Last week, I met two service providers and had a chat about business. Both of them have admittedly, that their businesses were not doing particularly well.
One cited the lack of clients, while the other one cited the lack of time for the delivery.
Obvious to their situation, it doesn't take time to figure out that both of these professionals lack the awareness of their own marketing effectiveness or just plain effectiveness.
Time is also a silly excuse considering that this is not an avocation but a fully operational business. Lack of time to market and get in front of your customers means that you have decided that doing other activities are important than that. Period.
Lack of client means one thing: you are lacking the activity that will attract, convert, and retain those clients that are precious for your business to grow.
You can control these variables: time, talent, and available resources.
If you are, not then either you have given up, have inadequate strategies, or you are not executing those things that you know you should be doing.
Check yourself in the mirror.
There are many approaches and methods that one can use to deal with a management issue. Not all of them, though can get you directly to the solution.
Some are too cumbersome, you don't even want to embark on the program. Even for the personal empowerment solutions, you wonder if the nine steps towards debt-free lifestyle can make you even broke!
That nine steps or twelve stages will not get you closer to your destination unless you break it down and only use what is pragmatic for your situation.
Blindly following the prescribed actions without considering if it is appropriate, value-adding, and practically easy to execute is wasting precious time and effort.
Do the needful-get a big cauldron and mix them all.
1. What gets traction, has long-term promise & viability, and resonates well with the culture and direction of your organization?
2. Aside from costs, what time commitment and effort are involved?
3. Who is championing this and will ensure that things get done properly?
If you find it difficult answering these questions, then you have yet to learn about the proposed solution and get your head down to work.
Look for evergreen principles and eschew the fads and newer models.
In five years, these will fade and you will be surprised Drucker's ideas are as relevant as fifty years ago!
I was talking to the President of a prestigious association this week. He said that they don't know yet what they are going to do for the next two years. Admittedly, he told me that this position and responsibility is the 4th of his priorities right now.
As I think about it, prioritization is one of the management prerogatives. Either you are good at it or not. Multi-tasking is never effective.
You cannot be doing many things at the same time with the same level of quality, attentiveness, and thoroughness for all. Inattention and lack of diligence are signs that managers are not giving the full consideration to the issues that deserve more than a stamp approval. Executives juggling all the balls with two hands is great and fun act to see, like acrobats. But once the balls started to drop, it is not a pleasant sight at all.
The balls can represent your family, business, faith and community, and other professional and personal pursuits. All these are great but don't make the mistake of trying to do everything all at once, hoping that it will later on settle down. Some issues don't and some do. There are clear repercussions to cruising along the highway with less than 100% of attention and control.
If there are too many priorities, then you really don't have a priority. Pick 2-3 that you can safely and thoroughly perform with outstanding results or leave it for the next time or opportunity.
Today's managers and executives' failure to execute is not because of lack of skill or knowledge or commitment, it is because of lack of strategic prioritization.
Focus on the 80% that drives the greatest results.
This is going to irk a lot of people.
They resort to consensus to shoot down proposals and ideas because they know that because of 'groupthink' any 'ideas not invented here' will go down the trashing floor.
They resort to consensus to look for unanimity. People will have a different opinion and perspective but it doesn't mean they need to be on your side all the time. Who has the real decision-making authority in this issue?
They resort to consensus when in fact the project needs a strong proponent, champion, and supporter. If the group will be the champion, no body is the real champion, proponent, and endorser.
They resort to consensus to free themselves from the real responsibility of taking a strong leadership when it is needed, hiding behind the guise of "collaboration, cooperation, buy-in" when in fact, there will be no buy-in when no one is absolutely championing it no matter what. People need to the passion, confidence, and commitment to the issue!
Consensus is so much abused these days. Learn to discern when to use it and not to use it or you are blocking opportunities and improvements through consensus.
Why is it that negative critics always dominate the conversation about a brand, company, organization, or product while the rest of the happy, satisfied, and loyal customers are not heard from?
According to a study done in Texas, negative feedback is 11th times likely to be dominant than positive, satisfied comment. This 11 dissatisfied people will then talk to at least 5 (average) other people about their dissatisfaction.
This goes to show that perception is malleable and can be shaped on the basis of who is doing what to whom. Word-of-mouth works if it's positive, it could be fatal if it's negative and totally based on misinformation and has the purpose to damage the reputation of your organization, brand, or products. To say, in this world we live, going viral- can be both a bane and a boon.
The lessons in corporate and management history suggest that we need to take a stock, monitor, evauate, and strategize how we are projecting ourselves out there, what kinds of things are being said about us, and how we can favorably turn those conversations to our favor and advantage.
This is not about propaganda or fake news, this is an honest-to-goodness management of public relations. If you can't control how you want to be perceived, some one will create it for you and that is the least comforting things as an idea.
When was the last time you heard from a delighted customer? Why don't you toot your own horn, and harvest your own successes and achievements. You are not making it up, there is social proof on every thing that you will declare out there. What is worst is that the deluge of uber-the-top negativity has been allowed to poison the minds of those who are just fence-sitters and observers? There is so much on the line here.
That has to stop and you can make concrete, tangible, and long-term commitment to making it work. If you can post your comments on Facebook and Twitter account everyday, you can do more on this area than just being passive and reactive.
The great Peter Drucker once said, " you have to feed on opportunities and starve problem-solving."
That is one great advice not heeded by a lot of organizations who is suffering from the monstrosity of the tyranny of everyday issues. They are mired and controlled by any movement that calls for their immediate and urgent attention. They found delight in solving any type of problem but did not develop, exercise, and maximize the opportunities around them, including the opportunities created by the so-called problems such as complaints, misinformation, bad publicity, ill-trained staff, overzealous volunteers, etc. The list can go on and on.
Are you bent down and worried on how to solve the next problem of your organization or are you satisfying the organization's search for opportunities? Are you defending yesterday's decisions in the altar of tomorrow's prospects? Are you spending more time fighting out fires or are you going out there and getting some long-term results?