There’s no denying that technology and social media have changed the world of business forever. Consumers can access millions of products with the touch of a screen, and it’s this very accessibility that makes it so imperative for companies to continuously develop and thrive. Without doing so, they risk falling behind the pack.
To dominate in a global market, large multinationals understand that they need to be agile and innovative with everything they do. Market rivals are constantly striving to out-do each other so they can continue to engage, grow and maintain their client base.
While larger organisations are able to pump money and resources into continuous research and development to stay nimble and innovative – what of small or start-up businesses? It’s known that Australia is home to a substantial number of small businesses who contribute a large amount of the GDP. Last year in Australia, of the 2.3m actively trading businesses, 93 per cent had an annual turnover of less than $2m. In that same period, businesses with turnover under $50k had the highest exit rate of 19.4 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
With this landscape in mind, many local governments have recognised the need for business owners to build new skills, gain knowledge and adapt an innovative mindset in order to compete. As such, Wyndham City Council set out to address these needs by building programs intended to nurture and develop small businesses.
Innovate To Excelerate: Learning To Look To The Future
The Innovate to Excelerate Growth Program was created for owners of small businesses operating for less than three years within the Wyndham City Council LGA. The program ran over a three-month period focusing on finding growth solutions and creating business sustainability through a Whole Brain® lens.
Led by Adrian Jobson – business coach, organisational development consultant and a certified HBDI® practitioner – a broad array of small business owners became more familiar with the Whole Brain® Model and how to leverage it.
“The diversity of the group – culturally and professionally – meant I needed a basis for learning that transcended differences, and enabled everyone to establish a sense of personal and group purpose,” explained Jobson
“The Herrmann Whole Brain® Model was a perfect tool for participants to consider ‘what ifs’ and ‘can ifs’ that could promote positive development, and – in turn – build the foundations for growth in the long term. All in all, a highly effective tool to quickly build engagement and results.”
A big part of this was learning to move out of a reactive approach to business and moving into the proactive. While reacting to immediate challenges can sustain a business for a short while, it limits the opportunity for growth.
As the group learned through the program, innovation is the key to a successful business. Gracious, owner of Eagle Lending Solutions had found herself addressing everyday issues without a clear strategy or vision. As she discovered, in order to ensure growth, it was necessary to “build on the foundations while maintaining a clear long-term vision for your business.” Having these goals in mind provides a roadmap for all of your short-term decisions.
Turning Your Realised Potential Into Growth Opportunities
Whole Brain® thinking is designed to give you a lens through which to view problems and solutions. Understanding the language of the four quadrants, and your thinking allows you to shift your perspective. Suddenly, you have a way of grasping how you make decisions and, better yet, you have the knowledge to seek out other approaches to the task at hand.
Rakesh, owner of Pizza Pals franchises, stated that the introduction of Whole Brain® Thinking enabled him to “become more open to the program” as it “changed his whole perspective.” Whilst owner of inSimplify, Murthy, became aware of his own thinking preferences realising that, in order to grow, he “needed to come out of [his] very blue (technical) comfort zone.”
In addition to creating self-awareness in thinking styles and preferences, the Innovate to Excelerate Program simultaneously enabled participants to become more mindful of their decision-making and everyday processes.
Upon receiving her HBDI® profile, Tina, founder and director of Launch Digital found it “liberating” as she was empowered to understand her own “communication and leadership skills.” Not only has Whole Brain® Thinking enabled Tina to understand her own style and preferences, she is now able to “pick up cues” whilst communicating with internal and external stakeholders. This newfound understanding has shifted Tina’s communication with her business partner which has led to greater implementation of her business ideas.
Perhaps one of the most exciting outcomes of Whole Brain® Thinking is the ability to assist people in shifting their thinking and expanding into areas they previously may not have consciously considered.
Michelle, owner of Biznify, became aware of her tendency to focus on facts and details and the “need to develop people skills.” The Innovate to Excelerate Growth Program along with Whole Brain® Thinking created a drastic shift in mindset for Michelle. This ultimately allowed her to explore a different avenue that shows her clients – current and prospective – that she is “not just another bookkeeper” but can bring you a whole lot more.”
What Have We Learned?
After speaking with the diverse range of business owners who took part in the Innovate to Excelerate Growth Program, it’s evident that to learn innovation as a practise you can accelerate the process using a Whole Brain® approach.
Participating in this program led to positive changes in terms of growth for these businesses. The initiative taken by Wyndham City Council highlights the importance of programs like this in supporting Australian small businesses. Without the support of Wyndham City Council or Adrian Jobson’s Program, these small start-up businesses may have faced insurmountable challenges.
As Michelle has summarised, “[Whole Brain Thinking®] and understanding thought processes helps your development as a person and a business owner. In order to achieve the big picture, you need to focus on all quadrants.”
Ensuring innovation is at the core of business values and approaching this in a Whole Brain way is imperative for achieving business sustainability in today’s agile market.