Transforming Your Business Isn’t a New Year’s Resolution
New Year’s resolutions. We love them and hate them. Every year, millions of people pledge to transform their way of life—whether it’s to lose weight, be fit, manage their money better or pick up a new skill. While I don’t have the data to prove it, I suspect that the failure rate of personal failure in keeping New Year’s resolutions looks an awful lot like the failure rate for entrepreneurial businesses.
Transformation is About More Than Repetition
In his 2008 best-selling book, Outliers, Malcom Gladwell famously wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.” Citing studies done about elite performers, Gladwell also wrote, “an extraordinarily consistent answer in an incredible number of fields … you need to have practiced, to have apprenticed, for 10,000 hours before you get good.” There is, however, more to business success than simply fine-tuning your performance.
Numerous business experts have “disproved” Gladwell’s observations since his book came out. It’s not that they disagree with Gladwell’s emphasis on practice, and discipline. Those things remain important. But we live in a world that requires more. It’s not enough to be really good at something. What’s essential today is to be good (let’s make that “great”) at the right things. One challenge all businesses face today is that the right thing is constantly changing.
We live in a business world that is characterized by disruption. This presents us with both incredible opportunities—and significant challenges. Companies that want to put themselves into a position to take advantage of the opportunities must also be prepared to transform the way they operate. They must also transform themselves so that they are less susceptible to disruption from competitors. Businesses that are able to transform themselves and adapt to new demands will experience high growth.
Transformation is About Rediscovering the Right Thing . . . and Doing It
Simply repeating a discipline isn’t necessarily going to change your company. It won’t automatically enable you to scale up to achieve new success. Transforming your company is about discovering the right things to do and then changing your business habits and activities to reach your goals.
Transformation Never Stops
Transforming your business is an on-going process. Our business world is changing all the time. We need to be able to make adjustments to continue to meet the changing needs and expectations of our markets. It’s important to remember that transformation starts at the top. If leadership (both you and your team) isn’t committed to continual change to meet your clients’ needs, you can’t expect it from the rest of your company. Part of that commitment is continuing to learn. President Teddy Roosevelt once said, “I am a part of everything I have read.” That attitude of not just reading and learning, but of internalizing the information is key for companies that want to scale up and change.
I invite you to take a look at our Resources Page for suggestions of books that have transformed my thinking about business. I think you’ll find several great resources as you look to transform and scale up your business.