Are You Ready to Fail?

Are you ready to fail? No? Well, even if you have everything the business manuals say you should have to be a success case – an amazing product/service, a flawless business plan, competitive advantages, and qualified resources -, please, be prepared to fail! When I say this I am not being pessimist, I am rather trying to be ready and keep my alertness levels high. I am convinced that by acknowledging that I might fail, I am being proactive toward trends and challenges, and better prepared to anticipate them with innovative and creative solutions, therefore, keeping, or even improving, my competitive advantages. And I believe that this will help companies staying in business longer and in better shape.

Failure is part of life! Today’s “best” companies can be tomorrow’s failures. It is not because a company it is a “strong” one today that it will stay that way in the future, failure can happen in between. A more proactive behavior regarding failure can bring a higher level of readiness and help facing the challenges ahead. Failure should be more present in the business lexicon, and faced as something that happens!

Be ready to fail, it will help you anticipating changes rather than copping with them. Innovating and creating are key to competitiveness in the 21st century market, and failure is part of both.

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Change, the scary word or the ultimate challenge?

My answer is, ‘change is an ultimate challenge’! When coming to keep a company competitive in a fast paced, and highly challenging world, change must be present. I know that It’s not easy to start something related to “change”, though you should do it!

Regardless company and project size, if you have a real leader heading the project (a crucial aspect), a simple 5-step plan would be a good start.

First, I would have a initiation document along with the whole business case explaining whys, whats, hows, whens, resources needed (people and cash), and results to be achieved or delivered.

Second, I would “sell” the project to the Board of directors in order to have the C-level (including CEO, CFO and COO) support and commitment to the success of the change.

Third, I believe that communicating with people is key to the success of any change or even project. And, it’s not the quantity, but rather the quality of what you say that matters. So, I would start by building a strong communication plan where everybody could participate, but also that DOES NOT block or create inertia into the whole process.

Fourth, and almost same time I would design and launch a project with a cross section task force, able to be light, hands-on and with a strong leadership. On top of that, I would need a well delineated scope, deliverables, resources, quality expectations, and deadlines for all the project phases. I would also try to start with quick win-win situations in order to have both the team and sponsors working side-by-side and committed to the success of the project/change.

Fifth, and to finish with, I would also use this opportunity to start a baby-step Culture change. Meaning, I would start a “readiness” task force able to implement key aspects allowing a higher level of readiness, and mental availability to change and face challenges.

Summing Up,

Assumption: you are, or have a real leader heading the project!

1) Strong business case and initiation document explaining everything at a high level; 2) C-level Support & Commitment (CEO, CFO, COO…) 3) Strong Communication Plan (quality and not quantity) 4) Project plan to implement the changes – Road Map with milestones, resources, quality, objectives/deliverables, and deadlines; 5) Start a “readiness” task force in order to improve the way the company deal with change and challenges.

If the change project is headed by a true leader, based on a strong business case and plan, and supported by a strong communication plan, people will understand it and be on board and rowing into the common goal. Ah, never forget the C-level support and commitment.

Good Luck to your future projects!

Other Related Posts: What Complexity Has To Do With Being Competitive? Nothing, I Must Confess!, The Art Of Brainstorming in The 21st Century!Backwards or Forwards?, Decisions: a Headache or an Opportunity?, Vision, Strategy, and Implementation! How about people?, Stop the Routine Before the Routine Stops you!

The Art Of Brainstorming In The 21st century!

What I like more in the social media and all these internet and web stuff is the easiness of sharing, connecting and commenting on each others’ ideas. Social Media is doing its job and helping people getting more into sharing, communicating, and building up on others’ ideas. People is becoming more open to exercise their own creativity and innovatory abilities. People like to share and comment on other’s work, obviously that this is much easier today than it was a couple of years ago, nevertheless, this social change brought by the advancement in technology is boosting the whole phenomenon. Commenting, sharing and building up on other’s ideas is for me the basis of Brainstorming! Online or Offline, Brainstorming is a powerful tool and in my point of view, a competitive advantage for those doing it. Brainstorming has become a tool to generate a higher level of innovation and boost creativity. Honestly speaking I am a huge fun of brainstorms! I know that sometimes one ends up with a bunch of people trying to brainstorm and nothing happens. Though, the right question here is the Why! Why is it not working?

For several different reasons like, wrong people or place, or more important, wrong leader. So, another key question is, How can you take fully advantage of its amazing potential? For starters, Brainstorming only works if people is doing it in fully awareness of what it is at stake and able to speak freely. Meaning, only if you have a strong team spirit, a motivated team and you rewards their participation and willingness to share you will be able to profit from it. However, not having the “right” leader in charge of stirring, coordinating and conducting the whole meeting it is also a common and the most important mistakes! Even for brainstorms you need some order and rules, and nothing better to do that than having someone capable of leading the whole discussion. If you want to have a good, efficient, and fruitful brainstorming you must appoint a Leader to be in charge.

Another key question again, What kind of traits must be present in a Brainstorm Leader? In my point of view, first of all you will need someone with a good sense of what a Shaper and an Evaluator are. A Shaper will challenge people, be dynamic, provide the drive and courage to overcome obstacles and take some action. On the other side as an Evaluator, she will be sober, strategic, logical and more important she will see all the options and keep track on the good ones. And on top of everything, you will need someone who has a good sense of humor, a sharp common sense, an ability to stir ideas in order to think outside the box, a good moderator and communicator. Someone who knows how to ignite innovation and creativity, motivates people to build up on others ideas and suggestions, and more important someone who does not judge or inhibit people to take risks or share their opinions!

If Brainstorming can be seen as a competitive advantage, and I believe it can, companies must pay more attention to it and have better leaders to manage it. I have seen amazing brainstorm sessions where solutions are found, new ideas brought in to the table and a boost in creativity and innovation accomplished! If companies must innovate and be creative nothing better than start using social media to do it but also never forget to do it offline, in-house with your company’s employees. You will be surprised with what you end up with, an amazing set of creative and innovatory ideas.

Tip: Include brainstorming in your weekly tasks, do it at least once a week and you will see the changes after a couple of months! Your company will be much more open to new ideas, creating and innovating more, and your team will be more motivated and productive than ever.

Do not hesitate in contacting us if you want some more tips on Brainstorming or Share tips with us!

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