The wise business leader treats innovation as a seedling to be sheltered from distractions, treated with care, and prized as the very lifeblood of their company’s future. Shortsighted leaders see innovation activities as costs to be endured or manipulated for this quarter’s financial report. They chase away your best innovators, brightest ideas, and future growth. Be careful: The person you allow to lead today will determine the strength of your business tomorrow.
More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video#30
Tipping the first domino is a first-order action, the second tipped domino is the second-order effect, and so on. Strangely, if the first order action feels satisfying all by itself, you’re probably headed for trouble with subsequent effects. So it might feel good to slash spending to hit this quarter’s numbers… but your future growth will be stymied. In fact, your slow growth today is probably the culmination of many first-order actions you’ve long since forgotten.
More in article, Stop Stifling B2B Organic Growth with 2nd Order Effects
Who do you admire as a great business leader? Steve Jobs? Henry Ford? Jeff Bezos? And why? Because they were good at financial reviews and quarterly investor calls? Of course not. They impressed you because they marched to a different beat and transformed their companies… and even whole industries. So let’s spend less time pleasing Wall Street analysts and behave like the great business leaders we admire… and could ourselves become.
More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #30
This is also known as “attrition warfare,” and is characterized by competitors applying the same tactics. It’s also characterized by everyone losing, even the winners. Keep your productivity and quality initiatives… but understand that by themselves, these initiatives put you in a race to the bottom. Better to focus on what your competitors are not doing well. For B2B companies today, this is understanding customer needs before developing new products for them.
More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs
This is what Astro Teller—the head of Google X—used to cheer with his teams. He went on to explain, “We spend most of our time trying to prove we’re wrong.” Is that how your company looks at big, transformational projects? Or do you associate a killed project with personal failure? Much better to lay out all the assumptions of “what must be true” for your project to succeed. Then go on a team “hunt” to find any that are not true. Find one? Celebrate and move on to the next project!
More in video at Project De-risking with Minesweeper
The landmark book, The Three Rules, shows exceptional companies focus on a) creating higher-value products, not cheaper ones, and b) revenue growth, not cost-cutting. What initiatives are you focused on? Quality, productivity, global expansion, and acquisitions can be useful, but none will propel you toward growth that is rapid, profitable, and sustainable. Don’t let these side shows distract you from the main show… understanding and meeting customer needs better than others. As Peter Drucker said, “the purpose of business is to create and keep customers.”
More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #6
Some business leaders fixate on the short-term out of fear: They are cowed by Wall Street analysts’ reaction to their quarterly results. But others pump up near-term results to fatten their bonuses… even if it means crippling their company’s future capacity to grow. This is leadership larceny… stealing from the business’s tomorrow to benefit the leader’s today. The first rule of leadership is this: “Leave your business stronger than you found it.”
More e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth
For decades, “maximize shareholder wealth” has been the mantra recited in boardrooms. This is changing: Jack Welch even called it “the dumbest idea in the world.” It’s a lovely result, but a lousy goal. Your employees need goals that are actionable and inspiring. Chasing quarterly earnings fails this test. Instead, focus employees on creating superior customer value through new products. This leads to profitable, sustainable organic growth… which reliably leads to increasing shareholder wealth.
More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #5
Portfolio management links strategy with execution for new product development. A Voice of the Customer program maximizes ROI for all new product initiatives, whether incremental or breakthrough. ... Read More
I believe it should be this: Leave your business stronger than you found it. It doesn’t matter how good those soon-forgotten quarterly financial results were. If the leader weakened the business by degrading its ability to grow—through either neglect or raiding capabilities for short term gain—that leader failed. I’m puzzled that boards of directors and executive teams allow business leaders to perform well in the short term while damaging the long-term health of their business. Very odd.
More in article, B2B Organic Growth: Moving to earned growth