Friday, April 10, 2009

Developing People – Succeeding in Business in the years ahead

There are a number of areas that differentiate the best business professionals from the rest. And when I speak of business professionals, I am talking about anyone in the traditionally defined areas of businesses large and small: sales, marketing, finance, operations, product development, customer service, information technology, legal, executive management, etc. And when I speak of business, I am talking about every industry and all organizations that depend on generating revenue from a target group – so it includes non-profits too.

The reason for identifying and explaining these differentiators is that the game has changed considerably: the traditional educational degree programs, stove-piped job functions, and previously defined career paths no longer provide a framework for developing the skills and providing the experiences that shape the highest performers in business today. A different playbook is necessary to keep workers, and the businesses they are trying to build, ahead of the ever growing set of competitors in the market.

Below is a list of items that came to me while flying on a recent business trip. I am interested in getting these ideas written down and explained and am planning to write a blog post on each of them in some form or fashion. The plan is to explain what is meant by each item, why they are critically important to success in business over the next 5-15 years, and how they inter-relate to one another. I imagine that while writing this series, new ideas will present themselves..…and those ideas will be incorporated into the series as appropriate. And in case my kids, as they grow up, decide not to take advice from dad along the way, at least some others out there in the world might benefit from what this guy has to say about how to position oneself for success in business (or whatever they endeavor to do to put food on the table)

The initial list:

  1. Thee driving ethos – customer satisfaction, and immersing yourself in their business
  2. Managing direct and indirect customers – the new customer/supplier food chain
  3. Leadership – striking the right balance with a never-ending set of competing decision points
  4. Clarity of Purpose and Role within that Purpose – for both the team and the individual
  5. Emotional Intelligence - IQ is very important, almost as important as EQ
  6. Cross –disciplinary Skills vs traditional job definitions - “Top 10 jobs of 2015 don’t exist today” – business school ad for University of Denver
  7. Communication and Re-communication
  8. Asking questions as much as giving answers – the best question askers seem to make the best points
  9. Free Agent Economy, the lean corporation, and the multi-level sub-contracting structure
  10. Ambidextrous model / Creative destruction within the free market economy / Sharpening the saw
  11. Seeing a vision of the future state – and painting it for others
  12. Value system – that goes beyond the “simple” driving business ethos of customer satisfaction – e.g. God, Country, Family
  13. Questioning old assumptions – e.g. if we do x this way in this area of our organization, then we need to do it consistently in all other areas of our organization