MDCE speaker shares strategies for accelerating innovation

ORLANDO – During the opening keynote address at the 2010 Marine Dealer Conference & Expo, speaker Dan Coughlin shared seven steps boating businesses can use to build additional value for sustainable, profitable growth.

Step one is for business leaders to schedule thinking and non-thinking time. As Coughlin puts it, “Thinking time is the engine of sustainable, successful growth.”

Step two is to innovate to sustain success. Coughlin defines innovation as “creating and delivering greater value to customers based on a better understanding of them.” He therefore urged attendees to put themselves into customers’ shoes and learn from that experience.

Step three is “collaborate to accelerate.”  Coughlin explains that by discussing and building on each other’s ideas is the fastest way to innovate.

Step four is to “continually raise my bar.” Coughlin urges attendees to logically analyze their businesses’ outcomes rather than let passion skew their perspective.

Step five is “sacrifice to accelerate.” Be willing to say “no” so that you can focus on those initiatives you choose to pursue and take responsibility for them.

Step six is to “maintain daily enthusiasm,” which Coughlin says is the hardest step of all. The key to taking this step is to answer the question of why you do the work you do and then focusing on fulfilling that purpose each day, according to Coughlin. “Passion flows from purpose, not the other way around,” he says.

Step seven is “lead the way.” Coughlin defines leadership as “influencing what other people think about in ways that generate better sustainable results both for the organization and the people in it.”

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