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Locate Changes in Irresistible Forces: Sensitivity, Selectivity, and Extrapolation

Apr 6, 2008
Many companies aren't very good at noticing anything new and need to develop more sensitivity. Having found a change, the firm's people can then investigate the possible irresistible forces.

Imagine wearing a blindfold and facing the horizon at sunset. By using all of your available senses you can tell when the sun is setting.

You'll notice telltale signs such as losing the sun's warmth on your skin, the little rustle of wind that often comes then, and the changes in animal sounds.

By using all of your operation's senses (each person and each dimension that they are sensitive to), you can overcome any blindness that your organization may have now. You can use all these senses to begin feeling the changes in your irresistible forces.

The blindness that almost all groups experience causes missed opportunities.

For example, if your key competitor has a large layoff, many of its most effective sales people may leave. You then have an improved chance to get business in some of the competitor's accounts.

Unless you are paying attention though, another competitor will notice this first, hire these salespeople, and capture many of the key competitor's accounts for itself. Although your sales and profits won't drop as a result of missing that opportunity, they'll certainly fall short of what their potential is.

How can you approach the ideal best practice of increased sensitivity to locating irresistible forces?

A good starting point is to teach everyone in your operation to notice when the unexpected happens, either positively or negatively. The unexpected may affect your enterprise, competitors, partners, suppliers, customers, shareholders, and the communities in which you operate.

This noticing helps you locate irresistible forces so your business can apply its thinking to them. Each person must then share what they noticed immediately in some way so that you can consider what happened in the context of other unexpected occurrences.

For example, if a customer who is normally a tough sell suddenly becomes easy to sell to, something may have happened to affect that customer's mood and orientation. Or if a supplier suddenly can't meet your delivery standards, there may be unexpected excess demand for the supplier's products or a shortage in needed materials.

When enough unusual circumstances occur that could have the same or similar causes, you need to begin looking into why these things have been occurring. Since you may only be noticing a small percentage of the clues, you can probably assume that something significant is happening anytime you get three indications of mutually consistent changed behavior.

To get the best results, you need some simple way to collect and work with this information. If everyone in your company is on an intranet, you can use some form of group software both for reporting the circumstances and inviting comments on what is happening. Or you can use voice mail or paper forms to do the same thing, if you do not have an intranet.

The important thing is to foster a heightened awareness of your company's environment and to encourage effective communication of the resulting observations.

Your initial reaction may be to consider this change monitoring activity to be an immense task. You need to remember that tracking must be continuous, but actions should only occur after you notice and confirm a change.

As a result, you individually may only be noting a few things and reviewing what others have been noticing, which is hardly very time-consuming. If your notational system is taking too much effort for the benefits, you can have a few people first winnow down what your enterprise is reporting to make the data more relevant and useful.

On the other hand, if it is time-consuming but you are getting a lot of benefits, it makes sense for you to make the necessary commitment. If the latter is the case, be sure to allow enough time for prompt and thoughtful attention by each person involved.
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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