After a few years we believe it’s time for change. The Futurist will head over to LeadingCompany to catch up with SmartCompany graduates that have shed their start-up cocoon and are fluttering their wings with safe, smart and successful returns on investment.
Back here on SmartCompany we will focus on what it takes to become an efficient, effective and effulgent change master to take your smart company on the path to progress.
Every small business that wants to win awards for growth and brand presence must address a series of changes that convert customer satisfaction into consumer advocacy. This involves changing attitudes, behaviours and customer response patterns of everyone on the team to adopt a focus, focus, focus orientation.
The first focus requires a systematic diagnosis of the barriers to progress and the keys to success that need to be replicated to find more paying customers and to identify unmet needs.
The second focus demands a total review of operational and technological changes in the business, the competition and the industry to maintain a high rate of ICE-breaking (Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship). Just doing more of the same is simply an invitation to the predator’s ball – an invitation to exit at best and fast track to a financial crisis at worst.
The final focus must be upon effective communications, education of the media and the market and internal training to ensure that there is consistent delivery and a commitment to reaching new territories.
Wikipedia provides a good summary of the keys to successful change management. “Change management processes may include creative marketing to enable communication between change audiences, but also deep social understanding about leadership’s styles and group dynamics. As a visible track on transformation projects, it makes use of performance metrics, such as financial results, operational efficiency, leadership commitment, communication effectiveness.”
To achieve that clarity of purpose, the diagnosis relies upon a focus upon the answer to the core question – “What business are we in and where are we in it? This sorts out the value proposition that will drive all of the changes that must be made to move from where you are now to where you must be to become a leading company.
Gillian Franklin founded The Heat Group to focus on her customer’s lifestyle enhancement and has grown the company from five employees to a robust, well-resourced company of around 100 employees, complete with its own warehouse and distribution facility. Under Gillian’s leadership both Max Factor and COVERGIRL now rank in the top five brands in the Australian cosmetic market and has recently continued to focus upon communication and distribution taking on the Warner Brother’s lines.
Jan Cameron, the founder of retail chain Kathmandu and the current owner of Retail Adventures, Crazy Clark’s, Go-Lo and Sam’s Warehouse and Triabunna Mills have focused on control of supply chains.
Rupert Murdoch has always been clear that his business is in advertising and that media is where he is in it. Richard Branson about the same time failed in flogging Christmas trees and budgerigars and found his business focus in promoting innovative experiences under the Virgin brand starting with mail order records.
Nothing stays the same and staying on top of changes in the value chain through a process of related organisational change ensures that new and innovative products and processes are always being considered. Change masters benefit from alignment of their current capacity to the best prospects for strategic changes, cost control and active engagement of all team members to build brand equity.
Dr Colin Benjamin is an entrepreneurship and strategic thinking consultant at Marshall Place Associates, which offers a range of strategic thinking tools that open up a universe of new possibilities for individuals and organisations committed to applying the processes of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship. Colin is also a member of the global Association of Professional Futurists.