If you always do what you’ve always done, you can’t expect different results. Real growth requires innovative thinking.
- Player: Vusi Thembekwayo
- Company: Motiv8 Advisory
- EST: 2009
- Contact: mtv8.co.za
Ask Vusi Thembekwayo about the secret to growth, and he’ll point to a number of key areas that entrepreneurs should focus on. But if you want exponential growth, you need to be disruptive. Safe strategies lead to linear growth, which for many business owners is fine. If you want to shoot the lights out though, you need to be bold.
“By the time you realise your competitor has moved away from you, it’s too late,” he says. “If you want to be a clear industry leader, you need to be the disruptor.”
Related: Vusi Thembekwayo on why what got you here, won’t get you there
Here are three core areas to focus on:
1. Great leaders live on the edge of chaos
Mediocrity leads to predictability, and no disruptors are ever predictable. They’re pushing boundaries. There’s an element of danger, but the rewards are huge. Think of MotoGP riders. Anyone can go fast on the straights.
Winning bikers go fast in the corners, where the difference between record breaking speeds and crashing is less than a millimetre.
Leaders who live on the edge of chaos are always asking the question: How do we disrupt what we’re doing today? They aren’t complacent, and they aren’t content to take the wins and settle. They know they need to keep pushing the boundaries.
Whitey Basson used to say that strategy is not about what you write down, it’s what you do every day in the trenches. In this context, disruption has to be an organisation-wide philosophy, which means everyone has to understand and embrace your vision, bottom to top, so that it permeates everything you do.
As a leader, ask yourself these questions, but more importantly, make sure your employees are doing the same: Why do I do what I do? Why am I here? To be motivated, you need to believe in what you do. Make sure your team is 100% on board.
2. Innovation promotes imitation
Innovation is the new black — everyone is doing it; everyone wants it. And because everyone knows that you need to be innovative, there’s a constant drive to keep pushing. New models are quickly old and ubiquitous.
You do need to keep innovating, but remember that everyone else is too, so what sets you apart? Keep this top of mind:
- What do people say about your brand when you’re not in the room?
- What sets you apart from everyone else?
- As brands increasingly imitate each other, how are you changing the market you operate within?
Execution is all about the stuff you can measure, so measure everything, and ensure your execution is flawless — that’s how you differentiate and secure customer loyalty.
Consider these four areas at all times to deliver an amazing customer experience: Ensure what you do is relevant (personalised and meaningful); convenient (offer choice, consistency and timelessness); responsive (listen to understand, and understand to act); and reliable (keep the brand promise, no matter what — even if it costs you money).
3. Create a system of short-term, incremental wins and long-term growth
There are four core areas to focus on if you want to be a market leader. First, remember that your business is made up of people. Encourage collaboration. Work together and you’ll achieve incredible things. Make sure your organisation is a creator, which means you need to do things first — lead, don’t follow or imitate.
Related: Vusi Thembekwayo's lessons learnt on practising the skill of management
Have control over what’s happening within your organisation, and make sure that everyone below you has a measure of control as well — that’s how things are done right. And finally, focus on competing. Do things fast.
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