How to Have People Benefit from New Ideas
Writtten by: Simon Hasto | Honest Conversation Copywriting; Säter, Sweden
New ideas jolt people. In fact, they scare people. Remember that the next time you – as a more creative business person or employee – go to express your new “thing” (whatever it may be).
A look in the mirror
Don’t be let down, discouraged or upset when people react in a less than ecstatic way. Instead, recall your own reaction when you – perhaps on a less-than-stellar day – were exposed to this new hot shot person… Maybe they were younger than you, had that zest for life you clearly lacked that day, and bristled with energy. And, to make matters worse: maybe you felt the idea was incredible, revolutionary.
A ninja in the office, stealing everything
In this situation, maybe you felt small, old, or just vaguely threatened. Like someone was stealthily, silently taking your place. They showed no explicit signs of it, and they didn’t seem to threaten anyone else, which only made you feel more threatened. At that moment, what did you do…? Perhaps your defense-mechanisms were triggered and you lashed out – explicitly or implicitly, outward or inward, loudly or silently – which left the real issue buried and forgotten about.
We have a hard time with change. We all do. Not to say all change is indefinitely positive, but that’s for another time (we can all agree change must happen; for good things to happen, and change will happen; regardless of whether we like it).
Step one – start the balancing act
So, the next time you bring this amazing new idea to your employees/whomever, what might you do…? Begin by expecting nothing. In fact, however brilliant, Midas touch-ish or energetic you feel at that moment, consciously bring yourself to the level of those around you. Only then can you get their attention. Why…? Because you showed empathy. At that point, will your thing have an impact? They let down their guard because no one is coming at them – on a sluggish, tired, slow day – like a rushing train, but instead, expresses at their energy level.
Step two – keep balancing
When you try this, just observe what happens. That’s the second step. You’ve gone in, “normal energy” – normal being that of those around you; like a DJ calibrating to her audience – and now you just keep calibrating (like a DJ – the crowd always changes).
Step three – make it about them
Of course, you begin interacting about your new idea. What does this do…? Brings people – makes them feel part of something. Know what…? They are. Nothing contrived about this – leadership at its finest.
So, to recap, the three steps are:
- Go in and express your idea with their level of energy
- Continually “calibrate” to how they feel
- Ask them what they think; naturally starting an interaction about this thing you introduced.
Try it, see what happens.
- Observe your own reaction to new ideas expressed by others.
- Should you be negative toward the new, try a new program of being positive.
- Monitor reactions to your new positive attitude.
- See if additional opportunities presented as you become more positive.
- Test expressing a new idea to a peer to see how it is received.
- Brace yourself for negative feedback regarding your new ideas.
- Use the negative comments as motivating factors to move forward.
- Document results from ignoring the negative.
- Incorporate valid feedback into your new programs.
- Celebrate Success!
The New Brand Differentiators Are Operations and Logistics
Operations and logistics are frequently viewed as secondary functions that can be handled by someone else. But here’s the thing: With data so richly available, using it to help reinvent operations and logistics can help you stand out just as much as the next electric car or purple cow.
Just take a look at some of the world leaders in business.
Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, and other sharing sites are turning their industries around with structural and operational changes that challenge old paradigms. It’s not the products or services that stand out but the operations, logistics, and method of delivery.
For example, Amazon does not just succeed on lower prices or by offering different products than their competitors. They have revolutionized, simplified, and automated ordering, customer service, distribution, and warehousing.
The results have been staggering. It’s estimated that in 2016, they represent about 30-40% of internet retail sales and 8-10% of total retail sales.
Operations Innovation Isn’t Just For The Big Businesses
You might be thinking, “But that’s for the big businesses. How can that help my small business?”
Changing operational paradigms is for small businesses, too! Take a look at GrubHub. They are a publicly traded company, but think of whom they help: restaurants, big and small. They’ve helped thousands of restaurants expand their sales by providing seamless delivery.
Outsourcing key activities like web design, social media, cloud services, CRM, and even distribution have become both less complicated and more affordable.
No matter the size of your business, you can streamline or maximize your operations to take your sales and profits to a whole new level. The key is maximizing forecasting, inventory control, and distribution to maximize service, investment return, sales, and profitability.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Many operations experts say that 80% of sales are with 20% of your products. It’s often true, yet suppliers continue to proliferate styles, colors, sizes, models, and features to presumably serve more customers and provide more features. By keeping it simple, you help yourself and your customers.
- Pursue profit and not volume. Businesses frequently fail by adding too many stores, products, and marketing. In contrast, focusing on competitiveness, bestsellers, reducing costs, and reducing structure can have huge payoffs.
- Conduct a simple “SWOT” analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) to get a perspective on your business. The surprising aspect of this exercise is that we frequently take our strengths and opportunities for granted rather than maximizing them. For example, approaching key and repeat customers usually presents the greatest opportunity, lowest cost, and most profitable source of additional sales.
- Encourage testing new ideas and scrapping ones that don’t work. You will make mistakes. Focus on solving them rather than blaming someone. Consider using the process of develop, test, measure, and adapt. The measure step is, by the way, the most frequently forgotten.
It’s easy to get seduced by design, marketing, or the next flashy idea. Plenty of businesses innovate in these areas. Don’t forget, though, that just as frequently, success comes from innovation in operation and logistics.
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