I’m pleased to announce that last week I was brought in to present to some of the employees at Gartner Inc., the world’s leading IT research and advisory company. Their VP of Research Marketing, Jeremey Donovan, invited me to their headquarters to share with his colleagues some of my knowledge on branding as it relates to career development. It was a great experience as over 100 enthusiastic Gartner employees showed up and joined in with some vibrant comments on the topic at hand.
Following my talk, Mr. Donovan was kind enough to provide me with a copy of his book What Great Looks Like, which delves into best practices for leaders in the corporate world. After reading the book and finding it enlightening, I’d like to share with you some key takeaways that resonate within the Marketing and Entrepreneurship spheres:
On Leadership: As a great leader you are building a brand. Even in the unlikely event that you could gain the widely varied expertise of a polymath, people will only be able to identify you with a very small number of attributes. Figure out the skills in which you excel that align with your vision and then invest tirelessly to improve and to share your knowledge.
On generating change: Excellent change managers know that little happens by accident. They do not wait for the welcome, unexpected blue bird to land on their shoulder. Instead, they maniacally plan for, generate, and publicize short term wins. These wins must be unambiguous and directly related to the change effort.
On Product Management within an organization: If you market exclusively to your sales force, then you will rapidly lose touch with the changing needs of your customers[...] Just think of Arm and Hammer baking soda, which is no more than run of the mill sodium bicarbonate in a box. By experimenting internally and by listening to customers their product has found its way into laundry detergent, toothpaste, swimming pool cleaning tablets, carpet deodorizer, and many other uses.
On Product Pricing Strategy: Unless you are selling a pure commodity, you should strive to launch products with high initial pricing. Many people, particularly small business owners, make the mistake of overestimating the impact that low introductory pricing will have on demand. In most circumstances, your earliest customers will be willing to pay more to get first crack at the unique benefits of your offering. Moreover, high pricing may actually stimulate demand by signaling that you are providing a premium product. If you miss the mark on the high end, then it is easy to adjust and lower prices.
On the proper way to brainstorm:
- Set the environment so that people clear their minds
- Share and follow Osborn’s Rules and an aggressive quantity goal
- Minimize group size
- Provide visual idea capture
On Entrepreneurship: The biggest first step for most entrepreneurs is making the leap from chief cupcake maker to manager of the bakers. This is the step that elevates inidiviuals from the “what” to the “how.” As a manager, your job is to set and control scope. Any reasonable scope should include a set of key milestones and at least some detail of the tasks needed to get there. The result is that great entrepreneurs deliver the “how” by architecting business processes and systems that allow ordinary people to deliver extraordinary value to customers.
The excerpts above are just some of the ones I found most applicable. They’re pretty straightforward and it’s easy to see why they have, and will continue to, be proven effective in the new business world. Tomorrowfy>>