5 steps to become a more effective leader

effective leadership

Leadership is no longer granted in a job title or organisational structure.  Effective leadership echoes in every interaction from your words, actions and even mannerisms. Infact, the opinions of customers, shareholders and suppliers all hinge on how a leader presents themselves. As such, the difference between an effective leader and one who’s struggling can shape an organisation. Continue reading

Coaching those who need it most…

Coaching those who need it most

People can face a crisis of confidence in the workplace often in spite of their actual ability. Thoughts such as “I’m not good enough to take on these responsibilities” or “I won’t draw attention by celebrating my achievements” or “I don’t deserve this – I’ll be found out soon” can plague people. Those thoughts indicate a lack of self-confidence that can be quite damaging both for careers as well as in the workplace generally. There is a name for it. It is known as imposter syndrome. Continue reading

Coming up to the next fork in your career road

Coming up to the next fork in your career road
There you were – engaged, challenged and fulfilled in your work that made the most of your innate talents and spoke to your passions and beliefs. You might have spent years developing a fully committed relationship with one of your closest friends – your job! Continue reading

Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur but not everybody has a plan

Everyone wants to be an entrepreneur

As news continues to break that Snapchat defied the odds and raised over $1.8 billion in funding, many people have been reminded of the money to be made in technology and other entrepreneurial start-ups. Continue reading

Leadership is risky – Are you for it or against it?

Leadership is risky
Leadership fundamentally involves three main elements: people, change and risk, as well as the preparedness to fail whilst trying for greatness. However, of all the changes currently affecting the business environment, it could be the leader’s approach to risk that is changing the most. An Ernst & Young (EY) survey from late last year found this change is especially prevalent in Australia’s banking sector, where 89 per cent of respondents reported that the board and senior management were increasing their focus on risk. Continue reading

“If we don’t innovate…we’re toast.”

Innovation
In June the CEO of Commonwealth Bank said his business will be “toast” within a decade if it fails to successfully innovate, describing it as an “existential imperative”. Continue reading

Should accountability be at the heart of your coaching and mentoring processes?

richard-appleby-accountability

American mythologist Joseph Campbell’s studies into human myths and legends led him to identify a common pattern in global narratives relating to mentorship. In his book “The Hero’s Journey“, he explained that there is always a mentor in every great story, regardless of the culture or time. Continue reading

One hour a day five days a week, that’s all it takes

ongoing learning
For CEOs, an hour is a long time, whether you think of it as 60 minutes, 3,600 seconds or even 3,600,000 milliseconds. In that time you could take a nap, watch your favourite sports team, take a bubble bath or a number of other activities. Continue reading

Know yourself, know your enemy

ian-neal-know-your-customers

George was having a terrible day at work. The deal he was sent to conclude had irrecoverably broken down, with key terms rejected and feelings hurt.

He had done everything by the book and followed best practice methods. However, he left without anything to show for his months of advanced negotiations. But unlike many business leaders, he did not take the red-eye home, reviewing the evident failures along the way. No, he in fact had months to muse over his unsuccessful negotiations as it was 1793, and George Macartney was returning home following the failure of the first British diplomatic mission to China.

Macartney faced a number of challenges that have strong similarities with the contemporary plight of marketers today. While he faced unique obstacles, such as showing the appropriate level of submission to Chinese emperor Qianlong, the British call for greater trade ultimately failed due to different perspectives of the world.

The two groups of people, the British on one side and the Chinese on the other, stemmed from very different cultures and started from fundamentally different points-of-view. As such, each had very different objectives and methods for achieving them. The scenario is very similar to the environment marketers find themselves in: Trying to understand customers and consumers, who may have very different perspectives of a brand.

Knowing the customer: Segmenting your markets

In today’s world, understanding customers is essential, from sales to customer service and everything in between.

How many executives simply say: “There are 30 million customers and all we need is 1 per cent market share”?

Rather than help, such an approach glosses over the nuances and differences in the consumer base, risking failure similar to that experienced by George.

So how to avoid similar issues?

Clever market segmentation is the answer.

Traditionally, segmentation occurred by creating homogeneous groups of customers based on demographic characteristics such as age, location and ethnicity.

While it’s a simple idea, market segmentation can throw a number of curve balls to even the most experienced business leaders. However, if they can segment their markets in a meaningful way, the organisation can create marketing messages that are relevant to real customers who have real needs.

I believe that today traditional methods of segmentation are not good enough to deliver satisfactory results. So the question remains: How should market segmentation be approached?

Looking deeper, getting involved

In today’s world, characterised by fragmented perspectives, novel needs and nuanced wants, market segmentation can offer organisations a number of benefits. From risk reduction to enhanced resource use, the technique can offer organisations a way into the diverse world of consumers – if done right. On line marketers talk about a segment of one given the emerging abilities online.

While market research has value, there are a number of limitations. Take a normal qualitative research project. From the offset there are problems to deal with: You have people who are paid to be in the focus group and who may not be representative of the consumer base. You will also need a facilitator who tend to have their own biases, which can influence the direction the group takes and thus the results at the end.

Rather than relying on market research data, I think business leaders need to sit down in one-on-one interviews with 20 to 50 customers. By doing this, researchers can find the common factors that link them and allow real information sharing with the marketing team.

Only by investing the time to sit down with customers can a truly deep and intimate understanding be fostered. However, this is not a task for some intern- it really needs to be conducted by an individual high-up the organisation, someone who is across the business from head to toe and really knows the big issues that the organisation is seeking to solve.

There is no doubt that attracting customers requires a very good and deep  understanding who your customers are and finding clever ways to break them into manageable groups that will respond positively to what you have to offer is the goal of segmentation. Taking traditional methods step further and taking the time of senior leader to actually talk and observe real customers will deliver the gold.

 


Ian NealBy: TEC Chair, CEO mentor and coach Ian Neal

What is true resilience? Unpacking resilience and debunking wrong notions

By 2016 TEC Speaker of the Year, Ashton Bishop, CEO at Step Change

It’s 5:30 p.m., and you’re just about to leave the office — but are you actually leaving?

Let’s unpack this.

Work is technically over, but has your mind stopped thinking about it? Are you still coming up with solutions to your work problems as you’re commuting home?

This kind of ‘grit’ is what a lot of people equate to ‘resilience’. But is this what resilience is? Is this what we should all strive for? Continue reading

Marketing vs Sales: What’s the drama?

Marketing vs Sales: What's the drama?

Martin Scorsese’s Wolf of Wall Street got me thinking about Sales vs. Marketing. During one of its scenes, the main character – played by Leonardo DiCaprio – tests his colleagues’ understanding of customers by handing each of them a pen and asking them to sell it to him. Continue reading

Looking into the Future: Blockchain Technology

By TEC Speaker, Adam Long, Step Change

Blockchain is perhaps the most radical innovation of the last few years – and perhaps one you haven’t yet heard of. With banks believing blockchain technology is the future of fintech, and diamond miners believing it will end trade conflicts, blockchain is shaking up almost every industry it touches. Continue reading