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Leadership Thought #273 – Why You?

December 29, 2011

Free Notes on Board Stock Photo

Every business leader should be able to make the case clearly and succinctly why their company is the preferred choice.  You won’t always have a lot of time to communicate your position.  In fact, the more words you use, the less likely your audience will be able to remember your message.  I’ve seen many talented executives and business owners stumble on this point.  Sometimes the answer to a simple question gets lost in muddled thinking or a genuine lack of understanding.  A critical step in leadership success is to figure out why you should be in business in the first place.

In a competitive business environment, it’s not okay to be like everyone else.  Clients/customers are becoming increasingly sophisticated about their options.  If you don’t stand out in a discernible valuable way, then you are just a commodity and will be reduced to a simple price decision.  Paradoxically, with this increased level of knowledge, clients/customers are also growing shorter attention spans.  What you communicate must register quickly and be repeated frequently and consistently to have any chance of resonating with them.  They’ll only seek evidence of the truth if they are compelled by your message to do so.

It’s equally important to get your employees on board with what makes you special and a better choice than the competition.  They make decisions and take actions every day that either confirms or invalidates this positioning.  We’ve all had negative experiences with representatives of companies who are on a different page than their leaders regarding living the marketing message.  This only makes you question the company’s integrity and look elsewhere in the future.   However, when there is symmetry between what a company says and how their employees perform it is an enjoyable and comforting experience.

I’m a strong believer that the basic principles that lead to business success are quite simple and people end up complicating things.  However, maintaining simplicity and clarity can be challenging work.  Strive not to create complexity where none should exist.  Why someone should buy from you is about as simple as it gets.  Everyone from the top down to the very front lines of the organization should be on the same page with what this is and why it is important. It should be easy for your customers/clients to draw the same conclusion.