Watershed Moments Follow-Up

It’s all fine and good to talk about “watershed moments”, but how exactly do you enact one successfully as a company? It’s no easy feat, but in our experience, there are a few essential ingredients, which include the following:

1) You must have a leader, and preferably an entire leadership team, who have the courage and vision to know they’re on the precipice of change, and to take that leap willingly, rather than being pushed off the edge by circumstance.

2) You need to have a deep and certain instinct about the marketplace and what it is craving. What are the unmet needs and desires that pulsate beneath the surface?

3) You must learn to ignore the repetitive surface things people say about what they want, and to listen more deeply to what they’re not saying, perhaps not even able to say. Henry Ford famously said, “If I had asked my customers what they really wanted, they would have said ‘faster horses’.”

4) You must be willing to “see different” and “think different.” This is perhaps the hardest part. Many people of great courage find themselves trapped in their habitual ways of thinking. What is the answer? Employ approaches and bring in perspectives that are entirely different from what you’re used to. You must, as Einstein said repeatedly, “see the world anew.”

5) You must involve your people in charting the new course, as they’re the ones who will be “running the bridge” of the ship. A disengaged or uninspiring leader, no matter how determined, will eventually become an army of one, and only one.

6) You must have an Idea. Without a concept, theme or vision that inspires and creates sense of purpose, at best you will have to lean on the force of charisma or personality. As human beings, we have an inherent need for Meaning and Purpose. We want to be part of something that’s bigger than merely survival or material advancement.

Watershed moments do not automatically lead to success. In some cases they represent cataclysmic change, or the beginning of the end. But to turn that moment into the beginning of a new era, takes some doing. But the rewards – are breathtaking.