The 3 Most Common Challenges Business Leaders Avoid
by Kevin D. Crone
As managers and successful people, do we live with challenges and problems that need to be fixed? Is it because we believe they are complicated, uncomfortable, and take too much thinking time, so we don’t get around to even trying to fix them? Of course. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t successful individuals. Everyone who tries to succeed encounters problems. Why? When people try to achieve bigger and better outcomes, many things they try along the way just don’t work. Maybe these are things that used to work, or things have just changed. Regardless, we all know that someday we have to look seriously at the problems and challenges, or they’ll just keep getting bigger and come back to bite us.
So, what do I see and hear as the most common challenges that Business Leaders often avoid dealing with? (Of course, if they did work on them, they’d be opening the door to getting to the next level of business success!)
1) Getting the offering right on. Knowing whether or not our offering (how we impact our customers) matches up with our customers’ changing motives. Those who get their offerings right are automatically at the next level. For years, I’d invite my clients to bring a group of their customers together for a couple of hours and let me ask them questions. Few clients said yes. I guess they thought they knew better, or they didn’t have time, or maybe they were afraid of what they might hear. I don’t know, but strategic planning is usually neither strategic nor good planning if it doesn’t begin with your customers and what they want and are motivated to buy. It doesn’t seem to matter how big a company is – this has to be the number one focus.
Get your offering to match up with your customer’s motivation to buy, and you have fixed your biggest problem.
2) Our somewhat laid-back Canadian, conservative, careful nature makes us a prudent business society. We rarely buy hype. Things generally have to be proven to Canadian business people before we act on anything. In a truly global, ever changing, weakened economy, that allows us to survive. But now the economic demand is slowly heating up and the fastest animal is the fullest. We all need to re-construct our business to gain share, be the best value-added competitor out there, have a compelling story and aggressively go after the market with fire in the belly that will win over customers through adequate sales and marketing. It is not enough to have the offering in place. We need to make sure all parts of the business are organized to support it or your offering and plans will fall flat.
- Does your marketing tell an updated story that matches the new motivations of your customers?
- Are your salespeople living and breathing the offering and the story?
- Are they able to help clients buy more wisely and be seen as consultative advisors?
- Are other departments squabbling over resources to fit their needs rather than be organized and engaged to support customers?
Get to the reality of these questions and do something to make sure all are aligned and organized to support the offering, and you will have gone a long way to re-construct the business to win more.
3) It has been said that most problems are people problems. Yes, and we have all experienced the worry and frustration with people. It has also been reported that few employees are engaged and that most young folks will leave us at a drop of a hat. High performers and high potentials want and take the initiative to get better. They have a philosophy for success. How about all the rest – what do they want? What are their goals and success aspirations? What is our success philosophy – our aspirations for business? Are they written out and shared? Do you seek alignment of goals? Employees who know where they are going, where they fit, and feel valued, look for coaching, training and mentoring along the way. They still have challenges but they are focused on what they want and create their life and career around that. They want to be valued for their performance and shown the way by their manager. They are easy to work with but need attention.
We need to get around to really getting to know and understand our people’s aspirations and, help and guide them to develop the potential they possess. Work every day at building and stretching your people. That is the leadership challenge. It’s fuzzy, yes, but it will give you the biggest return of any investment you’ve ever made. Keep growing your leadership and the leadership of your employees and you will have a change-ready and engaged team – one that can operate from their silos in a more collaborative way to support the offering and the business plan.
Put these three things altogether and you are designed for success.
• Get the offering right.
• Re-structure the business so all the functional components support it.
• Improve your leadership and build your people.
1) Which area talked about today is most significant to you?
2) Get with someone or a group that is working on these three things and put 1% of your time into the actions that improve them. Maybe a coach, internally or externally, would help add some structure to your intent, like going to a gym does for your fitness intentions.
3) For those who realize the importance of objective outside help, give me a call or email me. I talk to many Monday Morning Mentor subscribers on a weekly basis about their business; all complimentary.
Remember, action is all there is!
Have a great week!
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