Before I get started on the blog post today, I wanted to tell you about a project I am involved with. Have you ever come back from a business trip or vacation, later to find out that one of your friends was in the same place at the same time? Then the conversation goes something like…”I WISH I HAD KNOWN!!!!!” One of my best buddies decided that he was going to solve that problem so he asked me to help him create an app that we call Beelo. The app allows you to turn it on when you land in your destination city and then it alerts you if someone you have selected to be in one of your colonies, (get it…bees…colonies) is in the same city. At first I was not a fan because I don’t want people knowing where I am. Good news is that people only know you’re in town if you turn it on. Second, it only tells people you are in the same city, NOT where you are exactly. Create a colony for family, or one for work and manage it appropriately. You never know…land in Boston, turn on your app, and bam…you are having cocktails with a friend from college later that day or closing a deal with a business contact. Do me a favor and check it out by clicking on the picture of BeeLo and DOWNLOAD THE APP FOR FREE! What cool meetup experience awaits you?
Retailers…so you’re trying to put a promotion together and you reach out to one of your vendor partners and put in a request that seems simple enough but it takes weeks OR MORE to get back an answer. Meanwhile, the deadline comes and goes and you miss a window. For you guys on the manufacturing side this can work the same way, right? You present something really great to a retailer that everybody seems to be fired up for but it takes forever to get a response back. These long delays are not only frustrating, but they can be very costly so why do they keep happening? I have been hearing a lot about this lately so I thought I would write about it again. See my top four reasons why companies get bogged down.
- If you have a micromanager running your business or a committee making the decisions you could have a problem. When everything has to pass by one person or a small group, you get a bottleneck that will cost you time, and that time will cost you money. If you don’t have leaders that can solve problems, work your strategy, and make good decisions then put different people in those spots. You have to trust your team to get it right and when they don’t, (which will certainly happen), don’t crucify them for it unless they are repeating stupid mistakes.
- Speaking of strategy, do you have one? If you create your game plan and set some parameters on how you want everyone to get there, then the path forward should be pretty clear. Sure other opportunities will happen along the way, but if you stay true to the objective and rules of engagement and those other things don’t fit your strategy, you simply pass. Stay focused. Clear communication on strategy will allow your people to move fast because they know what’s expected.
- I love the term “analysis paralysis” because it says it all. You need to look at the problem from every possible angle to identify upside and figure out how to mitigate the downside, but you don’t have to beat it to death. Fail fast. Fail cheaply. Fail small. Fail often. It’s like the guy that stands over his putt too long, it rarely ends well.
- The fear of failing is a big one for most people because there can be a big downside to getting it wrong. During my career, I have really screwed some stuff up. It’s embarrassing, my self-esteem suffers from it, I may lose a little political capital or credibility as a result, and some self-doubt usually creeps in afterward. But it doesn’t last long. Overcoming failure takes work and a strong mental game. People will judge you, maybe even laugh at you for getting it wrong, but I promise, those are typically the people that are sitting on their ass, afraid to make their own moves. Failure is a badge that I wear proudly these days because of what it has taught me and who it has helped me become. Make the call and own the result because that’s what leaders do.
Speed kills, there is no doubt. If you are the company that isn’t moving fast then you had better look in the rear view mirror because someone that is driving in a different gear is right behind you ready to pass your slow butt. Especially these days! Do yourself a favor if you’re reading this and are aware of the fact that your company is slow in making decisions, this just might be a good blog to share. Do your customers complain about your speed to make a decision? Are you missing opportunities because you are slow to market? If so then get your slow butt in gear, or hit that blinker, and move on over to the right lane so the rest of us can get by. Beep, beep. 🙂
I enjoy reading your blogs. Just say’n. Thought I’d let you know. As a retailer now, I have to constantly remake my business model. We do as much on line as we do in brick & mortar. We’ve actually cut back locations and focused more on line. I see many old customers from my Sealy & Serta days closing because they haven’t kept up with the changing consumer attitudes. Keep it up and thanks Mark.
Thanks for the comment Wes, I really appreciate you taking the time to send a note and for reading. It is hard to watch some of what is going on as it relates to retailers shutting down, but I guess it’s the normal progression of things. But that’s why I write the blog and have a podcast, which is to hopefully pass along information that will help their business grow! Glad to hear things are going well for your company.