For years I have implored my audiences to “create a culture that embraces change.” I even put together a custom program for the Apple Specialists Group on “Nimblocity” (being nimble with velocity). I tell clients that if they want to be successful in the future, they must be… Nimbolicious! But frankly, that is not true anymore.

To succeed in the future, the rate of internal innovation must exceed the rate of external innovation. In other words, you can’t simply embrace change – you must be the one who creates and drives the change.

I challenge you to read that last sentence again and think deeply about how that will impact you and your business. To win in the marketplace, you must out-think, out-innovate, and out-execute everyone you compete against. Both as an organization and as an individual. This is a huge idea and an even bigger challenge. To me, there are a minimum of six key things you must do to be a game changer.


Business Acumen

To get on the playing field, you must have a strong foundation of general business knowledge. This means constantly studying the fundamentals of business such as strategy, finance, marketing, sales, talent development, technology/innovation, and customer service. Keep a close eye on local, regional, national, and global business and economic trends. It’s also critical to look at the best practices of top companies (inside and outside of your industry) to see what ideas you might be able to apply to your organization.


Industry Expertise

You must be an expert, and I do not use that word lightly, on your industry, your competitors, and especially your products and services. There is no excuse for not being exceedingly

knowledgeable the factors impacting your business. I am constantly surprised by how many people I meet who are clueless about significant trends in their work field.


Strategic Thinking

Once you have built a solid base of general business acumen and become an expert in your industry, you must dedicate the time necessary to combine those two areas of knowledge and think about what it might mean to you and your business. You need to dedicate 5-10% of your time to sit and think.


Pattern Recognition

The purpose of all this thinking is to find the patterns. Strategic insight occurs when you see something before others see it. When you notice a trend, an anomaly, a spike in the data that indicates a change in your industry. Those who succeed in business today do not just adapt to the marketplace. They anticipate and then create shifts in their market.


Business Model Reinvention

For an insight to be of value to an organization, it must represent a significant disruptive change to your industry that will give your business a clear (and hopefully sustainable) market advantage. However, this sort of change typically means you will have to make dramatic adjustments to how you currently operate. What is required here is courage. The courage to take big, bold risks. The courage to abandon old ways to create a new path for your industry.


Disciplined Execution

Even the best strategies worldwide are useless if you don’t implement them effectively. Great ideas do not change an industry. Taking great ideas to market better and faster than any of your competition does. This means that your management team must be superb at taking your strategic insight and turning it into a sharply focused and well-communicated strategy. Then ensuring that you implement it flawlessly. An easy thing to say, a devilishly hard thing to accomplish.


I have spent the last 25 years of my life running businesses and studying, writing, and teaching about business excellence worldwide. At no time in my career has the need to do the six things I listed above been more urgent. We are entering a new era in the business world, marked by mind-boggling advances in technology, computer learning, robotics, medicine, and many other fields that will fundamentally change business on a global scale. As I see it, you only have two choices. Drive the change or be run over.

If you want to get in contact with me, I’d love to hear from you. Please visit my site at and let me know how I can help.

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