No business likes to think they are complacent. They’re all at the top of their game, riding on the success of that amazing new product they launched 5 years ago. But have you really looked at the market around you lately? Wasn’t there an app that now does exactly what your product does at a fraction of the price? You hadn’t noticed that surreptitious market steal. But you should have. For any successful business, complacency is the enemy.
There are many examples of leading brands that, at their prime were the movers and shakers of their industry but have failed to change with the times and are now as obsolete as the products they were pushing. Kodak, once an industry giant synonymous with the term photography failed to adapt to digital photography. And video and music businesses such as Blockbuster and HMV sealed their own fate when they insisted on maintaining an offline business model in the face of new online entrants like Amazon and Netflix.
In recent years, we’ve seen new digital and mobile based platforms challenging entire industries, with Uber completely changing the London taxi market and Airbnb stealing market share from hotels.
Avoid becoming another victim of complacency by instilling a culture that is always looking for the next challenge. Here are 7 top tips to ensure your business is always on the ball:
1. Embrace risk & uncertainty: One of the perks of being a large and thriving business is the stability this offers. Being able to breathe easy when it comes to knowing that you’ve got your expenditures covered for the foreseeable future is great, but don’t let stability become ingrained in all aspects of your business. Take a chance and try new ways of doing things; whether it’s an internal facing way of working or an experimental product or way of communicating your brand, this keeps both your customers and your employees continuously challenged and excited.
2. Celebrate small successes: When complacency strikes, start celebrating the small successes. Even the smallest achievements need to be acknowledged and celebrated. When your business culture starts getting into the habit of recognising small wins, your employees’ mindset will strive for even bigger success for themselves and for the company.
3. Help someone else achieve: It’s normal human behaviour to get bored when working on a routine task for too long. To help change up the pace, set aside some time out of your schedule to help a colleague or team mate with a difficult project or assignment. This not only helps with keeping complacency at bay but also encourages teamwork and positive work environment.
4. Engage employees across the organisation: and encourage them to give “non conformist” views and constructive ways to create improvements. Pixar does this well by seeking feedback from all staff – including janitors. By engaging your employees, everyone gets a chance to contribute to the growth of the company and are therefore more invested in ensuring the best for your future.
5. Listen for fresh ideas: When large companies become successful, senior management often forget that innovation does not come from doing the same things over and over again. Listen to your customers to get fresh ideas, but don’t forget to also listen to your employees who know the business well.
6. Keep an eye on the market: Just because your business is basking in the glow of being the most successful in your sector does not mean you shouldn’t be worried about losing the crown. This is when being cautious of what your competitors are doing or planning to do becomes vital in ensuring you’ll know exactly how to react when they try to take your place.
7. Enable employees with technology to do their job better: No one likes being stuck behind their desks all day, and with consumers now being more mobile, your employees need to be as well. Provide them with mobile devices, linked to the back-office data & systems and this will help reduce the burden of admin tasks and empower them to take action or make decisions, wherever they are. This is a win-win for everyone; resulting in greater efficiency for the business, better service to customers and people who are both more productive and happy.