Photography by kevin-jarrett on

Creativity is an essential ingredient in the success of any business. It represents that willingness and ability to improve what already exists or to make something totally new. It’s really about delivering greater customer value, fulfilling emerging needs, improving processes or starting something totally new. But many businesses struggle to be creative.

Active Knowledge Question:

Thinking back over the last five years, can you name something creative that totally changed your business?

What Stops Your Business From Being Creative?

I was asked recently to help a leadership team discover why their business seemed to struggle with being more creative. …

Photography by Jose Aljovin on

In your business, there will be a way in which customers are framed and thought about. It won’t be the same as what is written in the corporate brochures, it will be an attitude born somewhere/somehow in the business, and it probably goes accepted and unnoticed. But it will either underpin or undermine the competitiveness of your business.

Active Knowledge Question:

Do you ever think about whether your customers feel respected?

The Customer

Are you in business to profiteer from your customers, or are you in business to meet their needs better than anyone else? …

Photography by rhondak-native-florida-folk-artist on

The simplest sales growth to achieve in a business is to expand what already exists. But it may also be the weakest form of sales growth with the least endurance and lowest capital value. Nothing worthwhile is achieved easily, and that certainly applies to sustainable business growth. Shifting the focus of sales growth from expansion to creation requires a sustained effort until it becomes a core of your business, and then your growth becomes extraordinary.

Active Knowledge Question:

If you look to where you are presently seeking sales growth, is it simply more of the same?

Quick and Easy

If you are driving…

Photography by Simon Connellan on

There is a dramatic change that occurs when a business evolves from looking to its competitors for cues as to how to grow to looking to its customers and their needs. They suddenly change from being a follower chasing what everyone else is doing to being the one that is setting the next level of customer value and the one who is chased. It starts with the way you think about growth, which then becomes the catalyst of the capital value of your business.

Active Knowledge Question:

Where do you look for ideas and opportunities for business growth?

Stop Looking, Start Creating

There is no science behind…

Photography by katya-austin on

Business growth often goes unquestioned and is premised around more revenue, more profit and getting bigger. But growth can and does come in many forms, shapes and sizes and should always be thought of strategically. Growth requires investment, and all investment should seek to compound upon what has gone before while also opening new doors.

Active Knowledge Question:

What is the framework that you use to picture how various growth options fit together?

What Is Growth?

Growth is typically thought of as an increase in size, but that imagery of size often leads us astray and limits our perspective of what growth is and can be…

Photography by Tong-Nguyen-Van-Bu on

The effectiveness of your business rests in its ability to concentrate. That ability to focus on what is most important is vital if your business is to outcompete others in its marketplace. But with all the noise that occurs in business these days combined with the detachment that remote working brings with it, the challenge of being able to concentrate is greater than ever before.

Active Knowledge Question:

Can your leaders communicate what is most important to their team and enable them to focus their best efforts?


Concentration is one’s capacity to apply themselves to a task where they bring their best to…

Photography by Brendan Steeves on

It is so much easier to lead a business where many heads are coming together to plot its future. That, of course, assumes that all those heads are working together and not fighting against each other. But businesses that can see the road ahead and can muster commitment and unison are rare. Rare because few leaders seed their business with the elements that create what I have come to call ‘the self-inventing’ company.

Active Knowledge Question:

Where is the focus in your business, on what happened yesterday, what is being managed today or where the business might move to in the future?

Looking Ahead


Photography by Alexis Chloe on

Change is a constant, and some changes will be important to your business, and others won’t impact it at all. Some changes will be announced with trumpets, and others will be far more subtle and may emerge unnoticed. Change may require that you adapt, or it may represent a window of opportunity. However you view change, as a leader, you must have an approach to ensure you are never surprised by change and opportunities are not foregone.

Active Knowledge Question:

How Do You Keep An Eye Out For Change?

An Anchor

Your business operates in a continuous changing environment. Change should never be considered static…

Photography by Hunter Gascon on

No matter what business you may be in, there is likely a ‘profit’ you are pursuing. Profit being a metaphor for an outcome; an outcome that you believe is the measure of success for your business. We could say it’s where your ‘heart’ is in business. But no business exists to profit, and the pursuit of your ‘profit’ is likely undermining the performance of your business. And the result is less ‘profit’ than would otherwise be possible.

Active Knowledge Question:

What is ‘profit’ in your business?

The Fallacy

The greatest fallacy of our time is that businesses exist to profit. And in…

Photography by Jesse Orrico on

Success in business requires a sustained effort, an ability to endure many challenges. But a weakness in one part of your business can quickly undermine the efforts of many others. What does endurance look like in a business, and how do you build and sustain it?

Active Knowledge Question:

Is your business stronger or weaker than it was last year?


Every day your business goes out to compete. To compete in delivering greater customer value than anyone else in your chosen marketplace. …

Dr Richard Shrapnel PhD

Business Strategist, Writer, Speaker

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