I was the guest speaker for a CEO webinar today entitled “Four Strategies to Energize Your Business Growth and Thrive in the Recovery.”
Our event host polled the 77 B2B companies who participated. We asked three questions. I wanted to know how effectively and consistently they are positioning their companies for the recovery. Their responses were quite revealing and somewhat disappointing. Let me know if any of these surprise you.
Polling Question #1: We have a process for taming the Beast (limiting beliefs) in our organization.
a. Yes = 30%
b. No, we ignore the Beast.= 70%
c. We have no Beasts lurking.
This tells me that many smart leaders are either a) simply hoping that limiting beliefs and negative behaviors will magically go away; or b) just don’t know the limiting beliefs are that are holding them back from growing their market share; or c) simply don’t believe that limiting beliefs are worth monitoring.
Some companies sell a high number of competitive products and services. In this category, you become vulnerable to getting relegated to the purchasing department, and are generally perceived as an exiguous commodity. (download chart below)
Conversely, companies such as Facebook, Apple, Zappos, and LinkedIn have designed products, customer service experiences, and relationships that are downright untouchable. The ideal category for market makers to attain is the breakthrough products and services, where margins, customer excitement, and brand repute are highest.
a. Less than 30% = 31%
b. 30%-60% = 29%
c. Over 60% = 33%
d. Can we skip this question? 6%
I applaud the 6% who admit they are over-invested in promoting commodity products. And I rue the day that the 62% of our audience wake up and find themselves obsolete.
Polling Question #3: As a leader, I monitor my company’s leading indicators on a regular basis, and make rapid adjustments.
a. Always = 26%
b. Sometimes = 60%
c. When the Board pressures me to do it = 3%
d. Never = 11%
When I work with clients, we collaborate to help them find “leading indicators” – internal and external behaviors – that will tell them how well they are tracking against their growth planning and marketing initiatives. By including these indicators with their scorecard, performance dashboard or KPI’s, they can proactively resolve issues before they reach crisis levels. Sadly, only 26% of the audience is committed to tracking leading indicators–and acting on them consistently.
What does this tell us about the preparedness of today’s small and medium B2B business leaders to grow their companies? If we truly want to thrive in the recovery, we have to harness the power of innovation and strategic marketing, and confront our demons. Otherwise, our businesses will become yet another statistic.
copyright 2010, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.