Edinger’s Monthly Insights – January 2017

Happy New Year

I’ve worked with a cartoonist to capture some of the humorous things I see in organizations. I’ll share them every other month and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them.


Leading Revenue Growth

January has a way of making us all feel a little like Sisyphus. Starting over again at the bottom, ready to push the boulder up the hill all year until next January 1 st , when it begins all over again. For many of you leading companies or business units, that boulder is your revenue or operating profit target, and it’s likely to be heavier than it was 12 months ago.

But it absolutely doesn’t need to be more difficult, and with the right strategies you can accelerate growth with less brute force. Here are 3 ideas to help you create and sustain momentum:

1.  Define your strategy (or translate it) so that your sales team can execute it everyday. Strategies never fail in the boardroom where they are formulated. If they fail, it’s because the market doesn’t respond the way you hoped it would. Every time someone from your company interacts with a client or prospect, your strategy succeeds or fails. Your advantages make a difference or fall flat. Or maybe they haven’t made it in to the discussion at all. Strategy isn’t for PowerPoint or Binders on shelves. Your strategy should be expressed as a daily operating plans as a way of thinking that guides the decisions and actions of your team.  For more ideas on how to get your sales team to execute your strategy, read my HBR article by the same name.

2. Make improvement part of the job. If you and your teams are going to be more effective in 2017, you have to work smarter rather than harder. Sending everyone to a training program for a day or two is unlikely to create long-term results. It is the primary responsibility of a leader to improve the capability of their teams and that happens the same way it does in the arts, sports, or even chess. By providing a role model of what excellent looks like, observing practice, providing skilled feedback to improve, and trying again. That sequence can take 5 minutes and it doesn’t have to be an onerous exercise. If you want to focus on improving performance in this area, check out my HBR article titled: Sales Teams Need More (And Better) Coaching.
3. Measure the right things. Most companies have dozens of KPIs but only a few make a substantive difference. You can’t manage numbers, but you can manage people and the actions they take. Doing so effectively requires some diligence in establishing leading indicators-metrics that are predictive of or portend success. Revenue and Profit are the ultimate outcomes, but measuring them weekly or daily is akin to checking the gas gauge every 5 miles. For a sense of how to establish the right metrics for your business, my article  The Metrics Sales Leaders Should Be Tracking from HBR can help.

These are three powerful strategies to give you some extra power as you work to increase the velocity, and perhaps reduce the effort, of moving that boulder to the next plateau.

A Slice of Life Balance

Don’t forget to take some time to reflect on the year that was before launching in to the year that will be. You don’t need an agenda or a list of questions to answer, though if you have some that’s fine too. If you allow yourself some time and a blank sheet of paper (the best tool for thinking), I think you’ll find that a quiet hour of thinking back will help you tremendously in moving forward.

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Edinger Consulting