Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Mirror, mirror on the wall.

There was a time when Product A was clearly superior to Product B or C.  That clear distinction allowed Company A to charge more for their product; generally secure a greater market share; and have greater influence on market direction.  These factors combined for a highly profitable scenario for Company A and left Company B and Company C fighting for the left over crumbs.

But today, things have changed radically on the local, national and international fronts.  With so many companies now producing high quality and feature-rich products and with the internet making their availability so easy, it is much more difficult to carve out that differentiation that allows for market dominance.  Regardless of your company's size or product/service, it is critical that, as the leader, you determine what key feature(s) you will focus on to deliver your message.  Then you must create the culture to ensure that this message is delivered in appropriate manner.

Donald Cooper ( is an internationally respected management speaker and business coach.  He frequently makes the point that without a compelling value proposition you become mediocre and irrelevant in the marketplace.

Donald explains that the old concept of USPs (Unique Selling Propositions) is obsolete.  He points out that ‘unique’ simply means ‘different’.   You could paint your business pink and you’d be unique…but not necessarily compelling.  ’Compelling’, on the other hand, means that your target customers are drawn to you.  Your value proposition is so powerful, so unique and so consistently delivered that your target customers feel compelled to do business with you and to tell others about you because you are functionally, financially and emotionally the ‘wise choice’ for them.  

Compelling value grabs your target customers, clearly differentiates you from your competitors, makes you ‘famous’...and grows your bottom line.  Donald produces a great free monthly Management E-Newsletter and I encourage you to subscribe. See the link to his website above.

To his point I would add that this is a responsibility which cannot be delegated.  To delegate is to abdicate.  That is not to say that input from your key employees should be ignored in the process, but at the end of the day the outcome is determined by the face looking back at you in the mirror. Your leadership role is complex and difficult.  But nothing else that you do surpasses this responsibility to create and sustain the point of differentiation that separates you from the masses. 

If you have found this key and have been able to communicate it effectively, you are likely winning the battle.  If you are having trouble developing this strategy, reach out.  Professional help is only a call away.


Sunday, 14 September 2014

A virtue, not a weakness!

Leadership is not always about action.  That's a tough pill to swallow because leaders are typically a driven lot whose role demands results.  Companies and their leaders are kept on a short leash with monthly and quarterly expectations.  Long range planning is now a look at a two year strategy, at best.  The former three to five year approach holds little merit during these times of economic recovery that are routinely beset by political upheaval and other events occurring half way around the world.

With such a short focus, it is especially hard to appreciate the need for PATIENCE.  And yet that is increasingly what may leaders need to learn.  It is all well and good to formulate a short or mid term response, but simply because the time lines are shorter does not mean that results can come more quickly.  Nor can one expect a shorter time for people to learn and mature in their duties. 

It still take nine months for a child to grow in the womb.  The shortcut of having nine women being pregnant for one month each does not work.  Proper results take time.

As a leader you must recognize this critical reality.  Pushing people to mature more quickly will produce more errors than successes and ultimately it will slow down the overall objective.  So in building your goals - short term or longer - keep in mind the need to temper expectations with reality.  Some things simply take time to mature.  More often than not it is worth the wait.  If your plans and strategies are well considered they will withstand this need for patience.  If they can't then they probably would not work well even if you had more time.

So establish your objectives; allow them time to be properly understood and implemented; and avoid a 'crisis mentality' in your expectations.  Your company's culture will recognize your balanced approach and respond accordingly.  Patience is a virtue, not a weakness.