“In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”
Eric Hoffer, Philosopher
As discussed in our previous blog, Strategy Unlocks the Window of Opportunity, failing to recognize and plan for opportunities often leads to missed successes and the dreaded what if. As Hoffer eloquently observes, it is those who stay focused on learning and developing a strategy to capitalize on change that are best equipped to secure growth and prosperity long into the future.
The question is how to remain vigilantly equipped to navigate the changing world. Daniel Burrus, is one of the world’s leading forecasters, corporate strategists and visionaries. In his book, Flash Foresight, he outlines proven ways that businesses can survive into the future and create distinctive competitive advantages. The team at HORNE is always thinking about how principles like these impact the banking industry. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share actionable tips focused on the following seven core principles.
- Start with certainty. “A hard trend is something that will happen: a future fact. A soft trend is something that might happen: a future maybe.” Hard trends support reliable predictions. The more you understand the difference between hard trends and soft trends, the more you are prepared to develop a strategic focus.
- Anticipate. Base strategies on what you know about the future. Once you understand the difference between hard and soft trends, focus on figuring out how to solve the problems that your business and customers will face in the future.
- Transform. Use technology-driven change to your advantage. For banks in particular, it will not be enough to change tactics. You need to evaluate and be willing to transform your model. I particularly like Burris’ concept of the new Golden Rule in business, “Give your customers the ability to do what they can’t currently do but would want to if they only knew it was possible.”
- Take your biggest problem and skip it. It is easy to get caught up in believing that if we could just solve that one big problem (like increased regulation or low interest rates) your business would prosper. These probably are not your real problems. Recognize the difference between the issues really holding you back and those that just pose obstacles, and prioritize them accordingly.
- Go opposite. Look where no one else is looking. See what no one else is seeing. Do what no one else is doing. The banking industry is notorious for following trends. Yet it is the pioneers and trail blazers that capture real profits. Warren Buffett explained this theory perfectly when asked about his successful investment approach, “Be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy.”
- Redefine and reinvent. A sidebar to the idea of blazing your own trail, building competitive advantage requires that you identify and leverage your uniqueness in new and powerful ways. Do you wait and react to changes in the market? It’s time to change the way you do business to capitalize on trends and evolving opportunities you’re certain will happen.
- Direct your future. Don’t let others dictate your path. As Hoffer reminds us, it is the learners who understand that collaboration and continual learning are the keys to success. Be brave enough to put away what worked in the past, and lay a path to growth based on what will work in the future.
Banks with a habitual focus on monitoring and responding to industry, regulatory, economic and organizational changes often succeed in establishing sustainable growth. Over a series of upcoming blog posts, HORNE will explore how these seven principles exist in the banking industry. We will present actionable tips for implementing the changes in your organization. Join us to unlock your future growth potential.
To join the conversation and receive email updates of new posts, click here: