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By definition, innovate means to make advantageous changes to something established. My guest Dirk Beveridge, founder of UnleashWD and president of Beveridge Consulting Group (aka Leadership Today), wrote the book (literally) on how distributors can create new methods and drive success even in challenging times. Our conversation is packed with must listen material, the kind of anecdotes, tips, and resources for which Dirk receives hefty retainers as a sought-after keynote speaker.

“I did it absolutely wrong,” Dirk says of his path to becoming one of the foremost authorities on innovation. He created his first UnleashedWD Innovation Summit without any idea of what truly innovation meant. “If I would’ve done it right, I would’ve done the research and wrote the book first and then [held] the summit.” 

Happy accidents aside, Innovate! How Successful Distributors Lead Change In Disruptive Times, is a must-read as it lays out a model for remaining sustainable and profitable. He urges readers to focus on vision, culture, value proposition, business model, and leadership with a beginner’s mindset, the theory that by setting aside years (decades...generations) of preconceptions, your business can thrive while others are still running their distributorships the same way they did years (decades...generations) ago. 

“I’m your guy to get people in the room to rethink what it means to break that same mousetrap” He’s also the guy to get teams acquainted with what sets their business apart from the competition. “It comes down to product, service and relationships. [But] all three of those things have become commoditized.” 

It’s not just sameness that’s threatening growth. It’s the fear surrounding succession planning and the inertia that breeds. “I think the number one disruptive force that distribution is going to be facing...is this tsunami of presidents, owners, CEOs who are going to be transitioning the business to the next generation in the next three to ten years.” 

He’s observed aging companies firsthand and understands how improper planning affects their chances for survival. That’s why Dirk’s passionate about his new program. My Life’s Work is an executive coaching system created specifically to guide businesses through this major leadership change.

“We’ve developed a success path,” he says of his three-year curriculum. Members meet quarterly to work on all aspects of their plan. When they graduate, they take with them a unique formula for their company. “If the business is going to be prepared for that transition, we have to focus on purpose. We have to focus on aligning around a strategic plan. We have to focus on growth of capabilities personally and the company. And we have to focus on making long-term decisions and investments.” 

Ultimately, Dirk’s goal is for participants to approach their company’s next chapter with a beginner’s mindset, to be open to new ideas, and engage in transparent conversations. That’s how you leave a meaningful, lasting legacy. That’s how we set the next generation up to lead change in disruptive times. 

Ready to launch your legacy, check out the inaugural My Life’s Work session on January 16, 2020. Ready to for more great insight from Dirk? Listen in as we discuss ways to add more value to your business and find out about his work with National Association of Wholesale Distributors.  

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Distribution Talk is produced by The Distribution Team, a consulting services firm dedicated to helping wholesale distribution clients remove barriers to profitability, generate wealth and achieve personal goals.   

This episode was edited & mixed by The Creative Impostor Studios.

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