The Guy Who Stands Still Gets Killed First
I have a nephew who just turned 12. He’s a smart young guy, and he taught me a valuable lesson a few months back. Like many 12 year-old boys, he’s a video game hound. He owns the very best that Sony has to offer. I used to be a video game hound too, going back to my first Atari in 1980. When it comes to video games, much has changed in the past 27 years, with super fast-paced action, vibrant graphics, thundering sound, and a much more complex controller to make it all happen.
My nephew and I were playing an action game with a simple objective – shoot the bad guys. Seconds into the game and I was immediately fumbling with the controller, which had about 12 buttons of various shapes and sizes. I couldn’t help but think back to my old Atari controller, which consisted of a stick and a red button. Nice and simple, as were the games – Space Invaders, Outlaw, Break Out. No need for lengthy instructions, demos or how-to guides. Just point, shoot, reset, and do it again.
My hands wrestled with the controller as I tried desperately to figure out how to make my character move, shoot, do something, ANYTHING. Suddenly, I was blasted into a million bloody pieces by the bad guys. This all happened in about 30 seconds. Then, my nephew looked up at me, shook his head sadly, and said, “Uncle Ed, you have to move. If you don’t, you’ll get killed.”
Video games have changed substantially since my first Atari. But one thing hasn’t, as my nephew pointed out: If you don’t move, you get killed.
That point carries as much relevance in business as it does in video games. If you stand still for too long, you will certainly get killed, either by a changing market, newer technology, emerging trends, fierce competition, or other forces that impact your company.
If you’ve been “rolling along” for the past few years, and haven’t really experienced growth as an organization, it may not be that you’re doing something wrong. It likely has to do with the fact that you need to do something different. Something has to change. That something may very well be the way your brand is positioned, and who it is positioned to.
One of the most often used quotes from Albert Einstein is his Definition of Insanity: “Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”
We’re now in Turn 4 of 2007. What kind of year do you want to have in 2008? Are you going to stand still, or will you make a move and place some trust in the power of change?
Trust in Change – Focus on Customers
The process begins where all roads begin in business today: your customers. Not just any customers, but your best customers; the ones that truly move your business forward. In today’s video game of business, your customers are working the controls.
Too often, when we look at a company’s brand communications – web, direct marketing, advertising, pr, and presentation literature – we see the spotlight cast upon the company, with very little attention paid to the customer. Take a look at your current branding mix. If there’s far too much content that touts your greatness as a company, it most definitely has to change.
My advice today is: Stop thinking like a business owner, and start thinking like a customer. Great companies don’t become great by chance. They become great because they have learned to keep and attract great and loyal customers.
If you like this style of thinking, then give us a call. But whatever you do, make a move. Just don’t stand still. Leave that to your competitors. Let 2008 represent a year of change and positive growth for your organization.
I would like to credit Jim Alampi from The CEO Advantage for the inspiration of this title.