Stuck In The Mud, or Stuck in a Rut; It Really Doesnt Matter– Still Stuck: But, One Business’ Rut is Another’s Rapture…

Business can fall into rut– stuck in a rut– like people and relationships… According to Sharon Pocock; businesses get into ruts for numerous reasons, e.g.; many fail to keep pace with changes in  their market or the economy… or they frequently plough through with their heads down, doing pretty much what they’ve always done– possibly even ignoring the changing competitive environment… or, sometimes leadership loses the drive and ambition, while fear or reluctance to change takes hold…

Businesses can’t afford to rest on their laurels– especially in current economic climate… The tricky thing about business is that it may be ‘stuck’ without realizing it; some might think that they are ‘in a groove’ when, in fact, they are ‘in a rut’…

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 A few definitions:

‘In a Rut’ is a type of habitual behavior (as when wheels of a vehicle travel in the ruts worn into the ground by other vehicles making it easiest to go exactly the same way all other vehicles have gone before…

‘(Stuck) in a Rut’ is an established way of living or working that never changes– a habit; a bad habit; a Rut…

‘Be (Stuck) in a Rut’ is situation where it’s doing same things all the time– a habit, a bad habit; a Rut…

According to Jeb Blount; unfortunately many businesses are so comfortable with their habits that they continue with the behavior even when it’s causing them to fail, bad habits die-hard… When you do the same thing over and over again an amazing thing happens: You get the same result over and over again! You get ‘stuck in a rut’, or some prefer to say ‘stuck in the mud’…

In the article Stuck in a Rut? by Mitchell Osak writes: To prosper companies need to ‘soberly’ assess when its time for a strategic reset– before it’s too late… A strategic reset is a deliberate (not rash) pivot away from a stagnant market towards new growth market(s), often driven with a revitalized business model and management practices… Symptoms of business decline that should trigger a reset are, e.g.; minimal brand differentiation; limited market growth; looming external threats; underperforming business model… However a strategic reset takes– guts, guile… but most businesses find it easier to just ignore realities and resist change, than to embrace it… A first step is to recognize that renewal is about building a bridge to the future without burning the bridges from the past…

In the article Competitive Edge Most Companies Forget: Embrace Change by Naveen Rajdev writes: For companies ‘stuck in a rut’, it’s difficult to expand visions, incorporate new ideas, technologies… But business must be forward thinking… and embrace new perspectives and learn the lessons of others, e.g.:

  • Look at Short-term Gaps in Other Industries: Long-term strategy alone doesn’t cut it, and business could solve a lot more if it looked to other industries… In a world where industries are constantly being leveled by technology attackers, business must take a page from the technology industry itself, and disrupt, disrupt, disrupt…
  • Don’t Rely on Singularity of Vision: Leaders must keep a fresh perspective, but many choose mutability to take on attackers.. Oftentimes, leaders get caught in a rut with a singularity of vision. And while singularity brings focus to the organization, it can also give you blinders that don’t allow you to see any looming threats…
  • Get Rid of ‘If it ain’t Broke, don’t Fix it’ Mindset: The world of business is constantly changing, especially with new/different technologies… Hence, leaders must be agile, open to new/ different ideas, embrace change… and the mentality of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ must be transformed to truly tap into new forms of value…
  • Look Impartially from Inside-out and Outside-in: Great leaders have ability to see the ‘real’ world and the humility to accept how the real world sees them. According to Mughal Emperor Akbar; business must create a competitive edge by understanding the needs of end-users and build a business that serves them. They must learn lessons from many sources, including other businesses or you’ll soon be left behind…

In the article Stuck In A Rut? by Carmen Nobel writes: Although the pace of technological innovation has significantly accelerated over last few decades… and with few exceptions, most company’s organizational structure have failed to keep-up with the changing– markets, consumers… As result, many companies are ‘stuck in a structure rut’, and are out-of-touch with– markets, consumers, suppliers, competition, and in many cases their own employees…

Yes, there are organizational outliers that have adopted, e.g.; holacracy, a structure of no job titles and no bureaucracy, giving teams the power to reorganize themselves at will… According to Ethan Bernstein; majority of today’s organizations are largely based on the theory of the late nineteenth century economist– Max Weber, and his concepts of bureaucracy…

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In the article Stuck in a Rut by Jim McHugh writes: Business must constantly rethink how it defines markets, and how it goes-to-markets, and who are their customers… business cannot get ‘stuck in a rut… Typically, becoming ‘stuck in a rut’ is caused by one or more of these conditions:

Target Market is not Clear: Management may think they know their ideal target market segment(s) but often their definition may be: too rigid, too broad, or they have flawed assumptions… the wrong market definition can cause the company to make the wrong ‘go-to-market’ choices…

Market Size Unknown: This usually means that management does the ‘guess-estimate’ thing, and usually the guess is– ‘big’ rather than ‘small’ market opportunity… and they usually gets it wrong…

Collection of Stale ‘Go-To-Market’ Methods: Go-to-market methods include everything from sales activities, channels, Internet presence, marketing tools, customer service… Many companies: still use outdated, old-fashioned methods to market and sell, e.g.; direct sales force, expensive ads, little Internet activity, ineffective distribution channels… Hence, the issue becomes; what is best ‘go-to-market’ strategy for your current product/services, in today’s competitive environment… And not; It  worked in the past, so let’s do it again: No, it may Not! 

Ignoring the Customer; Ignoring Their Needs: In many instances the broad and specific customer needs are taken for granted or simply ignored. There should be no confusion about customer expectations… and that means having a clear understanding of all the connection points with customers…

Selling to the Wrong Customers: Not all customers are desirable, e.g.; when a customer or groups of customers are not profitable… or, have high support costs… or, put unreasonable demands on the business… then, they should be ‘fired’…

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 Being ‘stuck in the mud’ as a business means being bogged down by excessive, non-productive– functions, people, processes, old way of thinking and behaving, old ways of working… A business can have– great ideas, fantastic products/services… and still ‘stuck in the mud’, which means the outlook for the future of the business is not good.

According to Miller Heiman; whatever got you where you are today is no longer sufficient to keep you there. Change in inevitable; business must change to survive: End the Nightmare. Get Out of the Rut…