If “Future Business” were a person, she/he might have resolutions for the new year. Of course, similar to a person, business is not going to become perfect inside of a year. So, let’s examine some areas where progress can be made.
- Seek out Collaboration – customers, employees, partners: they are all sources of valuable information. Collaborate with them to see how you can set-up win-win relationships. There are many new social media IT tools that can help you with this. Likely your GenY employees will be able to help you there.
- Encourage creative thinking – most businesses have spent the last decade trying to lock down efficiencies. Unfortunately, this is often to the detriment of supporting creative thinking. Take a cue from Google who lets their employees work on a side-project a few hours a week and help your employees get more creative.
- Understand your customers and lead them – this is somewhat like resolution #1, but it goes a step further. First of all “understand” takes a lot of listening. It means listening not just to how they would like to interact with you, but what are there overall goals. What are some of the things they are doing on the periphery of your product/service. Once you understand them, develop something useful for them and lead them to it. Often they will not tell you exactly what to build because they do not know what is possible or even what you might be able to accomplish.
- Adapt quickly – create a learning organization and one that is nimble. Cast a wide net for ideas, but have a method of honing those ideas down so that you can focus on the ones that are going to be most beneficial to your business. When a product or a market is not bearing fruit have the ability to analyze and decide when it is right to change direction. Creating a senior position that is focused on innovation is a great way to support this.
Of course inside of a year, businesses are not going to be perfect in any of those dimensions. However, they can strive for some improvement and invest some money in programs that start down the road.
On what else do you think that businesses should focus in 2009 in order to drive for a “Future Business” nirvana?