Monday July 2, 2018 0 comments
By Bill Van Eron
Conscious Market Strategist
Headwaters Marketing and Innovation
Overview – Organizations feel direct pressure to differentiate, beat their competition; yet fail as they overlook today’s success requirements of their markets and employees.
All musical groups know you have to be in rhythm with each other and your audience. Leaders place unrealistic pressure on core functions to do better, without realizing how major gaps in trust, relevance, credibility and inclusion thus causing all to fail. This blog reveals the path for business and markets to align to a better rhythm.
Context A – Internal Competition. Core functions – sales, marketing, R&D, HR, finance, and channels, often fail to get in rhythm towards open and shared goals, yet too few do. Those of you that worked in a larger company; highly likely experienced internal rivalries and competition which manifest as resistance to working across the aisle in earnestness. It can originate because of functional managers with egos; a bias or a propensity to dominate strategy, funding, and eventually the culture of your company. In “knowledge organizations”, such as; technology, science, medical, pharma, there is often a deep and embedded silo dominance that can greatly limit how effective other functions can be.
Long time organizational silos have a tendency to limit the effectiveness of an organization as a whole. These actions inadvertently create a closed, internally focused culture. The impact may go unchecked for decades, which defines another major problem; the inability to secure an objective assessment of where a company really is in terms of internal and market effectiveness. The sum of both now defines your success ecosystem. The lack of one conscious open culture defeats a strategy all help shape and support. It threatens the cohesiveness of the organization at all levels. In this pattern, the company fails. Some try to remedy this by cleaning house at all levels to ensure the new/remaining leaders’ personalities will help heal the organization instead of perpetuating the damage. True solutions factor all and inspire positive change and performance.
Context B – External Competition. All companies work to “beat the competition” versus to understand the beat or pulse of their markets. The larger a company becomes, the more dominant that rallying call. Some of you who found yourself in those environs, may have noted that propensity to study and beat every competitor, inadvertently blocked the depth of meaningful insight one could have placed on the customer and changes impacting them. This is a classic rah-rah effort that permeates society where being better than “them” was more important than being “our best” by understanding what matters to others across your ecosystem from a conscious perspective.
- Employees now beat to a different drum preferring entrepreneurial work environments where they can challenge the status quo, learn and refine new skills so they can be participant to the success of a business with a purpose. Recent polls to Millennials and younger gens reveal a strong resistance to large companies that struggle here. Improve this to achieve a huge current and ongoing advantage. Being first shows credibility.
- Conscious management rarely broadcasts a “management first” edict as who would dance to that? Yet most organizations fail to recognize and reward their real champions to success, like ignoring your lead singer. Doing so shares wins, and helps to solve a major need for more employees to care to shape work that matters. Today only 15% of all global employees are emotionally connected to work- Gallup. Apply inclusion in ways that matter and more will tune in.
- Your markets have total transparency to how genuine you are to promises made internally & externally. They require a company to have a foundation in trust, credibility and relevance. Companies in turn, have little to no transparency to what works, why not and how to fix it as a system. Gain full transparency now, to dance like no one’s looking.
- While about 98% of all companies stress about internal and external competition, less than 2% are measuring up to their markets now universal requirements. Until now that path was obscured by risk aversion, closed cultures, control versus enablement, authority over inclusion, and a real fear that transformation will be slow, expensive, unproductive and self-revealing, versus embracing it as vital as it is proving to be for success today. Fear not, be the best you sooner and stay in rhythm longer.
- Outside-in objectivity has long been a crucial factor to success that too few apply. But today, as the objectivity proves crucial, traditional sources are less prepared to offer that, especially as success requires a systems mindset versus any singular action. Embrace your ecosystem and win big with a full house.
Related examples: A. When I worked with media in a strategic PR capacity for a small Test & Measurement division within a Fortune 50 company, an engineer and I approached management with a request to get our company back into the Education market. This leader was very open to our idea. So he recommended we address the sales force on it as their support would be important.
The sales force responded: “Stay away as it is a long complex sales process and ultimately a lowest price decision. We can’t win”. For most, that would be a insurmountable truth. I recognized it as an internal truth based on the typical internal success agenda. Not a market truth, which can shape higher value organizations and brand when heard and acted on. So I initiated discussions with university professors, administrators, and students. The conversation had little to do with our company. It had everything to do with them sharing their goals, hopes and challenges.
Results: That open "list" gave us the empathetic insight we needed to easily shift our approach from that of a vendor, to that of a partner. As a partner we shaped programs for their success and created free tools, so professors wearing 8 hats were less stressed, and students worried that what they learn is less relevant to larger firms, were properly informed. This market view and approach reinstated the trust, credibility and functional relevance between our company and education. Budding engineers helped by us developed brand preference. Sales hit $100M, then year 2 sales were $200M and Y3 sales of $300M with no end in sight. Make sure you always get an external view of what really matters.
1. Invest in your market and they will invest in you. Especially where your help exceeds the norm.
- When employees help define work that has a purpose, they realize their best and earn market regard.
- Your customer journey is far bigger than just your product. Open to understand and help them on that bigger journey and profit by association. Align your journey to their value requirements to win big.
- When internal champions step up to define and lead actions that matter, recognize and reward them,
- This approach to invest in others that shape success across the ecosystem – whether editors, analysts, resellers, sales force and customers – to reveal larger needs, truths and actions, created a vital and consistent foundation of trust, credibility, relevance and a culture of pride, innovation, inclusion and revenue growth. Revenue Growth was beyond exceptional every time for 11 years.
Conclusion: The advanced lessons I was fortunate enough to realize by having a conscious market and team value compass by design are incredibly timely for today, with even better outcomes. Take care of your people by being open; value objectivity by embracing outside-in thinking, and prepare, enable, and recognize your champions to transform into being a company that markets prefer to work with. While all else define themselves against their competition, and infrequently see gains, as you define your brand by the values of your internal and external ecosystem, you prosper now and for decades to come.