Market Facts or Leadership Gut Feelings—Which Deliver Sustainable Growth?
Many business leaders have tried continuous process improvement, Lean Six Sigma, and Agile to improve their business’s operational, sales, and engineering processes, but have failed. These methods are all about the internal world of the business. However, business transformation goes well beyond internal changes; the external market also gets a vote.
We go external by doing market research to determine the market’s needs and wants. Then, we recommend business transformations supported by internal and external research. In doing so, we advocate not just for revising or creating new internal processes, but also for new business approaches to the market.
Regardless of the growth process your company uses, Lean Six Sigma generally contains four distinct arenas of activity:
- Idea generation and selection
- Market validation
- Business case development
- Targeted commercialization
Research shows that market validation issues rank the highest among all reasons for growth project failures. We advise, teach, and coach clients in the use of Lean Six Sigma to make applying marketing process (including market research and analysis) more effective.
We apply Lean Six Sigma tools and methodologies to better
- Define the market opportunity
- Describe the forces that could impact your concept
- Develop the value proposition
- Build the value-price strategy
- Measure customer perceived value
- Generate product positioning and motivating messages(s)
Define the success you want to achieve as a future state, then investigate the external factors that drive the transformation you are trying to achieve. Invariably, this requires your organization to change the way it thinks and acts, and to use the best tools that are necessary to achieve that.
The way an organization thinks is the change in its culture; the way it acts is its ability to work using the right tools. The proliferation of digital tools that connect and integrate data optimizes decision-making, which saves resources—people, money, and time. By being able to act on the data, the number of hours it takes to make a decision is decreased, increasing profitability. In today’s world, that is both easier and harder. It is easier because there are tools to make the work more effective and efficient, but it is harder because the tools are more sophisticated and require a different learning curve.
We have developed a full complement of coursework specifically for marketers—in their language and applicable to the work that they do. Our coaching ensures that real learning and business improvement take place.
Future Business History
Future Business History℠ is part of a process designed to lead a business through developing a vision and an aggressive growth strategy. The approach is based on a highly interactive framework that transforms the Future State vision into
- A strategic intent
- Core strategic architecture with operating strategies
- Key actions required to get started
- An organizational model linked to the strategic intent
The set of targeted actions (on a timeline) and success measures comprise the Future Business History.
The process to make strategic product and marketing decisions starts with your internal vision and adds insights into what your target markets will value. We characterize the behavioral and emotional responses customers have and will have to products, services, and individuals. Thus, marketers receive the information they need to generate compelling benefits, value propositions, and positionings that go beyond functional appeals. So, communications and offering design are more targeted and impactful, because they address the unique triggers necessary to establish preferences and the desired customer behaviors.
There are four challenges business leaders must face when undergoing a cultural or digital business transformation.
1. Get Real Commitment
The first challenge is getting real commitment and executive sponsorship. Do you find that in your business, trends and ideas are discussed, but the commitment needed for success is missing? Lack of sponsorship—or lots of talk but little to no serious action—puts initiatives at risk from the start. You need real commitment to invest and innovate, as well as support from top executives.
- Build and communicate your business case, highlighting value derived through digital transformation.
- Realistically identify resources needed and align with clear objectives.
- Develop governance, metrics, and mechanisms to measure and communicate progress.
2. Foster a Truly Innovative Culture
The second challenge is fostering a truly innovative culture. A true cultural transformation requires a faster pace to tinker, try, and experiment. Business leaders say they want to innovate, but their employees know failure is not tolerated. There are no rewards for experimenting. To be a powerful leader, you need to foster innovation by addressing increased creativity and the need to take risks by adopting a “test, fail, learn” culture.
- Assess cultural readiness and change the way people think, so that new behavior follows.
- Seed and cultivate innovation and reward learning.
- Build a culture that accepts failure for learning.
- Develop and nurture innovation networks.
In other words, you need to align your business culture with the fast-paced Silicon Valley culture.
3. Build a Collaborative Organization
The third challenge is building a collaborative organization. An outward approach to listening, learning, and leveraging information is required. Inwardly-focused employees may have a heads-down awareness of only what goes on in their department, leading to short-term vision. Instead, business leaders need to empower employees to think collaboratively and engage with colleagues, customers, and the outside world.
- Expose and build empathy for customer experience.
- Rethink old and outdated processes.
- Use innovative thinking workshops to jumpstart creativity.
4. Anticipate Trends and Respond with Agility
The final challenge is anticipating trends and responding quickly. Trends and technology continue to change, as does the competitive landscape. Many organizations are resistant to change or slow to adopt new ideas. The desired state for the future is open and agile.
- Engage your team in new thinking and adapting to disruptive business models.
- Develop emotional intelligence.
- Monitor, learn, test, and adapt, ensuring a continuous feedback loop.
Learn more about innovative business transformation.
™ Marketing Readiness Diagnostic and MRD are trademarks of Imprint Learning Solutions, LLC