Above all else, business leaders are tasked with solving the fundamental challenge of growth.
Growth in the form of increased revenues and profits, of more and better assets, and of more organizational “innovation” capacity and results.
This is extremely challenging work.
The challenge starts at the top, with “revenue regression” – the statistical tendency for most companies to grow as the economy does – just a few percentage points per the average in most developed economies.
Then there is the unrelenting “bottom line” pressure brought on by technology and globalization – the “competitors are everywhere and available to buyers at a click of a button” phenomenon that presses down prices and margins.
And in between lies the leadership challenge of innovation.
How do we “keep up” and “ahead” in all aspects of our business?
With the creativity and efficacy of our marketing and branding, with new product and service development, with an invigorated and inspired company culture?
And oh yes, for smaller businesses how do we do all this in the face of limited capital, of the “hamster wheel” pressure to just live to fight another day?
But while the challenges of growth are everywhere, so are the answers to overcome these challenges everywhere too.
And most of them can be found in one of the buckets of inspiration, information, and collaboration.
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Inspiration. Every day in the financial and business news are awesome examples of business leaders “getting it done” – reporting record revenue and profit growth, rolling out new products and services, raising tens of millions of dollars, selling their companies for many multiples of that, and the list goes on.
Our first reaction to hearing of this success should simply be: If they can do it, we can too.
Here is an easy suggestion: Let’s consume a lot less of the gossipy soap opera called political news…
…and a lot more business news: tales of professional success as is featured on CNBC, in the Wall Street Journal, in Fortune, Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc. Magazines, and on countless websites, podcasts and social media postings.
And as we get inspired by it all, we naturally get better and more informed.
You see, while I am proud of my UCLA MBA, a 21st Century MBA gets re-earned each and every business day.
How great is this? Any and every needed growth idea for any business is there for the having if we just take the time to look for it in the places mentioned above.
So with just a bit more inspiration and innovation our results will improve.
But for the kind of growth that gets us featured on CNBC, or on the cover of Inc., for that we need to stir in the magical element of collaboration, so wonderfully defined as “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.”
Yes, great collaboration starts with “the action,” the recognition that business is not a spectator sport nor a game of perfect so let’s get our hands dirty and “fail forward” while…
…“Working with someone,” recognizing that no matter our technological progress we are all at our essence hunter-gatherer primates that thrive tribally, with those tribes being of our fellow employees, our customers, vendors, partners, service providers, our community…
And with them, we “produce or create something.”
We market. We sell. We innovate. We bring beautiful things into the world.
We make money where before there was none.
Inspiration. Information. Collaboration.
So many business leaders do these and more and grow and win every day.
We can too.