by Jon Isaacson
At the beginning of a new year every company has the same dream — this is the year we are going to blow the doors off of this thing with growth! Everyone is working on their six pack and so are companies. Yet, like most individuals, the likelihood that most organization will reach their growth goals is directly tied to whether their habits change from last year.
Will you continue to join the cadre of growth bloviateors or will you make some real changes to put some walk to that catchphrase-business-talk? If status quo and annual mediocre cycles are no longer acceptable, what must we do?
Admit That Growth Is Scary
Everyone talks about growth, but the reality is that growth cannot be detached from getting your hands dirty in improving your processes.
Growth cannot be treated as a noun. As a refresher, a noun is a person, place or thing. If growth is a thing for you, then you likely will not grow. Growth is a verb, it requires action. Growth is a reflection of your actions.
That’s right folks, growth is you. Growth is not something that you just talk about, its something that you do. Lack of growth is a reflection, it tells us that something we are doing is not working.
Leaders Exemplify Growth
Growth happens because of people. If you are a leader and you are investing in our own personal improvement than you will more naturally be an active demonstration of professional development. Conversely, if you do not exemplify growth, regardless of how much you speak about it, their is a correlation to how growth will be impeded within your organization.
If you want your company to grow, be a person that is growing. If you want your team to develop, be an example of how growth happens.
Leaders Create Opportunities For Growth
Your organization is made up of living components. Companies are made up of people, organizations need nourishment, need opportunities and need challenges or they will stagnate. Quotes on the wall and status quo training sessions are great for keeping pace with mediocrity. When growth is reduced to a noun it removes our teams from the necessity for action. Growth as a noun is a desolate wasteland where most organizations are grazing, rather than growth as a verb that is propelling teams to tackle their mission.
Stagnate People = Stagnant Organizations.
When you are hungry to grown and evolve, you will become an agent propelling the organization forward. You will be practicing growth as a verb. re moving with the organization as they propel it forward. New opportunities for persons up the ladder should be utilized as opportunities to create growth paths for those climbing from lower rungs on the ladder. Leaders need to create their own personal pressure as well as embrace positive pressure generated from eager team members who have a vision to move upward with the organization.
If you are more concerned with tenure and keeping things the way they are. When leadership is scared to make too many changes and does not embrace internal momentum it should be no shock that growth is choked by itself.
If there is little opportunity created for movement within an organization, the river is not flowing, the waters are stale.
Leaders Need to Mentor
If you are not working yourself out of a job, then you are not doing yourself or your organization any favors. This is not to say that an organization should turn an burn its people, or that you should leave an organization, but that as you work up the ladder you are mentoring others to take your place. I believe this is called a win-win situation, perhaps a win (for you) — win (for those you are mentoring) — win (for your organization). Every successful team needs leaders who are helping to mentor the next generations of leaders from within the team.
One of the most rewarding cycles as a leader is to be able to train someone from no experience in your industry to climbing the ladder in your organization. When you hire good people, it becomes your challenge to develop them to their full potential.
Develop Your Internal Resources
In business they talk about the Peter Principle, recognizing a business trend to promote employees until they reach a point of failure. Another way to understand this cycle is to observe the lack of mentor ship within most organizations. If you throw people into positions that they haven’t been prepared for there is a greater probability of failure. Whereas if you invest in hiring good people and mentor eating them through the process then The individual and the organization benefit.
As a leader it should should burn you up if you cannot keep or create progressive opportunities for your faithful performers. On a practical level of impact towards the goal of growth, when the dynamics of your organization enable your individuals to develop and grow internally, the company will externally grow more naturally. Grow produces growth.
Your performers will be enlivened by opportunities, your employees will be prepared through mentoring and your organization will reproduce its capabilities in the market place expansion will be a product of the internal combustion.
Don’t be scared of growth-ing, grow with your people, for your people and by your people. If you need a friendly kick in the pants, let us know.
Jon Isaacson is the director for Local Facilities Manager's Connection (LFMC - localfacilities.com) which is a peer-to-peer networking group started in Eugene, Oregon. Jon has been working in business development, systems optimization and team building with organizations large and small for nearly 15 years. He has been writing, speaking and assisting teams with creative business solutions, helping those organizations bring their vision into reality.
by Jon Isaacson
A new market can feel like a new planet with new customs, languages and people groups. If you are going to survive your new assignment and build thriving business relationships, whom do you need to know?
First Who of Whom You Need To Know – Know Yourself
Bring on the psychobabble, right? Yet, the reality is that sales interactions are relationships. If you know yourself then you will have a firm grasp of at least one player in the game of life as it turns the bend towards building new partnerships. If you do not know yourself then you have at least twice the work of native salespersons as you are chasing the unknown you while you also explore the topography of the unknown market.
“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do
things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban
tried it. You need to know your personal brand and
stay true to it.”– Gary Vaynerchuk
The ability to be honest with yourself about your strengths will enable you to operate from a position of confidence when approaching others. What makes you unique as an individual is often aligned with what creates a brand stand out as you colonize new territories. To the contrary, if you don’t know who you are it will make it that much more confusing when engaging new clients as they will be unclear about where you fit into their needs.
Second Who of Whom You Need to Know – Know Who You Want To Work With
If you don’t have hunting gear, a trail plan and a target list, then you are not a hunter. Every individual and organization has their target client list. A salesperson empowered by the confidence of knowing oneself and armed with the clarity of what they are offering to the marketplace is able to identify clients that they would like to engage in commerce with. Whereas those who are lost in the forest of self-discovery continue to wander through life unable to identify nor capture their opportunities.
Trust is the currency of relationships of mutual value. When entering a new market the battle starts with getting the opportunity to build brand awareness and churn that into organizational momentum. In a new territory with unknown clients there are no introductions, they all have to be initiated. Initial branding strategies are essential as there is only one shot at making that first impression and getting the word of mouth train whistling down the tracks.
Third Who of Whom You Need to Know - Know of Whom Knows Who You Want To Know
We don’t always control how our opportunities come in and therefore when entering a new market any invitation to the dance may at first be the only invitation to the dance. Like a bird in the hand, a customer who is willing to give you an opportunity and will pay for services/products is worth more than all those clients who aren’t yet paying attention. Strategic partnerships with community leaders that will build an organic presence in the circles that you want to operate in are important to long term success.
Leverage the strength your brand has and partner with those
that can fill in the gaps. Like minded marketers and
brands can do incredible things. – Kurt Uhlir
In most communities, large and small, word of mouth is the key to the city. Discerning who’s opinion matters, or at least who’s opinion can help you build your brand momentum is an important exploration benchmark. Seek opportunities to create win-win situations where assistance is mutual and the momentum is beneficial to all parties involved. Learn what is important to the community and find ways to engage with those values.
Third Who of Whom You Need to Know – Know Who You Don’t’ Want To Work With
Nearly as important, if not even more important, than knowing who you want to work with is identifying those clients that you don’t want to work with. Whether your values do not align or for various reasons the relationship is not a good fit, everyone deserves at least one dance but that does not mean that we will form a partnership with everyone who expresses interest. As noted in a prior article, Marketing Step One, There is no substitute for meeting people and sharing who you are and what your company does. Listen for opportunities. Observe those whom you do and do not want to do business with. Be clear in who you are, what value you bring and with whom you want to partner with.
Bad relationships can be costly, do your research to ensure that you only enter into partnership where your values and vision are aligned so that you are not confusing your brand. Risk and rewards are always measured in relationship to opportunities, knowing which ones to pursue and which ones to pass on is the reason you get the above average dollars. Keep your eyes and ears open, try new things and don’t let fear be the reason you don’t take steps to explore the new territory. Learn the nuances and customs of the new market so that you can align with what matters to the community. Engage people from a standpoint of confidence in yourself as you embrace the community, create beneficial partnerships and build a brand of value. Go and do good things! If you need assistance with ideas, let us know.
Jon Isaacson is the director for Local Facilities Manager's Connection (LFMC) which is a peer-to-peer networking group started in Eugene, Oregon. Jon has been working in business development, systems optimization and team building with organizations large and small for nearly 15 years. He has been writing, speaking and assisting teams with creative business solutions, helping those organizations bring their vision into reality.
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - More than coaching and consulting, we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer. #MTWSL
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