In my book, Conquering Innovation Fatigue: Overcoming the Barriers to Personal and Corporate Success, we discuss some of the ways our corporate efforts have gone stale. One of those ways is embedded in our corporate cultures that tell our people, “Not Invented Here.” Those three little words ought not be! There is a whole lot of re-thinking many corporations need to do in order to reshape their cultures and bring those services and products to market in a way that is sustainable. That’s why I enjoyed this article, “Eight Ways to Rethink Your Business Model,” over at my friend Robert Tucker’s site, The Innovation Resource. Enjoy!
Many businesses today are stuck in a commodity mindset. You hear them say things like, “All customers want is the lowest price.” Or, “This is a mature market.” Or, “You have to move manufacturing to China to survive.”
Whether you’re a small operation, a startup, or a large multinational, it’s easy to adopt the prevailing assumptions. Often they’re industry assumptions. Sometimes they are company assumptions (“we don’t have the capability to pull that off”). And sometimes, they are personal assumptions (“I’m not creative” or “An individual like myself can’t impact an organization as big as ours”).
Regardless of type, my company’s research with industry groups shows consistently that winning firms are those that don’t buy in to conventional wisdom. Their leaders make it job one to challenge assumptions. They take time regularly to rethink. Use this list below to start a rethinking revolution in your firm:
1. Rethink what everybody in your industry knows to be true (but may not be)
A decade ago, if you were a furniture manufacturer in the United States, the assumption was: “You have to move manufacturing to China or face the inevitable.” The industry was hard hit, but not everyone caved. Bassett Furniture, based in Virginia, got busy rethinking its options. They cut costs, partnered with their workers, and invested in cutting edge equipment. Then they rethought what their dealer network needed most for it to survive. Today, Bassett ships custom orders in 24 hours, retailers carry less inventory, and favorable financial terms. Meanwhile, the China Price differential is disappearing as wages, raw materials and shipping costs continue to rise. “Many companies that offshored manufacturing didn’t really do the math,” says Harry Moser, founder of the Reshoring Movement. “As many as 60 percent of the decisions were based on miscalculations.”