There’s a really cool hairdresser’s near where I live. Huge floor area, sharp graphics, fancy lighting, designer interior where hip coiffeurs groom happening people. At least, that’s the way it used to be. I walked past it the other day and was dismayed to see how far things had gone downhill for them.
It was empty. Bits were falling off the outside of the building and the name over the door was fading under layers of moss and black mould. The lights were on, but no-one was home, except for a receptionist with terminal boredom and an attitude to match.
What had happened?
I guess people are still getting their hair done, and the population hasn’t shrunk or moved away. If anything, there are more people around now than ever before.
Someone hadn’t been paying attention to their business or the way the world was changing around them. Others saw the opportunity and moved in on their territory. Some are doing very well. How long will their success continue? As long as they keep paying attention.
It’s never been more important for businesses to pay attention than it is right now:
- The pace of life has increased, product development cycles have shortened, and attention spans have been reduced in the face of constant media consumption, so businesses must be that much sharper.
- One of the key factors for success – apart from a good business model, well-defined goals, clear strategy and brilliant offerings – is the ability to embrace change, innovate and sustain creativity. In fact, these are the main factors in creating and sustaining wealth and longevity.
- Growth and success must be handled very carefully. Processes can so easily take all of the attention, starving the original impetus that created the success in the first place. Companies can lose their way, lose contact with changing markets, be unaware of new trends, or feel threatened by evolving, unfamiliar environments.
- And there’s no safety in being big, either. Despite being a strong, fast and well-equipped hunter, Tyrannosaurus rex hadn’t figured on a change in the climate as being something that could knock him out. The most unexpected things can also destroy a business.
Growth driven by a culture of creativity ensures sustainable success, since the focus is on being aware of customers and markets, sustaining curiosity and being open to new developments and scenarios.
Companies that adopt such a culture thrive and get noticed.
I’m sure you can think of some. They know that bottom-line growth follows the sustained commitment to passion that in turn drives creativity.
- A creative philosophy is also being championed by those coming fresh into business, who will be the leaders of the future – the so-called ‘Y’ generation. You could call them the ‘why’ generation. Why should I listen to you? Why should I respect you, take notice of you, work for you, buy from you? Why does the business work in this way?
- Company pyramid structures and silo mentalities are being challenged as out-dated, irrelevant and unhelpful by a progressively connected business community.
- New employees are looking for more in their work and their lives than a mere wage packet and two weeks annual leave. Meaningful involvement and the desire to make a difference are winning out over hierarchy and status.
- Questioning everything is the starting point for a creative culture and, therefore, for future success. Freely exchanging information and our vast knowledge sparks inspiration for innovation. Both are positive, healthy factors in any business and are essential for its long-term success.
The most dangerous place is in complacency. That’s when a business is vulnerable. Unfortunately, it’s often also when those running it are not listening and don’t want to be coaxed out of their comfort zone, which is a pity, as they’d feel so much more alive and engaged if they did. As it is, they’re just heading for an unavoidable bad hair day.