I was thinking about what I would like to write about this week – media analysis (NY Times metered model), business growth acceleration, bridging the gap between strategy and action, strategic financial business analysis, or negotiating. Then, as I was going through my files doing some early spring-cleaning and ran across an article that I penned during the last economic downturn in early 2001 focusing on how one should go about selecting the right clients.
Sounds odd to us right here right now. As anyone currently in business knows you can have an ideal client/customer profile but they pick us, often for reasons that we’ll truly never know. The exponential expansion of an individual’s communication ability (Google, social media, etc.) has inverted the whole 2001 paradigm in less than decade. It’s not push or pull marketing but full immersion branding. Businesses and consumers have shifted from a passive approach toward securing needed assistance, knowledge, and labor to a lean forward and go get exactly what it is you need in the form and fashion that best suits you.
The business model renaissance
Let’s step back a few paces so we can see the point that I want to make. In every other recession there were typically specific industries and roles that experienced more of a decline than others. One of the truths about the market is that in any piece of time, one or more functions are usually singled out "for punishment" and lots of folks in those areas are displaced. In the past as the economy recovered most of those functions were reoccupied and the mantra stayed the same. However what is happening this time is that there has been a fundamental shift, post recession business models demand a change in the way business is conducted. The mindsets and activities that were once good enough no longer make it.
The recent CT Partners report “2011 Hot Executive Jobs” reflects this trend. It cover 11 ‘hot job’ areas, some are fairly new on the scene like Clean-Tech, while others like HR and Accounting have existed for decades; I would say since business began to make my point but that would be a huge stretch. But there are nine other roles that are either emerging or the mission has been redefined to such a point that a wholesale shift in mindset is demanded. Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the product delivery process. The study’s finding states that “…globally across all sectors, businesses have been moving away from selling product to selling solution by focusing on customer relationships and retention.”
Careful, your seat has changed
Not much you as an individual can do about industry cycles. We all, fortunately, can think about how we can transfer the skills that we do brainlessly into today’s customer relationship process. As an example, I’m a formally trained numbers guy (finance and engineering) but my forte has always been identifying and leveraging unique customer-based opportunities that improve profitability; classic corporate development work.
The new twist is that this ability has been implanted into the heart of Business Development. Companies still need sales; the manner in which they obtained has shifted. It’s all about knowing how to identify what creates demand and then being able to spearhead the internal effort to deliver the appropriate customer experience. Something that was required of me time and time again.
What’s we as business leaders need to embrace is new answers for old problems – leadership, innovation and growth – and new challenges. In order to do this here are five myths that we need to bust.
Myth 1: We can’t Afford to Fail… Often
Myth 2: Decisions should be based on data not intuition
Myth 3: Past ways need to be totally forgotten
Myth 4: Problem solving and critical thinking are the same
Myth 5: It’s all about the features
I’ll explore these myths more next week.