Every leader has that 'what if' moment, a missed opportunity that lingers in their mind, reminding them of the fragile balance between risk and reward.
As I think through my own story, I can't help but think of when I stood on the precipice of transformative change, peering into the future of what could've been.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of working with a leading US publisher. The industry was on the cusp of a seismic shift. Amazon had stepped into the scene, reshaping the way people bought books. Traditional bookstores were feeling the pressure, and many would eventually close their doors. The urgency to innovate was palpable.
We brainstormed with the publisher's leadership team for several days and finally settled on a bold idea: a direct-to-consumer platform--not just a standard online store but a space enriched with exclusive content, communities steered by authors, and an all-around elevated reader experience. This was more than feasible, given the publisher's strong rapport with its authors.
But here's where the narrative turns: the idea never saw the light of day.
The obstacle wasn't a lack of resources or enthusiasm. The challenge lay in the publisher's longstanding business model. They were rooted in a selling system to intermediaries, distributors, and retailers, not directly to passionate readers.
Transitioning from this model would have required significant change. They hesitated, worried about the ramifications on their long-established retail relationships.
Today, the landscape is even more transformed: most retailers no longer exist, Amazon has fortified its position, and that innovative opportunity we envisioned? It's now a chapter of the past.
Many businesses are set up to do one thing well. All the systems in the business are designed to produce that outcome. Too many leaders try to get different outcomes without changing the system.
No matter how revolutionary an idea may be, if you don't evaluate and adapt the foundational systems of your business, that idea might remain just that – an idea.
Sometimes it means retooling existing systems. Often it means creating a new division or even a new business unit that can deliver the new strategy without using the cumbersome systems designed for another product.
So, as we navigate the ever-evolving world of new ideas and opportunities, I challenge you to pause and reflect. Is your organization ready to nurture and grow your new ideas? Are we, as leaders, prepared to make the necessary shifts, even if it means stepping into unfamiliar territory and creating something completely new?
In this journey of leadership and entrepreneurship, our resolve is tested not just by the ideas we conceive but by our willingness to bring them to fruition.
If you're feeling stuck or your ideas are not coming to fruition, maybe it's time to get help and find a coach to help you break through the barriers between you and the breakthroughs you can make. Sometimes a little outside perspective is all you need to help you redesign systems and bring your big idea to life.
As we look to the future, let's remain agile, adaptive, and always ready to learn.
P.S. Sign up to win a free coaching session with me. I will pick an application every month and spend 30 minutes with you answering your questions and helping you figure out your next move. click HERE to sign up.