Allen Adamson, Co-Founder at Metaforce.co and co-author of Shift Ahead: How the Best Companies Stay Relevant in a Fast-Changing World, by Allen Adamson and Joel Steckel, and Bridget Gleason, VP of Sales for Logz.io and my regular partner, join me on this episode of #Accelerate!
First guest: Allen Adamson
- Allen started researching his book after noticing how keeping ahead against the accelerating pace of change is getting harder. There’s nothing you can do if your product or service is not relevant.
- Allen talked to 100 companies about branding and relevance. The vast majority of companies fail to shift ahead, even when they focus on it. Don’t use cruise control — shift!
- Companies struggle to innovate because innovation pulls down their profit margin. Companies that look at the future as an “agenda item” are likely to fail. Bill Marriott said, “Success is never final.” Look forward, not backward.
- Corporate missions may need to expand. Allen uses Conservation International and Sony as examples of rethinking where their organizations need to go.
- Everything you do should be for the customer. Allen talks about future-casting. The CEO should always stay involved with customers in the marketplace.
- Work to maintain relevance combined with differentiation. Energized differentiation is the process of constant innovation. Andy says a brand is not a location but a direction.
- Most organizations are not able to move fast enough. There’s no time to make it perfect. Create the minimal viable product.
- Allen talks about red flags, such as flat sales and eroding margins. By the time sales start to fall it is almost too late to shift. You run into a cascade of problems. Allen talks about Campbell’s Soups.
- You need to be honest with yourself about your company.
- There is a crisis in B2B sales productivity. Closing rates are down and profits are down per hour worked.
- By the time the data shows a problem, it is too late. Another red flag is arrogance. Allen uses Blackberry as an example.
- Staying in your comfort zone, being risk-averse, and focusing internally are all fatal decisions. When was the last time the CEO went to visit a customer? The answer to a problem is never found in the office. It’s in the field.
Second Guest: Bridget Gleason
- Bridget’s peer Boaz says every day in the morning, “I’m alive; awake; alert; enthusiastic.” Andy notes that waking up every morning is a victory in itself. Boaz brings positivity to the office every day. That’s powerful.
- Bridget does affirmations, shows gratitude, and writes her intentions for the day every morning. She gives some examples. Andy shows gratitude in the evening. Andy’s friends think of retirement; Andy builds businesses.
- When you wake, are you enthusiastic about starting your day and accomplishing things? Even if you don’t feel it at first, can you bring enthusiasm to others? Every day is another opportunity to succeed.
- Comfort zones hold people back from committing to affirmations. Self-talk is powerful. Andy started self-talk for positivity in college. Bridget ties it into sales. Affirmations bring energy, that you can pass to clients.
- Andy stresses the importance of a morning routine. Something or things you will do every day to get ready. Affirmations, exercise, reading, family time. Bridget’s routine is very important to her. She starts at 4:00 a.m.
- Next, she reads the NYT, writes in her journal, runs, reads, gets ready, and walks to the office. It’s a great morning for her. Andy exercises every day in the morning. He learned to be a morning person once he started a family.
- Bridget had a jogger stroller. Andy fell over a stroller jogging in the park when the mother did a quick U-turn.
- One of Bridget’s favorite affirmations, “I’m going to live each day as if the universe is conspiring in my favor.” (Even if it’s hard to see at the time.) Be alive to opportunities.