Are You Blinded By Your Current Reality?

When assessing your business growth strategy, ignore the global trends that could affect your organisation at your peril

It’s not unusual for market-leading companies to fall behind start-ups. Not only are they too comfortable in their positions, but they are also blinded by their current reality.

I often observe mid-market companies who are being blindsided by new trends – trends and technologies that start-up companies are already fully versed with. When you revisit and adapt your strategy for growth, do not ignore what is happening out there in the world.

Savvy mid-market business leaders will be watching global trends – looking for significant changes in technology, distribution, product innovation, markets, consumer and social behaviours and government regulations. All of these changes can have a profound effect on your business and your industry.

It’s time for organisations to forget about the competitor across town, and start looking further afield – is there a company on the other side of the globe that might put you out of business?

So why are so many companies not seeing the trends that could become their undoing?

One popular theory suggests that the traditional SWOT analysis is partly to blame. Almost by definition, the SWOT analysis drives leaders to look inward at the company and its challenges. While it helps the team see the forest and trees, it tends to forget there is a world beyond that forest.

Whilst I do still recommend the SWOT analysis as a useful tool for mid-level managers, for senior leaders it is a trap that can pull you too much into operational issues.

Company leaders and executives should instead adopt a SWT (Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends). This will help focus them on the inherent strengths and weaknesses of the company and the global trends threatening or having an impact on their industry.

Choose four to six trends that are likely to shake things up and then strategically think about how each can be managed to your advantage – or what changes need to be made to ensure you stay ahead of your competitors.

As the world shrinks, clever companies will sniff out any potential rivals while there is still time to do something about it.

Article originally published in Auckland Today.

Leigh Paulden

Leigh Paulden

"I bring my clients executive education that has been internationally tested and proven to drive business performance. I understand the factors that influence growth and business practice and create the clarity and certainty you need to make great decisions for success."

Leigh Paulden is an internationally certified business consultant working alongside New Zealand businesses serious about growth.