Innovation is what distinguishes between leaders and followers — Steve Jobs. In the world of innovation, we have three I’s, Innovators, Imitators, and Idiots. It’s okay to be the first two I’s. Some reputed global businesses have been successful just by imitating others. But even imitating needs a strategy. Market dynamics and other business pressure forces us to quickly try to adopt a certain approach, product, or service from a competitor (or anywhere) to try to remain relevant. The question is, what happens when you don’t have your own strategy and you constantly keep on jumping on everything new that emerges in your market.
Customers Get Confused
It is expensive to build brand credibility and acceptance. The last thing you want to do is to confuse your loyal customers unless you want to create a completely new customer base which doesn’t make sense. Creating a new customer base is expensive and resource-intensive especially for small businesses. Your customers already trust you on what you are good at. They expect you to do disruption and increase their positive experience on what you already offered to them not to offer them a completely new thing. It’s like, I just need mayonnaise on my burger and you come back and give me a Pizza. If I reject it, it is you the stupid one, if I accept it we both are.
Jeopardizing Your Credibility
If you say you are doing this and all of a sudden you doing something else it makes us question your credibility. If your mission state, “We are building the innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship ecosystem” and all of a sudden you start organizing reality TV shows about relationships. We will all be shocked. Nevertheless, if the show is about entrepreneurship at least we will understand what you are trying to do since it aligns with your mission. Always try to spend enough time before launching a product or service to investigate how it informs your overall strategy as a company.
You look desperate
Your competitors can easily smell blood. Jumping here and there clearly, shows people (your customers, suppliers, authorities, etc) you are struggling. Especially in times like these when we are navigating the COVID19 crisis you don’t want to look desperate. The most valuable commodity is calmness. Stay calm and stick to your strategy. Don’t allow distractions that will lead to wastes. You want to effectively utilize your resources to ensure you come out on the other side of the crisis stronger.
Losing Team Morale
Your team is a “TEAM” because you have a plan without a plan is just a bunch of people working together there is no “TEAM” there. When you constantly come up with crazy ideas, it is good if they align with what you do and what you are looking to achieve otherwise they are simply “DISTRACTIONS”. Quoting James Clear, “Be careful with items on your to-do-list that look like opportunities most of them tend to be distractions”. They just want to take you out of focusing on the core thing. The last thing you want to have is a distracted team without a plan.
You Can’t Sustain It
Have you ever started something and do it for a few weeks before you stopped. I know the answer is yes. It is because you started it without a strategy. It is easy to replicate a certain product or service just to realize it is not working. It is not working for you, for your customers, for your team, simply it is not working for anyone. Most of the time when organized startups or businesses launch something is because they have a plan. They know how much it costs to sustain it, who will pay for it, who are the potential partners, how much resources it will drain, what do if they face challenges, and how to make it continue to stay relevant. You don’t have that hence the copy-cut version of your product or service will fail.
Why are we doing this again? If you have received this question from your employee or colleague you need to revisit whatever you are trying to do. Things that align with the strategy are easy to communicate and execute. Things just emerge from nowhere requires a lot of communication and alignment within the team. A very good employee might look bad simply because whatever you are communicating doesn’t make sense or doesn’t align with the KPI you have set for her.
When you have limited resources you don’t want your team to focus on things that don’t make sense or don’t align with your strategic agenda. First, it undermines your leadership capabilities and makes you look disorganized. Second, resources that were supposed to do something that really makes sense will be shifted to you to toy around with things that don’t make sense. Ending frustrating everyone in the team.
When you don’t have a plan whatever you do comes out half-baked. If it is a social media campaign; the quality of your posts will look poor, your visuals will look poor, etc. To build or copy something great you need to take your time. As I said, there is nothing wrong with imitating but don’t try so hard to look like an “IDIOT”.
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