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Stefan Kazakis on 7 April 2018

This month we are focusing on innovation and why this will give your business the competitive edge. For me, innovation is part of the continued evolution of my business. You must have a vision, and you must live and breath it. And you must change or die. You must be bold and move forward because if you don't respond to market forces you will die anyway.

Those who know me well will understand that business IS A brutal sport. It always has been, and it always will be. You need to keep stepping up every single day, week, and month. You must be at your personal best or join another person’s dream and follow that.

As I mentioned before, you must change or die. This is a big one for me. It’s about the ongoing contribution of ideas and the ability to take quick and appropriate action. Are they or aren’t they relevant to where we’re going and the results we’re looking for? Are we creating a different version of a mousetrap? Is it better, quicker, and more competitive? Is it about cutting costs and reducing inefficiencies? Is it about increasing alignment?

Everything that we do has to be based on not worrying about hurting feelings here. We have a common goal, but sometimes what we decide on isn’t going to be the best. So, keep strategically thinking it through. You must foster a culture of dialogue. You must be looking forward and not backward. You must be bold and move forward, because if you don’t respond to market forces you will die anyway.

You must have plan Bs. The unknown needs to be known, so that you remain relevant. You must know about any elements that will influence the change. You must be constantly reviewing how you are going vs how you should be going, and what you are doing vs what you should be doing. You must know how the arrow is flying.

Everybody must contribute ideas. Some people will be more extroverted and comfortable bringing up ideas, but it’s vital that everybody who is on the team has a chance to be heard and respected. You need to be building a culture of moving forward with something slightly different. You must upgrade your team if they are not performing as you go to the next level. If they have the raw talent and just need time and training that’s fine, but if you know somebody is already at their best and that’s not good enough then they must go. This is critical to their own success and the success of the business. People are promotable or deselected. If somebody is not right, you must be okay to let them go. It might be a long-lasting relationship, but you must be okay with letting them go and maybe advancing their career somewhere else. Another problem is when somebody feels you are going to let them go or they no longer fit. This is FEAR – false expectations appearing real – as you haven’t communicated adequately. This can slow them down, even though you don’t feel that. But, they haven’t heard the positive from you for a while, so they feel they are not getting the job done. Again, constant feedback is critical.

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.” —Steve Jobs

You must see the vision; you must live it and breath it. You must be clear and aligned with the purpose of the business. You must have curiosity. You must have high intensity and a culture of asking questions. You must continue asking questions and brainstorming answers. You must have plan Bs and test and measure.

You must have a huge emphasis on integrity. Emotional intelligence and passion must be high. You must have good decision-making for better outcomes. You must change and evolve. Your decision-making processes and your ability to stay in thrive mode rather than survive mode is critical. Your intelligence management is critical. Your patterns must be moving into the positive for how you’re investing time.

You must evaluate outcomes and then coach or redirect. Belief systems must be high, and you must move forward with confidence but not arrogance.

When things go wrong, take the lesson, and move on with the next part of the solution. This will ensure you are evolving and not dying.

Power to you!

Stefan

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