Interview with ‘The Business Doctor’ June 2009

Interview with ‘The Business Doctor’   June 2009

 

 

INTERVIEWER:

Businesses and companies of all types and sizes seem to be struggling more during these tough economic times.

 

 

What are your observations with this and what are your suggestions?

 

REPLY:

Yes, businesses and companies are struggling even more in these economic times but in many cases the severity of their struggles do not need to be as severe.

 

INTERVIEWER:

What do you mean with ‘in many cases the severity of their struggles, do not need to be as severe’?

 

REPLY:

It amazes me how many businesses and companies are in a mindset rut of ‘same o’,  ‘same o’.

 

This will not help them survive in these challenging economic times.

 

Often, they lack ‘creativity’, ‘out of the box thinking’, ‘innovation’ in most critical business functions:

 

1. Current products and services

 

2. New products and new services

 

3. Account relationships and value added partnering

 

4. Marketing, sales and promotions

 

5. Expanding into other market niches

 

6. Expanding to meet more important needs of customers, clients and markets

 

7. Expanding capabilities that are meaningful and valuable to customers and markets

 

8. And more

 

All of these need ‘creativity’, ‘out of the box thinking’, and ‘innovation’.

 

I just do not see much of this happening and yet this is important for businesses to survive and grow; and for the economy to improve.

 

INTERVIEWER:

Why are so many businesses deficient in this if it is so important?

 

REPLY:

As I have often discussed; for a business to survive and grow it is important to recruit, hire and retain the highest level of skills and knowledge that can be found both within their industry/market and outside of it.

 

This will bring in expertise, knowledge, fresh ideas and thoughts.

 

A major issue and problem is that there is a natural tendency for individuals in business organizations who are doing the recruiting and hiring to:

 

1. Hire those individuals below their own skills and knowledge

 

2. Hire only those from their own market and from their competitors

 

3. Hire only those with skills and knowledge that do not exceed the position opening

 

This ‘tunnel vision’ is actually harming the business organization and contributing to business struggles and decline.

 

For a business to survive and grow, they must break out of this mindset.

 

They need to seek out the highest skilled and most knowledgeable individuals from a variety of markets and industries that they can find and hire them for all positions no matter of the level of position.

 

Job position descriptions with designated skills and knowledge requirements need to represent the Minimum of skills and knowledge; Not the Maximum.

 

All job descriptions and skill requirements need to include;

 

1. Creativity

 

2. Innovative

 

3. Problem solving

 

4. Out of the box thinking

 

When individuals are found that exceed the designated minimum requirements and can contribute to business growth with ‘creativity’, ‘innovation’ and ‘out of the box thinking’, these should be viewed as highly desirable superior candidates to all others.

 

Be professional and creative to make the relationship reasonable and rewarding for both the business organization and the individuals.

 

To help grow the business, you must eliminate the bad attitude of individuals being viewed as ‘over-qualified and not a good fit’.

 

Such attitudes and mindsets are a strong indicator of a business struggling.

 

INTERVIEWER:

Why should businesses seek out higher skilled individuals over the minimum requirements from outside their own industry or market?

 

REPLY:

This is a great question.

 

‘Creativity’ and ‘out of the box thinking’ must be utilized in recruiting and hiring individuals outside ones own industry and markets.

 

Closely related markets and other markets/industries that have some things in common can be a great place to find individuals with higher levels of skills and knowledge bringing
in fresh ideas and thoughts that can be utilized to help grow your business.

 

You will be surprised to know that many ‘improvements’, ‘advancements’, ‘creativity’, ‘innovations’, ‘out of the box thinking’ and break-through new ideas and thoughts tend to come from outside ones own market or industry.

 

This is a critical factor for business development.

 

If you are not recruiting and hiring from outside your market and industry you will not have much of a chance to acquire these things.

 

INTERVIEWER:

 

Are you saying that recruiting and hiring outside of ones own market is the only way to get improvement, break through ideas and grow?

 

REPLY:

What I am saying is that this is one of the important ways to obtain the innovative ideas and improvements that are needed to grow a business.

 

I am also saying that whether within ones own market or outside of it, it is critical to hire those individuals with the higher skills, knowledge, ‘creativity’ and ‘out of the box thinking’.

 

For a business organization to grow, there cannot be any bad attitudes of ‘over-qualified and not a good fit’.

 

This needs to be a priority.

 

Currently, this does not seem to be happening very much.

 

INTERVIEWER:

If this is so important, why do so many business fail to do this.

 

REPLY:

There are many reasons.

 

1. Senior leadership and senior management lacks knowledge and skills to know better

 

2. Management at all levels hiring far below their own skills and knowledge level to protect their own jobs due to insecurities especially during these challenging and struggling times

 

3. The bad mindset of job position description with skills and knowledge requirements being the maximum acceptable skills and knowledge instead of being the minimum level

 

These reasons are significant factors in holding businesses back from surviving and growing.

 

INTERVIEWER:

What do you say about businesses thinking that they need to hire people from their competitors to increase sales?

 

REPLY:

This is another common thing that will hinder business growth.

 

It is a ‘false belief’ that business growth comes from hiring individuals from competition.

 

This ‘false belief’ goes on to mislead everyone to think that these new hires from competition will bring you business and customers from your competition and that their knowledge of products and services is your cure all.

 

The fact is that rarely do customers and clients switch to another supplier because the account managers or sales/marketing staff went to a new organization.

 

Accounts and clients switch to new suppliers or vendors due to serious issues and problems unresolved or for significant price reductions.

 

In today’s competitive world, these situations are becoming far less.

 

All business organizations need to know their market and potential accounts and be aggressively communicating with such.

 

Any business organization or company not doing this will decline and fail.

 

Attempting to do this by hiring staff from competitors does not remedy such a large fault in a business organization.

 

Regarding product and service knowledge, rarely are individuals in any market are as knowledgeable as they think they are or you think they are and often they lack knowledge.

 

Product and service knowledge can easily be learned quickly compared to the other critical skills, knowledge, creativity and out of the box thinking that are needed and require far more time and efforts to learn and internalize.

 

Often, bringing in new staff with fresh new ideas and thoughts, higher level business development, sales and marketing skills, open minds with no bad habits or prejudices, is very productive and produces business growth.

 

These things can be easily improved upon to help grow a business.

 

You can select to be better than most others and grow the business in spite of tough business/economic conditions and challenges.

 

INTERVIEWER:

What would you say to businesses that think that they are not a big enough organization to hire such higher skilled and knowledgeable individuals with ‘creativity’ and ‘outside the box thinking’ or the position is below these individuals’ experience and career level?

 

REPLY:

This is where ‘creativity’ and ‘outside the box thinking’ are needed.

 

In such situations, you must get creative and quit thinking that you are not deserving of such individuals and possible business development.

 

Ask these higher skilled and knowledgeable individuals about what could be a reasonable arrangement that could bring them into the business organization to help contribute to growth.

 

Then find ways to coordinate such.

 

 

Do not allow the bad mindset of hiring only those with lower level skills and knowledge that is below your current staff.

 

Just like parents that want their children to be more educated and better than themselves; business organizations, management, and leadership need to think and feel the same about recruiting and hiring others.

 

When a business organization does this, there is a higher chance to see business development and improvement.

 

Until this happens, businesses will continue to decline and struggle.

 

INTERVIEWER:

Do you see any improvement or progress with businesses and these issues?

 

REPLY:

No, I do not.

 

Business decline and struggles are not motivating businesses to improve in this critical area.

 

I think more awareness of these issues will be the stimulating factor.

 

Since continual education and training of management and leadership level is declining, I do not see this approach being effective to educate the many.

 

Educating the business environment on these issues is the major challenge.

 

A major communications campaign of some type is needed.

 

INTERVIEWER:

When you are hired to take on a position with a new company or business organization; what do you do to help grow the business?

 

REPLY:

 

Let me summarize just a few of the key elements that I utilize to help grow a business.

 

1. Quickly gain an understanding of the organization’s products, services, capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, internal and external challenges & issues

 

2. Quickly gain an understanding for the needs of the customers, clients and market niches, both those things known and most importantly those not currently known or recognized

 

3. Quickly gain an understanding of markets, size and potential, competition and where the organization stands with all of this

 

4. Quickly gain an understanding of the business organization’s internal social and psychological aspects, culture and attitudes that have both wonderful potential capabilities and possibly areas that are hindering business growth and can be advanced

 

5. Quickly gain an understanding of the organization’s good core business fundamentals already in place and those that need advancing and putting in place

 

6. Quickly establish a team approach with good working relationships both internally and externally

 

7. Quickly gain progressive and invigorating relationships with current customers and clients

 

8. Quickly research, investigate and uncover potential sources of new business with both current and new customers/clients, and market niches

 

9. Quickly uncover opportunities to expand referral networks

 

10. Quickly obtain an understanding of the organization’s true differentiation with competition and importance to customers and clients; and expand on this

 

11. Quickly uncover areas to improve efficiency and customer service and save money.  Cost savings to be used to help fund improvements and advancements needed

 

12. From a team approach; establish strategies, plans, objectives, action items and
time lines; then implement

 

13. Quickly review and analyze all marketing communications and advance all into an updated progressive integrated approach based on all of the above

 

14. Utilize ‘Creativity’, ‘Innovation’ and ‘Out of The Box Thinking’ with everything

 

There are additional important things that I do but the above are some of the first things needed that are critical for growing the business.

 

About how I accomplish all of this quickly; I have the skills, knowledge, creativity, out of the box thinking and experience of these things.

 

I roll up my sleeves, work hard but smart, and go out into the marketplace to make it all happen.

 

 

INTERVIEWER:

After a short time to understand the customers, clients, markets, products, services, capabilities, opportunities, etc., what do you normally discover ?

 

REPLY:

This is another great question that leads to a very interesting subject and issue.

 

What I often discover and uncover with all of these things appear to be a surprise to senior leadership in the business organizations.

 

Some are obvious major surprises and revelations to them.

 

This raises the question on how they can be leading a business and not aware of such.

 

It does help to understand why the business may be struggling and not growing

 

It also raises the question why their previous or current management team has not picked up on these things and acted upon them to improve.

 

I have also uncovered how senior leadership knew of such important things but seemed
to deny or dismiss the facts and has thought such things had no affect on their business.

 

This amazes me but my psychology background leads me to classify this as classic denial or rationalization type behavior.

 

Such behavior and thinking will harm the business.

 

 

INTERVIEWER:

What would you say is the fastest way for a business organization to grow sales and profits?

 

 

REPLY:

Increase all job position descriptions and hiring criteria, significantly.

 

Double the hiring criteria with higher education and trainings, higher level skills and knowledge, and most importantly include ‘creativity’, ‘innovation’ and ‘out of the box thinking’.

 

Expand recruiting and hiring to include markets and industries outside ones own to uncover break-through new ideas and new innovative thinking.

 

This will have positive effects fairly quickly.

 

 

INTERVIEWER:

 

 

Thanks again for the insightful information.

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