This year I have been speaking to those in business leadership about ‘my growth obsession and the experience economy’. There are a few key elements that I explore within this as the critical elements to a growth strategy:
- People (stakeholders)
- Customer. (I use the singular term ‘customer’ deliberately, as they are all individuals with individual needs and should be treated as such whenever possible).
I speak about external focus, data, picking trends, the next wave, and the shift in the way we observe our customer wanting to engage with our businesses. I also look at internal elements such as investing in systems and processes to allow for scale, as well as the day-to-day experience of work for the people within the enterprise. And I always try to keep one an eye on the horizon as I consider global competition and opportunity.
This is the journey that we are on at the Big Red Group. The transformation we have undertaken – and all that is yet to be done – is part of our plan to prove a thesis that people want experiences, not ‘things’. And to achieve our vision to deliver an experience every second somewhere on earth by 2025. We believe there are many ‘jobs’ that experiences are hired to do – some have a business application like team building or incentive programs; others are in the realm of self-purchase (“what will we do this weekend?”); or of course, as gifts, which is what RedBalloon is best known for.
Much has been done, but there is still a long way to go. There is so much opportunity in the current moment as we see the experience economy gaining more and more momentum. It is an exciting time to be in business as we discover new audiences, and witness Millennials and Baby Boomers increasingly valuing experiences over things. There is a wave, and we are riding it.
Big Red Group senior business leadership team on a recent offsite, experiencing the best Tasmania has to offer.
There is much to be done to capture and harness this incredible market opportunity. And we have been working tremendously hard for the last two years to build momentum. However, just as we think we have reached the ‘finish line’, we look to the horizon and there is so much more to do. As an example, we may have retired our old tech stack and implemented new platforms, but there is still so much more on the road map and more rollouts are coming. The world never stops turning and we must keep up.
So no, we are not there. Yet. This is the life of the entrepreneur: Change is essential to thrive, scale and fulfill on our purpose.
As I reflected with an audience yesterday, there is no ‘perfect’; it is never finished, never done. The inbox is never empty, and the roadmap continues over the horizon. But isn’t that what gets us out of bed every morning? The chance to explore new territory, create, invent and change the world around us.
“The successful organisations of the future will be those that are trusted – by their customers, employees and the community alike.” KPMG Research
Ultimately it is for leadership to bring people on the journey of never-ending change. To clearly articulate what we do have, versus what is missing. To show how the glass is half full, and that the resources, time and strategy are in place.
Learning from other leaders (past and present) can assist us to find the tools we need to do this. I reflect on a story regarding General Montgomery in WWII. He was continually hearing from his lieutenants and troops, “We need better training, we need better equipment – we are being beaten because of it”. Montgomery went to Churchill to request better equipment and better training. And Churchill responded, “Tell the men they do have the best equipment and the best training – because they do”. And Montgomery returned to his troops and emphatically declared that they were the best and they had the best.
The troops believed. And they began to win each battle, and ultimately won the war. And Montgomery went on to be considered one of the great leaders of the time.
This was not about misleading the troops – it was about shifting their view. We often look at what we do not have versus what we do have. We look at what is missing or imperfect, rather than what we have available to us.
It is leadership that brings this together for people. It is great leaders who who their teams not only why it is possible, but show them what greatness is and what they have at their disposal to make it happen. What they need to do the job.
I’m not talking about putting ‘icing on mud pie’. The fact is, there is always more to do; but this should never get in the way of aligning our people to the opportunities available when we truly see what we do have to make things happen. There is such power in allowing people to see what’s possible.
It is belief, trust and vision that bring people together.
I’m not saying we have got everything right along the way; and we have so much more to do. But we are intentional – and we know what needs to be done to build this enterprise. I believe so strongly in why we do what we do, and it is up to me to ensure that I deliver the right messages at the right time to our leaders to enable them to share this vision with true passion and purpose.
Our journey continues. We are not there yet.