Looking around the corner

May 14, 2016By Industry Intuition, Views


By Dave Wendland for Drug Store News

April 14, 2016

I often use the expression and encourage others to “Look around the corner.” My intent is to reinforce the importance of not becoming too comfortable with the status quo. New opportunities present themselves everyday — but you may have to stretch your imagination a bit and connect dots that are not yet formally established.

It begins with passion. Personally speaking, I’m very passionate about this industry — I’ve eaten, slept, and lived this industry for 24 years professionally, and a lifetime vicariously. My parents used to talk fondly about people in the industry and I am especially proud to have carried on our family name in a positive, impactful way. I am optimistically cautious about the industry’s future. There is much work to be done and change is occurring as we speak, yet I’m convinced that timing couldn’t be better for organizations to seize new opportunities and reinvent themselves.

Organizationally, it is imperative to remain consistent and focused when on the cusp of change. The company’s character and brand identity serves as the foundation for growth. It’s been said that a brand is something that people talk about after you’ve left the room. If your brand is not established on a firm foundation it is nearly impossible to grow or positively innovate.

In addition, it is vital that the entire organization feels compelled to embrace reinvention and each associate accepts personal responsibility to remain flexible throughout the process. To positively influence our business’ growth, I strive to empower and encourage others to empathetically and honestly reach new heights. It is my belief that it is a team of dedicated individuals that drive game-changing results.

Finally, to expand a business in a new direction there must be a willingness to fail before succeeding. Exploring new opportunities and venturing outside one’s comfort zone can be a scary proposition. The fear of the unknown often stops people in their tracks. Or opportunities are overthought (think paralysis by analysis). There are three keys to success that I have repeatedly seen as useful in considering a move beyond the status quo:

  1. Fit — how will the new venture align with core competencies, fill noticeable voids, or add additional capability?
  2. Flexibility — can you convince your key managers and all associates to stretch beyond their current limitations? Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “If you stretch beyond your current limitations, you will never return to your original shape.”
  3. Feelings — does the opportunity “feel right?” It’s a matter of trusting your business instincts and your gut.

Begin by imagining a new pathway and beginning to connect dots that may not be fully developed and even those that may initially appear unrelated. And, most importantly, remain persistent and patient – never give up. Remember, one never knows what opportunity lies just around the corner.