Business Leadership: Bridging the Gap
Author: Olivia Parr Rud
Every year, companies spend millions of dollars on information technology to capture, store, manipulate, and analyze data. Generally, these huge investments are aimed at increasing profits through improved acquisition and CRM. Yet many companies have not seen the promised return on investment. Why? Typically this is because they fail to adapt their management structure and corporate culture to support and leverage these new opportunities.
Why is all this information technology necessary? We know that as markets become saturated, the cost of finding new customers rises. To increase company profits, many companies are looking at expanding the number of products and services they offer. This allows them to grow profits through their existing customer base through cross-selling and up-selling. However, to do this effectively, many companies are shifting from a product-centric ‘silo’ structure to a customer-centric ’360º view’ structure. Developing and managing a successful customer-centric operation requires advanced technology and data management that links each customer to every data element and touchpoint.
So what can be done to insure that these investments generate returns? We need to recognize and master the ‘softer skills’ that facilitate these changes. Skills such as effective communication, flexibility, clarity, and cooperation are critical. Mastering these skills not only improves profits. It leads to a myriad of additional benefits. Let’s look at why are these core competencies so important to our success:
For the most part, marketers speak a different language than information technologists. Yet to launch a campaign or analyze results, they must work together. Skills in areas such as “active listening” and “giving and receiving feedback” can greatly improve the synergy between these two groups.
Rapid changes in markets and technology have turned flexibility and adaptability into essential core competencies. Large companies with rigid structures are experiencing the most challenges in adapting their practices to new ways of doing business. Smaller companies have an advantage as they seek strategic partnerships to enable growth while maintaining focus.
Employees with a clear understanding of their role, their personal goals and the company goals are much more capable of making valuable contributions. Dispersing knowledge and empowering employees is the new model for fostering rapid expansion.
Inherent in everything discussed so far, cooperation needs to be expanded to encourage a win/win environment. Managers who work cooperatively with other managers can provide the best combination of products and services to their customers. In addition to meeting the needs of employees, a cooperative model optimizes our relationship to our communities and the planet.
Learning, engaging and encouraging these competencies leads to a cohesive company environment with the ability to adapt and grow while meeting the demands of a fast changing marketplace. Leaders who empower their employees with these skills and values will reap the rewards through sustainable expansion.
Olivia is an internationally known expert in Business Intelligence and Organizational Alignment. Her passion for finding successful solutions for her clients and partners has inspired her research in systems thinking and integrated business practices. She works with clients in communication, change management, team building and leadership development. Get free resources: http://www.OLIVIAGroup.com
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