Forbes Marketplace: Cut To The Chase: The Courage To Change

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“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

Cut to the chase.

You’ve probably heard that expression. But maybe you didn’t know it originated during the early days of movies, when producers got bored by all the dialogue and demanded that editors “cut to the chase.” In other words, they wanted to eliminate talky scenes and go right to the action sequences, because that’s what the audience was there for.

Well, “cut to the chase” kind of sums up my approach to business. I’ve found through many years of working with everything from start-ups to established Fortune 500 companies that too many organizations end up talking more than doing — especially once they’ve begun to enjoy some success. That’s when they often make the fatal mistake of staying in their comfort zones by continuing to do what’s worked for them in the past. When that happens…WHAM. Before they know what’s happening, a competitor is suddenly eating their lunch.

When the Courage to Change Is Lacking

In the last couple of decades, we’ve seen that scenario recur on an epic scale. Digital changed everything so fast, a lot of huge established brands suddenly found themselves battling for survival.

Netflix now streams Blockbuster, a sitcom set in the one remaining location of that video rental store chain. Charming, right? Well, what’s ironic is that at the same time there was a Blockbuster Video rental store in every other strip mall, Netflix began delivering DVDs directly to their customers’ mailboxes instead of forcing them to drive to a store as Blockbuster did. That should have motivated Blockbuster to meet the growing threat of new technology, but instead, Viacom (its parent company) used Blockbuster as a cash cow, leaving it without the resources it needed to evolve. And when Netflix upped the ante by streaming shows and movies through the internet, the rental business was turned upside down. Blockbuster imploded — and now it’s the source of laughter on Netflix!

The same thing happened to Kodak — that company all but owned the photography market 20 years ago. Well, they too were caught flatfooted when digital photos all too quickly supplanted conventional film. Kodak ended up declaring Chapter 11 in 2012, something that was unthinkable just ten years earlier. Here’s more irony for you. A Kodak engineer actually invented the digital camera all the way back in 1975. But his bosses never saw the upside of the technology[1] — the product was dropped for fear it would threaten Kodak’s main source of income at the time, its film business.

Of course, business dinosaurs are still going extinct on a regular basis. Could yours be one of them? Today’s marketplace is overflowing with would-be disruptors who want to take away your customers, whether you sell to consumers or are strictly B2B. They smell opportunity, because technology keeps advancing at a startling speed and societal issues like climate change and the recent pandemic are profoundly impacting how companies traditionally operate — so the notion of “business as usual” is under constant assault. And if you lack the courage to change, your bottom line just might be a casualty — because if you’re not looking ahead, you’re falling behind.

Create the Right Change — at a RAPID Pace

I’m one of those people that are referred to as serial entrepreneurs. I live for building my own businesses (five to date) and helping others fix theirs through my company, Realware. My focus is always the same — I want to make things happen and quickly. I do that through a process I created that’s practical and tactical.

From what I’ve revealed of myself so far, you won’t be surprised I call this process “RAPID.” It’s not just a business process, it’s a human process that helps people work better together toward positive objectives. RAPID is also completely data based. We’ve found that if you’re going to create productive change, that change has to be grounded in the facts, not opinions, prejudices or lazy assumptions. But what primarily makes RAPID work is this: Having the courage to change.

RAPID stands for the following:

Research

Analyze

Plan

Implement

Decide

Sounds simple? It is in a way, yet, within each of those points, there is a host of criteria that makes RAPID work at peak efficiency. My book, Rapid Transformation: An Outcomes-Based Approach to Drive Results, lays it all out in an easy-to-follow fashion.

So — how about your business? Are you lingering in the past or looking to the future? Is your business meeting your customers’ ever-evolving expectations? And are you making yourself fully accountable to those customers? Do you feel you have all your business problems under control for the most part? If you answered “no” to any one of those questions, you need to take action. The RAPID process will guide you to determining what that action should be.

Here’s to cutting to the chase and making things happen.



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