As a member of your organization’s leadership team, you know that success hinges on one, and one thing only – customers: finding them, acquiring them, and keeping them. You need all systems operating on all cylinders – marketing, sales, product and service – to succeed. Each of these organizations are essential to having the right solutions positioned in a compelling way, with the right content delivered in the right channel, at the right time. The “moms and pops” of “Mayberry” inherently understood this, but we’re not in Kansas anymore. If you’re online or offline outside your city limits, your company’s success requires a bit more S.W.E.A.T: Strategy, Workflow, Engines, Accountable Actions, and Talent.
How to SWEAT it Out
Let’s now explore each of these and how to make your efforts pay off. The success or failure of your company rests in the hands of the CEO. Strategy, or the lack of it, is the basis for both. It is the CEO’s duty to determine and communicate the organization’s strategic direction. To create your strategy, your CEO needs to understand and articulate how the company will create and extract value from customers.
So what is the foundation for successfully creating and implementing your strategy? First, have clarity around your aspirations for your organization. Also, you will want to have a deep understanding of the specific outcomes needed to realize your vision. In addition, know the approach and capabilities you will need to achieve them, who your competitors will be, and what management systems will be needed to operate and build the capabilities you require.
Workflow encompasses processes and systems. It is the progression of tasks, events, and interactions needed to create and extract value. Many organizations skip this vital step of documenting the tasks and people needed to produce customer-focused outcomes. Workflow is the key to running the business profitably, productively, and with minimum friction. Workflow enables you to mobilize your team. The key is to mobilize your team around how to find, acquire, keep and grow the value of your customers.
In today’s environment of high levels of uncertainty and rapid change, your strategic decisions should be based on real-time customer and market input. Data, analytics, metrics and the insights derived from these have become critical engines for every business. These engines are essential to an organization’s ability to adapt to shifts in the market and realize growth. While no one has a crystal ball, and there’s always a place for experience and intuition, having solid data and employing analytics and metrics improves your ability to make smart investment and growth decisions based on actionable insights into customers, competitors, and the market.
Strategy without action is a plan gathering dust. Let’s not confuse activity, the state of being active, with action, a process for achieving an aim. It is action, more specifically, accountable action that brings your strategy for growth to life. Each and every member of your team needs to own their action related to the implementation and execution of the strategy. This will require that they have clear metrics, standards of measure, to manage and modify their performance. The closer you can align the metrics of action with customer-centric outcomes, the more your team can connect their work to strategy and results. Accountability facilitates adaptability and effectiveness.
And this brings us to talent, your team. Talent management is vital to every organization. Lieutenant General Matthew Ridgway, a protégé of General George C. Marshall, once said, “Can’t execute my future plans with present leaders.” Both he and General Marshall believed passionately in having the right people in the right jobs. To harness the power of your team, you need to arm them with the skills and tools to be successful.
Make Your SWEAT Pay Off
We started this article with the notion that your business’ success depends on how well you create and serve customers. And that finding, acquiring, and keeping customers requires having the right products positioned in a compelling way, with the right content delivered in the right channel – delivered at the right time. And this begins by clearly formulating how your company will create and extract value- value to and from customers. Keeping the customer front and center in regards to your workflow, data, analytics, metrics, and accountable action is what keeps your team focused on driving and delivering growth.
© 2016, Laura Patterson. All rights reserved.