When businesses and industry service organisation (ISO) leaders confront the need for dramatically improved performance, they start hearing a lot about what can’t be done. A solutions mindset is to innovate and overcome hurdles, but when people speak with authority about what can’t be done it confines the scope for change.
Savvy leaders will challenge such claims and start searching for the bright lights – real examples internally and externally of where it is being done successfully and could be adapted or scaled up.
Declining business engagement is a good example. Traditional ISOs will claim it is just part of a trend that affects all types of organisation and must be accepted. However, notice that the Australian LinkedIn site has gone from 1 million users in 2010 to 10 million today. Globally there are almost 650m users since LinkedIn was formed in 2002. The evidence is that the modern business community will engage on-masse where they see value.
In Australian agriculture the accepted doctrine of traditional peak bodies is that statutory marketing levies can’t be used for advocacy. However, it has been and is done by an organisation formed almost 20 years ago – Australian Pork Ltd. It doesn’t mean others should adopt that model (it is two decades old!), but it does mean it can be done.
For businesses and ISOs alike, the winning mindset is one of curiosity, questioning and action: identify what is working well now and do more of that; know what is possible and learn; and stop doing what you know isn’t working.
The clues about what can be done by 21st Century businesses and industry service organisations are already visible. Good ideas reside in parts of your own organisation; in the entrepreneurial businesses within your industry; in sectors outside your industry; in political parties, interest groups and activist organisations; and in the fast-growing businesses that were born digital.
If you ask the right questions, you will often discover that others are already doing what you were led to understand could not be done.