A number of years ago I took on a role as Head of New Product Development for a distribution business (35 people, €20m T/O), selling DIY, Bathroom and Home/Garden products. My role had a single purpose: to predict the future! What will sell? What’s the next big thing? This was my problem to solve - what to buy/build and distribute. All at a cost.

As a buyer, every single one of those decisions had one thing in common. Each one contained varying degrees of risk. The easy option in many cases was to simply sell more of what we already sold (well), or substitute for similar offerings. However given we were operating in the thick of the “Celtic Tiger”, as a market leader we had to work twice as hard to stay ahead of the competition. So doing nothing wasn’t really an option for us. We had to innovate and try new things, otherwise we would keep having to cut our prices, which is always unsustainable.

Perhaps you are in a similar position today. Your business is facing challenges, technology may be able to provide a solution, but there is an element of risk. Doing nothing looks pretty appealing…

There is always a good reason “not to act” – below are 8 “examples” of this behavior. However what can greatly help is to focus the conversation on “value”. By focusing on tangible returns, it is much easier to reach a decision on what’s best for your business. Take a look at these two blog articles at ways to engage in this conversation. So why not reach out to us or one of our business partners (our trusted advisors) today?  Make that a New Year’s resolution!

Can CRM solve my business problem? (1/2)

Can CRM solve my business problem? (2/2)

Good luck in 2015

David

Follow me: @Sage_CRM_DavidR

 

8 symptoms of “can-kicking” behavior

1.      Doing nothing means I won’t make a mistake

  • Rationale: You are allowing outside forces control the future.
  • Diagnosis: Doing nothing is a decision – by default. When under pressure, it may be tempting to hide, however it is crucial to remain master of your own fate. So why not take back control, today?

2.      If I do nothing, it will cost nothing

  • Rationale: You want to remain comfortable!
  • Diagnosis: By remaining in this position, the pain that may already exist in your business will get worse and worse, until eventually the decision you will have to make will cost more and hurt more than if you had made it early. You need to identify what these pain points might be and act today.

3.      I won’t be blamed if I do something and something bad happens

  • Rationale: I don’t want to be responsible or accountable
  • Diagnosis: Unfortunately, you did make a choice, you chose not to act. Doing nothing creates a false sense of security. Doing nothing can turn out to be the worst choice for an organization. Market forces, competitor actions, changes in technology, key people moving on – any combination of these will happen to your business at some point. So what are you going to do about it, today?

4.      I’m too busy. I'll just let things continue as they are to save time

  • Rationale: These are false savings.
  • Diagnosis: New initiatives will consume time, cost money, and take effort. The question is this: Is this new investment less painful or less costly than doing things exactly as you currently do?

5.      If I keep the status quo, everyone will know what to do / what the policies are etc.

  • Rationale: Doing nothing can in fact create more confusion
  • Diagnosis: Have you tested that the tasks people do, the policies that are in place….make sense to begin with? Are these well understood by your colleagues? Why not test these out and see if there are more effective alternatives?

6.      We’re in a leading position. Why bother to make a change now? We’ve got lots of time if the signs seem to point towards change

  • Rationale: Living with a false sense of security. No competitive position lasts forever.
  • Diagnosis: This could be an expensive choice. Doing nothing can allow the organisation to become complacent such that it becomes extremely challenging to react to a change in circumstances. It’s much easier to change a winning team than a losing one.

7.      There’s no guarantee it will work

  • Rationale: You want the reward, without the risk. This isn’t realistic.
  • Diagnosis: Yes, there are no guarantees, however you must put yourself in the best position possible to take control over your own situation. It’s about being proactive rather than reactive.

8.      We must make our current approach/software/process work.

  • Rationale: This assumes that what you currently do is right, or the most effective.
  • Diagnosis: Why not test some alternative options? Firstly, clarify what assumptions you have made and look at the decisions that have created the current situation. This could be based on strategy, operations, economics, culture etc. Thereafter new decisions can be taken to move on.