If your business
is alive and well this time next year, or this time in five years, it
might well be because you have followed, either actively or subconsciously,
the Basic Entrepreneurial Model.
The principles of
the Basic Entrepreneurial Model are that, to survive in business, we
1. Continue to
develop innovative products and services
that meet the needs of the market.
2. Produce and
package them well, and
3. Market and
sell them effectively.
in our business, we run the risk of failing to maintain what the Americans
call our Unique Selling Proposition and the British refer to as the
Distinctive Competence. Both of these terms simply refer to the aspects
of a business which sets it apart from its competitors and prevents
its products from becoming just 'commodities'.
When products or
services become 'commoditised', customers are more likely to make buying
decisions solely on the basis of price. One sure way for a business
to be distinctive in a manner that extends buying decisions beyond price
alone is for it to continually develop innovative products and/or services
to meet market needs. That is, to observe the first principle of the
Basic Entrepreneurial Model. But just how does a business go about being
In our book, The
Futureproof Corporation, Dr. Denis Waitley and I propose a corporate
philosophy of all members of an organization having two distinctive
'positions' or roles. The first is the traditional hierarchical role.
In this role, traditional respect for hierarchical position is given
and received. The second role is one of always delivering results and
never excuses in relation to the tasks set via the hierarchical system.
Think about this
concept of delivering results and not excuses for a minute, for it places
awesome responsibility on all levels of the organization. It also affords
the freedom (in balance with responsibility) that fosters the creative
thought from which flows innovation. The system has been applied in
the construction industry for decades. Here, corporate management defines
parameters of cost, time and quality for a project and delegates it
to appropriately qualified and experienced product managers to deliver
management's expectations. Results are expected, excuses for poor performance
are seldom tolerated. People respond because they work in small teams
where their input is important. This motivating feeling of importance
is seldom experienced when a person is just another number in a huge
Managers may have
difficulty in the concept of being senior in the corporate hierarchy,
and at the same time possibly subordinate, or at least restricted in
influence, in the team charged with delivering established objectives.
On the other hand, employees may have difficulty in accepting that,
once an objective is defined by senior hierarchical management, the
team members must take control of all input to delivery of the expected
results. If that means pressuring more senior managers for required
input, then so be it. Clearly, communication skills must be finely honed
in the Futureproof Corporation!
Let's now take a
look at the 'mental protocol' side of innovation. Innovation, theoretically
at least, stems from creativity, which, in turn, can be defined as making
something from nothing. Well, most corporate psychologists would agree
that not all creativity follows this definition. Broadly speaking creativity
or innovation will increase in our organizations if we establish a discipline
addressing four distinctive concepts. These are known as novel thought,
extension, duplication, and synthesis.
Novel thought is
true creativity. It is developing a product or service based on no previous
similar product or service. An example is the Australian 'T-Vasis' runway
lighting system used around the world to safely guide airlines visually
down the approach glide path to the destination runway.
extending one's current boundaries of knowledge by looking at what is
happening outside of our industry or profession and extending on this
new found knowledge to arrive at innovation solutions to grow our business.
An example is South West Airlines of the USA studying racing car pit
crews in an attempt to shorten terminal turn around times.
adapting into our business approaches that work elsewhere. One example
is the bringing of teamwork into the airline flight deck management
to replace the autocratic 'the captain rules' environment of the past.
Synthesis is the
process of collecting data from a variety of sources and integrating
it in a way that provides an innovative solution to our own business
growth. A current example is the super cruise liners being developed.
These are huge hulls with superstructure comprising a couple of hotels
run by different operators. The cruise company will provide the transport.
The hotels will provide and manage the sleeping, eating, and entertainment
I urge you to take
the challenge and to inspire innovative thought in your organization.
With the assistance of the principles outlined above, even the most
'left brain' people among us have the chance of coming up with a real