Toyota may move to the number 1 automaker in the world in 2009, replacing GM. They did this by continuing to see the big picture, work to sell globally, and produce cars that met or exceeded customer demands. They didn’t use any crazy schemes, remarkable innovations, or cut throat marketing.
Early in its history, Google became the most popular search engine, moving past Yahoo. They did this by creating a faster, more accurate search engine than we had seen before. And though this takes a lot of research and innovative technology, it is basically just offering a service that people needed; one that was easier to use.
My point here is that a company does not have to execute any major, outside the box, strategy to succeed. The most successful, long lasting companies in the world have done one thing consistently: Give customers what they need/want. Whether it’s Google, Toyota, Apple, FedEx, IBM, or your small business.
So what does this mean for you?
Well, right now it means simplifying your vision to get through the recession. It means concentrating on one or two things that you do well, and building on them. Define what your customers need from you and give it to them, no questions asked. If you do this, you’ll keep clients, it’s as simple as that.
In the future, it means establishing a set of core principles or values that you are going to stick to. If you believe in offering the latest technology enhancements to your products, don’t cut corners or your customers will call you out on it. If you believe in following up on your sales with superior service and maintenance, don’t hire weak support staff. Look at the big picture, see what you need to do to succeed, and do it. You’ll get in more trouble and take on greater risk by changing philosophies, changing industries, or changing strategies unnecessarily.
And this same idea that works in the business world can work for Barack Obama.
Dear President Obama,
Congratulations, you’ve made it. Time to get to work. You’re running the show and the people expect certain things from you. So make the government work for us, and start to execute the things you’ve promised. If you give us what you said you’d give us, we’ll love you for it. If you carry out as we expect, the world can move forward. Like a strong company, this country will only work with clear vision and leadership, core values and principles, and simple, straightforward execution.
Sometimes innovation comes from doing what’s right, and what is needed.
Zach Heller, “Be Innovation”