By Jason Blais
Vice President Inside Sales
Without the right people, processes and technology will never lead to sustained success.
VUCA is an acronym coined by the U.S. Military in the 1980’s: Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. Truly, every one of us is now living in a VUCA world. The speed of innovation and low barriers to entry for new players in a market have led to extreme volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity with respect to how we build and sustain successful organizations. Indeed, at last year’s STAR Sales Team Alpine Retreat: A Frost & Sullivan Executive MindXchange, we heard sales leaders and industry giants acknowledge that their biggest threats are from companies and solutions that don’t even exist today. How do you even begin to prepare to fight that enemy?
Within this environment, in which it is more likely that the VUCA-ness becomes more extreme than it is that things will normalize, the only path to sustained success is constant innovation and optimization; stasis, for now and forever more, equals death for your business. A winning process your organization has today will be the very reason you fail in the future; a technology that is accelerating your business right now will be the very reason you are unable to move quickly in the future. Processes and technologies can be copied and improved upon by your competitors, killing your competitive advantage. Processes and technology do not adapt on their own to adjust for new challenges or changing environments. People do.
At ZipRecruiter, we focus on hiring really smart people who are highly adaptable and flexible so, once given a problem, they focus on building and testing hypotheses to find what DOES work instead of relying on preconceived notions about what SHOULD work.
Here’s my overly simplified perspective on how you should focus on these three key areas of building a business: People, Process, and Technology:
People: Bring on smart people who are internally motivated by and find satisfaction in solving problems. No matter what role someone is in – from entry level Business Development Rep to Sales Operations Specialist to Marketing Director, if they are constantly looking for and testing out solutions, your company will thrive.
Processes: There will never be a perfect process that lasts, so stop trying to build one. That said, it is crucial that you build a well-defined process and demand 100% compliance and adoption to that process, for only at that point can you begin to optimize. Get a baseline, then analyze, test, and evolve quickly.
Technology: Never enter into long-term contracts for technology, and whenever possible, don’t depend on outside development resources. By building tech internally, you will always have complete operational control over optimizing the tech and will never be handcuffed by budget cycles or contract terms.
With rapidity of change and information expansion only exacerbating the volatility, complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity of our world, failure to build our businesses around adaptable and solutions-oriented people, ongoing process optimization, and consistent re-evaluation of new technologies will lead to dire consequences. The successful businesses of tomorrow will be those run by leaders who understand the risks associated with the status quo, and who maintain a level of professional rigor which prevents organizational atrophy.
Jason is currently Vice President of Inside Sales at online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter. He leads high-growth New Business and Account Management inside sales organizations currently totaling over 280 sales professionals. Never one to settle, Jason is truly comfortable in any situation where he has the chance to evolve, innovate, grow, and develop personally and professionally. Lou Holtz’ famous quote “We’re either growing or we’re dying” is his professional motto.