Updated: Jan 4
As you reflect on the experiences of 2022 some answers that were clear may seem muddy now. Here are four Ps that might help clarify your team's identity going forward.
Purpose: Why do we exist? The first step in overcoming an identity crisis is to go back to your reason for being. Is your business relevant to the changing world, and if so, how? If your industry has changed, how has your company internalized those changes? Where might you or your team be resisting necessary change? Can you still articulate the "why" of your organization?
People: Who do we need now, and how do we get and keep them? Do you need to add new skills and perspectives to your team? Consider what has changed, and where you want to go because of those changes. What kinds of experience will get your organization aligned with your purpose and spur profitability? If you are the leader, what does your gut tell you is missing? Guts are still speaking but only when you quiet the noise and listen to the instincts that made you successful in the first place.
Profit: What needs to change to make us profitable? It's interesting to note that Borders Bookstore closed in 2011, but Barnes & Noble showed gains in its retail segment this year. Consider this quote from Michael P. Huseby, CEO and Chairman, BNED: "Our partnership with FLC and Fanatics, which was in start-up mode for much of FY 2022, propelled our general merchandise business growth of 76% on a comparable sales basis. Our high-margin DSS business continued to help tutor students, gaining 400,000 gross subscribers while posting 40% annual revenue growth for bartleby’s digital offerings.” (https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220629005105/en/Barnes-Noble-Education-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Fiscal-Year-2022-Financial-Results)
Partnerships: what new business relationships might you form to create successful collaborations? Here's more on the above story, which I found fascinating: a partnership between Fanatics, (a sports licensing company) Lids (hats, fan gear, sports apparel) and Barnes & Noble resulted in what appears to be a profitable venture into the college courseware delivery business. Where these three businesses met was not at their industry networking event, but in a place they all happened to be: college campuses. This partnership began during the pandemic (https://nypost.com/2021/08/19/fanatics-lids-raise-stakes-in-barnes-noble-college-bookstores/).
This is a new era, but if you can shake off the fear of the unknown, trust what you are learning and pivot, you could create the story you've always wanted to tell in business or in life.
Michele Aikens is an executive coach and author of Consider The Possibilities: Pursuing What Matters Most.