Monday April 10, 2017 0 comments
Bill Van Eron
Market Growth & Value Strategist
Headwaters Marketing & Innovation
The odds are high your revenues are in decline, flat or single-digit growth. It’s no wonder most want to improve, yet too many short-sight what it really takes.
The list of organizations applying conscious methods to achieve any revenue growth is significantly lower than those seeing revenues decline. A 12/2016 Deloitte CMO report showed in retail alone last year 86% of CMO’s were fired for failing to achieve CEO mandated revenue growth.
The numbers are marginally better in B2B efforts. Oddly, double-digit growth is feasible if you read on. Your view of the customer experience is likely flawed. Despite some progress applying new digital methods and investing in CEM (Customer Experience Management) most marketing efforts were barely keeping up with the competition versus the desired higher impact.
Consider: In February 2017, Gallup issued its employee engagement report. The previous year the report showed 77% of American employees (87% international) were emotionally detached from work. The latest report shows a lower number of 70% of US employees as still suffering from ED (OK, a different ED yet even more impactful).
This is despite most CEOs stating “Inclusion” would be their top organizational priority. Obviously not their best collective work. Unless you work in a cave -- you’re not alone as most closed business cultures strangely operate that way -- it is impossible to grow revenues and achieve a great customer experience if your employees are not bought in to what you stand for and their inclusion is genuine.
Customers see that and look elsewhere if your workers are unhappy. What are some of the typical patterns and approaches that lead to business decline?
- Organizations become closed cultures with a strong internal focus, protecting the status quo, risk aversion and job complacency, thus creating that 70% employee detachment rate.
- Inability to see and react to changing market opportunities. Just the total time between insight, synthesis, strategy, and decisions can eat up many months beyond the real window of market opportunity.
- Inability to shape a vision that is compelling and that survives through change and competition.
- Many business silos create walls of ineffectiveness within an organization.
- A dominant knowledge source (i.e. engineering) limits the effectiveness of other functions.
- Conventional approaches and beliefs enter a death spiral where they seek conventional help.
- BOD pressure to manage for short term profits cuts off innovation and investments in the future.
- Still applying conventional push and reactive marketing methods despite very low ROI.
- Difficulty recruiting and retaining top talent.
- Organizations struggle to adapt to change and thrive by modelling the characteristics that meet the new requirements of this economy.
The gap between market readiness and corporate readiness has only grown, in many cases by more than a decade. Given that most leaders must develop new skills to adapt and thrive through high rates of change, it raises serious questions when many say no when asked if they invest to stay current, invite challenge, new thinking, read, invest serious time outside their factory walls and if they act proactively to leap ahead and win bigger. Just as harmful -- yet somewhat understandable -- is the high ratio of leaders and employees who choose not to speak up and risk their jobs, or make waves if holding on to retirement or a different job offer.
I have witnessed this firsthand at an alarming ratio and despite awareness of a better way. Talk is cheap. I never hesitated to put my own job on the line for 2+ decades working with smart engineers who did not understand marketing, increasing the risks and learning I put on myself to lead marketing.
But when an expert defers decisions to a level above less invested in the expertise required, that rarely works to the benefit of that organization. So, just as I stepped up, earned trust and extraordinary financial returns, so can those of you who are passionate to make a difference after you are duly prepared. The first person to convince is yourself.
I step up as a coach to help that process along so less of you have to be the martyr for effectiveness that I had to be, but my confidence was fueled by real insight and caring. When I saw an objective, I shaped strategies that got past status quo processes or disbelief of what’s possible.
So many employees and leaders want better, yet lack the conviction to risk success, so that is what we do. Lean - fail often - approaches never apply to such champions. I never failed as it was clear I could not afford to, yet will also say my work was inclusive and it inspired teams that became crucial parts of it all, and who now share pride in accomplishment.
It also rewarded managers above me (unfairly given their low buy in) but the next time they were prone to say yes. Ironically, even though I never stopped evolving, the very work I did for HP back then, is exactly what thought leader Brian Solis recently told me so many organizations are still struggling to figure out now.
The problem is most do not know what they do not know, or care to find out. This evolved insight, a passion to learn, see the system behind everything and always challenge my core assumptions, led to serious insights about how any organization can do far better than what we have seen as debilitating patterns that defy new logic.
So, as I work with a limited time to make a difference, yet knowing what I know will indeed make one, each of these items listed below are what we see and help as vital to apply. We extended ourselves to help companies on that journey, whether to just offer enough insight to make a difference quickly or to offer the basis for success that transcends time as we know it. There’s a plethora of silo solutions out there for CRM, ERP, BPM, Marketing Automation, and Innovation Management that are almost fine when one wants to deep dive, yet none that do what we do - to assure a dynamic sense of the whole that can be managed in the short term (just enough insight and knowledge) and expanded on where vital for the future.
Imagine functioning business and market ecosystems. To myself, and my colleagues as a unifying belief, is the fact that business must enable people, capture their minds and hearts to matter.
Take a read, ask questions… assuming you may be a person who wants to do work that matters. Modelling the organization of the future, now while you might still have one.
The following define the principles we see and apply as foundational components integrated into an organizations DNA. The organization of the future (now) can do the following:
- Form brands that stay dynamic and grow in value through change without sacrificing what matters internally and externally. Invite vital outside-in thinking to gain brand relevance and objectivity.
- Shape a vision and an almost insurgent purpose that rally’s both employees and markets to take notice, and want to be part of it with a passion, or at least earn high regard.
- By applying inclusion and enabling processes, a dominant portion of staff and employees feel emotionally attached to strategy, objectives, innovation, a can-do attitude, and core processes.
- Shape lean processes, especially across insight, analysis, strategy, and decisions (from months to a week or so) so a greater capability to act at the speed of market opportunity is enabled.
- Gain strategic foresight to impending market shifts, competitive actions, and value trends so as to shape and deliver that value as an ongoing capability and commitment.
- Apply at least 60-70% of internal focus to external front line factors. Become externally motivated.
- Organic transformation to a more open culture that recognizes and encourages internal champions, external and internal challenges to business usual and innovation as vital.
- Marketing transforms to the best function to synthesize insight to actions, integrate inclusion and innovation beyond just product development and shape the basis for vision, purpose and outstanding revenue growth as an outcome of all of the above versus as a quick fix.
- Marketing and sales shift from low yield cost centers to high value, high credibility, high performance functions guiding all other functions to align.
- Innovation shifts from occasional, low yield efforts to an all-in, anywhere, anytime opportunity management process that welcomes outside in thinking, inclusion and value beyond limits imposed before.
Look hard for natural solutions versus adding complexity. There is a lot more that becomes a natural part of what some define as a Conscious Organization but we see the need to transform to this model as a high priority that is only enabled when that path yields fruit all along the way.
Old skills meld with new as a new mindset envelopes an organization. Soft skills, such as relationship management and market empathy, are turbo-charged when critical, possibility and system thinking skills are applied.
Realize new exuberance for what you stand for by taking an almost insurgent approach to shaping it.