Innovative leaders double down to win big…

By considering their customers need first, in the wake of a pandemic.

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Black and white playing card
Black and white playing card

Our world changed this spring. We did not actively seek disruption. But, COVID-19 happened and changed so many parts of daily life. As business leaders, we need to seize the opportunity to adapt and reconsider everything about what we do and how we do it.

Change of this scale provides an opportunity to make a lasting impression.

When was the last time you were given a wake-up call and the ability to reconsider everything about your business? Take the leap to become customer-centric, agile, and establish your ability to continuously improve. If you act now, you can turn our current conditions into strategic gain.

How can you help your customers? What is challenging them? Pull your key team members together and solve their problems. Determine what you can do in the next days and weeks. Now is the time to be innovative and encourage ridiculous or bizarre ideas, which will open the door for genius. Leave the past reasons not to do something, where they belong and consider everything.

Compile a great big list of ideas. Do not judge them; simply gather them.

Once you have tapped into your innovative side, you will develop superior concepts and the momentum to spotlight on really makes a difference. Take the chance to reconsider your underlying assumptions and think from the outside into the business; be customer-centric. Consider your customer’s needs, do not get stuck on delivery.

When you have some workable concepts, explore them via rapid prototyping. Create simple mock-ups, giving shape to them. Keep it simple — this process does not require significant time or skills. A piece of paper and pen will get it done. A virtual whiteboard works, too. Pinpoint and select concept providing value to your customers. Put small teams together to experiment and vet the new concepts. Take deliberate risks. Some concepts will fall out, and others will rise to the top.

Be willing to fail fast and move on to the next idea.

Once you have tangible ideas to make a difference for your customers, actualize them. Take realistic steps forward and build over time. Iterating will allow you to deliver value incrementally. You are also setting the stage to continuously improve. When you embrace the experimentation approach, everything becomes a prototype or work in progress. People tend to fear failure in business, while also acknowledging that we learn more from failure than success. This is where the power of experimentation comes to play.

Think about the scientific method: It relies on failure to disprove hypotheses, which leads to the next theory. They test and disprove, test, and disprove. The series of small set-back establishes the foundation for larger future gains. The point is not attaining perfection, but to continuously produce value. You should always have a backlog of new ideas and opportunities to improve.

Disruption caught us off guard, but it provides an opportunity to respond and build our ability to adapt. Hoping for a return to normal is pointless, we are living with uncertainty and it is time to act. Right now, you have an opportunity to take different action and build a stronger business, by making a difference for your customers.

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