The Sunday Mail
Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
Recently I had the opportunity to speak at a gathering of managers of a leading national supermarket chain.
The leader of the business got up to give his opening remarks and strategic direction. He said a number of profound things but what caught my attention was his use of the word “fresh.” He said that they are focusing on being leaders in “fresh.” They would leverage this as a potent strategic weapon.
Fresh gives an edge in retail, stale is an evidence of decline. When he said this, something in me felt: “Yes! This is the principle not for retail but for every dimension of life and business.” Being stale is never fashionable. Without a fresh appeal customers start looking for alternatives. Feeding on the mouldy diet of yesterdays is not fresh wisdom.
Be fresh or get extinct. The world marches on and you do not afford the luxury of being a museum curator in a world so full of challenge and new possibilities.
Take a Fresh Test
In one of my early trips into Harare when I was a student I came into town through Simon Mazorodze Road. There was a large bakery on this major road. The bakery operated 24 hours and the smell of fresh bread was unmistakable as you passed by. The bakery had a huge road-side billboard that had a caption that read, “Take a fresh look at bread.” Nothing is as ordinary as bread.
However, a new look at bread will show that not all bakeries are the same and that to every loaf of bread, a thousand uses of that loaf are possible.
Take a fresh look at every aspect of your life. Past success is not a guarantee for future success. Past exploits will not always be captivating news for generations unborn, unless we can think Fresh.
Unless you stay relevant you will soon be ignored. Take a fresh look at the ordinary things in your life. Ordinary things seen with fresh eyes could reveal hidden possibilities. Take a fresh look at life.
The Hot Dish
Every business should always be asking, “What hot dish are we serving?” Old ideas executed in old ways leave people frozen in time. Your are either fresh or frozen. In times of change learners with Fresh in mind remain relevant, while the learned content with old ideas find themselves beautifully equipped for a world that has gone by.
No hot dish, no new customers, such is life.
Be Fresh. Keep turning new pages. The beginning is always here. The opportunity for Fresh is there everyday. If you are willing you can think fresh thoughts and do something fresh. Every day is an opportunity to begin again in a fresh way.
The concept of Fresh is not new. Everyone prefers fresh buns to stale ones. Fresh is what keeps life throbbing and ideas flowing. It has been enacted through time. I am a student of innovation and innovation is simply the concept of Fresh in new clothes. In innovation one of the most powerful concepts is the concept of creative destruction that was first enunciated by Joseph Schumpeter.
Creative distraction drives innovation and entrepreneurship. What is fresh will always take the place of what is old and stale. Be fresh, or free the highway.
One of the leading lights in innovation is Clayton Christensen, who wrote: “Doing everything right can leave a successful organisation susceptible to attack from a disruptive innovator that changes the game with a simple, accessible, or affordable solution.”
This is the essence of Fresh. Nothing fails like old complicated success overplayed.
Nothing is as debilitating as believing in your own Press releases and adverts.
Nothing is as disabling as being stuck in the past in a world marching forward with speed and resolve. Be Fresh, or you will be fished out of the marketplace.
Every day is fresh day — an opportunity to think new thoughts, do something new and approach things with “fresh” in mind.
Another innovation expert, Vijay Govindarajan, says: “Existing organisations that want to master strategic innovation have to carefully borrow some core capabilities, thoughtfully forget others, and systematically learn some completely new skills.” Fresh will never come while you sit, yawn and lounge. It is work and hard work too.
Trying times are not the times to stop trying and resign to inaction. To be fresh, there are things and ideas that you have to borrow. You cannot know everything.
There are things that you have to deliberately choose to unlearn and forget. Sometimes what you learnt in the past, interferes with new learning.
Old ideas can be a cancer if not managed well. It is when your learning curve starts being small that you start losing fresh. Never stop learning and growing. The world is not standing still.
The Mind of a Pilgrim
To arrive too early when the journey has not yet even started is to arrive too soon. To be fresh, keep the mind of a pilgrim. Stay hungry and stay foolish. Be so hungry, that you keep questioning your progress and success every day.
Fear losing the edge. Refuse to be comforted by yesterdays. Choose not to park in the middle of the busy main street of life. Life is a mad race and people are charging forward all the time. Engage the Fresh gear.
In this Easter season, please take time to meditate on Jesus, the Ever-fresh one. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has an ever fresh appeal and that’s why generations continue to celebrate Him and Easter.
What fresh dish is your organisation serving? What is fresh about you? Where are you off the Fresh mark? Expect great things. Committed to your greatness.