There are three areas in which the leaders can focus their efforts in order to ensure exponential growth in sales, revenue, and customers: focus on the vision, drive open communication, and be a great mentor.
What if an investment in your employees was the single greatest contributor a leader could make in order to grow their revenue and improve customer satisfaction? I’m not suggesting hiring more salespeople, or investing in new marketing campaigns, but rather making an investment of time, energy, and even money to support the ability of employees who work in the organization to be effective in their roles.
Does this even sound reasonable?
According to the nearly one dozen CEOs that I interviewed recently, for leaders who are dominating their markets in terms of growth, revenue, and overall market share in their sector, an investment in people is their single greatest contributor to boosting their bottom line.
It’s long been thought that revenue and growth of any organization comes directly from the organization’s ability to both market and sell its products or services effectively. By investing more money and time directly into marketing and selling, an organization will grow, right? Unfortunately, this is not true. Sure you might invest in a new marketing campaign that will yield several leads, but the campaign itself doesn’t ensure that you can close the leads. An investment in developing a sales team might lead to closing more deals, but it doesn’t ensure that customers you sell to are and remain satisfied with your products or services, to the extent that they will buy them again and again.
There are essentially three areas in which the leaders can focus their efforts in order to ensure exponential growth in sales, revenue, and customers, most of which might come as a surprise as they are counter to what we’ve historically believed to be true.
Alignment with the Vision
First off, growing revenue starts in having all employees aligned with the vision of the organization. Where is it going, and what specifically does the role of each employee need to be in order to support reaching the vision? I once stopped by to see a client and asked reception how her day was going. She immediately identified that she had spoken with ten customers, four prospective customers, and several referral sources that day. Shocked at her response, I asked how she was so sure of the status of her calls. She responded quickly, saying, “My role is not to answer phones, but to be the first point of contact for all of our customers, existing and new, and ensure their experience is beyond their expectations.” She went on to share her strategies for connecting with people and learning of their connection to the company. My jaw was likely on the floor as she spoke, but it reinforced what I’ve heard from CEOs and executives of organizations that seem unstoppable when it comes to growth: connecting employees’ roles and responsibilities with that of achieving goals ensures everyone is placing their efforts and energy in the right direction.
Clear and Open Communication
With this alignment in vision, it would seem most of the CEOs I spoke with are also highly focused on enabling communications across their business, between all departments and people. One such CEO identified that they had shifted from email use to a Facebook group in order to facilitate dialogue in a manner that extends beyond the written word and allows employees to use video, images, and other means to share their ideas, questions, and concerns. Beyond using technology, most of the CEOs I spoke with were also placing a concerted effort on breaking down walls, literally. Once such manufacturer showed me his new office in which there were no offices, only cubicles and rooms around the periphery which failed to have doors. “If you’ve got something to say, everyone needs to hear it, hence no walls or offices. If you need privacy then step into one of the rooms we have, and lower your voice.” This shift alone had diminished emails internally by nearly 50% over a one-year period. A powerful outcome for such a simple change. The key seems to be that whatever it takes to facilitate collaborative communications and shift away from sending emails and holding meetings in silos was key to the organization’s success.
Mentorship Trumps Leadership
The last most common attribute of the unstoppable organizations I interviewed was the application of mentorship for supporting employees, rather than leadership. Sure there were typically a few folks with some level of leadership in their title, but the focus was on having employees with knowledge and tenure mentor newer employees, rather than have a series of leaders who supervise and manage. When I asked one of the CEOs why such a heavy focus on mentorship, her response was both simple and pragmatic at the same time. “Today’s employees are turned off by having someone tell them what to do. They are smart, easily trainable, and have a desire to learn. Mentorship feeds this new workforce and ensures our people are always learning, while remaining open to the process itself.
There are other areas to consider when it comes to being an organization that is unstoppable in today’s marketplace, however these philosophies around creating an empowered culture stand out as the most common and practical. So think about this the next time you decide to invest in growth.
Shawn Casemore is the author of The Unstoppable Organization: Empower Your People, Engage your Customers, and Grow Your Revenue (CLICK HERE to get your copy). He is widely recognized as an authority in employee and customer empowerment, helping organizations introduce and embrace empowerment as a key strategy to increasing employee autonomy, morale, and performance.
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