POST WRITTEN BY Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council
Top business and career coaches from Forbes Coaches Council offer firsthand insights on leadership development & careers.
These days, it seems new technologies are developed and released almost daily. Leaders of young businesses may think they need to implement the latest tech immediately to keep up or, if they’re in tech development themselves, rush a new product to market. But that’s not always the smartest move—with technology, as with anything else, “new” doesn’t always equal “better,” and “first” doesn’t always equal “winner.”
Deciding when to adopt or implement new technology is tricky, with many considerations to weigh before making a decision. So how can business leaders know when to “stay the course” with the technology they’re already using or providing versus pursuing innovation? We asked 13 members of Forbes Coaches Council to give their best advice on making the right decision for your company.
1. Let Your Market Drive Your Infrastructure
“Shiny object syndrome” is rampant in the entrepreneurial community: “If I only had a 19-step funnel, I would be more successful.” This is exactly what “they” want you to believe. Instead, ask yourself if adding to or enhancing your tech infrastructure will make you more money, increase your reach or provide more upsell opportunities. Then decide. And for heaven’s sake, don’t do it yourself. Hire an expert. – Mitch Russo, Mindful Guidance, LLC
2. Determine What Value It Will Add
In decision-making, look through the lens of what value it will add, as there are tons of shiny new toys and it is easy to get overwhelmed by them. With any decision, there needs to be a clear value-add and value-impact to the team. Once you make a decision, the biggest hurdle is how to implement change with it. This is what matters the most. Good change management will guarantee the value of your decision. – Kristy McCann, GoCoach
3. Know Your Strategy
Is pursuing innovation your strategy or is pursuing innovation something that supports your strategy? There is a difference. If pursuing innovation is your strategy, then you should be on the leading edge. If innovation supports your strategy, then you will want to explore how much of an impact those supporting innovations will really have. Otherwise, you may adopt change needlessly. – Kyle Brost, Spark Policy Institute & Choice Strategy Group
4. Focus On What Best Serves Your Customers
Before investing to keep up with the Jones Co., review change opportunities in view of your company vision, mission and values. Does the change fit? If so, check in with your customers. In focus groups or a survey, find out if the changes you’re considering will significantly impact your client’s satisfaction, loyalty or engagement with your company. Invest in what will make them sing about you. – Christine Rose, Christine Rose Coaching & Consulting
5. Balance Short-Term And Long-Term Profitability
Exploring the latest technology and changes in the market is critical to success in the long run. Thoughtful and intentional strategy and planning will help create a balance between the business of today and the business of the future. Stay the course as long as it’s profitable and you are developing the next generation of your product at the same time. – Larry Boyer, Success Rockets LLC
6. Assess The Impact
Entrepreneurs must balance an opportunity for growth against the unintended consequences and risks. It is good to have a clear idea of your goal. What would the innovation gain the organization? And know the resources available. Do you have the staff, infrastructure and capacity to deliver what you promise in an innovation? If not, stay the course. And prepare the infrastructure so you are ready! – Sharon Hull, Metta Solutions, LLC
7. Appoint A Board Of Directors
Entrepreneurs who try to be the chief cook and bottle washer of their company can quickly find critical failures. Many people who are willing to help you need a title and some care from you; they don’t always need money. They can be invaluable when implementing new technology changes. If your board understands your mission they can protect you from mistakes while helping you make the right moves. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
8. Invest In Your Relationships
Technology is amazing but will never replace the value of human contact and connection. Technology should enhance relationships and connections, not replace them. Invest in areas and technology that will strengthen and grow your relationships—add more face-to-face and personal contacts, they are your greatest asset. – Clara Capano, Capano Consulting
9. Go Back To The Basics
Your leadership must periodically scan the internal and external environments for opportunities. Use basic tools like Porter’s 5 Forces and SWOT analysis. These basic fundamental tools take the subjectivity out of your strategic impulses to change too early or late. – Brian M Harman, Business Management Hallmark
10. Navigate With A Business Model Canvas
As prototypes are tested and markets explored, ideas shift and plans change. However, a resolute focus is also key. Overplaying the innovation card is risky. A clear picture of the strategic business model is critical to making decisions about when to pivot. The Business Model Canvas is a great tool for entrepreneurs to diagnose challenges and make informed decisions about how and when to shift. – Mitchell Shack, Centauric, LLC
11. Don’t Quit The Marathon At Mile 25
The adoption curve on newness can be painfully slow, especially in traditional industries. When you have revolutionary products and services, look for updated ways for these to relate to your potential customers rather than scraping the idea in the name of further innovation. The tipping point of making something work can often just be one connection away. – Jennifer Thompson, Deviant Thinking
12. Don’t Get Distracted
There are so many competitive innovations hitting the market every day that you can be forgiven for thinking you’re behind or missing the wave. Don’t be distracted. Take a deep breath and look back at the beginning—why you decided to follow this course and what you envisioned was your end state. Anything that doesn’t directly impact these is unworthy of much, if any, of your attention. – Gregg Ward, The Gregg Ward Group
13. Ignore Comparisons
In a world dominated by social media, there is more pressure than ever to “keep up.” Comparisons can be cancer. Success is perception, and many posts and news are highlight reels. The only relevant view is where you are compared to yesterday. Create and work your plan. Stay the course until it isn’t working. Always look to innovate, but make changes when your business is ready. Ignore comparisons. – Brian Bogert, The Brian Bogert Companies, LLC
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Find out if you qualify at forbescoachescouncil.com/qualify. Questions about an article? Email [email protected].