Earlier this week I was talking to a customer about general corporate strategy and advanced planning. He told me that he and his team were making some very bold moves and doubling their efforts around sales and marketing. "We see lots of opportunity out there right now and we certainly are not going to miss the boat." I applauded their ability to take risks.
I started thinking about his "missing the boat" comment...
It's no surprise that during these interesting economic times, executives need to be more visionary and predictive of the future than ever. Pretty hard to do when the crystal ball is blurrier than ever. Even the great Warren Buffett recently said he could not have predicted the losses of some of the investments Berkshire Hathaway made. So what do you do?
My point is this...it's pretty crazy out there and very unpredictable yet why are there some companies that are 100% maximizing this time as an opportunity rather than laying low and waiting for the storm to pass? Why are some companies moving forward at twice the speed and other companies thinking it's best to put the brakes on everything? Why are some companies reinvesting in its employees with training and career development while others are not? I suppose it depends on your vantage point though I would contend that it really comes down to how much you believe in the long-term viability of your company and your employees, any company's greatest asset, the employees. The companies that are doubling down now and reinvesting in their employees are the companies that are taking risks, making bold moves and not missing the boat. These are the companies that will come out stronger than ever when things are back to "normal."
Is there a difference between taking risks and just being stupid? Yes, of course. Two examples of companies that took bold risks when the timing was not the best...though is there ever truly a best time anyway?
-Apple launched the iPod 6 weeks after the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center.
-Kellogg doubled it advertising budget during the Great Depression while other "played it safe." Kellogg aggressively marketed their Rice Krispies Cereal. (The rest is history.)
I get the point that for executives it's the difference between "missing the boat" and "sinking the boat." Makes sense, risk vs reward, the fear and uncertainly of making a decision that fails vs making a decision that would have succeeded.
Is it possible to find something in the middle? Perhaps. How about we leverage times like these to get extra creative, to be more innovative then ever by listening to customers and really understanding what they need to be successful? How about we develop products from outside-in vs inside-out, where we cross our fingers and hope/think customers will find value in the new enhancements? What about creating new, uncontested market spaces where competition is irrelevant? Easy to do, certainly not. Possible? You better believe it is.
Exercising "Innovative Leadership" right now can be the difference between giving the green light on a bold new idea and watching it succeed or watching your competitors take all the glory and revenue because you took a pass.
Don't miss the boat...
The Web Conferencing Expert