Champions in any sport know which muscle groups to build… with balance. A rock climber with great finger strength also needs superb core strength. You have two primary innovation muscle groups… one to understand customer needs and one to meet those needs with your new products. Your B2B business might be spending tens of millions of R&D on the latter muscle group. Keep these “meeting” muscles in shape… but start building your “understanding” muscles. That’s how you get to the top ahead of competitors.
More in article, New Product Training: Time to Build Growth Muscles.
This is how one client described his experience with one of his company’s initiatives. Take understanding customer needs, for example. Many companies discuss and debate this year after year, but the wheels just keep spinning without traction. Nothing worthwhile happens until a) people are trained, b) metrics are established and c) new behaviors are rewarded. As Peter Drucker said, “Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.”
More in article, New Product Training: Time to Build Growth Muscles
Did you buy home-owner insurance… even though it’s unlikely your house will burn down this year? How confident are you that you truly understand customer needs when you develop new products? Our research shows most companies do not. So why not have your teams trained in the latest B2B voice-of-customer insight methods? Think of it as insurance. Or better yet… as a strong preventative, like fire-proofing your house.
See video on B2B voice-of-customer at www.vocforb2b.com.
If you’re a business leader, you obviously can’t personally take all the training your people take… you’re simply too busy. But there are times where you should sit elbow-to-elbow learning what the rank and file learn. This is true if a) most of the organization is learning this topic, b) the learning applies to your responsibility, e.g. organic growth, or c) your lack of understanding could lead to errors of omission or commission on your part. Remember, there are countless ways we can display our ignorance by what we say and do.
See video on B2B innovation training at www.NPBtraining.com.
Leadership is less about motivating employees to create value for customers… and more about equipping them with the tools, training, and environment for doing so. A good leader provides and clears the path for innovation. When employees gain customer-insight skills and are free to practice them, they “rise to the occasion.” Sadly, some leaders’ net impact on innovation is more negative than positive due to their short-term actions, e.g. travel bans, hiring delays and spending freezes. They would boost innovation by staying home.
More in e-book, Leader’s Guide to B2B Organic Growth
Should your employees learn customer insight skills from an external firm… or should you develop home-grown training? If the external firm has worked with many companies across many global industries, it will probably advance these methods faster and further than you can. Think of them as the golf club maker. The glory belongs to the golf pro… so focus on your practice time, coaching and desire as the pro… not in making clubs.
More in article, B2B Leadership: Time for Greatness
One difference between business leaders and rock climbers is that many of the former think they can reach the top without training muscles. Imagine showing up at the base of El Capitan with recliner-chair abs and no climbing skills. Crazy? How about proclaiming double-digit growth plans every year… without developing the needed business-wide skills?
More in article, Build Growth Muscles at Your Company (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).