How to Avoid Complacency

  • Make decisions based upon leading indicators (indicators and data points that predict the future). Many companies look at key performance indicators and data points which tell a story of the past i.e. how many customers you have, or how much revenue you have generated. And, whilst these are fine metrics, they are limited in their outlook to the future. Instead, consider a set of leading indicators which can help you identify what will happen in the future i.e. customer satisfaction (if it drops, you should soon expect to lose customers), the ‘R-number’ (the rate of any disease’s ability to spread – if its above 1.0 then we can expect exponential growth of a disease, as we have all learnt during the Coronavirus crisis).
  • Constantly test alternative hypotheses (don’t stay faithful to your existing way of doing business, as it may not be future proof) so you stay ahead of the curve. Set time aside for these activities, build it into your strategic planning process.
  • Try to analyse why things happened in your business, to see if luck played a part (it most certainly did) and thus openly and honestly review business practices through a very clear lens. Once you know why things happened and what caused the outcomes, you will be better placed to make enhanced decisions.  
  • When faced without a challenge, make one up. My final piece of advice here is based upon research by the British Medical Journal which showed that people who retire at the age of fifty-five are 89% more likely to die in the following ten years, than those who retired at sixty-five years old. Humans are hardwired to face challenges, and the same can go for companies. If everything looks good in your company, it’s probably a good time to create some challenges – make them up, if they don’t exist.

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