Reinventing Howard Tech (part 2)

Last month, I wrote about Reinventing Howard Tech and how we should prepare ourselves for the different world ahead.  Much has changed in just the past thirty days and it seemed appropriate to share a glimpse of what we’re doing to create a new HTA.

On June 10, we convened our first Reinvention Dialogue (via Teams of course) and gathered our leadership team to brainstorm, outside of our weekly operations meeting. For the initial conversation, we agreed to simply build a list of how we might be a “new” or “different” company moving forward.  There would be no effort to define details, develop plans, determine what was (or was not) realistic or assign action items.  The only goal was to talk out loud about reinvention.  It was a little challenging to get things going, but ultimately we came up with some ideas for new strategies, new services, new questions we’d never considered and tactical ways we could improve certain portions of our current business.  After one hour and much dialogue, we ended that meeting with no action items.

During the subsequent week, someone had an idea to further detail one of the previous thoughts and some new topics were added to our list.  On June 17 and June 24, we gathered for one hour and reviewed the list again.  We moved quickly through the topics that had no new information or questions, and spent more time exploring those topics where we saw further opportunity.  A new idea might have been added to the list and the hour quickly went by again.

As we prepare for our 4th reinvention meeting on July 1, we have developed a simple rhythm to this time together.  There are some action items that are coming out of these sessions, but at minimum we are intentionally considering the “new Howard Tech” every week.  This is a recurring meeting at 4pm each Wednesday and, again, completely separate from our weekly senior team meeting on Fridays. 

Some of our new ideas will be implemented soon and tactical improvements can happen faster.  Other ideas are more difficult to implement or offer less return on investment than the others.  This effort is only three weeks old, but has taken on an energy of its own.  We are thinking ahead and with more intentionality than ever before.  Our internal language now includes terms like “cannibalizing our services or solutions” before the market does.

This is new to us and we don’t have any special training in strategic planning or reinventing ourselves.  It feels good that we’re making regular time to talk about these things, and I sense it will produce good results over time.  This effort is costing 5 senior people one hour per week, so is not without real cost.  At the same time, we have laid out a glimpse of the future in just 3 weeks that we didn’t have before.

Have you considered your own reinvention?  We don’t have a formula or plan for this, but will gladly share what we’re doing if it’s helpful.  Running a business is tough and we’d like to come alongside you in anyway we can.  Hopefully we can all learn from each other!