The Digital Glue Podcast

EP: 3 - One Word Worth Building Your Business Around ...

December 01, 2020 Episode 3
The Digital Glue Podcast
EP: 3 - One Word Worth Building Your Business Around ...
Chapters
The Digital Glue Podcast
EP: 3 - One Word Worth Building Your Business Around ...
Dec 01, 2020 Episode 3

“Someone once said that the strongest will is the will that knows how to bend.”

Welcome to Episode 3: One Word Worth Building Your Business Around. If there’s one thing that stays the same, it’s the knowledge that things will be forever changing. Ironic, right?! That’s because it is.

So, how do we at Virtually Untangled do this?

How do we navigate and build new businesses to be successful or turn the tides for ones who know they must become adaptable in order to survive?

We believe that the key to survival lies deep in the business’s genetic foundations and our team has identified four major ways to boost adaptability skills and we would encourage you to allow these “four horsemen” to guide you as you either build a new business or work to shift the tides of an existing business.

  • One who remains the same never grows
  • Taking educated, yet calculated risks
  • Surround yourself with open minded people
  • Embrace learning 24/7


Are you ready?
Come on in, pop in your awesome earbuds and take a listen!

Show Notes Transcript

“Someone once said that the strongest will is the will that knows how to bend.”

Welcome to Episode 3: One Word Worth Building Your Business Around. If there’s one thing that stays the same, it’s the knowledge that things will be forever changing. Ironic, right?! That’s because it is.

So, how do we at Virtually Untangled do this?

How do we navigate and build new businesses to be successful or turn the tides for ones who know they must become adaptable in order to survive?

We believe that the key to survival lies deep in the business’s genetic foundations and our team has identified four major ways to boost adaptability skills and we would encourage you to allow these “four horsemen” to guide you as you either build a new business or work to shift the tides of an existing business.

  • One who remains the same never grows
  • Taking educated, yet calculated risks
  • Surround yourself with open minded people
  • Embrace learning 24/7


Are you ready?
Come on in, pop in your awesome earbuds and take a listen!

If there’s one thing that stays the same, it’s the knowledge that things will be forever changing. Ironic, right?! That’s because it is. 

Think about it for a moment, the one thing that we can depend on is that nothing will ever remain the same. Don’t be surprised if the main emotion you’re feeling right now, to be frustration. 

It’s incredibly frustrating to spend hours of our time, trying to solve a problem that has come up in our business through circumstances that we have absolutely zero control over. This is the stuff that causes sleepless nights, anxiety ridden mornings, decisions that are impossible to solve in such a way that everyone will be happy and has caused more than one business leader to feel the urge to drive their fist through a wall. 

You can’t move forward without looking back to see where you’ve been. The lessons that history teaches us are vital. As my team and I look back while simultaneously looking forward, one word keeps rising to the top of our minds. 

ADAPTABILITY. 

The ability to thrive through changes that we can’t control goes right down to basic survival instincts. Let’s look to the animal kingdom for a little inspiration …

Chameleons are amazing little creatures and I was surprised at some of the parallels we can draw between these animals and building a business that can survive the ups and downs of major change.

One interesting thing about chameleons is that they are unable to generate their own body heat, so the ability to change the color of their skin is the way these cute little creatures maintain favorable body temperatures. 

A very common misconception that the reason chameleons change colours is to camouflage themselves to whatever their current surroundings are, when in fact the most common reason to change color is to help regulate their body temperature -- or to communicate with other chameleons.

The most outer layer of their skin actually has no color at all, making it completely transparent. Beneath the transparent layer of skin are several more layers of skin containing chromatophores and these are filled with sacs of different kinds of pigment. Normally, the pigments are locked away inside tiny sacs within the cells. But when a chameleon experiences changes in body temperature or mood; its nervous system tells specific chromatophores to expand or contract. This changes the color of the cell. 

By varying the activity of the different layers, the chameleon can produce a whole variety of colors and patterns. It’s incredible that these creatures are built to thrive from the outside in. 

My point in all of this is no matter what temperature changes this creature must adapt to, or what circumstances it may face, it is prepared to adapt while at the heart they never become anything different then what they truly are. No matter what colour changes they go through each and every single day, they always remain exactly who they are at the core – chameleons. 

Comparing anything to chameleons has sometimes gotten a bad rap as we associate the ability to change quickly as sign of internal weakness or lack of commitment to remain true to who you are. 

However, if you take the analogy one step further you will see that the chameleon never actually becomes anything other than it was created to be. It simply adapts in order to survive and carry out its main mission in life.  

In the business world, the “temperature”, so to speak, changes all the time. 

Looking back over the last two decades, the marketplace has seen MAJOR crises 
and changes starting with the year 2000 and the bursting of the “technology bubble”, 2001, the September 11 terrorist attacks, 2002 the Stock Market Crash. 

And then in 2008, we saw the biggest Ponzi scheme in history with the unravelling of Bernard Madoff, former chairman of NASDAQ, in one of the largest investment fraud schemes in Wall Street history. In short, he defrauded his investors of around $18 billion and was sentenced to 150 years in prison. 

From 2007 to 2009 we saw the Global Recession and the collapse of Wall Street. Then fast-forwarding to 2020, we are all sick to death of COVID-19 and the instability this crisis has brought to companies globally killing so many smaller businesses and causing millions to lose their jobs leaving their livelihoods in question. 

There’s no question about it, being an entrepreneur in today’s day ‘n age can be scary. 

So how do we do this?

How do we navigate and build new businesses to be successful or turn the tides for ones who know they must become adaptable in order to survive?

We believe that the key to survival lies deep in the business’s genetic foundations. 

Has the foundation of your business been built with adaptability in mind?

Have you considered modelling your businesses infrastructure to resemble the layers that make up the chameleon?

As mentioned earlier, the chameleon’s most outer layer of skin is transparent. And the deeper you go the more sophisticated the process becomes so that this stunning creature can change color as it needs too without ever becoming something other than what it was intended to be. The only reason this works is because of the deeply intelligent design behind the makeup of this animal. 

Sometimes things are not as complicated as we make them out to be.

Just because the concept isn’t complicated doesn’t mean it’s not going to take a huge amount of heavy lifting to make even smallest shifts and changes. What we are proposing takes an incredible amount of dedication and hard work. It can mean a complete do-over of something you spent years and money putting together. Sometimes even a total restructuring of ways that worked well but have room for improvement. 

To speak plainly, stuff only works until it doesn’t. Let me repeat that, practices and processes only work until they don’t anymore. 

So, plan ahead for change and build adaptability into the foundation of your business. Certainly change can be a painful and frightening thing, but it can also signal a time of new hope, exciting things to come and ultimately the desired stability to outlast those that have not succeeded to anticipate the vital importance of adaptability.

To quote Brene Brown … Let’s consider these “Gifts of Imperfections”.

Our team has identified four major ways to boost adaptability skills and I would encourage you to allow these “four horsemen” to guide you as you either build a new business or work to shift the tides of an existing business. 

All of us that form my team here at Virtually Untangled are entrepreneurs in our own right. However, before that, we spent years working crappy 9 to 5’s. One of the things that makes the entrepreneurial mind cringe more than almost anything is hearing the dreaded phrase, “Well, that’s the way we’ve always done it.” 

Having this thought process be your guiding light is incredibly dangerous and may very well take you down a road of missed opportunities because as business leaders it is just to damn difficult to go that far out of our comfort zone. 

I am not suggesting in any way that we not learn from the past, we definitely should! However, I would highly caution against falling into that “everything needs to remain the same” trap. One who remains the same, never grows!

It’s wonderful when things work out, but in order to stay sharp and on top of our game, we must continuously think about how we can make things better. So that would be my first recommendation, be willing to change your thought process and let go of that dreaded time trap mentality. 

My next thought does not come lightly. This comes after a decade of slugging it out on my own, building virtual business. So here it is - force yourself to take risks. Start small and work your way up from there. Minimal progress is made without risk. And risk is necessary in order to remain highly adaptable. 

Certain levels of risk are enjoyable. Even fun! I think most of us are born with the ability to handle certain levels of risk. However, it’s much easier to work for a corporation and advise others to be risk-takers than to employ those same techniques when it’s your own business on the line. 

I believe there is such a thing as educated risk and calculated risk which is very different than just taking risk blindly. However, I’m also a great believer in taking risks by listening to my instincts. Listen to the market. Listen to your instincts. And once you’ve decided where the risk is that you’re going to take, take it decisively. Give your business a measured amount of time to either succeed, measure the changes that are observed as quantifiably as possible and decide again whether the risk was worth it or not. 

Think outside the box by removing the box completely. But with caution.

My third recommendation is to encourage those around you to be open minded. One of the best ways to cultivate having an open mind is to encourage others to do the same. Surround yourself with a TRIBE; people that are willing to think creatively and come up with A’s to your Q’s that keep your business highly functional and adaptable. And find an accountability partner that keeps you honest and on your toes.

My last recommendation is easier said than done … Embrace learning. 

This goes hand-in-hand with the first point I made in regard to changing your thought process. I am 100% certain that one cannot truly happen without the other. Charles Darwin’s words still ring very much true. “It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent, it is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

In Jeff Boss’s Forbes article, “14 Signs of an Adaptable Person”, he identifies the following traits of adaptable people: they experiment, see opportunity where others see failures, are resourceful, think ahead, don’t whine, talk to themselves, and don’t blame others. They also don’t claim fame, are never curious, open their minds, see systems, and stay current.   

Melissa Cory, the co-founder of the Women in Leadership Conference in Oklahoma once said, “Those who remain flexible and have the opportunity to adapt their thinking and behavior to circumstances possess an important skill.” She later added, “Turning moments of change into opportunity, however, means we need to be ready to embrace change, create a network that supports us and tools that help us navigate this change.”  

So, if you think back to the four lessons, I think Melissa sums it up very nicely. 

Transformations are never easy.

In 2019, Harvard Business Review released an article on the “Top 20 Business Transformations of the Last Decade”.

The #1 company was Netflix. 

Then in 2013, CEO Reed Hastings released an 11-page memo to employees and investors detailing a commitment to move from just distributing content digitally to become a leading producer of original content that could win Emmys and Oscars.

The memo stated, “We don’t and can’t compete on breadth with Comcast, Sky, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Sony, or Google. For us to be hugely successful we have to be a focused passion brand. Starbucks, not 7-Eleven. Southwest, not United. HBO, not Dish.”

Since unveiling that new purpose, Netflix’s revenue has beyond tripled, its profits have multiplied 32-fold, and its stock increased by over 57% annually.

Today’s connected world has led to the age of the customer: Powered by technology and the online world, customers have higher expectations than ever before. Mobile has led consumers to be always on, connected and in control. Social has created a digital influencer community; voice has brought instant gratification and convenience.

Another company that has worked well to adapting to changes in the marketplace is Hasbro. Hasbro is one of the world’s most iconic toymakers, with Monopoly, Nerf, My Little Pony, and Play-Doh among some of their leading brands. 

They realized they had been focusing on children and its advertising rather than the people who actually buy the products.

By leveraging segments of their available customer data, Hasbro was able to transform its marketing efforts to meet their target consumer’s needs. They use social media to run targeted ads while focusing on multiple channels to expand their reach. 

This strategy targets parents with relevant products when they are buying for their children, which is a strategy that is proving highly effective. And by doing so, their ad spend grew sales by up to $1 billion, hitting the $5 billion mark in 2016 for the first time in its 93-year history.

An article in Harvard Business Review was released and aptly name “Adaptability: The New Competitive Advantage” …

In order to adapt, a business must have its antennae tuned to signals of change from its external environment, decode them then quickly act to refine -- or reinvent -- its business model and reshape the information landscape of its industry. 

Think back to when Stirling Moss was winning Formula One car races …

The car and the driver determined who won. But today the sport is as much about processing complex signals and making adaptive decisions as it is about mechanics and driving prowess. 

Hundreds of sensors are built into these amazingly fast cars; race teams continuously collect and process data on several thousand variables ranging from weather and road conditions to engine RPM and the angles of curves -- and feed them into dynamic simulation models that guide the drivers’ split-second decisions. A telemetric innovation by one team can instantly raise the bar for all …

All-in-all, adaptability is a great asset to have because life is extremely unpredictable. And as we’ve all learnt from 2020, things can change on a dime.

Someone once said that the strongest will is the will that knows how to bend. 

At the end of the day it’s fairly simple -- to exist is to adapt, if your business cannot adapt, it will die, and room will be made for one who can. Adaptability is truly the secret to in order for your business to succeed and survive. Plus, the more your business can adapt, the more interesting it becomes!