your email, business applications, database or mission critical applications running on servers? Do you have to go through some clumsy VPN process to get to your company information. There are teams who work in multiple locations all over the world and get things done rather than have to work at getting things done. Servers are so 2001.
- Cold Calling: Tell me when the last time is that you bought something from a cold call. Enough said. Don’t tick people off who are on the edge of being annoyed. Position rather than bother people, and you win. Cold calling is about you, not them.
- Direct Mail: See Number 2. Stop the insanity and start thinking strategically instead.
- Corporate Speak: Your website, newsletter, and email is masked in marketing. Telling people how great you are has nothing to do with solving their problems. We are all skeptical of marketing speak. Learn how to connect rather than sell. Learn how to be valuable. Maybe you’re not. That is what is being exposed today. It is why you may be ignored.
- Being Cheap: Henry Ford stated, “The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar instead of how little he can give for a dollar is bound to succeed.” Why does he have to even say this? Because most people and companies are cheap. They are trying to hustle, connive and get business without earning it. They continually hedge their bets. How about giving value for free and earning your next customer. Work a couple hours to win a new sale rather than hope someone will call you back. Spend money on your next customer. Perhaps a hesitation is your lack of belief in your value in the first place. Cheap people lose today in a world where snobbish consumers expect value first.
- Too Much: Think about how and why military strategy has changed. What if we fought wars today like 1940? Keep throwing troops and artillery at the problem and you win. That would be insane today. Guerrilla warfare is required. Men in sandals and a rocket launcher can blow up a $5M piece of machinery quickly. There are companies that can make more money than your company with half. Half the people, technology, and infrastructure. Think less, not more.
While it used to be that people who assimilated well into structure were rewarded before, it is not true today. Those who can change continually are rewarded. Your technology will not be the same in three years. Your people will not be with you in three years. Everything is continually changing. Upgrade your thinking, your business and ultimately your opportunity. The alternative is to wait, hope and die a slow death.
Many wonder at the changes in organizations today. It’s not bewildering. It’s predictable. It is a correction that was bound to happen. We can do much more with less. The people that are relevant today are those that make change and lead rather than follow. They are not looking to be a cog in a system. They realize they have to bring value, solve problems and be the real thing. This goes for companies and brands also.
Consider what George Bernard Shaw said, “People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” Go make it happen. It’s not rocket science. It is hard work, and it is letting go of outdated ways of thinking.