Becoming Essential in Your MarketSep 11, 2023
Of all the questions we ask as leaders, one question is most important.
How do we become essential in our market?
In a world where clients and prospects have lots of options, why pick you? In a world where technology can dramatically change the nature of what you do overnight, how do you stay one step ahead so that they pick you, and keep coming back year after year?
These questions are at the heart of leadership. While many things contribute to being essential in your market, they all cluster around three things:
brand, growth, enduring value
The first step is ingraining your brand in the minds and hearts of your clients and prospects so that when they need what you provide, they think of you. Becoming essential is also about creating a culture of growth so that you demonstrate over and over that you are the best solution to your clients’ and prospects’ changing needs. When you continually listen and adapt to your clients need you creating enduring value that keeps your clients wanting more. Stagnant organizations become marginal. Adapting organizations become essential.
Becoming essential is grounded in the type of organization you build. Here’s why.
What happens IN your organization will determine everything about how you interact with clients and prospects, the solutions you provide, the way you adapt to change, and whether you stay relevant or not. And, what happens in your organization is directly related to 3 things:
Leadership, Culture, Workforce Development
Leadership sets the direction, tone, and focus. Culture determines what people actually do every day. So, words and actions must align for you to become essential. We have all experienced when they are not in alignment. When leaders say one thing, but culture reinforces something else people get confused, then hesitant, then compliant. Internally, compliance is the enemy of essential because it creates reactive, hesitant people instead of proactive, growing people.
Leadership and culture alignment are the first step. What separates essential organizations is the last step - something so completely obvious but strangely missing in most organizations:
It is a bit ironic to me that there is so much knowledge and training available today but so little workforce development. The strategy in most organizations is “hire great people and turn them loose.” Nice idea, and I wish it worked. Unfortunately, it does not. To be essential in your market you need a robust workforce development system that is consistently applied from top to bottom. Workforce development is the final piece for one reason.
Role Growth is the key to performance growth.
Without a development strategy to help people grow in their role, you are hoping for success. Don't leave success and growth to chance. Building a dynamic workforce development system gives you a serious competitive advantage.
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