Article published in Auckland Today, March 2015
By: Leigh Paulden, 30 March 2015
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, they are blinded by their current reality.
I often observe mid-market companies who are being blindsided by trends – trends and technologies start-ups are fully versed with.
As you launch into 2015 and revisit and adapt your strategy for growth, do not ignore what is happening out there in the world. Savvy leaders will be watching global trends – significant changes in technology, distribution, product innovation, markets, consumer and social behaviours and government regulations. All of these can have a profound effect on your business and your industry.
It’s time to forget the competitor across town, look 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?
Verne Harnish, founder and CEO of Gazelles International, in his best selling business book Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0: Scaling Up, released in mid 2014, believes the traditional SWOT analysis is partly to blame.
Almost by definition, it 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.
I still recommend SWOT as a useful tool for mid managers, but for senior leaders it is a trap that can pull them too much into operational issues.
Company leaders and executives should adopt a SWT – Strengths, Weaknesses and Trends. This will help focus them on the inherent strengths and weaknesses 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.
Download a Strengths Weaknesses and Trends Worksheet.
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Leigh Paulden is an internationally certified business consultant working alongside New Zealand businesses serious about growth.LET'S TALK!