One of the most impactful areas to create a radical shift in business growth and results is to be able to distinguish between “what you are doing” each day (i.e., work deliverables) and “who you are being” as a leader. All businesses are results oriented, but what is it that makes one business more successful than another in a similar market? How is it that one company can cultivate more clients, more revenue, and attract more talent to their company?
Within an organization, there is an energy flow. I refer to it as the “Infinite Possibilities Cycle.” This cycle has four phases and increases the focus on who leaders are “being” to create velocity in their business and as a result what they are “doing” becomes a natural extension. The culture, attitude and energy of a company is created by its leaders. To create more velocity to achieve your business goals, it requires inspired and motivated employees. It is up to senior leadership to create a high-velocity culture within their business.
The four phases to “Achieve Infinite Possibilities” in your organization are:
1. Leadership Style & Strategic Plan
The first and most important step of the Infinite Possibilities Cycle is for the senior leadership team to look at who they are being with each other to define their individual and company’s True North. Are they investing the time and doing the hard work required to:
- Really hear and understand each other,
- Overcome fear, (of failure, judgment, loss of control, need to be right, etc.),
- Be open to differing opinions,
- Support what other leaders need,
- Accept unique approaches to address situations,
- Maintain a positive attitude,
- Remove judgment,
- Embrace all communication styles,
- Enroll others while standing for what is needed for the company’s success,
- Remain unattached to negative energy and stay focused on the vision, mission and strategy.
This step is critical to creating a high-velocity culture. It truly is hard work. It takes time for leaders to hear each other and appreciate the differing roles and perspectives that are required for an organization to clearly define the organization’s “True North.” When all leaders feel heard and understood through collaborative, non-judgmental conversation around what they need to achieve or exceed the company’s goals, the results are a cohesive, connected leadership team supporting each other. If the senior leadership team is not performing as a cohesive unit, disconnects downstream with employees are likely and increases the probably at failing at achieving your objectives.
With one powerful, positive, enthusiastic, connected leadership team, employees can then connect with a clear “line of sight” empowering them to understand that what they do everyday makes a difference to achieve the company’s goals. The True North interlock between senior leadership, mid-management, and the front-line team is what fuels the Infinite Possibility Cycle. Employees know where the company is going and they are confident their leaders know how to get there which is needed for them to follow.
2. Inspired & Motivated Employees
Employees come before clients in the Infinite Possibilities Cycle. When employees are excited, inspired, motivated, love what they do and believe in the company mission, that energy transfers to your clients with every interaction. Invest in your employees, know who they are and what is important to them and ask them what they need to do their jobs better — care about them.
Studies have shown that the salary ranks low on the reason employees stay with an organization yet most employers think it is salary. In TIME Business & Money’s article, “Top Reasons Why Americans Stay At Their Jobs,”[i] Gary Belsky’s reports the top reasons employees stay is:
- Enjoy the work
- Fits their life
- Feel connected to the organization
- Feel they can make a difference
- Attachment to their co-workers
- Benefits & salary
Notice that most of the reasons employees stay are about their work experience and how they feel. Based on these findings, it is wise for leaders to pay close attention to your employees and how they feel (their being) as well as what they do. Companies that do not have a clear understanding of how your employees feel may want to conduct an employee survey to find out what leadership can do better. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. High employee turnover is a direct hit to productivity and profitability. Attracting, hiring and training employees are huge investments in time, energy and resources. Find the best talent, empower them and keep them excited to stay on your team. Your clients will appreciate the continuity of their experience and so will your bottom line! The leadership team is responsible for creating an environment of inspired and motivated employees. Accept that responsibility and you will see positive results with your employees, clients and revenue.
Everyone wants to be inspired. This is especially true for employees when things are complicated, which is an everyday occurrence in business. It is easy for employees to get distracted or depleted when things are difficult. A distracted team creates time, energy and emotional leaks that erode productivity. How can you keep employees inspired and motivated especially when you may have to take a more circuitous route to get to your goals when things go awry? Leveraging senior leadership’s synergy and a clearly defined plan, is a strong foundational element to navigate through any storm. Employees need to know that the leadership team is firmly anchored to the company’s True North. It creates a space for open conversations with employees based on trust and vulnerability. It allows leaders to connect at a deeper level with their employees, for them to see that the work they are doing is important to the company, the clients and each other.
The frontline team touches the client and plays an instrumental role in taking your company from good to great and from great to extraordinary. If that’s the case, how do you ignite the potential of your employees so they create amazing experiences pure clients who then go out and tell others? Invest in your employees. Take exquisite care of them and they will pass that energy on to your clients.
3. Client Affinity
When clients are happy, they tell others about the experience. Client Affinity is achieved when clients go beyond being a reference for you and go to the next step and tell others about your product or services. Your clients become a virtual sales force sponsoring your company to others! With delighted clients promoting you, not only will you increase wallet share with your current client, you will increase the number of new clients. While obvious, it is worth mentioning that happy clients are much more likely to purchase more products and services from you than an unhappy client. An unhappy client is most likely looking for a way to find another provider and telling everyone about their experience. The White House Office of Consumer Affairs, reports “A dissatisfied consumer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. About 13% of dissatisfied customers tell more than 20 people.”
If you look at your clients’ experience with your company, would you say they are:
(a) Dissatisfied – looking for a way out,
(b) Satisfied – indifferent,
(c) Loyal – would repurchase, or
(d) Affinity – promotes your business to others?
It is a worthwhile exercise to place your clients in these categories. This provides you with the focus needed to move them closer to client Affinity by continually measuring where they are on the Client Delight Continuum. If you don’t know, your lack of awareness and understanding of your clients may be putting you and your company in harm’s way. Take a close look at this by doing surveys or interviews and making this a part of your company strategy and culture to always know your client’s perception of your company’s value, brand and relationship. This certainly is not an area where ignorance is bliss. Ignorance in this area can be your demise. Awareness can yield increased revenues to reinvest in your company, strategy and employees.
4. Increased Revenues to Reinvest
You increase the probabality of repeat purchase by 60-70% when you sell to happy clients, according to Marketing Metrics[ii]. Investing in operational excellence to create a positive client experience not only supports your client retention goals, it drives cost out of delivering your product or services and increases your bottom-line. Focus on your current clients. Provide them with additional products and services to purchase as one of the fastest ways to increase revenues.
According to McKinsey,[iii] 70% of buying experiences are based on how the client feels they’re being treated. This holds true for prospects also. Creating a positive experience from the first moment a prospect engages with your company sets the tone of what they can expect in their partnership with you. Don’t overlook the details of a fabulous website that creates an educated consumer and shortens the sale cycle. In today’s fast-paced decision-making world, that first encounter can make or break whether you find a new client or they look somewhere else. Focus on what is in it for the client and how you’re going to make a difference for their business and you increase the probability of them doing business with you.
Far too many organizations spend time on selling without taking a good look at the client experience. When looking for ways to create growth for your company, it is a good investment of time for leaders to “be the ball” and experience what your prospects and clients experience. With this insight, focus on refining the marketing and sales processes to increase the percentage of new clients as well as drive down the high cost of sales.
To create high velocity growth, in addition to increased wallet share within your current clients and attracting new clients, organizations experience the greatest growth when they invest in the end-to-end operational effectiveness of the business. Ensuring a great client experience while driving cost out of the delivery provides you with the profits needed to reinvest in the company’s vision.
[ii] J. Digby. Return on Behavior Magazine. 50 Facts about Customer Experience. Feb 19, 2014
[iii] J. Digby. Return on Behavior Magazine. 50 Facts about Customer Experience. Feb 19, 2014