Welcome to the latest edition of Great Results, the e-zine from Stuart Cross of Morgan Cross Consulting. My aim is to give you provocative ideas and practical tools to help you make a real difference to the performance of your organisation.
Welcome also to the new-look to the e-newsletter, which is designed to make the article easier to read and, through the links on the right, to give you instant access to even more resources.
The new-look approach coincides with a re-launch of my website which now has more content to help you achieve great results and profitable growth, including articles, special tools and videos. Please visit the site at www.morgancross.co.uk - I look forward to your feedback.
Today's edition is called...
2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work, On The Origin Of The Species. His theory is now associated with business through the concept of ‘Darwinian Economics’, namely that it is organisations that are best able to adapt that are most likely to survive.
But what else can you, as a business leader, learn from Charles Darwin? Here are three more lessons.
If you are observing you cannot be analysing, and vice versa, and it was Darwin's observations that formed the basis of his idea that changed the world. His five years on the Beagle trip, for example, involved him taking thousands of samples of various species.
Observation requires getting out there, suspending your beliefs and simply taking note. It cannot be done from behind a desk through reports.
For example, a retail client of mine grew sales of a complex product range by developing prototypes of many packaging variations, putting them on the shelf in a single store and observing how customers interacted with the product. He believes that he saved months of time by eschewing normal customer research and simply observing, in real time, actual customer behaviour.
How much time do you spend on the front-line observing your team or your customers rather than analysing second or third-hand data?
Similarly you can see the process of recombining ideas in other major breakthroughs and innovations. For example, Lou Gerstener refocused IBM away from hardware to service and consultancy support by connecting his prior (negative) experience as an IBM customer with his McKinsey consultancy experience and with the existence of a highly-active sales support unit within the company.
This change in strategic direction transformed IBM from a company delivering record losses in the early 1990’s to multi-billion dollar profits by the end of the century.
What are you doing to make new connections that lead to new, breakthrough concepts? (Note: If you would like practial approaches to creating breakthrough ideas download the pdf document, Breakthrough!, on the right)
Likewise, taking action and prudent risks is the cornerstone of business growth and an offensive, rather than defensive strategy, is critical for ongoing survival and success. For example, Gillette has established market leadership by a stream of innovations that make their existing ranges obsolete. As a senior Gillette executive once said, "We have never launched a major new product without having its successor in development. You have to steer the market."
Observation, creativity and an action-focus are essential elements of any successful organisation's DNA. How can you use these lessons, from one of the greatest Britons that ever lived, to drive great results for your business in 2009?
Morgan Cross Consulting
Morgan Cross Limited, registered in England and Wales No. 5886141
Registered Office is 12 Bridgford Road, Nottingham, NG2 6AB
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