I recently flew from Fort Lauderdale to Los Angeles. It’s a five-hour flight. The WiFi was down. Sad to say, I (and a whole bunch of other passengers) had no clue what to do with our time. If I had known, I could have brought a book with me. I’m just so used to occupying my time with my iPad. I mean, technology is wonderful. I can order my favorite sub sandwich using an app on my phone. I can deposit checks. There are so many things we can do. Of course, that’s when it works.
But it got me thinking. Every business today is a part of the digital world we operate in. You don’t have to be a technology company to be a part of our digital world. It also means that companies need to figure out how to compete for business. And I don’t mean complete against technology companies, although that could be the case. Think of compete in the sense of competing for attention.
I recently attended a conference where the speaker talked about four things that companies need to compete in the digital world.
- Innovation: I recently wrote a post about Teresa Amabile’s article on Harvard Business Review about encouraging everyday creativity. Those little acts of creativity can yield big organizational results. But it involves more than saying, “Poof! Be creative now.” Organizations need to create environments where employees feel their ideas are welcome and supported.
- Utilization: This is the actual technology. Organizations want technology that automates boring and repetitive processes along with scales for cost-efficiency. Companies don’t have to be early adopters. They do need to be effective adopters. Regardless of what you’re in business to provide, it’s essential to use technology when it makes sense.
- Customer Experience: Organizations need to always be striving to understand what customers really want. Ultimately, they want to partner with customers. That partnership will do a couple of things: 1) customers will share their wish list of improvements for the product or service, 2) if you take care of your customers, they will refer their friends.
- Employee Experience: Speaking of partnerships, companies should look to partner with their employees. It’s about designing jobs that employees want to apply for, creating engagement, and forming a trusting positive relationship between managers and employees. Employees should be well trained to use the company’s technology and understand the value of the customer.
These four components create the company’s financial strategy. Innovation drives operational strategy. Technology fulfills that strategy. Employees implement the strategy. And customers buy-into the strategy (both literally and figurately). Think of them like a table. They all need to be there in equal parts or the table will be wobbly.
Business competition continues to be great because of the war for talent. People are a key differentiator in business. As finding talent gets tough, competition increases. Organizations that want to actively compete will need to spend time thinking about how technology plays a role in their innovation, utilization, customer and employee experiences.
Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby while exploring the streets of Hollywood, FL16