Four Questions Leaders Ask
For nearly 15 years my AMSP/NAPL/NAQP colleagues and I have been studying some of our industry’s most successful companies. We’ve learned that their success isn’t attributable to doing things other companies can’t do, but rather to doing things that other companies don’t believe are important, never get around to doing, or don’t do very well. Regularly asking these four questions is an example:
• What are we doing to hear the voice of our best clients more clearly? Value creation starts by understanding what’s really most important to clients—and never assuming we already know. A closely related question, addressed in this year’s State of the Industry Report: How good is our client feedback? Is it game-changing insight that shows how to be even more valuable to clients? Or is it generalities that don’t tell us much of anything?
• What are we doing to respond more effectively to client feedback? Put simply, even the most insightful, meaningful information isn’t power unless we act on it.
• What are we doing to show clients exactly how they benefit from partnering with us? Understanding and solving clients’ problems isn’t enough; we also have to document our contributions to their success. How much money have we saved them? How much time? How much have we increased the return to their direct-mail campaign or traffic to their website? How much revenue have we helped them create?
• Why are we successful? Many companies we study don’t know why they are doing well. Leaders do because they continuously challenge their success, never assuming that it will continue. Their philosophy: “We cannot stand still. We have to be trying new things and looking at our processes to see what is working and not working. And if it is working, we have to ask ourselves, Will it continue to work in the future?”
Lean more about our industry’s most successful companies by downloading the complimentary special report, “NAPL Leaders: Who They Are, Why They’re Successful,” at http://napl.org/resource-library/. And look for my next blog, when we’ll talk about “Fallen Leaders,” or companies that incorrectly assumed past success would guarantee future success.