HOW LEADERSHIP AFFECTS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
How the skill level of an organization’s leaders affect other management levels
What is the importance of a flat management organization
How to prevent the situation of “Jack of All Trades and a Master of None” from hindering
business development but utilize it effectively
Why utilize external professional services to supplement staff
Where leadership skills come from
What leaders need to keep in mind when making decisions
What is business development
How to utilize the phenomenon of “Selective Perception” to help focus on business
How to set up a working culture and environment to encourage business development
Let me start out by making two fundamental statements.
“Good effective leadership is critical for Business Development.”
“Good leadership skills do not come natural to anyone, they are learned”.
Leadership is made up of several people; owner, president, vice president, directors, managers, supervisors.
Leadership skills are acquired and learned from training, education, continual training, experience, personal business networking and group influence.
It is also learned from both bad and good experiences.
It is important for leaders of all levels to continually personally participate in training and seminars on a variety of leadership and business subjects to keep their skill sets high and current.
This is critical for a leader’s effectiveness.
As airline pilots/captains and co-pilots continually attend training to keep their skills and knowledge current to help assure safe travel; so do company presidents and senor management need to participate in continual training to assure healthy business growth.
When flying on airplanes you are more confident of a safe flight knowing that the flight crew is in training continually.
Customers, employees, suppliers, banks, and any investors will have more confidence in a company or business that has leaders and managers in continual training to keep their skills the best possible.
The leadership of a business or company sets the business pace that will determine the growth, lack of growth, or the decline of the business.
Good leadership establishes the following;
1. an organization with structure to support the aggressive business growth efforts
2. strategies with specific measurable goals and time lines to assure progress for growth
3. a staff with the skills and mind set to work as a team for aggressive business development
4. compensation with incentives for staff to support business growth goals and strategies
5. a team oriented working atmosphere within the business that motivates and rewards staff for business development efforts and successes plus weeds out and remove those that are not of this mind set
6. the growth pace and how fast the business grows
7. the business atmosphere and work ethic
Lack of good leadership will prevent business growth and often deter talented staff from joining or staying with the company.
Most people love to be on a winning team, and in a good positive and enjoyable work environment where they can contribute to business growth and be appreciated for such.
Only good leadership can make this happen.
Good leaders seek out better ways to accomplish strategic goals and business growth.
Good leaders must be compelled to continually evaluate every action and result of their behavior and decisions.
They must look at every detail as to what works, what does not work, what is hindering or holding back progress, and what can be improved.
Business growth and skill sets start at the very top of the leadership.
Hopefully you have read my previous chapter on the subject of “The Rule of 10”.
This is an explanation about how the level of leadership skill sets or lack of, will directly influence the company’s success or lack of success.
Simply speaking, people with specific skill set levels will hire those below them with lower skill sets.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest skill level, 10’s hires 9’s, 8’ hire 7’s, 7’s hire 6’s and so on.
This can be both a conscious and unconscious action.
It is important to keep an organization management structure as flat as possible. Less layers of management will help control the negative affects of “The Rule of 10” in an organization.
Higher skill levels at lower level management positions often do not survive.
The staff with higher skill levels will often leave the company out of frustration, or the management and leaders in higher positions with the lower skill sets will find ways to move these people with high level skills out, as if they are a virus in a body.
If a company’s leadership starts out below a 10 or 9, there will be difficulties and a lack of business growth due to the downward spiral effects from ”The Rule of 10”
A healthy and progressive company or business will consciously strive to have very high skill levels of 10’s and 9’s at every leadership position in the company.
This will help keep better staff and skill sets within the company.
As skill sets increase to higher levels the syndrome or situation of “Jack of All But a Master None” can set in.
This is simply a situation where specific individuals or staff may have extensive education, trainings, and experience to create high skill levels and capabilities of being able to manage multiple tasks.
What is so good about this situation is that such individuals with high skill sets have the capabilities of contributing to business growth significantly in several dynamic ways.
They may be able to manage and lead several important job functions that will contribute to business growth.
They often will have great business vision and an understanding of the critical tasks and actions needed to be completed to achieve business growth.
What can become a negative or a detriment though, is an approach or attitude by such individuals or other leadership that they have the capabilities to accomplish all job functions themselves in the best, the fastest, and in the most economical way.
An indication of such attitudes is when you may here people comment “we are all multi tasked and we all wear many hats here”.
Managing, leading, contributing, and being a team member to important tasks and functions, is not the same as an attitude that you have the ability in everything to do the best, in the fastest time and in the most economical way, all by yourself.
I have seen many companies that have staff responsible for critical functions that had some skills and knowledge but not enough to be doing the tasks all by themselves.
Their personal egos, desire to be important to the company, desire to be in complete control, have power, and desire to put themselves in positions of being invaluable to a company to create their own job protection; often becomes a negative and work against a company’s business growth potential.
Often in such situations, time and money is wasted plus tasks and functions are not done well.
Such an approach usually hinders business growth significantly.
Working as a team, and utilizing skilled external sources to supplement your efforts will accomplish far better results, faster, and be more economical.
Normally the costs of using external services to supplement your efforts is less than the wastes that you will incur by trying to do everything yourself.
I encountered a company that had a marketing manager with junior level skills, training, and experience responsible by himself for;
1. All company travel arrangements,
2. Telephone system & voice mail
3. Computers and computer system
4. Fax & copier machines + paper & ink supplies
8. Point of Sales Merchandise and displays
9. Trade shows
10. Advertising & PR
13. And even more tasks and responsibilities
This person often mentioned how they were stretched thin but they had good job security since they were doing the job of 4 – 6 people by themselves and in the position of being invaluable to the company.
There were no other individuals used in support of the systems and duties. Without them personally, the business would be crippled.
The person often commented on how they tried to learn the tasks by trial and error without any training or background in it, and how they did not have time to get the important business development tasks done.
Upon a close review of the results from their efforts, it was easily seen that results were lacking.
Little was being done correctly, quickly or economically.
There was a tremendous waste in time and money being spent on things never getting accomplished or not being completed fully.
What little that did get done was lacking quality.
The financial wastes were far greater than if they utilized some external professional support services to supplement efforts.
Business development was significantly hindered.
This is an example on what should be prevented and improved on.
The burden to keep such situations monitored and controlled is the responsibility of the senior management and leaders.
Leaders must regularly review all departments in detail looking for such situations and improving them.
Highly skilled leaders know how to create a team effort and utilize professional external support services when needed to supplement staff and to help accomplish functions and tasks correctly.
Utilizing external support services are often important to business development.
Seldom is any business in a position to have enough staffing at high skill sets to do everything.
External support sources help accomplish tasks and functions faster, better, and more economical than trying to accomplish everything yourself.
This will contribute to business growth.
When making business decisions; whether organizational, staffing, strategy, goals, product, service, or financial; a good leader must always strongly consider how their decisions affects business growth both immediate and in the future.
Any decision without such a reference point can only lead a company off track of any potential business growth.
Business development can also include quality improvement that can directly affect increasing sales and profits.
Quality improvement that lowers costs can help increase profits and help make your company more cost competitive.
Quality improvement that makes your service or delivering of such, faster and of better quality can make you more competitive and attract more customers.
Quality improvement that helps reduce costs may help free up budget moneys to allow you to spend more money on things that can help increase sales such as advertising, trade shows, staff, or even more equipment needed to expand your capabilities.
The important focus for an affective leader is that everything needs to be viewed as; how everyone and every task are somehow contributing to business development.
There is a phenomena often referred to as ‘Selective Perception”.
Simply speaking, this is when you become aware of something and put more attention to it; thereby noticing it more often.
A common example is when you are considering purchasing a vehicle or automobile.
When you decide which vehicle that you like, you start noticing more of them on the roads.
More of these vehicles did not all of a sudden show up on the road.
It is that you are putting more attention to them from the phenomenon called “Selective Perception”.
You are actually focusing more of your attention to them and now actually seeing them around you now. You are seeking them out with your new attention to them.
A good leader can utilize this “Selective Perception” phenomenon, to significantly increase business development efforts.
This can be accomplished in several ways.
1. Write job descriptions that include the higher level skill sets needed.
This will help control the spiral down affect of “The Rule of 10”.
2. Write job descriptions that will include business development goals and objectives
3. Link incentives, bonuses and reward systems to business development goals and accomplishments.
4. All employees should have measurements and incentives related to business development, not just sales staff.
5. Make sure every job and every department have goals and objectives related to business development from accounting, the receptionist, and even to the janitor.
6. Regular (hopefully monthly or quarterly) department reviews and job reviews include business development objectives and accomplishments.
7. All business development improvements and successes by any employee should be publicly commended and recognized with enthusiasm from the leadership.
Be generous with rewards and personal recognition for any and all contributions to business development from all employees.
8. Be sure to have a structure in place that will assure that all departments and all employees will strive to find ways for contributing to business development.
9. With all company or department meetings, review business development advancements and successes. Give considerable credit to individuals and recognize them for their contributions and efforts.
10. Create a company environment and culture where all employees strive to contribute towards business development in some way, no matter what their position is.
The leadership sets the pace of business growth with the right talented staff, in a positive working environment, with the right organization and support structure, and with the right strategies that are supported by specific goals and time lines.
Lacking in any item will hold back business growth.
I will share with you a unique and actual experience that I have had, to illustrate some fundamental leadership principles and their effectiveness.
Early in my business career I became a director of marketing and sales support for a corporation.
I was responsible for developing all sales support materials, lead generation, sales & product training, competitive analysis, literature development, advertising, public relations, trade shows, incoming technical and customer service help lines, and developing niche markets.
I traveled nationally and world wide, working directly with our field sales staff and sales channels.
The executive vice president promoted me into this position commenting that he believed that I had the right attitudes and mind set to accomplish good things that would help the company to grow.
He committed to me his total support and guidance to accomplish tasks and anything that would contribute to business growth.
He personally attended leadership training twice per year and often spoke about how such training helped him to be a better leader and more effective in numerous ways.
His belief in continual training was so great that he required all of the vice president to attend leadership training twice per year and that all sales and marketing staff have continual training written into their job description and performance reviews to qualify for any bonus or commissions.
Like he said, “continual training will help people to do the best job possible which will contribute to business development: Training is a good investment when comparing to the increased sales and profits from doing a better a better job. Continual training will give us a competitive edge out in the market place.
Competition will not be able to keep up to us.”
Every three months we had an extensive review of me and my department’s progress and accomplishments.
The quarterly review was a written review with the following items:
1. Training that I and the individual staff of my department attended, what we learned from it, and how we will are using it to accomplish our tasks and objectives and how it will contribute to business development in some way
2. Scheduled future training for me and my staff with details, dates, and objectives
3. List of objectives to complete with time lines, why these objectives are needed, and how these objectives will contribute to business development
4. List of department quality improvement objectives that would improve operations and contribute to company cost savings with time lines.
The entire company attended extensive quality improvement training.
Everyone had quality improvement objectives and goals written into their job descriptions and performance reviews and plus tied to bonuses.
As he said “People do not get bonuses for showing up for work: They get bonuses for meeting objectives and contributing to the profitability and growth of the company.”
5. List of accomplishments and how they contributed to business growth in cost savings, sales, profits, gaining market share, or entering a new niche market.
6. A list of anything that can hinder us from achieving our objectives on time and what can be done to correct this.
Field sales staff was amazed at all of the work accomplished and the objectives met so fast that made their job easier and helped grow sales.
Our primary goal was business growth by quality improvement of operations and cost savings, increases sales, increase brand recognition, increase market share, enter new niche markets, and increase profits.
We found ways to get things done with the highest quality, in less time, at less cost, easier, and to be more effective.
We utilized external professional services to supplement our staffing, skill sets, and efforts.
From his leadership approach, we accomplished all objectives within all time lines and contributed to significant sales and profit growth.
The company increased sales, profits, and market share at a very fast rate.
When leadership changed, the fundamental leadership and business development principles were not utilized or enforced any further. More staffing changed and attrition occurred.
Company morale and enthusiasm decreased, market share decreased as well as sales and profits.
This example clearly shows you the importance of a good leader and it affects business growth.
Business growth can be viewed as a ship on a journey.
The ship will only reach its destination if it has; a rudder as in having goals, a good course as in good strategy, staff with the best skills to make the ship function well as employees with excellent high level skill sets, and a good captain to keep it on course as a good leader keeping all efforts directed towards business growth and a positive working environment.
An affective leader must evaluate every activity of the business in regards to how each activity is contributing or not contributing to business development, or how it could be doing a better job of it.
It is the leaders’ job to be looking at all activities in all departments to assure that all are contributing to business development in some way.
As mentioned before, a good leader will continually participate in training and education of some type continually, to keep their skills sharp and current.
The level of business development successfully accomplished is contingent on a leader with good skill sets.