The decision to understand markets, customers, competitors, and our own organizations in different ways, followed by the will to change them for the benefit of all, is the entryway to a new level of engagement, excitement, and—yes—fun at work! It’s the battle, the competition, that is so exhilarating and so attractive. It’s the strategic outthinking of others. It’s the trying, overcoming, and trying again. It’s the experiments, the failures, the learning, the small successes, and the victories—the spice of life at work! It comes from firsthand connections with those who are tackling what seems impossible. It comes from noticing differently.
When we don’t notice more, don’t understand deeper, and don’t seek to discover what’s going on, are we innocently out of touch? Are we walking around, unaware of our surroundings, as if there is a bucket over our heads? Are we so busy or preoccupied that we think being in touch with the extensive reality around us is unimportant?
The importance of being in touch (and understanding the severity of being out of touch) is fundamental to success! Are we just being naturally insular, or is this a purposeful condition stemming from the fear of finding out things contrary to our perceptions and strongly held beliefs? Reality has implications, and the solutions reveal wonderful opportunities and critical problems!
The world is full of solutions and opportunities available to those wanting to see them. Determine to notice something new or in a new way every day. Uncover hidden opportunities and barriers faster and more pointedly. Observe how you filter what’s going on. Open yourself to being surprised by new perspectives, new information, and new opportunities. Get things done faster and more creatively in your organization—have fun and fly a little…
Another key to work excitement and fun is Edgy-ness. Edgy as in teetering, pushing to the limits, or on the brink of something—as in there’s energy buzzing, excitement brewing, and something cookin’ in the organization. Discovering creative ways to serve the customer, being adventurous in business strategy and driven to experiment in the unknown. Disrupting, leading, edgy—all these words have been used to describe one of the fundamental principles of success: a passionate curiosity to discover new opportunities and capitalize on them.
The edgy I’m talking about is planning for the new, the unknown, and the risky. It’s surprising, unique applications, flashes of the obvious. The edgy-ness that makes your employees’ hearts beat faster, gets them to arrive at the office early and stay late without even realizing time is passing. It’s something that startles your customers with delight and makes them look forward to whatever is coming next. When you are edgy, your suppliers and vendor partners work together with curiosity and wonder. Edgy means thinking and doing differently—internally and externally—to make a difference in the way we and our customers do business.
Edgy means that we are anticipating what happens next, not fearful of it. It means we have an experimental learn-change-adjust-recover-and-do attitude and, most importantly, a plan for when it goes even better than our wildest dreams. Some edgy client examples are: successfully piloting a new distribution channel fourteen times faster than ever before; reducing unnecessary insurance casualty claim steps by 80 percent in ninety days; and achieving strategic gold rings in six months after years of unsuccessful attempts.
If you’ve already started a list of why edgy-ness won’t work, it may include things like “been there, done that,” “we’d never get permission,” or “our competitors have already tried and failed.”
The list might be very long. But if you really look at it, you can see the items are a mere reflection of your fears—fear of failure, fear of accountability, fear of change… It goes on and on. But here’s the real kicker: is it possible that you are actually afraid to really succeed? With success comes new expectations, new demands, and new activities. How do I know? Because I’ve experienced and seen these fears at work! And I have seen the joy of overcoming these fears to make a difference.
More about Edgy-ness. Do you remember market demand? Are you ready for strategic combat? Has your team, collectively and individually, gained sufficient insight into your customers, customers’ customers, suppliers, and strategic partners to identify their problems, opportunities, and strategic decision dilemmas?
Do you remember creating a market? Are you equipped to outmaneuver the competition? Are you ready to engage in the multidimensional chessboard of the strategic contest? Is your team open to transforming some of your business? Do they feel “ownership” of the outcome?
Are they truly ready, or are you just hopeful? Have they ever really engaged in strategic combat— competing tooth and nail, hand to hand, in the trenches—to win with customers?
J. Allen, Founding Partner, Masters Alliance Consultancy, Author Award Winning Book: Bucket Heads
The rest of this editorial will be published at a later date.