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Beyond the Conference Room Solution

March 01, 2013

Reinvent Your Company...or Someone Else Will

It is so easy to be complacent, particularly when you have an established reputation, long history of success and a successful business model.  Which is why I tell the leaders of these successful companies, “you’ve got a target on your back and I can guarantee you that right now, somewhere in the world, someone is thinking about how to put you out of business. The only real question here is will it be done by you or to you.  Just don't assume that that if you choose not to do it, it won't be done.” You probably don't want to be the leader that poured millions of development dollars into automating your business just as a more innovative competitor is changing the game.  Just ask Research in Motion…

Adored by hoards—especially business people—Blackberry was once the top smartphone. On August 18, 2009, Fortune named RIM as the fastest growing company in the world with a growth of 84% in profits over three years despite the recession.  Lately, though, Blackberry is withering on the vine. Arrogance, poor management, quality issues, outages (just as the iPhone 4S went on sale, no less), and lack of innovation have led to plummeting stock prices and dwindling sales. The potential to dominate the consumer electronics market was in the palm of their hand—literally—but was handed off to Apple, Google, Samsung, and other more adroit companies.

I recently came across an example of a potentially game-changing  new idea out of Israel.  Shai Agassi’s electric car network company, Better Place, might just leave Detroit in the driveway. Agassi was named one of the top 20 'Global Influentials for 2003 by CNN-Time magazine and after founding Better Place, Agassi was included in TIME magazine's 100 most influential people list.

On its terrific website, www.betterplace.com, it says “A world without gas is simpler than you think.  There’s a will. And now there’s a way. Oil isn’t working.  We can feel it – in the air, at the pump, in our neighborhood.  It’s running out.  And if you ask us, the last drop can’t arrive a moment too soon.  The massive spill, the air and water contamination, the geopolitical turmoil.  We’ve had enough of oil.  So we explored the options.   Hybrids – too little too late; hydrogen – impractical on a global scale; natural gas – it burns clean…as fossil fuels go; biofuels – they generate emissions and food shortages.”
Better Place has developed an electric car charging system that generates electrons from as much renewable energy — such as wind and solar — as possible and then feeds those clean electrons into a national electric car charging infrastructure. This consists of electricity charging spots with plug-in outlets and battery-exchange stations all over the participating country. The whole system is then coordinated through a service center that integrates the operations and performs the billing.

Under the Better Place model, consumers can either buy or lease an electric car from the French automaker Renault or Japanese companies like Nissan (General Motors said no) and then buy miles on their electric car batteries from Better Place the way you now buy a Samsung cellphone and the minutes from Verizon.   They are testing thir system throughout Hawaii.  Agassi is reinventing the way we purchase automotive mobility the way Steve Jobs reinvented the way we purchase music.

Who knows if Better Place will ever succeed on a global scale.  But my question is why a young Israeli entrepreneur is the one to redefine our auto industry.  Shouldn’t this grand experiment come out of Detroit?  So a lesson to corporate leaders – either continually reinvent yourselves to maintain relevancy or some enterprising young entrepreneur will do it for you.

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"When I have fully decided that a result is worth getting I go ahead of it and make trial after trial until it comes." - Thomas A. Edison

Let’s start with an explanation of the title, Beyond The Conference Room Solution. In all of my workshops and in many of my lectures, I refer to the phrase, The Conference Room Solution as a far too common approach used by organizations use to solve many of their most challenging issues.

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How does an established organization filled with long-time employees, a deeply entrenched culture, and a history of drawn-out planning and development cycles become nimble, innovative, and responsive in today’s challenging business climate? Published by Bibliomotion, The Q-Loop: The Art & Science of Lasting Corporate Change delivers an actionable strategy to help your company rapidly achieve lasting transformational change.

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