How can a successful business fail? I mean after all they are successful. Companies like this inadvertently decide one day that we are going to exploit the past successes of the company. We are going to succeed by utilizing what has already worked and we are going to own that thing or that process…… Sounds rather good right?
Well before we talk about what has historically made our company successful in the past, lets talk about a danger of the past that operates as a barrier or roadblock to success in the future. Let us talk about how to avoid the most dangerous statement in the English language you know the one. “That’s the way we have always done it.” It starts with mindset….
We have all heard the platitudes about mindset and how they affect the growth of the company, and even though we talk about it we do not check it in ourselves or even in our own team. A few days ago, I found myself speaking with Matt Koop from The New Flat Rate (TNFR). We were casually discussing a client about their specific problems they were having, and how they mostly revolve around dispatching and controlling call flow. Matt says to me “Rob, if you ask any dispatcher, they will say their job is to make sure our company gets to all of our customers.”
I sort of giggled to myself and I said to him “Yeah their actual job is to make sure the technician is in the best position to make money for the company. Good thing I have an actual training system built into my company to teach my dispatchers how to dispatch customers.” Our conversation then went on for about 30 minutes more then we hung up. I sat around thinking and reflecting on our conversation for several hours and that one thing just kept nagging at me…. How do I know what their mindset is regarding dispatch?
The next day, I called a Manager meeting and asked them to write on the index card what they thought a dispatcher’s job was in our company. Shockingly everyone (except for the General Manager) wrote ‘Their job is to make sure every customer is getting seen.’ I looked at the General Manager and she had written ‘put the man on the money’. (Thanks Matt)
The take home message here is to ‘Check the Mindset of your Company and make sure that you bring your team into the vision of the company.’
Navigating the Traps
Utilizing what has made us succeed in the past seems to be a logical pathway to success in the future. In the words of General Ackbar “IT’S A TRAP!”. I have even heard it called the success trap. A success trap is when we decide to fall back on what has worked in the past and focus on that instead of continuously innovating and creating growth opportunities within in our company. The winds of change are always blowing and if we do not stop and check our trajectory, we may find ourselves crashing and burning. When you get a chance check out the book “What got you here won’t get you there” By Jeanette Walls. Here is just a few of those most successful companies that have fallen victim to the success trap.
Toys “R” Us- What a great store, what great memories. I think we can all remember running around the store as kids checking out the newest toys and the coolest videos games. Where did Toys “R” Us go wrong. Well when the world was starting to move towards ecommerce and online selling Toys “R” Us was fixated on its brick and mortar stores and chose not to develop online solutions until it was too late. Now there are very few Toys “R” Us stores left in the United States due to the inability to innovate new solutions.
Blockbuster- in 1985 Blockbuster came on the scene with huge stores, friendly environments, and wide selection of movies. Blockbuster wiped out the Mom and Pop video stores that were located on every corner. Eventually Redbox made it much easier and cheaper to rent DVD’s by launching movie vending machines (that were open 24 hours a day). The final nail in their coffin was the launching of the Netflix streaming service. Blockbuster never evolved, they never got on board with online streaming, and they attempted to enter the vending machine market years too late.
The take home message here is to continually evolve your products and services. Always remember to listen to your customer, they are telling you what they want…even if it is not what YOU want to hear…
So next time someone in your company says, “That’s the way we have always done it.” You should examine that process because you are most likely getting ready to get left behind.
As always “That’s how a Service Ninja does it.”
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