February 17/24, 2020: Volume 35, Issue 17
By Lisbeth Calandrino
In the HBO Series “Game of Thrones,” the phrase “winter is coming” is the motto of the House of Stark, one of the Great Houses of the imaginary country of Westeros. The meaning behind these words is one of warning and constant vigilance. Eddard Stark, Lord of the North, is always striving to be prepared for the coming of winter, which hits his lands the hardest.
The basis for my workshop at The International Surface Event 2020 last month was how this phrase can serve as a great lesson for any business. Here are some interesting strategies to consider:
No matter how prepared we are, there will always be a period of darkness in our lives, times when events turn against us. If things are going well in your world, it is doubtful they will last forever.
In “Game of Thrones,” the medieval country is constantly faced with war, competition, strife and danger. Winters or darkness can last for 26 years or more, but so can summer. No one knows how long they will last or when summer will turn to winter. The underlying message is no one is ever safe or comfortable. Within our lives, there will always be a winter.
Lord Stark is always on alert for this winter, and he knows that competing with his enemies doesn’t necessarily mean he will win. He decides to try other tactics instead. Here are three lessons from the House of Stark:
- Don’t tackle the goliaths head on. According to the dwarf-prince Tyrion Lannister, the competition hates you as much as you hate them. Why go up against the “big boys” who have more money and better buying power? We spend an enormous amount of time trying to figure out how to steal a sale from this competition. Why should you bother? Instead of rising against the big-box retailers, why not work in partnership with smaller retailers and collaborate? Work on the installation crises together, hold training workshops, share installers and develop a community workshop. Let the rest of them spend their money trying to destroy the big guys.
- Embrace chaos instead of letting it rule you. Poor planning, lack of follow-through and cash-flow issues. These are issues you should be constantly learning from and overcoming. These are the basics of your business and need to be repaired immediately. I believe business is easy; it’s people who are difficult. Spend your time holding people accountable for you and your business. Chaos teaches your people how to repair these situations. Teach your team to calm down, let go of your need for perfection and look at your problems with fresh ideas.
- Keep your eye on the big picture. Lord Jon Snow, another ruler of the North, looks beyond the wall of competition. Instead of worrying about the other guy, he has decided he is the competition to be reckoned with. He sets the bar for himself. As a flooring dealer, you must look beyond your daily problems and strategize around what it will take to build your long-term business. The successful ones look at their digital marketing strategies, understand their target customers and work on building a competitive advantage.
Look around our industry; there are many successful businesses that have determined their path to fortune using their own strengths and ideas. Instead of looking within the industry, they search outside for winning tactics.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.