Leadership is a People Business

Leaders learn by leading, and they learn best by leading in the face of obstacles. As weather shapes mountains, problems shape leaders. ~ Warren G. Bennis   The pace of change challenges leaders to be bold. But the unpredictability of bold actions can cause fear and anxiety within a leader’s team, inhibiting them and potentially compromising the expected outcome. For such actions to be successful, it becomes a leader’s priority to minimize the team’s stress, to help them become …

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Cultural Capital – the New Frontier of Competitive Advantage

We’ve begun returning to the office, emerging from months of virtual-only connectivity. Many leaders are discovering that the lack of in-person interaction has caused their company’s culture to fray.  Businesses are living entities, communities with cultures built and nurtured by all those whose energy and commitment have produced the company’s progress. Their culture binds them to one another, enabling the execution of strategy and achievement of goals, creating value for customers, the business and each other. Culture is how things get done.  Leaders have increasingly …

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Why Strategies Succeed

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night, with no lights, while looking out the back window. The best way to predict the future is to create it.“ ~Peter Drucker  Most companies rely on strategic planning to help create their future.  Seeking the best strategy to achieve their goals, one that leverages their strengths and competitive advantage, they compile market information, gather intelligence on their competitors and clarify customer needs. They identify …

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Helping the Market Determine Value

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet When you introduce a new offering, the market ultimately determines its value. How you position the new product or service when it’s launched influences that decision, providing the opportunity to maximize your profitability and ROI, and avoid the label of commodity. There are really two positioning options. Your introduction of the new offering can explain why it’s the best option available at the moment. Its value is based on being …

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Are Your Customer Service Reps Expendable?

Your customer service reps have unlimited access to your customers, yet they are often considered to be expendable and typically treated as such. Are you managing your customer service function as a cost center or as a profit center?  How much of your customers’ satisfaction is impacted by your customer service reps? Exceptional customer service is a proven differentiator. When access to information is so effortless that many products are seen as commodities, when the …

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It’s Your Choice

“Our customers buy only on price.  If we don’t offer the lowest price, they go elsewhere.  They don’t care about anything else…it’s just price.  That’s the way our industry works.” Annie was reacting to my challenge that acting like a commodity is a choice you make. “So is your key strategy to always offer the lowest price…in every circumstance, for every customer?”  When Annie replied, “Not really,” I asked: “Why do customers contact you?” Annie …

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The Certainty of Unpredictability

Business planning is still a productive exercise. Not because the document created by the planning process is so effective but because developing the plan engages leaders from all functional areas in the company. Very few plans work as conceived; business is too unpredictable over a period of time. But companies are still accountable for getting profitable results so why do some succeed while others fail? Few strategies are actually implemented as planned. Real world circumstances …

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Competitive Advantages Don’t Last Forever

Bob Schultek Business needs evolve over time. The distinctive offering that drives your growth today has been productive because it enabled your company to solve your customers’ problems and produce value for them better than anyone else. But tomorrow those same customers will have different challenges. Will you be ready to meet them? Today’s competitive advantage will not produce the same value for your customers tomorrow.  Like you, your customers must remain competitive so their needs and challenges will …

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The Three Most Common No-Growth Excuses

When frustrated by lack of sales growth, business leaders tend to cite one of three excuses. To deal with the three most common no-growth excuses, try the following: “If we don’t offer the lowest price, we don’t get the order.” If you make no effort to learn about your customers’ business, and offer nothing novel or compelling to strengthen their competitive position, then they will focus on getting the lowest price from you.Your customers don’t …

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