Is your business haunted by the blinding ghosts that worked in another era?
The wealthiest man in Japan, Tadashi Yanai, has a business plan that looks 300 years into the future, but allows for annual updates as a matter of course. To date, he’s worth more than $6 billion.
This testament to making what is unseen visible begs the question: why aren’t others planning and building according to plan?
Does your business have a real plan that gets updated each year? Hearsay speculates that less than 10% of all businesses are managed according to a plan that is more comprehensive than an annual set of target numbers. This is a problem.
Yet, we are all rich beyond our wildest imaginings: each human is endowed with 18 million brain cells. Most people and most businesses do not perform the necessary processes to attune this innate gift to their personal or business advantage.
It is a visionary act to craft a plan and it takes supreme discipline to review it each year. Vision and discipline together provide the courage to endure and keep working toward success despite setbacks and obstacles.
Many of the companies suffer from a lack of vision and discipline. As a result they are not growing. Here are several red flags:
- “We don’t have a five year plan. We don’t have a five month plan.”
- “Our revenue line has been the same for the past five years.”
- “Our industry is all me-too, so we just copy what’s hot and get a little piece of that trend.”
It doesn’t matter if it is a manufacturing company, an importing concern, a logistics firm, or a software business. This lack of vision relegates these businesses to react to the market. Instead of defining a new paradigm for their industries, they choose to wither, lose market share, and move further away from a leading position.
Even worse, without a plan companies make decisions based on what worked a decade or two decades ago, even though the rest of the world has moved on. OBM is a ghost that not only haunts businesses that do not have the discipline to revise a strategic plan each year. OBM also depletes ingenuity and vigor of a firm, keeping its head blindly in the past. OBM means Old Business Model.
You can spot OBMs everywhere. It looks like the call center business whose customers have stated that they prefer email to phone calls, but metrics keep employees working the phones and alienating customers. Every business has to shed some aspects of its OBMs to stay present and add value to their client base.
Mister Yanai doesn’t need to worry about OBMs because he has both a plan and vision that keep him focused, humble, and growing. He has the certainty of a plan and the agility of adapting the plan each year. Yanai stays upbeat, takes ups and downs in stride. He claims, “I might look successful but I’ve made many mistakes. People take themselves too seriously. You have to be positive and believe you will find success next time.”
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Michael Graber is the co-founder and managing partner at Southern Growth Studio, a Memphis, Tennessee-based firm that specializes in growth strategy and innovation. A published poet and musician, Graber is the creative force that complements the analytical side of the house. He speaks and publishes frequently on best practices in design thinking, business strategy, and innovation and earned an MFA from the University of Memphis. Follow Michael @SouthernGrowth