Leadership: Stagnation Kills Your Business, 3 Times

Petronas Twin Towers
Petronas Twin Towers held the title of the tallest building in the world for six years (Flickr)

Your business has been thriving, and the pipeline is well filled with work? Don’t get comfortable too soon. Stagnation kicks in fast nowadays, and kills your business’ innovation, its growth, and its people.

1. Innovation 

The speed of transformation that we are currently witnessing is challenging all of us to think differently. Every industry can be disrupted, there is no safe habour. So we need to deliver our products and services in a way that is relevant today, not yesterday.

Minor product iterations do not work forever. We need to prepare product revolutions, not just iterations on what we were selling since ten years. Establishing an innovation lab engages our employees to think in innovative ways and lift our business to new heights.

2. Growth

We need to adjust our business development plan to drive business growth. This should not be a static document. Customer and market definition are changing fast and we need to adopt this in our sales strategy and in our product development.

This does not work without data. Therefore we need to implement a data strategy. Our data strategy guides our entire business how to collect and analyze data, and how to generate the insights that we use for our decisions. If we do not take advantage of data, our competition will do.

3. People

Sushi Google DoodleIt is essential for leaders to recognize that you cannot possibly manage everything. We need to employ great people. But recruiting is not the end. We need to keep your talents, empower them, and motivate them to take initiative in their roles. Stagnation will rotate employees out of the company.

Offering free sushi and laundry service might impress our new hires from university. Experienced and independent employees will be more interested in career perspectives. We should establish personal development plans for everyone, not just for the designated managers.

Although it is important for leaders to set such a career framework, we should not forget to invest in your employees’ training. Both, hard skills (technical) and soft skills (non-technical), are mandatory because they each play very important roles in the development of our employees.

In Summary

Yesterday’s innovations are tomorrow’s commodities. We need to invest in innovations, otherwise we will face disruptive competition. Creating insights from data is important for the iterative adjustments on our business development plan. Offering personal development plans and proper training avoids stagnation for your employees, which is causing brain drain.

This post is also published on LinkedIn.