It Pays to Know Your Customers
Data analytics and artificial intelligence will boost customer experiences, and make consumers feel appreciated and understood.Read More
Author Robert Sunker
From a professional and personal standpoint, saying 2020 has been a year of disruption feels like an understatement. We all know the phrase, nothing in life is constant but change. It comes from a Greek philosopher who can be summarized in the phrase Panta Rhei (“life is flux”) – the underlying essence of life is change.
With a fixed mindset, change is bad. With a growth mindset, change is opportunity. And disruption is just the catalyst for change that if harnessed, can lead to some tremendous business opportunities.
Simply stated, disruption is a disturbance to a normal activity or process. In the extreme, disruption is a radical change to an existing industry, market or business model. Types of disruption include:
The COVID-19 pandemic has spared no one. From a business and economic standpoint, the discussion is more about how, how much and how long. Organizations have been impacted in three primary ways:
Again, change happens. But an organization’s readiness for change has been tested to the extreme this year. For example, a regional bank received $2B in PPP funding requests in the first 72 hours compared to approximately only $600M in SBA loans in the prior 30 years! The lumber industry saw a nearly complete halt at the onset of the pandemic followed by an explosion of demand, most notably an increase in more profitable retail outlet sales due to a surge of home improvement projects. All service-oriented/desk job organizations with an “in the office” culture were thrust into enabling remote workers –some have embraced work/live from anywhere, some can’t wait to get back to the office and many are looking at a strategic hybrid.
Responding to the crisis requires good leadership and crisis management. Navigating disruption and capitalizing on the opportunity it provides requires resiliency. At risk of oversimplifying the gears of a current day organization, keeping People, Process and Technology optimized and aligned is a foundational operating principle. To create a resilient organization that can manage a crisis AND navigate long-term disruption, we have found the following critical success factors:
Why the refrain of “be fiercely customer- and employee-centric”? Because it is that important! As we leave the industrial age and crash into the age of the customer and digital businesses, organizations have to shift to an outside-in perspective. It sounds so simple and is the foundation of commerce: understand what the customer wants and give it to them. Unfortunately, too many organizations invest time, talent and resources in optimizing from inside out. That is, optimizing processes to make them more efficient with little to no benefit to the customer; implementing technology that you hope your current customers want and not even considering the customers you don’t yet have; and hiring talent to do the same job the same way you always have rather than aligning with and training for customer-valued activities.
If you embrace change, it is irrelevant if 2021 looks more like 2019 or a continuation of the path we are on. Even “going back” to the way it was would be another change at this point. So whether 2020 was a wake up call or validation that your existing strategy was on point, your call to action is the same:
Robert Sunker leads RevGen’s Offerings, Solutions, and Innovation. He is passionate about helping organizations navigate disruption to thrive. His experience consulting and advising clients on growth and business improvement crosses many industries from mid-market to Fortune 100.