Welcome to the Jungle

In the last refrain of the infamous Guns & Roses hit song Welcome to the Jungle, it reads:

“In the jungle welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to your knees, knees
In the jungle welcome to the jungle
Watch it bring you to you
Its gonna bring you down, ha!”

The essence of this song speaks to a less desirable side of human nature, arrogance and greed.

Hundreds if not thousands of companies have failed over the last number of years to include: Blockbuster Video, Enron, Bear Stearns, Kodak, Washington Mutual, Polaroid, Blackberry and many others.  Major reasons for these business failures were the result of executive arrogance and greed.  How many companies may be heading down the same path now?

The world is changing.  The millennial mind-set coupled with technology’s disruptive influence on virtually every industry is fueling massive shifts in consumerism and value creation.  As leaders, it is our responsibility to stay very observant and proactively embrace change.  Here are a few practical ideas all professionals can heed to stay “safe” and thrive while living in the business jungle.

Stay Humble

Not long ago THE place consumers went to rent a movie was Blockbuster Video.  Then came Netflix, Redbox, Cable On Demand, Direct TV, Apple TV and many others.  Most interesting, executives at Blockbuster had considered developing a “Redbox” like distribution model but ultimately were so in love with their traditional retail approach, they opted to do what they had always done; open expensive, flashy retail stores.  As the picture above depicts, their customers had other ideas.

Humility is arguably one of the most important skills executives should hone.  Finding others with fresh perspectives and functional know-how then listening and learning from added points of view is paramount in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.

Use of Metrics

It is critical for business leaders to become crystal clear on the key metrics that matter most in managing their business.  Beyond simply capturing and understanding the numbers, smart managers are honest about reviewing the data.  Too many times executives focus on “old” ways of looking at the business vs. digging into trends and doing predictive analytics to anticipate the future.  The disciplined use of data, converted into actionable information is crucial to managing and growing companies.

Dig deep into the numbers.  Find new ways of looking at the same data points.  Find the priceless nuggets, challenge assumptions and then test hypothesis.  It’s often small shifts that can produce large paybacks.

Go to the “Professional Gym”

Resting on past success is the surest way to fail.   All leaders must constructively challenge the status quo.

In weight training, it is only through measured resistance that muscles can be stretched and ultimately strengthened.  Similarly, business leaders must consistently stretch their organization beyond comfort levels.  Too many people “go through the motions” or are “busy” vs. making true improvements.   Great leaders challenge then support others to get stronger.

Look around your company.

How often are you observing humility in others?  Are you exemplifying humility?

How consistently are metrics being used, challenged and refined to ensure desire results are being achieved?

Are people being pushed to do that extra “rep” in order to build break-through performance?  It’s only through muscle “failure” that a body is strengthened.

Know your limits, track your progress through metrics, and consistently help others stretch, learn and grow.  This is the surest way to become a Tarzan of your business jungle.

Helping business owners, CEOs and their executive teams build amazing companies.  

Core focus areas include:

Strategy Execution
Sales Growth
Leadership Alignment and Accountability