The One-Percent Edge

Small Changes That Guarantee Relevance and Build Sustainable Success

The One-Percent Edge

Author: Susan Solovic
Pub Date: February 2018
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814438800
Page Count: 256
Format: Hardback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814438817

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The End of Business as Usual

Regardless of your company’s size or what industry you’re in. No matter your revenue performance or the popular awareness of your brand today. Despite how well funded you are or how strong your stock price, right now your business is at risk of becoming extinct.

Only 71 of the original Fortune 500 exist today. Why? Because business leaders—from small and big companies alike have traditionally relied on past results to manage future growth. In today’s global, fast-paced, competitive market looking in the rearview mirror to manage growth is the beginning of the end. Relying on past performance, business leaders get lulled into a false sense of security and find themselves scrambling when a new competitor, technology, or market shift shakes the business’s foundation. Once in this predicament, the likelihood of a successful transformation is minimal.

Over the years, we’ve seen myriad management programs to assist business leaders in transforming their operations to be more competitive, improve productivity, and increase profitability. I recall sitting in a conference room for days on end back when I worked as an executive for a Fortune 50 company. The organization was struggling through a Total Quality Management analysis to improve our business results. Afterward, the company went back to business as usual.

The Total Quality Management analysis was cumbersome to apply and, in my opinion, added to bureaucratic rigidity, particularly in the areas of the business I ran: marketing and sales. Every job function needed a workflow analysis to measure productivity and output.

The reason I created the One-Percent Edge process and wrote this book is because I recognize the need for businesses to build innovation into their DNA. And I believe the process should be as fluid and intuitive as possible so teams don’t get bogged down in minutiae. Agility, creativity, and flexibility are the cornerstones. Let’s face it: The five-year strategic plan is a dinosaur. Successful businesses must operate in real time. They must be agile and adaptable, willing to experiment and adjust quickly if needed. Employees should be empowered and emboldened to speak up with creative ideas and concepts. Technology should be leveraged to increase productivity and enhance the customer experience both externally and internally. Financials and metrics need to be reviewed regularly with an open mindset so leaders can make timely business decisions affecting growth.

Most important, to remain relevant and competitive, business leaders must be willing to look at every aspect of their organizations objectively. You need to be prepared to ask the really tough questions. No sacred cows. That means no egos at the table.

The bottom line: If it ain’t broke, fix it anyway. No business can rely solely on today’s competitive advantage. It’s fleeting. When you’re on top is exactly the time to ask yourself, “What’s next?” Don’t wait until it’s lying in pieces on the ground. Instead, extend that competitive advantage incrementally.

The process is ongoing. It won’t deliver the results you want by going through it one time and marking it off your list. It’s a disciplined approach that should become part of your business operations to ensure your ongoing relevancy and success. You can create and maintain positioning as a market leader by constantly reevaluating your value proposition and implementing incremental enhancements throughout your organization.

Adopt the One-Percent Edge process and you’re on your way to achieving sustainable success.

Excerpted from THE ONE-PERCENT EDGE: Small Changes That Guarantee Relevance and Build Sustainable Success by Susan Solovic with Ray Manley. Copyright © 2018 Susan Solovic. Published by AMACOM Books, a division of American Management Association, New York, NY. Used with permission.

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