I just attended the IGA Global Rally (I’m the Health and Wellbeing Advisor to IGA) and the NGA Show in Las Vegas (you can learn more about both by clicking on them, but the gist is that it’s independent retailers and wholesalers, manufacturers and service providers coming together to learn, share, meet). In addition to speaking at our strategic growth conference, I got to attend sessions from colleagues with diverse backgrounds talking about the world today and what people want.
Shopping is fun. Technology is eerily exciting. Food keeps us alive. Information is coming at us a million miles an hour from every direction. Let me tell you a story that brings all of these thoughts together from the perspective of a trained health professional who has worked with people in fitness centers, hospitals, on farms, and in stores. #spoileralert – it’s me.
Here are three of my takeaways, and stay tuned for more in the future:
Experience is everything. We are no longer selling or buying stuff. James Mullan presented a session called “7.5 Billion Bosses – Consumers are in Charge Now”. He talked about companies focusing on context first. You may now visit a website that tells you a story, and then shows you relevant items you may want/need for that experience. I think the thing that makes storytelling matter is this: you can’t tell a story willy nilly. You have to have a point and the point has to have context, as some companies are figuring out really well. Want to create a relevant story? Ask yourself a few questions, and in their answers, your story begins to unfold:
- Where would someone be going that they may need this?
- What would someone be doing that this thing might help them do it?
- Why do they need this thing and not another thing?
- Is there anything fun at all about this thing? How can the fun be the feature?
- Is there anything I need to do in order for the thing to be its best (i.e., food safety steps, recipes, what? What completes the thing you have? Weave that into the story, too)
We need to look at things with fresh eyes and incorporate additional skills. Speaker John Maketa made a great point that if we change the way we look at something, we can change the outcome. No longer can we “just” be good at one thing to succeed. We need new skills and new ways to approach our work.
- Work with experts in their field – Certified, licensed, trained – not sure who you need for some of the new skills? Connect with the local healthcare community and colleges – don’t just hire a person who is loud or passionate but without education/training.
- Start an internship program. The students will gain experience and college credit, and the business will gain creative ideas and a fresh perspective.
- Maximize resources – is there something you can do that would meet two or more of your goals without trying to be something to everyone?
- Make sure training programs keep up with new needs in business.
- Don’t let things that you know aren’t quite right slide. Over time, these can add up. If you say something is important to you, then your actions should support those things.
Technology makes “all” things possible. The world is bigger and smaller than it has ever been. Utilize every tool we have. Take what is happening in real life and maximize it for others to experience and take advantage of if they aren’t there in person.
- Find and use tools and information that enhance what you are good at.
- Plan first, talk later. Do not start using new assets without a goal and a protocol in place. How will you handle both criticism and praise? Be good at what you do. Just as importantly, like what you do. Have fun. It’s way more fun when you know what you are doing and why you are doing it, so get that figured out first.
- Did I mention having fun? Yep. Serious business and fun are now good together. I personally always thought they were. Create an environment where fun brings people together.
“Buckle up” is my favorite expression in 2018. It’s going to be a great year!