The keys to your success today may not work tomorrow

A winning strategy is an essential part of leadership. It’s a result of your ability to create a vision and then build a team that can execute on your bold ideas. This is a unique gift, one that brings you power, prestige and, if you do it right, wealth.

The problem for some leaders, however, is that they get too locked in to their tried-and-true formula for success.

Every decision that is made must match up with that winning strategy. If it doesn’t fit, the opportunity is cast aside in favor of a plan that is a better fit with their existing business model.

This is a dangerous place to be as a leader.

One need only look at the demise of once-iconic brand names like Polaroid, Sears, Blockbuster and, most recently, Toys R Us, to understand that in business, as in life, tomorrow is promised to no one. You must constantly be searching, exploring and strategizing for new opportunities that can extend the life cycle of your company.

This proactive approach to growth is something I’ve been working on with Kurt Treu, who counsels business leaders as the Growth Coach of Greater Cleveland.

Treu has been licensed to deliver The Goss-Reid Winning Strategy™ Methodology, which is based on the best-selling book, “The Last Word on Power: Executive Re-Invention For Leaders Who Must Make The Impossible Happen,” by Tracy Goss.

A key lesson of this book is that some leaders just don’t believe there is any other way to lead.

“There are things they want to achieve that they don’t think are possible,” Treu says. “It’s because their winning strategy has them trapped in a box.”

Netflix is one of the best examples of a company that deftly avoided this trap. Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph co-founded Netflix in 1997 after Hastings had been charged a $40 late fee for an overdue movie rental from Blockbuster. Their idea was to allow customers to rent movies through the mail. The company’s signature red envelopes quickly became a hit.

In 2000, Hastings offered to sell 49 percent of his company to Blockbuster and create a new online segment for the video rental company, which at its peak had more than 9,000 stores around the world. Blockbuster rejected the offer and Netflix continued to grow.

As customers moved away from discs and streaming video services became more popular, Netflix was ready to capitalize on the emerging market. Today, it’s a $11.6 billion company that even produces its own original content. Blockbuster is down to one store in Bend, Oregon.

Hastings’ willingness to change course has given Netflix the ability to thrive in a constantly changing business environment. As business leaders, we need to be just as aggressive as we explore new ways to grow revenue. We can’t let the fear of change limit our options as we move forward.

As Jack Welch once said, “Control your own destiny or someone else will.”

Fred Koury is president and CEO at Smart Business Network. To learn more about the services offered by Kurt Treu, you can email him at [email protected] or call (440) 384-5088.