On September 12, 2019, The New York Times published a special section on “Retirement.” One article that really reverberated for me was titled: “My Work Life Is Over. What’s Next?” The author states, “Many retirees do not have a plan” for after retirement. For some with health issues, retirement is necessary, but what about those who are healthy? Are they worn out after doing the same thing year after year and are glad to stop, or does their retirement date just appear on their calendar?
Change is all around us but few of us really know how to change
...especially when it means adopting new ways of doing things. Our brains hate change. It's literally pain! So why do it? Because we must. The times demand it.
Even though change can be painful, we really need to learn how to adapt our growth strategies, our processes, our employee engagement...even ourselves. We can't put it off. In today's highly competitive, continually disrupted business environment, that's the only way companies are going to survive.
Is meaningful and lasting change possible? Yes.
Maybe it is time to change “Change Management”
In today's highly competitive, technologically disrupted business environment, one thing that’s a constant across all industries is change. It cannot be ignored—it must be embraced. But how? How do you change when our brains hate it? And, while change is all around us, few of us really know how to change, i.e., how to adopt new ways of doing things. We're much more comfortable with the way we've always done things in the past. So why change?
Because we must. The times demand it. Even though change is pain, we really need to learn the methods and strategies for bringing about real, transformative change, and then apply them. And fast.
Is meaningful and lasting change possible?
Yes. But, it takes genuine buy-in from the executive leadership and a strong understanding of the current vs. desired corporate culture. If these fall into place, culture change can indeed not only happen but revolutionize a company.
To understand how you too can do this, read our white paper which contains a step-by-step slide show explaining the necessary steps an organization must take to bring about real change. In this way, you and your business can overcome today's challenges and boldly embrace the future.
To download our white paper, "Everything is Changing but Change Management. Why Is It Not Working?," click below.
More importantly, can you understand what it's saying?
These days, more and more (and more) data keeps coming at us, and if you're like me, you're wondering what to do with all. Can it help you run your business better? Can it reveal important facts about your customers? Can it identify nonusers of your products or services and show you how to convert them into users?
For those in management and strategic planning in healthcare systems, can data help guide CEOs' decisions? Can it help hospitals respond more quickly to market and cultural shifts taking place all around them? These are all important questions.
To have meaning, data has to be visualized
As I write in my recent article in Healthcare Marketing Report, perhaps the true value of data lies not in the data itself but in how people visualize it. The challenge is our own brains, which tend to sort through incoming data and only capture those data points that affirm what we already know or believe to be true. The rest we simply discount or ignore.
I assert that to really understand the meaning of data, we need to take it and turn it into a story that helps people act upon it and share it, thereby influencing and leading others. (You can read my entire HMR article by clicking here.)
How to hear what your data is saying and turn it into the right story
What is culture anyhow?
In the very simplest definition, culture is the way people think, act and behave. For us to interact with others, we need to share common values, stories, beliefs and ways of doing things. We cannot live without culture. It's the essence of who we are as humans.
Successful firms have intentionally built cultures. If a company is aggressive and competitive, and its employees always want to win, it will build a culture around those values. On the other hand, if a company is entrepreneurial and likes innovation, teamwork and visionary ideas, it will build a culture around those things.
Culture also creates a collective identity and a commitment to that identity. It becomes a company's brand. And if you have a good strong brand, you want to make sure you're living it, living the culture.
Wondering what your culture is? Perhaps this presentation can help.
Higher ed is “On the Brink” of big "Blue Oceans"
Higher education is an old, established system facing a fast-changing market space — not a good mix. If you are in higher education in 2019, you are well aware of the challenges you are facing. What do you do if you are not among the top 50 colleges in the country with major endowments and large numbers of potential student applicants? What is your role and for whom? Could a Blue Ocean Strategy help you find your purpose and successfully attract today's generation of students?
Delaware Valley University: case study of a successful Blue Ocean Strategy
These were the challenges facing Delaware Valley University (DelVal) when they hired us to do Blue Ocean work with them. They were asking big strategic questions. Our job was to help them find the right answers. You might be facing the same problems as well: too few students, shifting demands of faculty and staff, challenges from the workplace, and questions about the real value of a college education.
What really impressed us about DelVal's leadership was how they wanted to share their Blue Ocean Strategy work to help other higher ed organizations of all shapes and sizes step back and rethink where they are going and how they are going to get there — big strategy questions. So after helping Maria Gallo (DelVal's president) and her team successfully construct a new strategic plan for the University, we turned our work with them into a comprehensive case study which we offer here as a white paper.
Find ways to meet unmet needs in ways the competition isn't
This white paper is designed to help you shift from competing in a "red ocean" with other colleges and universities to finding innovative ways to tackle students’ unmet needs, and seeking nonusers who could actually become enrolled “users,” albeit in different ways than in the past. That, in a nutshell, is what Blue Ocean Strategy is all about.
To download our white paper, "Delaware Valley University Embraces Blue Ocean Strategy®," click below.
Not that long ago, we had several clients which had grown to almost $10 million in annual revenues and were netting nice profits. One was selling an innovative travel pillow, and his business was being run mostly by family and friends. Another was in the event marketing business. His challenge was that most of his “product” was in human capital and talent, and there only seemed to be so much to go around.
Both were struggling with limits to growth without scalability. The pillow manufacturer could push more product, but without a better system in place, he was not able to expand into online markets or increase repeat sales. The event marketer could pitch more big accounts, but had trouble getting the talent to get those events completed.
What both of them needed was a new perspective. Growth without scalability was limiting their growth.
Scaling for Growth
I have been researching my next book about successful women entrepreneurs and female business leaders. As I have dug into the lives of these women whom I've interviewed, I've realized that there have been countless women over the years who have pushed the boundaries for the times they were living in and broken through to achieve lasting impact.
Each month, I will share with you some of my “aha” moments when I learn about one of these amazing women. Their stories have led me to acknowledge and be grateful for their remarkable lives. Perhaps we should remember them more often. Celebrate their triumphs. Let them remind us of what we must do to continue opening doors to the future for our daughters and granddaughters, regardless of the hurdles we have to vault or the challenges we must confront—and there are certainly an abundance of those all around us.
For June, I wanted to share Helen Keller’s story with you.
In March of this year, 2019, I made a presentation to the Society for Applied Anthropology entitled "Anthropology Applications for Business." It was a fantastic experience and gave me the opportunity to talk about my two favorite topics—anthropology and business—and share how we at SAMC apply anthropology to our corporate, business, healthcare and non-profit clients.
I'll summarize the key points here but you can watch and listen to the presentation in its entirety by clicking on the image below.
Change creates pain in the brain
Companies come to us when they are in a crisis or see one coming. In fact, we've built our business around helping stalled organizations change. As we know from the neurosciences, our brains hate change, they fight it. That's why at SAMC, we've developed an anthropological approach which enables us to evaluate how organizations operate today (obstinate brains and all) so we can better help them change for the future.
At Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), we have been working with a wide range of colleges on Blue Ocean Strategy®, encouraging long-established institutions to step back and look at themselves with fresh eyes.
Why must they do this, and why now? Because times are changing. Colleges, universities, trade schools and all other educational institutions are competing for a smaller and smaller base of high school graduates seeking a college education. In fact, traditional high school graduates now represent only 20% of college student bodies, with the other 80% filled by post-traditional students from all walks of life.
The challenge in higher education: to create innovative solutions that better match the needs of students