Tuesday, June 2, 2009

How are you approaching transition?

It is no secret that publishing is in a state of transition not unlike what many businesses were going through in the 70s and 80s as computers really began to become a part of the mainstream. Furthermore, technology is opening opportunities for increased growth and exposure.

Transitions are hard but how you approach them will determine your success.

In the book "Good to Great" the author examines a number of businesses that out performed the market and others within their specific industry. Their research focused on businesses that sustained their strong position for at least 15 years so that the overall culture of the company could be examined, not simply a single strong leader. One of their findings has important implications for today's writers.

The authors of the study found that the businesses that were able to grow and succeed-nay OUTPERFORM their competition and the stock market as a whole-had some fundamental similarities. One of them was their willingness to test changes in the market and adapt based on findings. In one example A and P was compared to Kroger. These are two grocery stores that had been around for nearly 100 years at the time of the transition. Both began to find in the 60s and 70s that people were increasingly interested in super stores. A&P saw those findings, didn't like what they found, and became obselete. Kroger on the other hand saw the findings, made adjustments and outperformed all competitors in their industry for more than 15 years. By 1999 they were the #1 grocery store chain.

How many writers are beginning to see changes from the way writing and publishing has been done for years? What have you done to adapt based on your findings?

"But I'm not published yet. I don't need to change." I would say that you likely need to change something much deeper than a marketing plan. You must change your expectations. You must recognize that publication with a royalty publishing house is not the magic that will transform your life from employee to superstar. Also, you need to learn that the mystery surrounding the industry a decade or two ago is now gone. Readers expect to connect with the authors on a much more personal level. Are you prepared for that? Do you have the discipline required to work like that.

Also, what false expectations have you held on to? What is your goal of publication? When Kroger realized their identity as a smaller grocery store would have to change fundamentally to include prescriptions, flu shots, fresh baked bread and grills they didn't have to change a single mind, they had to change a locomotive that had been plugging along for nearly a century. They had to listen to "but this is the way we've always done it". Despite that they did make the change. They brought their employees along willingly by showing real results. They brought their customers along by showing they were listening.

Would you like to be the best at what you do? Then it will involve not only building strong craft but implementing a strategy that is in tune with current market realities.

For more on this topic read the book "Good to Great".

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at www.WritingCareerCoach.com
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