Archive for category No Bad Ideas

Seize the Day

World

The coronavirus is possibly the most significant disruptor to companies in the automotive aftermarket repair industries that you’ll experience in your lifetime. It’s solely up to you and your business associates to navigate the turmoil it has caused. How your business survives this black swan event will be determined by how well you can develop new strategies that will benefit your company.

It’s interesting to see how some market leaders in automotive aftermarket repair segments have completely pulled budgeted advertising spend in the face of an 18.6% decrease in miles driven in March 2020 versus March 2019, as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation – Federal Highway Administration.

During business downturns, historically, companies that continue to keep their marketing and sales strategies in play often capture market share from companies that dramatically reduce spending in those areas. Marketing, advertising, and sales costs are often the easiest to slow or stop completely and then restart.

If you’ve been unable to match the typical spend of the market leader you compete against during good times, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make an impact with potential customers and be known as someone who stepped up long after the market leader restarts marketing spend for attention.

Don’t sit back and wait for your company to recover from the coronavirus downturn; make sure that you, your company, and your personnel are participating in activities that help your community weather this storm. Be sure that you’re seen in the community as someone willing to step up and help others in need. That could be volunteering time and work in the market you serve, offering to deliver meals to healthcare workers, first responders, charities, or offer special discounts for healthcare workers who use your services.

Now is not the time to wait and see what happens. Now is the time to be seen as someone in your city that everyone can count on in difficult times. If you do that, not only will it make you feel good, but it should provide your business with the benefit of new opportunities when we return to normal.

Just Sayin’

Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

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Ideas

In the highly charged political environment we live in today we see a growing division regarding differing ideas and views. I’m sure you’ve seen how new ideas or viewpoints offered by some aren’t really appreciated, acknowledged or even allowed when they differ (e.g. Kanye West / @KanyeWest) from what’s expected. There seems to be no room to find a middle ground any more; we’ve lost the ability to have civil and open debate of ideas. When you turn on cable news, read Twitter feeds and even when you have conversations with friends and relatives about countless topics, today’s vitriol has become pervasive. If you aren’t in lockstep with others you’re often castigated, ridiculed and left on the outside looking in. A form of groupthink. Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines groupthink as,

“a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics”

GroupThink 2

Historically in business most companies operated in a groupthink mode. Autocratic, dictatorial company owners or management with no interest in opposing views or new ideas. Perhaps you worked for a company like this during your career or maybe work for a company today that stifles new ideas? That style may have worked once upon a time, but not in today’s business environment.

Over a 10-year span beginning in 1990 I had the great fortune to work with a small, boutique consulting firm based in California while I was an executive at Belron International Ltd. Everyone I worked with at the consulting firm, from the principal to all the associates, brought tremendous value to company meetings they attended or facilitated. With their help teams openly discussed issues the business was facing, and we were encouraged to fully consider and debate all ideas to find the best way forward. The firm espoused that there were “No Bad Ideas (NBI)”. Out-of-the-box thinking. A key to using NBI is that it cultivated the opportunity for all participants to feel comfortable suggesting highly creative or unconventional ideas without the chance of being mocked by peers. When you remove the fear of being ridiculed for what might be viewed as a controversial idea in a meeting, you unlock infinite opportunities and options. It’s amazing to see what can be accomplished in an NBI environment. The firm provided tremendous value to me, as well as the companies I was responsible for managing.

While working at the company the Chairman, as well as the President/CEO of the organization (at that time) were both key influencers in my career. They used a similar concept to NBI in meetings. Everyone was encouraged to raise contrarian viewpoints to ensure that as many ideas as possible were raised and considered. When offering a contrarian or unconventional idea during meetings we were told to start with “I’m just practicing, but what if……”

Participants could raise ideas without fear, regardless of how outrageous the ideas may have been viewed, as all participants in the discussion were “just practicing”. The outcomes of meetings where we used just practicing always provided better options or alternatives to determine the best path forward for the company.

I’ve used NBI and just practicing with great success for almost 30 years in other organizations. I suggest leaders embrace NBI and just practicing within your teams to maximize opportunities for success. Respectful listening and learning never ends and any organization could benefit from using these techniques.

Just sayin’.

 

p.s. Today, all of those with whom I worked with at that consulting firm have gone their separate ways and each have had and continue to have amazing individual careers. So, thank you, Selwyn, John, David, Jim and Brian for NBI, along with the support you all provided. Thank you to Ronnie and John for just practicing.

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