How to Forge Resilient Relationships in the Heat of Change

breakthrough

From Breakdown to Breakthrough 

Business leaders often focus on profits and metrics, living in spreadsheets and analytics. But what drives these results is people and relationships. So often it’s the resilient relationships, those that are forged in uncertain and difficult times that make the difference.

Author Michael Papanek takes three decades of experience with clients ranging from Apple to Google and shares it in his new book, From Breakdown to Breakthrough: Forging Resilient Relationships in the Heat of Change. His framework helps leaders develop the confidence to take these relationships to the next level. I recently asked him about his work.

 

“Resilience is a social phenomenon based on relationships, not an individual leadership attribute.” -Michael Papanek

 

Build Strong Relationships

What are the elements of a strong relationship?

A strong business relationship will have a number of attributes that set that relationship apart from others.  First, it must provide value to both parties, and it is “generative,” meaning the value together is more than any one person could create on their own: so that 1 + 1 = 3.  Strong relationships also create multiple tracks of value that would be hard to replace if the relationship ended.

One example of this is from the entertainment world, where the band the Grateful Dead was famous for their long relationship with their very loyal fans (which continues today, long after the passing of their leader Jerry Garcia).  In addition to music, the band created value in other key ways for the fans, such as supporting a community of fans (the “Dead Heads”) as well as creating an ‘outside the concert’ experience, and even income for some fans (by selling items at the shows).

Finally, a strong relationship contributes to key strategies or needs of each party.  Relationships that do not create value this way may be categorized as superficial and easily ended. If you are ever not sure if the business relationship is really strong, that is the time to discuss it. Do not wait until you are surprised by a change.

 

“Strong relationships create multiple tracks of value that would be hard to replace if the relationship ended.” -Michael Papanek

 

How often do our relationships hit that sweet spot between strong, flexible and fair?

A Leader’s Role in Achieving Excellence in Execution

Leadership execution
This is a guest post by Robin Speculand, author of Excellence in Execution: How to Implement Your Strategy. Robin is the founder and CEO of Bridges Business Consultancy and creator of the Implementation Hub.

Don’t Lead by Example

To guide an organization through the execution of its strategy, leaders… don’t lead by example.

In strategy execution, leaders are responsible for driving the strategy forward and championing the direction the organization is heading. This involves, for example, reviewing progress, coaching people, resolving issues, and ensuring the right outcomes are being achieved. Leaders don’t lead by example as they don’t implement strategy; their employees do.

Before you even start your strategy execution, the odds are stacked against you as more fail than succeed. I have seen from my seventeen years consulting in this field that leaders are guilty of delegating the execution and not paying adequate attention to it. When leaders do this, their people also stop paying attention to it. McKinsey & Company stated that, “Half of all efforts to transform organization performance fail either because leaders don’t act as role models for change or because people in the organization defend the status quo.”

 

Show Confidence in the Strategy

If leaders perceive execution as an interruption to the business, they will not drive and champion it.

Anything short of embracing a new strategy and its execution by leaders can be seen by employees as a lack of confidence in the strategy itself. That feeling will spread throughout the organization.

  • If you only apply lip service to the execution without championing it, employees will sense the lack of commitment and not step up; the execution will fail.
  • If you don’t create the time to oversee the implementation journey, change the agenda and explain why the organization needs to transform, then employees will sense the lack of commitment and not step up; the execution will fail.
  • If you don’t set the strategy and create the budget to allocate required funding, employees will sense the lack of commitment and not step up; the execution will fail.

 

Booz and Co. Survey: 53% don’t believe their company’s strategy will lead to success.

 

A key question to consider is:What are you willing to do to execute your organization’s strategy?”

In contrast, strategy execution progresses when leaders support their comments with time and actions. Because only so much can go on a leader’s radar, he or she has to carefully select which actions will best drive the execution forward and where to invest their time.

Booz & Company surveyed executives from around the world on the results of their organizations’ strategic initiatives. Given more than 2,350 responses, the findings suggest a high degree of disillusionment, including:

  • Two-thirds (67%) say their company’s capabilities do not fully support the company’s own strategy and the way it creates value in the market.
  • Only one in five executives (21%) thinks the company has a “right to win” in all the markets it competes in.
  • Most of the respondents (53%) don’t believe their company’s strategy would lead to success.

If leaders don’t believe in the strategy, they will never be authentic and sincere in executing it.

 

PWC Survey: 55% of CEO’s state lack of trust is a major threat to growth.

 

Demonstrate Increased Commitment

6 Ways to Create A Magnetic Mindset and Attract Business

Build A Magnetic Brand

 

Why do some businesses overflow with customers while others barely make it?

How do you attract customers?

What are the growth strategies that leading businesses use to gain momentum?

 

“Great work is magnetic.” -Joe Calloway

 

Joe Calloway has studied businesses that consistently create positive experiences. His new book, Magnetic: The Art Of Attracting Business, is a look behind the scenes at the strategy, the people, and the art behind becoming a magnetic business. In these organizations, growth is a result of happy customers sending more and more business and referrals. Employees are happy, helping to recruit others. And the momentum continues unabated to create even more success.

I recently talked with Joe about what it takes to become a magnetic business.

 

Become a Magnetic Business

Would you share one example of a business that is magnetic?

Pancake PantryI think that the business pictured on the first page of the book is a classic example of a magnetic business. The Pancake Pantry has a line of customers in front every morning, rain or shine, sleet or snow. This truly is what every business of any kind aspires to: to have customers so loyal to and enthusiastic about your business that they’d be willing to stand in line, in the rain, to give you their money.

Pancake Pantry excels at the basics of what a restaurant should be and have, including a great location, great food, great service.  But here’s the lesson:  there are no gimmicks.  There’s no contrived “wow” factor.  They simply offer excellent value to their customers, and those customers tell other customers.  Thus, the line out front.

 

“It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.” -Jony Ive

 

6 Factors to Creating a Magnetic Mindset

You start your book by recognizing that, “Becoming magnetic is a way of thinking.”  How do leaders develop the magnetic mindset?

I think there are a handful of basic factors at work that create a magnetic mindset:

  1. Always be focused on creating value for your customers.
  2. Simplify the way you think about your business.  Don’t overthink it.  Don’t over-complicate it.
  3. Never underestimate your competition.
  4. Be exceptionally easy to work with.
  5. Make sure that the other guy wins.
  6. Be consistently excellent.  Consistency of performance is the great brand builder.

If you let these factors guide your thinking, you’ve got a magnetic mindset.

 

Don’t Overdo Social Media

You teach and talk about the importance of social media but also about overthinking, overworking or overdoing its role relative to everything else. As I say this, what comes to mind as “magnetic advice” about social media?

Social media is vitally important in today’s marketplace and becoming more important all the time.  Of course you should participate on social media, but be selective.  You don’t have to be on everything – that would take up all your time and drive you crazy trying to keep up.  Where is your target market?  If they’re on Pintrest, be there with them.  My market is on twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so that’s where I am.

But here’s the key:  What you say about yourself on social media is insignificant in importance and impact compared to what your customers/clients say about you.  No ad campaign in the world has the positive impact of having 100 reviews of your business with almost all of them being 5 Star reviews.

The way to use social media to grow your business and attract new customers is to do such a great job on a handful of vitally important things that matter to your customers.  That’s really one of the core messages in Magnetic: The Art Of Attracting Business.

 

Nielsen: 43% of consumers more likely to buy when learning about it through social media.

 

What’s your version of win-win?

9781119147343.pdfThe Win-Win strategy is what has made me successful.  It’s the single most powerful strategy known and is the foundation of how any consistently successful business or individual relates to other people.

My version of Win-Win is to always think in terms of what kind of experience my actions will create for my clients and others.  How does doing business with me make them feel?

We all want people to love doing business with us, and if we are to create that, then we have to play Win-Win with them.

It’s the simplest and most effective relationship and business strategy known.

 

6 Factors to Create a Magnetic Mindset

 

  1. Always be focused on creating value for your customers.
  2. Simplify the way you think about your business.  Don’t overthink it.  Don’t over-complicate it.
  3. Never underestimate your competition.
  4. Be exceptionally easy to work with.
  5. Make sure that the other guy wins.
  6. Be consistently excellent.  Consistency of performance is the great brand builder.

 

“When you say no to the wrong people, it opens up the space for the right people to come in.” -Joe Calloway