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3 Customer Experience Equations – Math You’ll Actually Use

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3 Customer Experience Equations – Math You’ll Actually Use

This blog is provided by Dave Cherry, as a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview Boring Retail is Dead. Long Live the Customer Experience Industry aired on 10/15/19. Photo by Clem Onojeghuo.

Like many of us, I took Algebra in school. My daughters, now in high school and middle school, are now doing the same. And they’ve asked me the same question that I asked many years before: “When will I ever need to solve a linear equation or calculate the slope of a line in real life?” The answer, for many of us, (with apologies to Mrs. Curry – my 9th grade math teacher), is never.

But today I’ll share 3 simple equations that are critical to success in the customer experience industry:

CONTENT + CONTEXT = CONNECTION

IDEATION x EXECUTION = VALUE

INSIGHT + INTUITION = IMPROVED DECISIONS

First, let me define this new industry, which actually isn’t new at all. It is a singular composition of all B2C and B2B companies that have customers. The hard lines between different segments (e.g. retail, banking, insurance, energy, etc.) have become blurred as customers (that includes all of us) engage with providers across this spectrum. As we do so, we use both the excellent and poor experiences that we have with each provider to influence our future expectations from the next one. So, companies like Starbucks, Uber, Target, Marriott, Southwest Airlines, Nordstrom, Walmart, Nationwide Insurance, Chase and more are all competing against one another in delivering customer experiences that are meaningful and memorable.

Amid constantly rising customer expectations, companies must develop a Customer Experience Strategy that is Enabled by Innovation and Informed by Analytics to stay competitive in today’s customer experience industry. Below I’ll discuss the critical equation for each element:

The Customer Experience Equation: Content + Context = Connection

A great customer experience starts with a relevant product or service that you offer. This is Content. Content comes in many forms, both tangible (e.g. a reliable, stylish watch) and intangible (e.g. insurance coverage that provides confidence and security). It also comes with a minimum level of quality as a baseline. Using the watch example, if it is not accurate, then the content of that product becomes irrelevant – it does not serve it’s intended purpose.

But content is not enough. It requires the addition of Context. You must provide the product or service to the customer in the right setting at the right time. The richest, most delicious cup of hand-crafted artisan hot chocolate isn’t that appealing on a 100-degree day in the summer. Even though the content in this example is exceptional, offering it in the wrong context diminishes the customer experience.

But when Content and Context combine in a relevant and meaningful way, you create a Connection with your customer that delivers on their experience expectation. When Uber delivers a comfortable and clean ride, combined with the convenience of a frictionless checkout when you are in a rush to get to the airport on time for your flight, the combination of Content + Context delivers a Connection between company and customer. It generates affinity, loyalty and ultimately profitability.

The Innovation Equation: Ideation x Execution = Value

Once you understand the goal state customer experience, there are bound to be gaps for two reasons. First, no company is perfect. So, whether due to legacy systems, suboptimal prior decisions or tactics, or some other reason, most have some gaps in capabilities. Second, even if you by chance have no gaps today, customer expectations are constantly rising and gaps will appear soon enough.

To close these gaps, we start with the relatively easy and fun task of Ideation. Brainstorming, thinking, riffing and imagining the future are fun activities. And more often than not, result in large numbers of possibilities (usually depicted by 100s of post-it notes covering conference room walls). Following ideation comes some sort of prioritization (e.g. dot voting) that results in a roadmap.

Now comes that hard part…Execution. Delivering on the promise of the future is a challenge because it requires changing the present while at the same time operating in the present. And when obstacles arise (which they will), many lack the resilience and confidence in their convictions to keep pressing forward. It is only through successful Execution on top of Ideation that significant Value (hence the multiplication) can be delivered.

Back in 1993, AT&T delivered some amazing Ideation. In their “You Will…” campaign, they asked these questions:

  • “Have you ever borrowed a book from 100 miles away from the library?”
  • “Have you ever crossed the country without stopping to ask for directions?”
  • “Have you ever sent someone a fax…from the beach?”
  • “Have you ever paid a toll without slowing down? “
  • “Have you ever tucked your baby in from a phone booth?”
  • “Have you ever opened doors with the sound of your voice?”
  • “Have you ever carried your medical history in your wallet?”
  • “Have you ever attended a meeting in your bare feet?”
  • “Have you ever watched the movie you wanted to the minute you wanted to?”

Each of these items have two things in common. First, we all utilize and enjoy all of them almost daily. Second, none of them were delivered by AT&T. They had great Ideation, but their Execution was flawed, incomplete or too slow. Hence the Value that we all derive from these experiences were ultimately delivered by others.

The Analytics Equation: Insight + Intuition = Improved Decisions

The primary purpose of analytics is to deliver Improved Decisions by increasing the decision makers confidence. This is achieved through identifying patterns in data to uncover anomalies or Insights that were previously unknown.

Insights must be both timely and relevant to the decision at hand. Yet even when this is achieved, we don’t yet get to optimal decision-making confidence. We must add Intuition, or as it is also known, experience or gut. There is value in experience. There is also value in gut, which brings elements of context, risk and strategy into the analytical equation. Given identical data, a more aggressive or conservative risk posture could lead you to different decisions – take the blackjack player who “feels lucky” and takes a hit on 16 when the dealer shows a 5 as an example. The player may have confidence in pulling a 5, though most analytical models would recommend staying. And regardless if the player wins the hand, they made a better decision by knowing the odds (data) and incorporating their feeling (gut) and risk posture (context).

So, when will we actually use these equations? Potentially daily, and often, multiple times each day. Consider the “Decision Modeling” approach described below, that can be leveraged for both large scale strategic decisions as well as daily important operational decisions.

Start by identifying an Action (or Decision) that may help improve the customer experience, creating a Connection. Then acquire the data/information to uncover the Insights that will improve your decision-making confidence. Combine those with your Intuition to make a decision and set the course of action. Finally execute well, and you’ll realize the Value desired by your organization and required by your Customer.

 So, in the end, there’s a fourth and final equation:

(Content + Context = Connection) +

(Ideation x Execution = Value) +

(Insight + Intuition = Improved Decisions)

——————————————————————–

= Customer Experience Success.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

About the Author

Dave brings over 20 years of strategic consulting experience focused on strategy (digital, customer experience, innovation) and advanced analytics. He has worked with and for leading organizations such as LBrands, Polo Ralph Lauren, ascena Retail Group, Journeys, DSW, Disney, Alliance Data, Nationwide Insurance, AEP, Huntington Bank, Cardinal Health, OhioHealth, Deloitte Consulting and Price Waterhouse. He holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, serves on the International Institute of Analytics Expert Panel and also as an Advisory Board member for the Women in Analytics Conference and CbusRetail.

Contact Dave on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/cherrydave/ , Twitter @davecherry or check out his website: www.cherryadvisory.com.

Check out this and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, Google Play, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

People, People Everywhere And Not A Person To Hire…

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People, People Everywhere And Not A Person To Hire…

North_Logo_Name - Green _Logo.jpg

This blog is provided by Dave DuBose and Will O’Brien from True North Growth Partners, as a companion to their interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future. This interview Lasting Solutions for Distribution Center Labor Shortages aired on 9/10/19.

 

Of course, that title is a takeoff from Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”. The author referred to a thirsty sailor surrounded by saltwater that he cannot drink. This is what many distribution center (DC) operators face when they can’t attract and retain the workforce that they need to support their operations. With historically low unemployment, the demand for DC labor is escalating- a trend that will continue. This drives higher wages while the quality of the available workforce drops.

Other factors make this situation more complex. Job candidates may be unable to meet an organization’s hiring requirements for drug testing and work history. Lowering standards creates workforce reliability issues. Ecommerce is a big driver. Amazon (the biggest example) has over 100 fulfillment & sortation centers. The e-comm channel requires 4X the labor compared to retail and wholesale fulfillment. This creates a salary war, undercutting any loyalty that workers might have had. This is magnified at peak season.

How does a leader deal with all of this? Three strategies underpin a winning playbook:

  1. Reduce the Work Content
  2. Be a “Sticky Employer”
  3. Get the Most Out of Your Workforce

Strategy #1, “Reduce the Work Content,” is the focus of this blog

REDUCE THE WORK CONTENT OF THE FACILITY

Reducing work content is a challenge that belongs in the playbook. Analytical rigor is required to appropriately consider each option for achieving this goal and careful planning and execution is a must-have: these are not “quick fix” alternatives, but they can be very effective.

  • DC Bypass is the method of flowing goods to the customer or store while bypassing the DC or fulfillment center. It is necessary to analyze volume and order history so that an effective program can be designed that will provide the relief to the facility and have minimal-to-no impact on supplier charges or the customer experience.
  • Store-Based Fulfillment is growing rapidly. The most common version of this is BOPIS (Buy Online – Pickup In-Store). Walmart will ship an e-comm item to a store at no charge. Many grocers offer the increasingly popular curbside pick-up service. Others enable their stores to ship e-comm orders to customers’ homes. One retailer performs this function early in the morning, before the store opens for walk-in traffic. DSW stated that its stores are within 20 minutes of 70% of their customers, so they can’t afford to NOT take advantage of that proximity for improved speed and delivery cost. Target, Dick’s, Best Buy and others use store-based fulfillment as an economical way to compete against Amazon’s hyper-fast delivery model. Details related to how a retailer handles allocation, store operations, order management and small package carrier relationships are critically important. Creating and communicating a detailed plan ensures that leaders understand the assumptions about inventory, handling and transportation costs, as well as reductions in markdowns – and are committed to execution.
  • Pop-Up Fulfillment Centers are used during peak seasons to provide relief from surges in demand. Advancements in robotics enable operators to slot more items in pop-ups than ever before, with reduced training needs and improved speed and customer service. Robots, in this case, Automated Mobile Robots (AMRs) from companies like Locus, Fetch Robotics and 6 Rivers can be deployed very quickly, typically in less than a day. The software that operates AMRs is cloud based, which eases the IT requirements. AMRs are safe around people and other mobile equipment. The interface between the worker and the AMR is very simple, so training for the associate takes only minutes. Worker productivity dramatically increases because the robot eliminates the need for the worker to walk the entire facility. Most AMR providers offer their products on a “Robot-As-A-Service” basis, avoiding the large capital outlay that is needed for traditional material handling equipment. There is great flexibility with AMRs as the number of machines can flex over time with volume.

 

AMR Pic for TNP Blog.png

AMRs in work environment

The two most significant advantages of pop-ups are reductions in labor and the cost of the last mile. By locating pop-up facilities in markets with dense demand, the operator shifts its labor burden from hiring  hundreds of associates in a labor-constrained single market to hiring dozens of associates in each of a handful of locations across the country- a much more achievable task. The cost of the last mile is    significant and is reduced by having pop-ups in dense markets. Given the success of pop-up DCs, operators are beginning to consider keeping them open year-round to augment distribution networks that need e-comm friendly solutions for speed, cost effectiveness and customer service. Careful product flow analysis and cost modeling ensures that the solution will deliver the intended benefits.

 

  • Automated Material Handling Equipment (MHE) solutions offer different options for reducing labor requirements in large, capital-intensive DCs. Continued innovation in automated-storage-and-retrieval and goods-to-person systems, as well as in conveyors, sorters and put-walls, enable operators to realize significant labor savings. 60% of a DC worker’s time can be spent walking in the facility, sometimes as much as 15 miles per day. Innovative developments continue in pack station and auto-bagger technologies. Automated MHE solutions fit well in high-volume operations and these solutions require significant effort to properly design and select the appropriate equipment for each situation.
  • Leverage a 3PL Partner: Finally, sophisticated 3PLs provide a wide range of services, from end-to-end fulfillment, including last mile delivery, to executing only the pieces of an operation that are most challenging to the business. A 3PL is a viable option for many scenarios. It is very important to perform due diligence in partner selection and in the integration of all processes and technologies to guarantee a flawless conversion and smooth operation.

 

If you are facing distribution or fulfillment challenges in your business, there are many options available to you. If you would like to discuss your situation with Will O’Brien or Dave DuBose, they can be reached at www.truenorthgrowthpartners.com.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

About the Authors

Dave DuBose is a senior supply chain professional with strong cross-industry experience including retail, consumer products, resources and high-tech in the North American and global theaters. Dave has held executive positions in logistics and supply chain in industry as well as consulting and has more than 30 years of professional experience. DuBose delivers innovative results and can translate business strategy into operating strategy and tactics. He has deep expertise in end-to-end business operations and in deploying business solutions from strategy through implementation. Dave is currently serving as the Columbus Roundtable board president the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. He is active in speaking and writing about contemporary supply chain issues.

Will O’Brien is a partner at True North Growth Partners where he works with organizations on the supply chain and operations sides of their business. He helps his clients overcome the things that hold back their growth and profitability. He has over 30 years of experience in supply chain and operations. He has held executive positions in both industry and consulting. As an executive at Lowe’s Home Improvement he helped to lead the development of the supply chain for that big box retailer during a period of rapid growth, from $35 billion to $50 billion in revenue. He also helped pioneer Lowe’s omni-channel fulfillment when its online sales were growing significantly. He successfully grew a mid-sized family owned supply chain consulting firm by over 50%, expanded its markets, improved its pricing, reengineered its sales and business development organization and created career paths and professional growth for its associates.

Performing at Your Best: Mindset Evolution with Luis Vicente Garcia

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Performing at Your Best: Mindset Evolution with Luis Vicente Garcia

“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman”. With this quote W. Clement Stone indicated that to be successful in sales (as in any other managerial field) you need to learn, improve your skills and have the correct attitude to do it.

Sales are the basis for the growth of every business and every company, which means that when we understand the basis for selling and learn the different skills that are required we will start on an improvement program that will allow us and our team to grow.

There are critical skills for you to know, from prospecting to identifying needs to getting referrals. As you improve you will abilities you will know why the top sales people will always grow.  

Marketing will lead you to #sales which will allow your company to grow. Join me in this show ‘The Art of Selling’ as we learn the skills to improve our sales performance!

Follow Luis Vicente Garcia on:
@lvgarciag
www.luisvicentegarcia.com
www.coachluisgarcia.com
www.coachluisvgarcia.com
www.entrepreneurperformance.com

A Year on Performance and Mindset! by Luis Vicente Garcia

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Business
A Year on Performance and Mindset! by Luis Vicente Garcia

IMG_1004

What do you think if you hear about a year on Performance and Mindset? For me it has been a celebration of both Entrepreneurial Magic and Personal Success!

Join me as we celebrate a full year with or radio show ‘Performing at Your Best: Mindset Evolution with Luis Vicente Garcia’. We had an incredible year filled with amazing concepts, new themes, inspiring notes and fabulous interviews: Joan Detz, Margaret Maclay, Steve Olds, Marc Koehler, Bob Burg, Hans Trupp, Michelle Poler, you name it. We talked about business ideas and fear; emotional intelligence and franchises; business expertise alongside purpose and vision; and we talked about the Sustainable Development Goals issued by the United Nations. We focused on improving and changing your mindset in order to increase your performance.

Join me in this one hour show as we review our first year on Performance and Mindset.

When we talk about Business or entrepreneurial success, we might not be really sure what it is or how to define it; and this will prove to be critical. You need to know where you are today and where you are going; then, figure out your plan to get there.

Whether you have been in business for years or you are a start-up, things look harder and more difficult than what you originally thought, take more time and might have a bigger cost than planned. Your three main resources: time, team and money will be tested over and over again. What you need to do here is to understand what makes you apart, what is important for you and your company and how can you start redirecting some of the approaches and ideas you have been using in the past.

This actually is the number one critical issue for all people and companies that do need to change: adapt and be flexible. This implies realizing the need to adapt to the changing business environments, looking at the trends in the market and your industry, while improving some of the important areas (if not all) in your company.

When you do it, something starts to happen and suddenly there is a better flow of energy, new ideas start to flourish, a more dynamic team takes action, goals are reached and visions are aligned. In all, you, your staff, team members and your company start talking about success and what it would mean to be successful (and yes we know we all measure Success in a different way).

Over the course of the year from June 2015 to May 2016 we had an incredible team that helped us reach thousands of listeners form all over the world; we invited amazing guests, talked about important business issues and development tools. And most importantly, we talked about you, your teams, your companies and how you can improve your performance while changing your mindset.

In this hour-long show we will review the best highlights from an amazing year so please join us as we review our first year on Performance and Mindset!

www.luisvicentegarcia.com
www.coachluisgarcia.com
www.coachluisvgarcia.com
www.entrepreneurperformance.com

The Business Interpretation of Performance: Training Intent – “The MAGIC of the Martial Arts of Business” by Luis Vicente Garcia

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Business
The Business Interpretation of Performance: Training Intent – “The MAGIC of the Martial Arts of Business” by Luis Vicente Garcia

Luis Vicente Garcia on Keys to Manageial Success

When we go out to work or live our own lives, we must decide how we are going to do it. When we continue to learn and then implement the knowledge we have accumulated and the abilities we have developed, we need to understand that how we do one thing is how we will do everything we do. At the end, it is all about performance.

Over the years we acquire new knowledge that we must apply; have experiences that we learn from; meet people and start developing a network whom we influence and who we learn from. These factors all combine into allowing us to be who we are today, at a personal and professional level.

It is here where Training, Performance and Focus intersect and define how we do all that we do, simple or complex. It determines our ability to perform in an excellent manner, consistently. Now we must apply the learning and experiences we get from life, and the keys we obtain from sports and martial arts.

Join me as we take the Training Intent of Martial Arts and give it an entrepreneurial meaning, so we can all benefit in our businesses.

Luis Vicente Garcia
Coachluis@luisvicentegarcia.com
www.luisvicentegarcia.com
@lvgarciag
www.coachluisgarcia.com
entrepreneurperformance.blogspot.com

The Keys to Entrepreneurial Success! by Luis Vicente Garcia

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Business
The Keys to Entrepreneurial Success! by Luis Vicente Garcia

Luis Vicente Garcia Giliberti. Seminario Liderzago ante la Incertidumbre #1

When we talk about Business or entrepreneurial success, we might not be really sure what it is or how to define it; and this will prove to be critical. You need to know where you are today and where you are going; then, figure out your plan to get there.

Whether you have been in business for years or you are a start-up, things look harder and more difficult than what you originally thought, take more time and might have a bigger cost than planned. Your three main resources: time, team and money will be tested over and over again. What you need to do here is to understand what makes you apart, what is important for you and your company and how can you start redirecting some of the approaches and ideas you have been using in the past.

This actually is the number one critical issue for all people and companies that do need to change: adapt and be flexible. This implies realizing the need to adapt to the changing business environments, looking at the trends in the market and your industry, while improving some of the important areas (if not all) in your company.

When you do it, something starts to happen and suddenly there is a better flow of energy, new ideas start to flourish, a more dynamic team takes action, goals are reached and visions are aligned. In all, you, your staff, team members and your company start talking about success and what it would mean to be successful (and yes we know we all measure Success in a different way).

There are many definitions on business success and in this program we will be discussing some ideas that will allow you to understand some of the Key Elements to Entrepreneurial Success.

www.luisvicentegarcia.com
www.entrepreneurperformance.com

 

Parenting and Project Management by Rick A. Morris

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Business
Parenting and Project Management by Rick A. Morris

Don Delashaw

Rick A. Morris welcomes a long time and valued friend Don Delashaw.  Rick worked with and for Don for a number of years and considers him a mentor in the Project Management field.  Over the years, Rick and Don have had a chance to get to know each other’s families and philosophies.  Tune in for a very humorous session where they discuss raising their children and balancing parenting with their lives as project managers.  This will be a can’t miss show where we investigate the true Work/Life balance and where we discuss whether or not successful business strategies work at home.

Tune in live every Friday at 2pm PST to The Work/Life Balance.

Scaling Up Your Business – The Do’s And Don’ts

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Business
Scaling Up Your Business – The Do’s And Don’ts

Jump

When talking about business reinvention, we tend to focus on the big company’s need to rethink their strategy. The fact is that even young companies have to face the challenge of “transform or die”.

When a company is first started, it often focuses a lot on survival and how to find enough customers to sustain its business. Only 4% of the U.S. companies ever reach $1 million in sales. The few who

make it to the next phase soon realize that they have other challenges that are equally daunting, such as “how to scale up the company to meet the growing demand and navigate increasing complexity?” Leaders have to find new ways to drive and manage growth while making sure the organization that is growing in size is moving in sync.

The Don’ts

But are all businesses scalable? Juli Between, Managing Partner of Pivot Point Partners doesn’t think so. She pointed out on the Business Reinvention show that companies sometimes fail to scale up because they made the mistake of focusing only on products and not enough on building necessary infrastructure to support the growth, or favoring loyalty over performance. Good leaders understand the importance of diversity and don’t not just hire people who are similar to themselves.

At early-stage companies, the leaders often have to wear multiple hats and work on tactical issues. But as the company grows and new talents are brought in, the leader must shift their focus to develop strategic and system thinking while delegating more and more of the tasks to his or her team. This is one of the biggest leadership challenges I observe when working with fast-growing companies. Leaders who are unwilling to delegate could risk being too task-oriented and failing to see the big picture and set a long-term vision to drive growth. When leaders spread too thin, they slow down the decision-making process and prevent their companies from responding to the market change quickly. This often demotivates their best performers who are eager to help the company make the leap to the next level and hungry for new challenges. Leaders risk losing their best performers when they don’t delegate and give the employees the opportunity to grow by taking on new responsibilities.

The Do’s

1. Establish Key Performance Indicators – Having a scoreboard builds a great foundation for the leaders to communicate their visions, create alignment, identify opportunities and set priorities.

Betwee suggests that companies track financial indicators, customer satisfaction which includes customer adoption and retention, operations efficiency, technology performance and talent management. Because having great talent is the key to growth strategy, I also encourage leaders to review their leadership team and ask if they would rehire the executives – why and why not. This helps the leaders identify the organizational gaps as well as talent development needs.

2. Develop System Thinking – I once asked Craig Barrett who was the CEO and Chairman of Intel, how to keep a company innovative. “Get out of their way!” was his answer. It may sound over-simplified and counter-intuitive but it is in fact words of wisdom from an executive who successfully positioned Intel to be the market leader following the dotcom bust in 2000. This is particularly relevant to executives who are leading company transition from a small organization to a growth engine. As the company grows, the leader’s job is to make sure the company has the infrastructure to support business growth as well as talent development so the employees can do what they do best and focus on growing the company.

Leaders should shift from “telling to listening”, said Nanette Miller, West-Coast Partner-in-Charge at Marcum LLP who has worked closely with start-up and emerging companies. Listening to and learning from employees and customers help leaders develop peripheral vision to understand the overall market and company dynamics. Having system thinking is the key to developing strategic thinking and essential to creating a winning long-term vision for the company. Empower your employees to do the other tasks so you can focus on the big picture and not get buried in the details. Include your leadership team when working on the overall company strategy.

3. Hire Slowly and Fire Quickly – A good strategy only accounts for a small percentage of your success. What’s even more important is how well the strategy is executed, and having the right talent is the first step to ensuring successful implementation.

Great leaders know how to pick the right talent who shares the same values and can complement their own strengths and weaknesses. They “look for people who are better than they are but share a common set of values”, said Daniel Isenberg, Adjunct Professor at Columbia School of Business.

Many companies rush to hire new talent to cope with the increasing demand. Few take the time to craft a good job description and think through qualifications and qualities needed to succeed in the job. In some cases, companies fail to redefine the job and continue to use old job description after the role has evolved. If you don’t know what you are looking for, chances are you won’t find what you need.

Another challenge growth-stage companies may face is that they sometimes outgrow their employees. Some employees or leaders thrive in a small-business environment but struggle in a more complex organization. As the company grows, they are no longer the right talent for the jobs that they have been in. Sometimes an employee’s performance goes from good to bad because (s)he does not understand the changing need, or does not have the skills needed for the new role. The manager needs to step in and help develop new skills by providing coaching or training programs.

If the employee is not coachable or is not interested in the new skills or responsibilities, the company can offer job rotation opportunities to move the employee into a role that is more suitable for him. If there are no other opportunities for the employee, the company may have to consider letting the employee go. This is a very uncomfortable situation. Some leaders choose not to deal with the problem. Over time, the low performance affects the morale and efficiency, and creates a toxic environment. Instead of fearing the potential consequence of firing an employee, the leader must also consider the price the company has to pay for not dealing with the problem.

4. Strengthen Leadership Skills – Most discussions about growth strategy focuses on management skills and financial discipline. What’s also critical is for the executive’s capacity to  adapt to change and take on new challenges.

Developing a strong self-awareness is the foundation to great leadership, particularly in the time of change. As the company begins to experience growing pains, the leader has to be alert and sense when the old way of doing things is no longer effective. If the growth is changing your organization, it’s not hard to understand why the leader may also need to adjust themselves along the way, either their management style, the frequency of communication, or the way of they look at the market. Leaders have to tune in to the internal and external environments around them so they can be aware when the need for change arises. It also helps to work with an executive coach who help leaders see their blind spots and serve as a thought leader.

In addition to trust and team building, leaders should also hone in their skills to inspire others. In a fast-growing environment, the employees are often asked to do more with less so the leader must be able to communicate a compelling vision to motivate the team to work towards the goals despite lack of resources and certainty.

But most importantly, enjoy the incredible journey.  Scaling your business will not only teach you about leadership but also help you grow as a person.

 

About the Author: Nancy Lin  is an executive coach and a business consultant at Change Agent SF.  She is also the host of the Business Reinvention show on Voice America Business channel. She works with leaders at growth-stage companies to transform the way they look at their business and leadership. Nancy brings to her executive coaching and podcast a strong understanding of business, having worked for Yahoo, DHL, Johnson & Johnson and Pepsi. You can reach her on Twitter @BizReinvention

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