Blog Category: Organic Growth

Beware incrementalism… and understand the “risk paradox.”

111 Beware Incrementalism

If you manage one new-product project, it seems less risky to develop a “me-too.” But if you manage a business brimming with “me-too” and incremental new products, you’ll slide into commoditization with its death spiral. Very risky. So make sure your portfolio has enough products that will deliver significant value to your customers.

Read more in this free white paper, Innovating in Unfamiliar Markets (page 3).

If you think your employees are passionate about earnings per share, you’re out of touch.

104 Bored Employees

When recruiting John Sculley from Pepsi, Steve Jobs asked, “Do you want to sell sugar water the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” Most employees paid no attention to your last quarter’s earnings-per-share. But they’ll tell their grandkids how their new product turned an industry upside-down.

More in article, Why Maximizing Shareholder Value is a Flawed Goal (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth).

A supplier’s only path to profitable, sustainable growth is customer value creation.

101 One Path 1

Nothing you do within your operation will achieve such growth, unless customer value is also created. With operational efficiency alone, you’re in a race to the bottom. Quality and productivity improvements are important… but in isolation eventually lead to commoditization, as you and competitors approach a point of diminishing returns.

More in white paper, Catch the Innovation Wave (page 9).

The forces moving a supplier from commodity to specialty come from within…or they don’t come at all.

86 Commoditization

There are many forces dragging your products toward commoditization: competitors trying to imitate your products… purchasing agents trying to standardize your products… new technologies trying to obsolete your products. In your quest toward specialty products, you’ll get no outside help. You own this one, baby.

More in article, The Commodity Death Spiral (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

Maximizing shareholder value is a lovely result… but a lousy goal.

81 Shareholder Value

Tell me to increase shareholder value and I struggle to identify something I can do as an employee to raise earnings per share. Tell me to understand and increase customer value, and I can think of a dozen things to do, most of them actionable, measurable, and beneficial to our bottom line. Many of these I will find inspiring… as will others.

More in article, Why Maximizing Shareholder Value is a Flawed Goal (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

Your innovation problem is best pronounced “time horizon problem.”

71 Long Term and Short Term Buckets

In a now-obscure 1972 HBR article, Richard Vancil complained long-term product development expenses were buried within annual operating plans… allowing short-sighted managers to raid them. Shocking, I know. Divide your budget into short-term and long-term benefit buckets. And make sure someone is guarding the long-term bucket.

More in article, The Commodity Death Spiral (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

Measure intermediate innovation performance… not just ultimate metrics like new sales.

69 Measure Innovation Performance

When you turn up your thermostat, the temperature rises to the set point and quickly shuts off your furnace. Imagine if you had an 8-hour “feedback loop” before your furnace got the message. Even if you try new VOC approaches in the front end—but all your metrics occur after product launch—your feedback loop takes years. That’s no way to improve, is it?

More in article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Avoid the commodity death spiral at all costs.

66 Commodity Death Spiral

Imagine your business stopped innovating, your profits declined, and it is now budgeting time. To salvage next year, you’ll likely cut long-term costs, e.g. R&D or marketing, further reducing your ability to create high-value products. Next year, you’ll have even fewer options. This results in death or irrelevancy. If you’ve started this spiral, pull out quickly.

More in article, The Commodity Death Spiral (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Don’t like what’s coming out of your extruder? Better check what’s going into your feed hopper.

65 Extruder Hopper

Most financial business reviews are like standing around the output die, exhorting the extruder to do better. But nobody’s checking the feed hopper. It looks like an intelligent meeting, discussing gross margins, price increases and growth rates. But these were predetermined years earlier, largely by your new products, what you put into the feed hopper.

More in article, Are You a Builder or a Decorator?

Keep a straight face if you say, “This is the most important quarter in our company’s history.”

55 Quarterly Report

Of course, employees will be laughing; they’ve heard this one before. When satisfying the expectations of Wall Street analysts conflicts with building the firm’s long-term competitive strength, guess which usually wins? Any employee who’s been through travel restrictions, investment delays, hiring freezes, etc. knows the answer.

More in article, Why Maximizing Shareholder Value is a Flawed Goal (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).