I believe the first duty of any business leader is this: “Leave your business stronger than you found it.” I’m unimpressed by leaders who prioritize short-term results and stock prices to the point of degrading growth capabilities and sacrificing the future. I’m mystified when companies enrich a business leader today who is working to impoverish the business tomorrow.
What your business really needs is a builder… someone who brushes aside financial gymnastics and business fads. Someone focused on created value for customers that delivers organic growth for their business. For more, see the 2-minute video, Be a business builder. Also consider a new metric, the Growth Driver Index, which measures how well a business leader is investing in long-term growth capabilities.
See white paper, New Innovation Metrics.
Every business leader becomes known for something. You might be a remodeler, always “fixing the place up.” Improving productivity or quality is helpful, but nothing new is created. Others are decorators, trying to boost “curb appeal” every quarter. Yet others are realtors, focused on M&A, not organic growth. Your company was founded by builders. Be the builder focused on delivering value to customers, so your business grows… and your employees enjoy stable, rewarding careers.
More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #2
It may seem counterintuitive, but many business leaders focus too much on business results. Wise leaders balance the pursuit of results with capabilities. Can you name any endeavor—rock-climbing, martial arts, chess—where champions didn’t first build their capabilities? Their victories (results) came later. When you see a leader fixated on quarterly results, picture an amateur climber at the base of El Capitan. He has the wrong shoes, no climbing skills and flabby abs… in other words, no capabilities. But boy oh boy, is he ever eager to climb. Yes, he wants results.
More in video, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth series, Video Lesson #9
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
Business leaders focused on the short term are just showing up. They compete for market share this year, hit the reset button, and repeat the process next year. No serious, long-term capability-building. Count yourself fortunate if you compete against such companies. They’re easy to beat with the right time horizon.
More in article, Build Growth Muscles at Your Company (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).
The cathedral-builder has counted the cost in years and is willing to pay it to create something of enduring value. He recruits and apprentices the finest stone masons and wood carvers he can find. Because these craftsmen know the passion of the builder, they are secure in their employment, and they work with pride. Do you have such builders?
More in article, Are You a Builder or a Decorator?