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The Rise And Fall Of Business Models

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Frequently, I’ll ask participants in the seminars I conduct about their expectations.  Someone usually raises his or her hand and offers the following classic statement: “If I could learn one or two good ideas that I can use from time-to-time, I will be happy.”  One or two ideas!?  Between you and me, that kind of response is a bit insulting to the work a professional speaker performs.

However, this is not an example of bad manners; it is a symptom of bad Business Models from the past.

The whole idea behind learning a Business Model is to give a structured series of techniques that are repeatable and predictable. The models are not intended to act as a straight jacket, but rather a track to run on.  The most powerful benefit of a Business Model is that when you are performing repeatable predictable techniques in a sequence, you are able to measure your performance.  When you can measure your performance, you can fix it.  Is there a more important benefit than that?

Business Models often get a bad name because companies invest massive amounts of money for consultants and trainers, and they are often left following this unfortunate process:

Step One: Invest heavily in the newest Business Model on the market.  It has to be flashy, new, and have a really creative name.  For some reason we like them better when there is a clever acronym that spells something interesting!

Step Two: Fire up the team, and let the training begin! For the benefit of this article, (and because a professional speaker is writing it), let’s give the training the benefit of the doubt and assume it iseffective.

Step Three: Within three months, what was once a Business Model has evaporated into “a few good ideas that we use from time- to-time.”  Eventually, we go looking for a new, flashy Business Model… with a clever acronym that spells something interesting.

And there, in a nutshell, is the rise and fall of your typical Business Model. In its wake, there is this critical reminder:

It’s not our Business Models that typically fail us. It’s the implementation of them.

Related: Define Success by Your Goals, Not the Goals of Others

So let’s fix it here and now, and let’s fix it with a Business Model that I’ll create solely to support this BLArticle®. We’ll refer to this as the “STOP Model” to satisfy those of you who won’t take my model seriously unless it spells something interesting.

Step OneStop selecting Business Models based on acronyms that spell something interesting.  That also goes for models that promise quick fixes and earth shattering changes in business culture.

Step Two: Try remembering that the most important part of the Business Model begins at the end of the training session, not the beginning.  Remember, you are not attending an actual training event to learn a Business Model.  You are attending a training event to make cultural changes to your organization using a Business Model as a guide.

Step ThreeOrganize your implementation strategy.  That should include a number of things:  It means training from the top down to make the proper statement to all those affected by your Business Model.  It means the development and use of job aids to assist people while this model is still new, and it means benchmarking other organizations who are trying to implement similar Business Models.

Step Four: Protect your investment.  The right Business Model, the right attitude, and the right implementation strategy are critical, but so is the formalized follow-up training.  Assuming implementation is strong, and the organization does make a cultural shift to adopt this model, this will allow the organization to go deeper and make subject matter experts out of all who adhere to it.

What’s wrong with Business Models?  As long as they don’t spell out something silly, frequently nothing.  It’s the application that typically fails us, and now you have your very own Business Model to try and correct that.

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