Monthly Archives: February 2011

Info Exchange – Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty Part 2

Welcome to the Loyalty Factor Information Exchange, a bi-weekly service providing summaries of major publications and books on various management and customer relationship topics. 

 
Loyalty Factor has been instrumental in helping companies:

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction by 20 – 33%
  • Increase Revenues by 50% in 18 months
  • Increase Manufacturing Production by 200% in 18 months

Our information exchange this week highlights a book by Ram Charan, “Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty“.

This is Part Two of a Two Part Series.

What Leaders in Marketing and Sales Must Do to Help
 the Company Survive and Thrive

The shift in the economic environment is often most painful for sales and marketing executives, because a global slowdown erodes their normally optimistic outlook and changes their entire game plan.  Focus on the following:

#1 – Evaluate Your Organizational Structure

The goal is not to simply reduce costs, but more importantly to get salespeople focused on what they need to do for the customer and against the competition.  Salespeople must become the company’s eyes and ears, providing timely ground-level information that forms the basis for fundamental decisions about the company’s strategy and tactics. Set up mechanisms to ensure what your salespeople learn in the field gets to senior executives.

#2 – Know What Your Customers Cost

To determine which customers to keep and which to drop, you must have a detailed understanding of how each one affects your business and different parts of the value chain.  The information your salespeople gather about your customers can be put to good use in developing the best value propositions. 

#3 – Do Not Sacrifice the Brand

Brand identity is extremely valuable to your company as a long-term differentiator.  Be certain the customer’s experience with your product lives up to the promise of the brand.

 

Six Essential Leadership Traits for Difficult Times

Honesty and Credibility: Tell your employees how you see the world, acknowledge the limits of your understanding and ask them for their own views.  Doing this may take courage, but together you can piece together  better probabilities than any one person can.

The Ability to Inspire:  Most people are anxious.  Start with your own team — they will be the ones to inspire the rest of the organization. Help them develop an optimistic view of what can lie ahead.  Inspire your team to focus on this optimistic view — make it realistic, make it one they can believe in and work toward.  Inspiration will come from making decisions that produce incremental successes.

Real-Time Connection with Reality:  Reality is a moving target.  Continuously update and acknowledge reality as it changes.  This will allow you to adjust with the changing times.

Realism Tempered with Optimism:  Focus your people on a vision of what is possible and energize them to search for actions that will realize the vision. 

Managing with Intensity:  Hands-on participation at this time is essential.  Dig into the right details with much higher frequency than ever before.  Your people will be inspired not by ‘stirring words’ as much as by seeing firsthand that you have put reality on the table and have a plan for addressing it effectively, as a team.

Boldness in Building for the Future:  Facing the necessity of conserving cash and surviving in the short run, you may feel pressured to shortchange the future. Resist this pressure.

Info Exchange – Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty Part 1

Welcome to the Loyalty Factor Information Exchange, a bi-weekly service providing summaries of major publications and books on various management and customer relationship topics. 

 
Loyalty Factor has been instrumental in helping companies:

  • Increase Customer Satisfaction by 20 – 33%
  • Increase Revenues by 50% in 18 months
  • Increase Manufacturing Production by 200% in 18 months

Our information exchange this week highlights a book by Ram Charan, “Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty“. 

This is Part One of a Two Part Series.

The New Rules for Getting the Right Things Done in Difficult Times

Business leaders today face an unprecedented challenge with cash and credit dwindling, sales forecasts dismal and morale sinking  This is not the time to reflect, but a time to act, decide and energize employees – with urgency.

This is your moment.  Are you up to the task?

In “Leadership in the Era of Economic Uncertainty”, Ram Charan describes steps to guide your business through the minefield of contracting markets, cash shortages and ongoing uncertainty.  No matter what your leadership role, all levels of leadership must pull people together and take decisive action.

Leaders need to remember it is not just your business or industry that is in a downturn; the entire global economic system has been hit.  Focus on the following to ensure ongoing stability for your organization.

#1 – Cash

Shift your focus from the income statement to the balance sheet.  Protecting cash flow is the most important challenge almost all companies face today.

#2 – A New Intensity of Management

Succeeding in a unstable environment demands management intensity:  a deep immersion in the operational details of the business and the outside world, combined with hands-on involvement and follow-through.  The new guiding principle must be this:  hands on, head in.

#3 – Protect the Core

In every business there is a central set of invaluable assets, including certain customers.  Leaders need to identify the constituents and things that are at the core of your company and protect them from loss or damage.  Top people are crucial to the success of the company.  Therefore, leaders need to evaluate top people with a new lens and under a different light.  Indecisive people and those who are frozen in analysis paralysis are not keepers.

#4 – Be Transparent as a Leader

Being transparent as a leader involves two major responsibilities that must be met through communication:  information flow and motivation.  Pulling people together during tough times is, in itself, energizing as long as you keep the discussion upbeat and focused on how to solve problems. Leaders need to be listening to employees at every level to discover what is on their minds, what they are worried about and what new ideas they have for doing something better.

In the next Information Exchange, we will share Ram Charan’s thoughts on:

What Leaders in Marketing and Sales Must Do to Help the Company Survive and Thrive, as well as the Six Essential Leadership Traits for Difficult Times.