Obsession with “the numbers” exploded in the 1960s when decision theory crossed paths with low-cost computer power. At that moment, business thinkers launched the rush toward a new “law” – that with enough numbers, anyone can run anything. Quickly, business became more about financial math than business acumen. More about arithmetic than judgment. Now, that pendulum is swinging back, and like most cultural swings, being out in front but not too far is always a position of advantage for the person in The Job At The Top.
The two most powerful ways to endear yourself to someone else are: (1) to help them over a fear, or (2) to make them feel better about themselves. Today, more strongly than ever before, these two realities are your highest voltage power tools for driving a continually vibrant top line.
I find businesses all the time that are actually driving customers to their doors with attributes that have very little to do with what they’re actually selling. They come for what I call “collateral benefits.”
Twenty years ago, we could segment people into groups, to understand what it takes to win their business according to correlations with things like age, income, where they lived, family, prior purchasing preferences, ethnicity, etc. But the Internet has made all of that obsolete. With immediate access to everything we want to know, and with electronic communities that reach far beyond scopes of older and narrower circles of influence, today, people who look identical in all demographic respects are likely as different from one another as a skinhead and a priest, in terms of what they care about, what they want to buy and why.
So far in this series, we’ve talked about the first framework for thinking like a CEO, The Back of the Envelope, and about the importance of character – yours – as the underpinning for zeal and ‘followership’ in your organization. But how do you actually create that kind of atmosphere? How do you “infect” your entire organization with the spirit to become, and continue to be, something extraordinary?
Who you are – your character – underpins the zeal with which everyone else in your organization commits themselves to support you and your intentions.
You can’t deny it! There’s just something extraordinary about walking into an Apple store. Sure, it’s sleek. The stuff on the counters, the decor and the dress code are all cool. And it’s always buzzing. But there’s something else in the air. And that something else is what makes all the difference.
In the third installment of his article series on “The Job At The Top,” Dick Cross shows us how limitations, in this instance, space limitations, can sometimes be a very good thing.
In the second installment of a new series about “The Job at The Top,” author Dick Cross asks a deceptively simple and somewhat scary question.
Recently, Scott Shriber and the AMN editorial staff decided to take a risk. And because of it, I’ll be in front of you every other week. With about 350 words. Not news. But with how to make news. Urging you to do a great job at the top of your organization. Because, no matter what you gather from the news, it’s what you do with it that counts.