Live from NCOF: Adapting to Success

Schaumburg, IL—”If you’re going to remember one thing about being successful today,” said Peter Johnson, Ph.D., near the beginning of his keynote speech, “it comes down to this: Adaptability is king.”

Indeed, the need to continually adapt business processes was a recurring theme during Johnson’s Monday lively morning presentation, titled “Success by Design.” As he noted later, “You’re always going to have to take what you observe and adapt it to where you are right now.”

But adaptability wasn’t the only trait he focused on. Depth of professional expertise, teamwork, cohesiveness, and organization were other cornerstones of success. The most-successful companies in a given market or industry are “just a little bit more organized” than its peers and competitors, Johnson said.

Johnson, the president of Strategic Performance Institute, elaborated on what he called the three ground rules of a successful organization:

1) Develop a passion for improvement. This entails studying other companies and adapting what you learn to meet your particular needs. “Don’t re-create the wheel,” Johnson cautioned. Chances are someone out there has developed a strategy or tactic that you can adapt to fit—and improve—your situation

2) Maintain pride of involvement. This should be inherent in all positions and among all employees of your company.

3) Relentlessly pursue success. Johnson used screen hero Indiana Jones as an example, boiling down the first eight minutes of Raiders of the Lost Ark (by way of a 250-words-a-minute summary) to describe Indy’s single-minded pursuit of his goal. “As long as you have that passion and drive for achievement,” Johnson said, “you will eventually reach your goal, so long as you don’t let outside factors beat you down.”

Of course, saying you’re going to relentlessly pursue success is simple enough. But how do you actually go about doing it? Johnson provided a six-step plan:

1) Set your goals and objectives.

2) Analyze your target market and buying trends.

3) Analyze the competition—their strengths and their vulnerabilities.

4) Identify all critical elements to success. This entails gathering information from as many sources as possible, wherever the opportunity arrives. “If it’s a good idea, take notes,” Johnson advised.

5) Prioritize by return on investment.

6) Initiate immediate, specific actions. “Having great ideas come out of meetings are only as good as the actions you take within the next seven days,” Johnson said.

The National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment (NCOF) is copresented by MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT/O+F. It runs through May 2.

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