Dirk Beveridge 2017-09-06 05:32:51
Become a juggernaut In the face of changing market dynamics and increased competition, the strongest and bold of companies that create value, of course, will thrive. Will you be among them? Creating a sustainable, relevant and profitable business, not just for today but for tomorrow, will require a new mindset and the ability to reinvent your organization when necessary. Will you be bold enough to break away from the pack of distributors who are using outdated business models and instead undertake the difficult work necessary to turn your organization into an unstoppable force? I would argue in order to do these things and maintain your company’s relevancy in this age of disruption you need to take the necessary steps toward turning your business into a juggernaut — an unstoppable overpowering force. In business a juggernaut can refer to a company that has such incredible momentum that it consistently outperforms the market, often in stunning ways. IT’S ALL IN THE NUMBERS If you look at the history of the Fortune 500, only 71 of the original 500 are still on the list. The pace of lost relevancy is increasing. In the 1950s, the average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company was 75 years. Today, it’s only 10 years. Nobody’s relevancy is guaranteed. If we move away from Fortune 500 companies and giant chains, we find similar results in smaller businesses. Many of the roughly 250,000 to 300,000 distributors in our country are owned and operated by families. The survival rate for family-owned businesses is pretty poor. In fact, statistics show only 30% of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation. Only 12% manage to survive into the third generation and that number decreases to 3% by the fourth generation. If you want your business to survive, you have to understand what makes a juggernaut and apply those lessons. As I was doing my research for the book “Innovate! How Successful Distributors Lead Change in Disruptive Times,” I facilitated a state of innovation research project for the National Association of Wholesalers. In my work, I found 85% of distributors believe much of the distribution industry is operating from a dated business model. Another shocking statistic we discovered is 57% of the distributors we surveyed felt many distribution companies already are out of business but didn’t know it yet. This 57% believed many distributors are becoming the Blockbusters, Kodaks, RadioShacks and Nokias of our industry. As leaders in the distribution industry, we have to attack the definition of sustainability, relevancy and profitability in ways we never had to before. The typical model of being great at picking, packing and shipping isn’t good enough to elevate your company to juggernaut status. The process of buying in bulk and breaking that bulk down so it can be put into smaller packages which are then distributed to the right place at the right time is no longer enough to create an overpowering force. Being the best at these capabilities were once differentiators, but they’ve since been commoditized. THE 5 PREREQUISITES TO BECOMING A JUGGERNAUT In this age of disruption – where distributors are under constant attack from alternative channels, new (or intensified) competition, changing demographics and more – the only way companies can truly ensure their continued relevance, sustainability and profitability is by doing things differently. I believe the best method involves transforming your organization into an unstoppable force that can smash through outside factors that would potentially devastate lesser companies. In short, turn your company into a juggernaut. But I must caution you, it’s hard work and your competitors aren’t going to do it. And that is where your opportunities lie — in the hard work your competitors, for one reason or another, will not tackle. There are five prerequisites to becoming a juggernaut in distribution. Let’s take a look. 1) The status-quo is your enemy: Your current state, situation and model must be viewed as the enemy regardless of how well you’re currently doing. You have to change. If you aren’t changing as fast as the world is, you’ll eventually be passed by. Instead, become disruptive — meaning the status quo must be viewed as an enemy by you, your leadership team and your organization. When you accept the status-quo you unfortunately will find yourself rooted in what you’re currently doing — rooted in the tyranny of the urgent — and you’re going to be stuck watching from the sidelines as the pace of change accelerates. 2) Have a vision: Vision is the act of crafting a future reality you believe is possible with committed effort. When you’re able to see things others can’t, you’re able to do things others aren’t. You become the disruptor rather than the disrupted. Rather than chasing others, you begin to lead the pack, which forces your competition to chase you in an effort to keep up. You should be able to see something of value to the world, to the marketplace, your customers and to the industry you serve that everybody else somehow missed or simply does not see. If you don’t have that vision, you’re going to have a hard time becoming a juggernaut. 3) Conviction: You must believe beyond a shadow of a doubt what you’re striving for, standing for and doing is not only right, but also brings value to your community, customers, partners, suppliers, employees and even your family. Other distributors are going to move products from point A to B. You want to stand for something more than that. You should be thoroughly convinced what you’re doing is delivering real value and benefits to your customers, your markets and even the world. This conviction that you’re doing good will create a powerful drive to continue your company’s mission. 4) Prepare for an unrelenting pursuit: I mentioned earlier that becoming a juggernaut will not be easy. This is why there are so many stories of owners and leaders who were forced to sell their distribution companies before they could achieve their dreams. Those who have created juggernauts did so knowing they were going to run into mountains. They understood obstacles would stand in their path. However, they forged new paths. They climbed every mountain that lay in front of them. They didn’t let obstacles slow them down or stop them. Instead, they built up speed and smashed right through them. The obstacles will be unrelenting and so must be the leader who hopes to overcome them. It’s going to be difficult and if you’re going to create a juggernaut, there’s going to be an unrelenting pursuit. Be prepared to fight, claw and scratch for what you believe in. 5) A driven leader: Only an unbelievably driven leader can create an unbelievably driven organization. I personally love being around such leaders. They are some of the most focused and relentless people on the planet, but at the same time they’re also some of the most gracious and giving individuals I know. A driven leader never seems to take a break. They’re always creating new businesses, creating new organizations, adding new value for the customers, adding new value for the suppliers and creating meaningful work for employees. They stay focused on their goals and they’ll do whatever it takes to make them happen. But before you can create a juggernaut there needs to be these five prerequisites in place. These are prerequisites which I’ve found in every juggernaut I’ve examined. These juggernauts view the status quo as the enemy. They have this vision that drives everything they do. They are convicted. They have this unrelenting pursuit of the future and they are led by some of the most driven individuals in their industries. How close is your company to becoming a juggernaut? Next time: Five obsessions to becoming an overpowering force. Dirk Beveridge is leading the movement of change, innovation and transformation throughout distribution. He can be reached at www.dirkbeveridge.com or email@example.com. This is an excerpt from a new essay from Dirk’s “The Innovation Imperative Essay Series.” Essay details can be found at www.theinnovation imperative.com.
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