In addition to leading an organization, I’m a consumer and stakeholder in other brands. Like many people, I recognize what companies appeal to the broader masses and which have a dismal reputation for poorly manufactured products or are laden with bad publicity due to a barrage of public outcry. So as a consumer, I will size up an organization not only for what they do with and for their consumers, but also how a company innovates today looking towards the future. A philosophy I have adopted within my own organization.
Innovation, along with customer service delivery, is dynamic and differentiates your business from another. Differentiation isn’t just knowing the competition in your space, it’s bigger than that. It’s knowing your business model and your customers’ business inside and out, and further how you outwardly value those who matter most. Many companies don’t understand their value proposition. This means they cannot deliver on their promises, whether that’s to their customers, employees, or even their business partners.
Companies like Starbucks, Amazon and Zappos are good examples of companies that understand differentiation and innovation. Information flows in and out of these organizations in a truth-well-told manner and they’ve become recognized for this. Ultimately it’s put them into a different class of company. One factor that is recurrent in these three organizations is that the CEOs have set a vision and outwardly live this vision every day. They’ve not passed the buck, they’ve retained control and took responsibility for steering the ship.
Good companies conduct sound business outside of silos with a few exceptions such as Pharmaceuticals which is government sanctioned and overly laden with patents. Doing good business doesn’t mean giving away the farm or disclosing all your secrets to the World, but it does show the World that information flows to and from your organization and gives the impression that you and your company are approachable to do business. Approachability shows transparency and vision, both can be used to set your business apart from the competition.
There are a ton of articles that discuss vision and innovation and the direct affect they have on the solvency and on-going existence of organizations. There is no one look or feel of innovation. It comes in many shapes and forms and works well when used wisely and liberally. Stagnation and lack of innovation will likely lead to the demise of organizations that refuse to heed the warnings.
So what are you doing to differentiate your organization in a market that’s over-saturated with an abundance of product offerings and services? This is a question that every smart CEO and business owner needs to be asking themselves. A good place to start is knowing your mission and vision. This goes beyond your brand, it is knowing your business plan and vision are on course and your short and long-term goals are attainable and being met. And, critically, understanding that plans must flex and evolve when needed. It, also, means your employees are provided a transparent view of the business mission and objectives and are supporting that vision because they’ve been provided the right tools to do their job and have the information they need.
Business is like a chain. One fractured link will impact the links around it and eventually the entire chain breaks. When you take care of all the links and recognize the intrinsic value each holds, it’s easier to see the bigger picture and that includes what the future can potentially look like for your company. Locking in the company vision today will help create the business you want in the future.