Published on: October 16, 2018by Michael Sansolo
My life as something of a gym rat has taught me the importance of stretching. Sadly with each passing year, I get a constant reminder that my muscles are nowhere near as supple as they once were and need more attention.
And I’m thinking when it comes to dealing with business change we all need a class in planks and all those other yoga moves - only for our minds. They clearly need stretching as well and now more than ever.
I got some powerful reminders of this last week while hanging with Kevin at the annually wonderful convention run by the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS). As Kevin and I discussed in our joint video last week, the show was a bundle of energy and new ideas especially necessary for an industry in the throes of great change.
After all, the very meaning of the word convenience is changing, so obviously stores dedicated to that concept need get ahead of that change.
Incredibly, the first two general session speakers used by NACS barely spoke about stores themselves and more about stretching our thinking. Bonin Bough and Scott Stratten were a unique pair of speakers in many ways besides featuring the most interesting beards I’ve seen on stage since ZZ Top went away. And both were worth the time.
The two speakers focused on the changing world and how we need to think of shoppers, needs, marketing and solutions very differently in this new world. These changes won’t be comfortable or simple, but that’s just the nature of business today. We need to be uncomfortably willing to challenge ourselves to move ahead with the times.
The two - they spoke separately, but their themes were similar - made clear that most organizations aren’t ready for this. Think about your own company and how you greet new ideas, especially from unexpected places like lower level employees, younger staff or people from different departments. Do you tell people to get back in their own lane or do you recognize that out of the box thinking, by nature, comes from outside the box or certainly outside the lane?
I recalled, as we often do here at MorningNewsBeat.com, a movie that’s perfect for this time and of course can be found in “The Big Picture: Essential Business Lessons from the Movies,” the book Kevin and I co-authored. The movie is Babe, the winning story of a pig that becomes a champion sheepdog essentially by never understanding that she is just a pig and by refusing to accept the role nature seemed to assign to him. We all need to be looking for our own Babes these days - and by that I mean, those who think way outside the box.
(By the way, you may have noticed that I called Babe a she. The movie actually is deliberately vague about the pig’s gender, but every pig used in the movie - there were more than 40, because pigs grow very fast and shooting a movie takes a long time - is a female.)
NACS featured one other speaker I’d reference and that’s our own Content Guy, Kevin Coupe. Kevin used a quote from ex-General Electric chief Jack Welch;
‘If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”
For too many companies and individuals that is exactly the case right now and largely the people in charge are those who mastered the past to get us where we are today. That’s why we need nurture and find those who think differently and then we have to have the guts to listen and act on what they say. All new ideas won’t be great, but they won’t be terrible as well.
Start stretching those minds. In the gym we know that a hamstring is a terrible thing to pull. In the office, we need to be just as limber.
Michael Sansolo can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org . His book, “THE BIG PICTURE: Essential Business Lessons From The Movies,” co-authored with Kevin Coupe, is available on Amazon by clicking here. And, his book "Business Rules!" is available from Amazon by clicking here.
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