Future Proofing your business: insider tips and tricks for aspiring entrepreneurs
Minter Dial, president of The Myndset Company and author, reveals what it takes to succeed in an age of disruption
It’s quite astonishing that we tend to make different decisions between how and what we buy when shopping as consumers versus how and why we invest in financial instruments. As much as I consider myself a savvy technologist, my new financial advisor was appalled when he took over my account and saw how little my stock portfolio reflected my tech-forward mindset.
At the heart of this contradiction – if not paradox – is one of the key issues for business and, I might argue, for society at large. If we don’t align the way we invest with the way we consume (and fret about daily life), we’ll stunt our ability to effect real change. Similarly, in business, we need to align our internal culture with our external brand. It’s about having a coherent, consistent and congruent brand. This is one of the four keys to futureproofing your business, as my new book explains. The rest is as follows.
1. Creating a strong brand with purpose
In order to pierce through the crowded marketplace, sustain a high level of energy, recruit great talent and create a lasting legacy, there is no doubt that it’s all about having a strong brand that’s attached to a significant purpose. Many companies make the mistake of leaving ‘branding’ down to the logo and a claim. The reality is that a strong brand is a mark of confidence. As such, the first and most important audience is the inner circle of employees. It’s about the little things we do, the way we behave on a daily basis that make that brand come alive. Having a strong sense of purpose will help take the brand to the next plane.
Key thought: Why would the world be a lesser place without your brand?
2. Adopting the leadership mindset
True leaders lead by example. They must observably walk the talk. There are three mindsets that I believe need to be embedded in your company culture. First, as part of your purpose, make sure that everyone in your team feels that they are contributing and doing something meaningful. Second, instill a sense of accountability and personal responsibility, especially when it comes to your sense of ethics and communications. Finally, in this fast-changing environment and faced with a vast number of options, it’s important to display humility and to craft a deeply collaborative spirit within and without the company.
Key thought: Are you, as a leader, modelling the behaviour you’d like to see happen in your company?
3. Finding your cocktail of disruptive forces
With all the new startups sprouting everywhere and the new technologies coming on board, it can be tricky picking your way through. The challenge is not just to avoid the SOS (shiny object syndrome), but to adopt those technologies that are most solidly aligned with your strategic intent.
Truth is that these technologies do not live in isolation. Systematically, it will take a cocktail of technologies in order to benefit fully. For example, ‘big data’, which is going to explode because of the omnipresent smartphone and the burgeoning ‘internet of things’, it will rely on the cloud and AI for smarter analytics.
Key thought: Is your strategy crystal clear, well understood and owned by all your key stakeholders?
4. Getting your slice of the PIE
At its core, it’s about adopting the right mindset. My co-author Caleb Storkey and I created a simple PIE model. It starts with the ‘Personal’ action plan. What should you be doing as an individual to model and demonstrate the desired behaviours you’d like to see cascading throughout the organisation? This means, for example, taking personal responsibility for your own learning, cyber security and personal branding. Secondly, you need to look at the ‘Internal’ functioning of the company and make sure that it’s optimised and aligned with how you’d like to operate and communicate externally toward the customer. Lastly, you need to look at the ‘External’ activities, and see how these technologies can augment and activate your strategies vis-à-vis your external stakeholders, shareholders and, of course, customers.
Key thought: To what extent is your internal culture aligned with your external messaging?
I leave you with a last set of questions. As leadership expert Robin Sharma asks: Is your audio aligned with your video? Do your personal consumer habits and desires match up with your investment profile and strategy? And are you prepared to bring your whole self to work to make the important decisions that will impact your employees, customers, long-term profits and the betterment of society?