Are your “P” and “PC” out of balance?

Decades ago, Stephen Covey explained we need to balance “P” (production) against “PC” (production capability). Today many companies just focus on this year’s results (P), without building the capabilities needed for future growth (PC). Don’t just hit the reset button and start over again every year. Instead, build the future you want.

More in article, Better get used to mediocre growth (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

Why not imitate the leaders you admire?

Which business leaders do you admire… Henry Ford… Jeff Bezos… Elon Musk… Steve Jobs? Why do you admire them? Because they were great at slashing budgets, running financial review meetings, or giving quarterly EPS guidance? Here’s the irony: Many business leaders behave quite differently than those they admire.

More in article, How to become a great business leader (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

It’s easy to be distracted. Building real growth capabilities? Now that’s hard.

Some firms exhibit “Brownian motion,” with initiatives flying in all directions. In others, ideas are vigorously debated… in action-free zones. In other cases, action begins but quickly fades, leaving employees wondering what next year’s program will be. In the saddest situations, long-term initiatives live only in the investor relations department’s PowerPoint® slides.

More in article, Build Growth Muscles at Your Company (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

Are you experiencing the Red Queen Effect?

In Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, Alice was dismayed after much running to find she and the queen were still in the same spot. The Red Queen explained, “My dear, here we must run as fast as we can, just to stay in place. And if you wish to go any­where, you must run twice as fast as that.” What are you doing that truly lets you “run faster” than competitors? Here’s one that works: Understand customer needs better than them.

More in white paper, Guessing at Customer Needs (page 7).

Strong innovation metrics should be insightful, predictive and actionable. Not missing.

Strong intermediate (vs. ultimate) innovation metrics share these qualities: 1. Insightful: They help firms understand relationships between cause and effect. 2. Predictive: They measure behavior that will foretell ultimate success. 3. Actionable: Their short “feedback loop” allows rapid adjustments to be made. Are you using such metrics?

Read more in the article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

Stop hitting the reset button. Start building capabilities for the long-term.

Business leaders focused on the short term are just showing up. They compete for market share this year, hit the reset button, and repeat the process next year. No serious, long-term capability-building. Count yourself fortunate if you compete against such companies. They’re easy to beat with the right time horizon.

More in article, Build Growth Muscles at Your Company (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

For real growth, your company needs to build growth muscles.

One difference between business leaders and rock climbers is that many of the former think they can reach the top without training muscles. Imagine showing up at the base of El Capitan with recliner-chair abs and no climbing skills. Crazy? How about proclaiming double-digit growth plans every year… without developing the needed business-wide skills?

More in article, Build Growth Muscles at Your Company (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth Newsletter).

The key lesson of war has been described as “concentration of force against weakness.”

Let’s substitute market research for reconnaissance… business strategy for battle plan… resource allocation for troop deployment. Many business leaders fail to 1) thoroughly understand their battle fronts, 2) determine the decisive points (markets) to attack, and 3) follow with an overwhelming assault here. These generals lose battles.

More in article, How’s Your Market Segmentation?

Most companies measure innovation results. Few measure innovation capabilities.

Do you know if your company is improving key capabilities? Understanding customers’ needs, assessing competitive alternatives, creating data-driven value propositions, etc.? A race team that just counts wins—instead of pit crew times and engine torque—stops winning. Understand the capabilities that drive innovation and start measuring them.

Read more in the article, 3 Problems with Innovation Metrics (Originally published in B2B Organic Growth newsletter).

Beware incrementalism… and understand the “risk paradox.”

If you manage one new-product project, it seems less risky to develop a “me-too.” But if you manage a business brimming with “me-too” and incremental new products, you’ll slide into commoditization with its death spiral. Very risky. So make sure your portfolio has enough products that will deliver significant value to your customers.

Read more in this free white paper, Innovating in Unfamiliar Markets (page 3).