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Innovate in the Downturn – 7 Things You Must Do

Innovate in the Downturn – 7 Things You Must Do

Grasping the Sun

    Bill Gates recently said, “We are in an economic downturn but an innovation upturn.” Most people are focusing on the downturn and the dangers it poses rather than on the opportunity for innovation. Most businesses are restructuring and streamlining their operations. How can you maximize your chances in the change maelstrom? One way is to take a positive approach to change and to be seen as an innovative go-getter who will help make the re-organization a success. Here’s how:

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    1. Adopt a positive attitude.

    Like Bill Gates — see the opportunity. Don’t be cynical about change. Don’t assume the worst. Don’t believe and repeat rumors about management’s conspiracies to do down the workforce. Change is inevitable for every organization so it is time to start liking it. Change means new opportunities, new responsibilities, and new things to learn and do. People who are positive about new challenges are more likely to be given them. People who are resistant to change and reluctant to adapt are the first to be culled.

    2. Become a change agent.

    Make suggestions. Introduce ideas and recommendations. Look for ways in which your department could bring in new products, business processes or partnerships. Ask yourself — is there a better way to meet the needs of our customers? Anticipate trends and suggest ways of changing the department to exploit new opportunities and new technologies.

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    3. Listen to customers.

    Where can you find the ideas for change? One source is customers. In your dealings with clients you should make a point of asking how your product or service could be improved. What do they like and dislike about your offering? How are their business needs changing? What will they need in the future? Even better than asking them is to study how they use your product or service. What difficulties do they encounter? How could you alleviate the problems and make their life easier? Do they use your product or service in conjunction with others? Could you co-operate with another company or combine your product with others to bring an innovation to market?

    4. Watch the competition.

    Keep an eye on what they are doing and any innovations they introduce. Ask customers what other suppliers are doing that is smart and new. Study their initiatives and see what works. Suggest ways in which you cannot just match the competition but leapfrog them.

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    5. Be sensitive to office politics.

    For most ideas it is best to talk them through with colleagues in your department and in other areas to test their workability before you speak to your manager. That way you have checked out the concept, cleared some obvious objections and gained feedback before you propose it. It will sound better thought out. However, there are some ideas that are so sensitive that it would be silly to bat them around the office before proposing them. You have to choose your moments carefully. Often you can prepare the ground by describing the size of the problem and agreeing how pressing it is before you introduce your idea. Catch the boss when he or she is most receptive. Sometimes it is best to introduce your big idea outside the hurly burly of the office. If you can buttonhole the director in the pub or the car park you may have a better chance of a good hearing.

    6. Don’t insist on the glory.

    If you spark an idea and then other people adapt and improve it then that is fine. By letting go you have a better chance of it being adopted than if you insist on driving every aspect of the initiative because it “was your idea in the first place.” Sometimes the cleverest tactic is to let your boss take it over as his or her idea. People will still know that you were the one who planted the seed.

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    7. Be prepared for rejection.

    Most managers are analytical and critical. They are good at finding fault with other people’s ideas. The more radical your proposal the more likely it is that people will feel uncomfortable with it. Propose it carefully. Lay it out in a logical way and explain the benefits. But if your boss disagrees then don’t fall out over it and don’t bypass him. Let it lie fallow for a while. I once worked for a CEO who would tear new ideas to shreds and ridicule them. But the next day he would often say, “I was thinking about that idea of yours and I can see a way to make it work.” His initial reaction was to oppose an idea just to test it. But once the germ of the idea was in his head he could find ways to develop it. Above all don’t stop bringing forward ideas because the first few are rejected.

    Change means winners and losers. If you can be known as someone who is creative, innovative and a driver of change then the chances are that you will emerge a winner. Not only will you survive the change but you will be given the responsibility of making part of it a reality.

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

    How to Get Rich: 11 Bold Moves That Guarantee Wealth How to win Arguments – Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist Think Laterally Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

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    Last Updated on March 12, 2019

    20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated)

    20 Inspiring Vision Statement Examples (2019 Updated)

    There is normally a lengthy list of things you need to consider when starting a business, and if you don’t manage them properly, your excitement can quickly turn into overwhelm. What can support you to stay inspired and on the right track when starting out? You guessed it: this is your vision statement.

    What Is a Vision Statement?

    A vision statement is like a photograph of your future business, which gives your business shape and direction.

    A vision statement provides the direction and describes what the founder wants the organization to achieve in the future; it’s more about the “what” of a business. It is different from a mission statement, which describes the purpose of an organization and more about the “how” of a business.

    If you were to take a photo of your future business now, what would it look like? What do you want your business to be recognized for one day?

    You need to have a crystal clear vision when you start out, otherwise you can get easily lost in deciding the best way forward. When you are making strategic decisions for your business and even daily operation decisions, your vision statement will give you the inspiration and targeted direction you need.

    The Importance of a Vision Statement

    Without a vision statement, your business will lack motivation to keep going.

    If you don’t aim for anything, you might not hit anything. The more specific and clear you are, the better your chances are at seeing your vision turn into reality.

    The importance of a vision statement cannot be overlooked; not only does it provide long term direction and guidance, but it also gives you the inspiration and the necessary energy to keep going when you feel lost.

    Always keep your vision statement alive by revisiting it regularly and communicating your vision with other members of the team, to inspire and motivate them as well.

    How to Craft an Inspiring Vision Statement

    1. Dream big and use clear language

    An inspiring vision statement should inform a clear direction and priorities for the organization, while challenging all the team members to grow together. Based on our expert sources’ advice, we’ve got some great tips for you:

    • Imagine how you want the business to be like in five to ten years.
    • Infuse the business’ values in the statement.
    • Make sure that the statement is implying a clear focus for the business.
    • Write your vision statement in the present tense.
    • Use clear and concise language.
    • Ensure the statement is easily understood.

    There are many different types of vision statements and there is no wrong or right way to do it. The most important thing is to resonate with it. It will always inspire you and give you a clear targeted direction.

    2. Get inspirations from the successful companies.

    Having researched on a number of successful companies’ vision statements, I’ve shortlisted 20 good examples for the new startups:

    Short vision statements made up of a few words only:

    1. Disney

    To make people happy.

    2. Oxfam

    A just world without poverty.

    3. Ikea

    To create a better every day life for the many people.

    Quantitative statements are based on numbers, quantities:

    4. Microsoft

    Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

      5. Nike

      Bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world. (*If you have a body, you are an athlete.)

        Qualitative statements are based on qualities that you want to have:

        6. Ford

        People working together as a lean, global enterprise to make people’s lives better through automotive and mobility leadership.

        7. Avon

        To be the company that best understands and satisfies the product, service and self-fulfillment needs of women—globally.

        Competitor based statements – this type is becoming less common, but famous examples are:

        8. Honda – in 1970

        We will destroy Yamaha.

        9. Nike – in 1960s

        Crush Adidas.

          10. Philip Morris – in 1950s

          Knock off RJR as the number one tobacco  company in the world.

          Role Model Vision Statements – using another company as an example:

          11. Stanford University – in the past

          To become the Harvard of the West.

          12. Reach for Success – in the past

          To become the next Tony Robbins in self development.

          Internal Transformations vision statements:

          13. Apple

          To produce high-quality, low cost, easy to use products that incorporate high technology for the individual.

          14. Giro Sport Design

          To make sure that riding is the best part of a great life.

          15. Tesla

          To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.

          16. Sony

          To be a company that inspires and fulfills your curiosity.

          17. Facebook

          To give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.

            Longer and more detailed vision statement:

            18. Walmart

            To give customers a wide assortment of their favorite products, Every Day Low Prices, guaranteed satisfaction, friendly service, convenient hours (24 hours, 7 days a week) and a great online shopping experience.

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            19. Coca Cola

            To achieve sustainable growth, we have established a vision with clear goals:

            Profit: Maximizing return to share owners while being mindful of our overall responsibilities.

            People: Being a great place to work where people are inspired to be the best they can be.

            Portfolio: Bringing to the world a portfolio of beverage brands that anticipate and satisfy peoples; desires and needs.

            Partners: Nurturing a winning network of partners and building mutual loyalty.

            Planet: Being a responsible global citizen that makes a difference.

              20. Heinz

              Our VISION, quite simply, is to be: “The World’s Premier Food Company, Offering Nutritious, Superior Tasting Foods To People Everywhere.” Being the premier food company does not mean being the biggest but it does mean being the best in terms of consumer value, customer service, employee talent, and consistent and predictable growth.

              The Bottom Line

              Remember, always keep your vision statement up-to-date to direct your company’s actions.

              Remember, once you reach your vision, it needs to be changed. General Motors overtook Ford as #1 automotive company in the world because once Ford’s goal was reached, they never updated it.

              Keep your vision statement alive and visibly in front of you, revisit it and let it help direct your actions and activities. This is the fun part: this is where you get to dream really big and allow your imagination to fly as high as you want.

              Don’t hold back, let your creative juices flow and give yourself permission to explore what is possible for your business.

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              To your success!

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