When evaluating the sustainability of lifecycle management ideas, it’s important to evaluate the ideas in the context of the company. Performance is more relative than absolute. For this reason, the success of business ideas can’t be replicated in every company. If ideas can be replicated, the competitive advantage is lost.
The Role of the Business Leader
Managers with revolutionary business ideas usually have a different concept about authority and have a unique management style. These managers are dedicated to making the organization much different from when they started.
For example, P.V. Kannan, CEO and Co-Founder of 24/7 Customer, a company that focuses on outsourcing, developed a company that managed email (before companies routinely used email communication). He ran into a lot of resistance when marketing the idea to business owners. However, companies use email routinely today, which makes Kannan a revolutionary leader (although the idea doesn’t provide a competitive edge any longer). Kannan also launched a call center in India and received a lot of push back. The call center currently has over 7,000 employees and is a huge success.
Some business leaders aren’t confident there are many new business ideas in the marketplace. They believe that most leaders are taking existing ideas and tweaking them to improve success. Business ideas often go through cycles. What’s successful today may be obsolete several years down the road and then make a come back in 20-years.
Recognizing Good Management Ideas
Even the brightest leaders get confused about drivers and results. Management should invest time ensuring that data is independent and reliable. When testing the success of an idea, make sure the independent variables are truly independent and aren’t influenced by outside factors. If you don’t follow this rule, companies don’t have an accurate picture of what is driving the results.
For example, Kannan was asked by a large client to develop two new customer service measures. Customer service representatives were now required to end the call by asking if there’s anything else needed and saying “have a nice day.” However, by measuring the impact of these changes, Kannan found the new changes didn’t make a positive impact. In fact, customers were annoyed by representatives prolonging the conversation and wanted to get off the phone quickly.
Generating Larger Pools of Ideas
When coming up with good ideas, it should be generated from a large pool of ideas. This way, management can throw out the bad ideas, and hone in on the most promising strategies. Employees developing the pool of ideas should come from a variety of business units. When everyone in the room comes from the same place, the organization may miss out on a truly great idea. Conformity in this process will only lead to short-term results. More diversity provides more opportunities for long-term results.
Another challenge in implementing good ideas is taking the ideas from concept to implementation. As management teams go through changes, ideas often get lost in the mix and don’t see the light of day. Streamlining the process for rolling out new ideas will ensure the strategies aren’t sabotaged by unnecessary roadblocks.
Rolling out revolutionary ideas can seem risky. However, having good research to support the new ideas allows leaders to make educated guesses when the outcome is risky. Taking calculated risks provides an opportunity to win market share and boost long-term results. When planning new ideas, management should think outside the “boom and bust” cycles and build capabilities that have the potential to provide a competitive advantage for years to come.