The agony of defeat. This year’s Winter Olympics have been replete with disappointment and loss....
Wanna Be Starting Something
A winter finale? Have you noticed the new phenomenon over the past few years regarding winter breaks for television shows? It’s no longer okay for shows to be off for a couple of weeks to deal with network holiday scheduling of seasonal favorites. We now must have two cliffhanger finales each broadcast year – one mid-winter and one late spring.
The writers now have the job of coming up with plot twist after plot twist to keep up with the double demand. And while the job of writing is a tough one, for sure, we wind up with rushed, weakened storylines that get pushed through due to time constraints. And it’s not easy to be brilliant in writing every day.
In business, if you’re not growing, you’re dying. We’ve heard that once or twice before. Such pressure to be relevant and topical (like the life of a blogger perhaps?) in the midst of being reinventive and path-leading. Businesses have to keep up with the best, but more.
Think about the great corporate messaging battles through the years – Coke vs. Pepsi, AT&T vs. MCI, Miller Lite vs. Bud Light. Remember how much anticipation was wrapped around these commercials. We looked for new ones often, with new catch phrases, celebrities and jingles. The Super Bowl was the most anticipated time of the year for pinnacle awards in such excellence to be given. And yet, for the first time this year, substantial brands, like Doritos, declined to participate in the “$5 million for 30 seconds” commercial game. Is Doritos now irrelevant? (not in my house!)
What undo pressure is upon us to be fresh and new every single day? We know that trying new things is important. We ought to have our finger on the pulse, but let’s not swing the pendulum so far as to forget why people liked us in the first place. Companies that were successful with certain strategies and products should not throw out those things purely to be ever-changing. Change is not always good if it’s based on the goal of it being done for its own sake. (New Coke anyone?)
The pressure to perform is real. As business professionals, we should investigate thoroughly what the latest and greatest is. We should adopt those things that will help to deliver additional product and service offerings. We should consider how we educate our teams and our customers about our offerings. We should utilize workable resources to strengthen our marketplace position. But, we should not lose our footing just to show activity.
When I was in gym class in high school, there was a classmate who would flail about wildly under the net to block the offensive shot. He did pretty well at it. It wasn’t pretty to behold, but it worked. He was then taught better how to play under the net. He was no longer as effective. His form was better, but his product (the ability to block and distract shots) suffered. What was the goal? He went from an effective weirdo to an ineffective player. He should have been left to be the first.
Test why you are about to adopt a new stance, service or process. A winter finale might work for a show on the CW, but it might not make sense for CNN. Don’t adopt just because others are. The business reason should be great, the process to determine effect should be piloted and the ability to change should work forward and backward.
And while your lane is wider than you think, try to stay in it. Food companies that launch dating sites purely because they can aren’t really firm in their footing. Imagine “Panera Tinder.” That might be one of the scariest swipe left or right sites – Brings a whole new meaning to “You Pick Two.”