Business has always been a game. Just like top athletes train and practice to come out victorious, companies train and prepare so they can beat the competition. Instead of scoring home runs or goals, however, companies compete on things like revenue, profit, and quarterly metrics. It’s all designed to take market share away from the competition and for organizations to become more powerful. For decades, the focus of nearly every organization has been how it can beat the competition and become victorious. Most companies have been emphasizing their numbers to make shareholders happy and doing whatever it takes to make sure that their quarterly reports are better than someone else’s.
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However, in recent years the game of business has fundamentally changed. Now it’s not about scoring more points or bringing in a bigger profit than the competition, it’s about outlasting them. Instead of the old way of thinking of business as a sprint to the end of the quarter to see who could have the biggest profits, today’s game is a marathon that is more about endurance than speed. The winners of the new game are the companies that can stay in the race while others have fallen behind and can’t keep going.
How do companies stay victorious in the new business game? It all comes down to a changed mentality. To be successful, companies must focus on long-term growth and endurance instead of just what will take them over the top next quarter. For most companies, that changed mindset affects the investments it makes and where it puts its time, money, and resources. With the old way of thinking, companies might throw a bunch of money at a marketing campaign to push sales over the top or try to entice customers to buy so their profits grow. Organizations that are more focused on the long game are much more likely to be successful and stick around for long. In contrast, companies with a short-term mindset will blow through their resources quickly and miss the chance for lasting success. In the business marathon, companies have to think past the first few miles.
The things that make a lasting change to a company aren’t the short-term projects and bursts of success–it’s the focus on the bigger picture and putting effort into things that will last long after the quarter is over. Investing in culture, technology, people, and physical space will prove much more fruitful in the long run. Investing in culture creates a solid brand where employees want to work and feel valued and appreciated. That transfers to customers who want to connect with the company and who will stay loyal for a long time. The same goes for investing in people–putting the effort into finding the right people, training them, and then giving them the flexibility to use their skills can lead to huge long-term rewards for the company as employees give their best effort. Investing in technology and physical space ensures that what the company says it will do and what it actually does are the same. Keeping up with the newest technology allows companies to reach customers where they are and to find long-term solutions that won’t soon be outdated. To win the new business game, companies need to redesign themselves so that people are in the middle, not profits.
The game of business is changing, and companies that can’t change with it will likely be left behind. In order to truly be successful, companies need to switch the focus from profits to people and invest in things that will keep them around for the long term. Is your organization ready for the change?
PUBLISHED IN INC MAGAZINE
BY JACOB MORGAN, AUTHOR, AND FUTURIS
James Rounds is the Founder and CEO of Integrated Corporate Solutions (ICS) is a business development and advisory services firm dedicated to providing alternative business start-up and development solutions for entrepreneurs, for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations of all kind.