“The dinosaur’s eloquent lesson is that if some bigness is good, an overabundance of bigness is not necessarily better.” — Eric Johnston
Business Climate Change
Archaeologists tell us that part of the reason dinosaurs died out and became extinct is because they weren’t equipped to adapt to a changed environment and climate. As the climate became different, they couldn’t — or wouldn’t — become different.
But other species on this planet survived because they were able to adapt and thrive with the different climate. It is called survival of the fittest. The fittest species can survive, regardless of its size. Just ask the cockroaches.
Your business climate has definitely changed. But there are obvious habits, policies, attitudes, people and inventory that are holding you back. These aren’t making you “fiscally fit.” They cost you more than they deliver in profits. They don’t allow you to become what you could be without them. When you resist changing them by refusing to adapt to an evolving business climate, global marketplace or economy, you get held back from making the decision required to move forward.
Whatever excuse you choose for avoiding change, it will lead to your own extinction. Sadly, everyone but you can see it. It might be a leadership quirk you think makes you stand out, but instead is being ridiculed by onlookers. It has become the “elephant” in your room.
It might be your personal stubborn belief in a product or item in your inventory that you just know someone will want to buy if you hang on to it long enough. It might be meetings with your employees that are useless, time-wasting or simply self-serving. Whatever name it goes by, it is costing you more money (or time) to hold on to it than to just get over it and move on. Let it die.
Rest In Peace
Phil Mickelson said, “The only way to win tournaments is with the short game. Over half your shots out here are within 30 or 40 yards. Ballstriking is where I’m trying to improve, yes, but more to eliminate big numbers than make birdies.” He won the 2021 PGA Championship, becoming the oldest professional golfer in history to win a major tournament. He made two birdies early on with his short game to take the championship.
Like Phil, we must concentrate on what brings us results and eliminate the “big numbers.” That stuff has dwindled in importance or function and is no longer profitable. It has really become the “dinosaur” in our room.
Your inventory is in the room. Some products take up space that could be more useful for you. It costs you in storage and wasted advertising. No one is buying it or ever will. The false promise is that if you wait long enough, the style, the fashion, the trend will come around and someone will pay for it … at least enough to pay you back for what it cost you to purchase, produce and store it. It never will, though. You need to either hold an all-out sale or donate it to someone more worthy and get over storing it in a valuable place. Let it die (and hold a cheap funeral for it).
Your policies are in the room. They protect you and your structure but punish your customers. They make you look good and treat the customer with contempt. They keep you from lawsuits — and business. They are punitive and restrictive. They are quoted to your customers beginning with the phrase, “Unfortunately, we …” You wouldn’t want them quoted to you if you were a customer because you know the outcome wouldn’t favor you on the receiving end. You need to erase, relax or just abandon many of them. They are killing your image. Ask Bank of America and Verizon Wireless customers who rebelled against poor policies that cost them more than the perks the companies offered.
Your ego is in the room. You are convinced that your methods are tried and true in business, but your bottom line indicates otherwise. You insist that everyone follow your leadership regardless of your wisdom. You feel your eccentricities are unique and that everyone appreciates your uniqueness, even while your employees think otherwise. Your attitude is not very approachable. Your ego has become extinct. You need to get over it, hold a service and bury it. Let it die.
“The reality is you either step into the future or you become a dinosaur.” — M. Shadows
I realized the same thing this past year and it became the impetus to reinvent my business … again. The old way of doing “business-as-usual” wasn’t working for me. People weren’t holding traditional meetings in person. Everything switched to Zoom, Hopin and other online forums for meetings. Then I realized the truth: I was the “dinosaur” in my own room. I was becoming extinct if I didn’t adapt to the “NOW” normal. I wasn’t being different!
I did some soul-searching and asked a lot of questions. I asked my most loyal customers what they wanted. I asked what they weren’t getting from speakers that they wanted. I asked myself what I needed to release that was costing me more in money, time, and energy than what it was bringing back. I discovered that online meetings were going to dry up if I couldn’t apply interactive techniques and exercises to keep people involved online as they watched the screen.
The pandemic business shutdown made me reinvent my marketing, my brand, my preferences, my customer base, my selling and buying plan and even my personal life. A crisis always makes us rethink, rearrange and reinvent our plans. I needed to get “business as usual” out of my room, let it die and become extinct. And so do you.
“Business as usual” says that if we feed it by doing the same things we did prior to 2020, it will reward us with success like we used to have. It promises that the old ways are tried and true and coming back again like before. It affirms that we need to keep the customer at bay, our employees in the dark and everyone else guessing about our next move. It ignores the internet as a geeky phenomenon where no real business takes place (tell that to Amazon!).
It charms us with leftover inventory, then woos us with the temptation that one day, someone will buy all of this, and we will recuperate the loss to make a fortune. It says that although “Fred” doesn’t do much work, getting rid of him would cost more in expense and trouble. Normal “business as usual” is a dying beast. In the most successful and competitive businesses, it has already died and been buried.
In your business, you need to do more than let it die of natural causes. We need to proactively prevent it in our inventory, staff, schedule, to-do list, practices, attitudes, beliefs and expectations. “Normal” is the dinosaur in our room. Banish it to extinction. Let it die.
OK, so you get this. You’re saying, “Great points, Jim. You made me think about some things in my organization and structure.” You’re still headed for extinction. Or maybe you read this and say, “Okay, I get it. But my boss and customers don’t. So, what can I do?” You, too, are still headed for extinction. If you say, “I get it, but I don’t have the authority to do anything about all of this,” you are headed for extinction.
Alleviating the dinosaurs isn’t an option in your job. It isn’t part of your job; it is your job — your only job!