Attitudes: Stay Hungry in the New Year
While we were interviewing Tim Baxter for our Hall of Fame profile, we asked him to name one of the most important lessons he has learned while working at Samsung: “Stay hungry,” he said.
Baxter went on to talk about the dangers of complacency, especially for a company like Samsung that is on the top of its game. No matter how big or successful the company, it is still expected to grow, he said.
All CE retailers have issued that same directive to their staff at some point over the last year. The beginning of the New Year, though, is the perfect time to restate that mission, work with each member of your team to draw a new strategic map, sharpen existing initiatives and develop fresh ones, and set a course for growth in 2014.
The Samsung example is a good one to follow. Back in June, company chairman Lee Kun-hee sent an email to his 470,000 employees telling them they must do better, as the New York Times reported in a recent story, “Samsung – Uneasy in the Lead.” Kun-hee issued the decree shortly after the company ended a record year: $288 billion in sales, enviable profitability, status as one of the most admired companies in the world and most successful CE company, transformation from a fast follower to a leader.
It all sounds like reason to celebrate. Instead, Kun-hee demanded that his people stay hungry and work tirelessly to develop the next killer product, feature, technology or business strategy that would maintain Samsung’s position as the industry leader. When you’re at the top, as we all know, there’s no place left to go but down.
Your company might be a tad bit smaller than Samsung, but you can still work with your team to execute similar growth strategies. Start the New Year by identifying an area in your company that’s either underperforming or on the cusp of growth, set the goal and objectives, assign the team, and monitor every step and result. If some element of the process doesn’t work, change it. When the process runs smoothly and the goal is achieved, apply those winning steps to the next project.
Think of those projects as a list of New Year resolutions that, when achieved, will create a stronger foundation from which to tackle your next set of initiatives. And make sure all of your employees have some type of involvement along the way. We know that Kun-hee and Samsung are taking a similar approach. But when your goal is met, make sure to at least throw a small celebration.