Some time ago, the CEO of an International manufacturing firm contacted me. We will say his name was Andrew. He told me he had heard about my company’s ability to get our clients back on track and refocused. Andrew asked if I thought we could assist them. Of course, the answer from most consultants would be a resounding Yes. Mine was “I don’t know. You’ll have to tell me more and I will have to investigate to verify what you’ve told me.” Andrew was agreeable to that so we began a Wants and Needs Analysis™ conversation. Andrew proceeded to tell me an all-to-familiar story. It went something like this.
His company made very good products and they had enjoyed being one of the leaders in their industry for years. However, over the last few years, his company had begun to lose its competitive edge and along with it, market share had begun to slip. It seems that some of his competitors were introducing new products and services to the market place faster and, in some cases, before Andrew’s company had even thought of these products or services. There was a compounded challenge. When Andrew’s company analysed their competitor’s offerings, they couldn’t figure out how they could possibly be making any money.
I don’t know if this story sounds familiar to you, but in our consulting and training business we run into this situation practically every day. It occurs in all industries and in every industrialised economy around the Globe. The question is “What do you do about it?” The answer is easy; however, the solution is difficult. Let me get back to the story.
We went to Andrew’s company and met with his management staff. After several days of investigation, we took on the challenge. We made an agreement that the management group would invest one week, each one on their own, to investigate and come up with suggestions and solutions, then we would all get together for discussion and brainstorming. Our initial research had determined that for Andrew’s company to stay the market leader costs must be reduced by a minimum of 18%. However, this wasn’t the only challenge, product and service development time would have to be cut in half just to meet current market trends.
When everyone reconvened each person gave his or her suggestions and solutions, many of which were very good. For many hours, the group discussed ideas, then analysed and computed the potential results. The final numbers the group agreed could be achieved was approximately a 12% cost reduction and just slightly better than a 30% improvement in development time. Everyone was charged up. Andrew stood up and said he couldn’t believe what work had been done in so short a time. He thanked my team and started to sing our praises. Andrew said Richard Tyler International was as good as he had heard.
Now as much as I love accolades, I had to stop him. I told him we were not done. Andrew and his management looked at me puzzled, as if to say; “What was left?”. I pointed out that the goal was an18% cost reduction, not 12% and a 50% cut in development, not 30%. For a moment, the room was very quiet. You could sense that everyone got annoyed with my observation. They proceeded to tell me that based on all they had done that the original numbers were impossible and these numbers were the very best that could be expected. I said that they may very well be correct and then I asked if they needed our assistance with the announcement. Everyone looked at me strangely and Andrew said inquisitively, “What announcement?” I said, “The one telling your customers and your employees your going to close the doors.” One manager said angrily, “We’re not closing. We made great progress here.”
Now that I had everyone’s attention, I then proceeded to point out that great progress was not enough. I explained that when a company determines certain hard and fast facts that are essential for competitiveness it couldn’t ignore those facts any more than we can ignore gravity. Gravity exists and it must be dealt with. We may be able to deflect or delay falling objects, but they will still fall.
I stated that their company was no different, unless they had the courage, resourcefulness and ingenuity to break free of gravity. In other words, go back to the drawing board and not accept the numbers they had settled on. They must take the numbers they need to break free (remain competitive and dominant) and set those up as absolute facts and then re-invent the entire company if need be until they achieved the goal. Anything less is company death: slow, grinding, agonising, but inevitable death. After a long period of silence, they began to speak up and then to agree. They re-approached the challenge with a totally different mind set, and it took another month of hard work to come up with a plan. They did come up with a plan and they are implementing it and it is working!
Andrew’s company is doing what I have coined as VELOCITIZING™. For any company to go to the top and stay there, this concept must become a life principle. This concept isn’t just for company success it is critical to gaining and maintaining personal success as well. To VELOCITIZE™ means to super charge your company and yourself. Create within yourself, your team and your company an attitude of Fast, Fast, Fast, positive forward movement.
Here are a few of the essentials to help you VELOCITIZE™:
1. Analyse your existing situation. Is it decreasing, staying the same, or slowly progressing. How fast are you bringing new products and services to the market? How often do you improve old products and services? When was the last time you beat the competition to market and by how much? What do your customers think of your insightfulness? There are many more questions. These are just a few, answer these first then continue your analysing.
2. Analyse the competition. Answer similar questions about your competitors. Then make a true comparison.
3. Get outside help. It may not be necessary to marry a consultant to give you help, but I strongly suggest you get engaged. Honest feedback and unbiased analysis is critical. You can’t afford tunnel vision, blindness, ego trips or personal agendas. A good consultant will steer you clear of these types of hazards.
4. Give daily doses. Every day ask, “What have you done to improve our products, services or competitive position today?” Ask this of everyone you come in contact with at least once per day. Remember to ask yourself. Expect an answer and soon you will be amazed at the results.
5. Streamline. Analyse and cut unnecessary, time wasting bureaucratic paperwork and red tape. Do this with a vengeance.
6. Team up. Create Project and Product Management teams in companies of ten or more employees. Educate everyone in Project and Product Management as well as Sales, Customer Service, Communication, Teamwork, Leadership, Supervisory Skills, Management Principles, Basic Finance and Product Life-Cycle Management. You must have knowledge to go fast and avoid setbacks. You can’t move forward fast when you are stuck in rework.
7. Build attitude. Recruit, hire, expect and reward the “We can do it. Let’s figure out how” attitude versus the “I doubt it can be done” or a “Why-bother” attitude.
8. Be a disciplinarian. Discipline does not mean crackdown, beat up, no freedom, punishment and fear as most people would interpret it. Instead let’s use two other definitions: 1. A branch of knowledge or teaching. 2. Training intended to produce a characteristic or pattern of behaviour.
You want to teach and provide knowledge that fosters a healthy dissatisfaction with the status quo or slow forward progress. Quickly remove anyone from your organisation or team that can’t or won’t be schooled.
9. Look in the mirror. Remember the concept of “VELOCITIZE™” applies to everyone, including you.
I suggest you go back and revisit these Tyler Tips® and get started VELOCITIZING™ yourself and your company today. Be sure to do the analysis and find some expert assistance before you throw your company or yourself into turmoil. But, don’t wait or your competition may VELOCITIZE™ you. Follow these steps and I guarantee you more success.
“Remember, your success tomorrow is in direct proportion to your “Commitment to Excellence®” today.” ™ - Richard Tyler
Richard Tyler is a Best-Selling Author and the World’s Top Sales and Management Expert. For more Personal and Professional development principles you may subscribe to Tyler Tips® at www.TylerTips.com
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