Here are ten observations to becoming the leader in your industry:
1. Leaders begin with the end in mind.
Start by answering some basic questions: Whom are you trying to serve? What are you trying to achieve? Once a leader has done that, people will see that, despite everyday distractions, they need to think about the greater good.
2. Leaders think win-win-win.
Get leaders talking between business departments and customers. Five years ago, it was us and them, pointing fingers. Now it’s a partnership. It changed because we chose to focus differently; we didn’t see an application, we saw our application. And when leaders got it right, it was everyone who got it right.
3. Leaders avoid the bleeding edge.
Customers don’t want to know what you’re going to build two or three years from now; they want to know what you’re giving them today. Leaders have to take an IT-on-Prozac approach to technology – no real lows but no real highs, either – especially for mission-critical applications.
4. Leaders hire people who can deliver.
At Global Business Cafe, we have never gone over budget or delivered late on a project. We would be fired if we did. We get to set our own deadlines, so we have the responsibility to meet them. At Global Business Café, we want to give our customers state-of-the-art information, but we don’t want to increase our own costs by doing so.
5. Leaders connect the dots.
When leaders put together three different groups of people with different backgrounds and ask them to talk about abstract things, they’re going to speak different languages, often without even realizing it. Leaders never go into a room with a blank screen…they always come in with tangible ideas, right from the start.
6. Leaders are unwilling to fail.
If customers have an issue about changes leaders feel they need to make, leaders ask people to brainstorm about ways to make the customer’s transition a good one. At Global Business Cafe, we are determined to do whatever it takes to help customers because we have so much faith in what we build. We fight to overcome whatever obstacles exist.
7. Leaders customize for the masses.
Thinking like a mass-marketer won’t get you where you need to go in today’s collaborative world. We do a lot of testing at Global Business Cafe and then we ask for a lot of feedback. Customers like talking about doing business on a day-to-day basis, how they’re paying their bills, how they’re interfacing with their own customer base.
8. Leaders show them the money.
We, at Global Business Cafe, are transparent about costs to show customers details around each transaction – not because they demand it but because we’re proud of our business proposition. Customers pay for us through their cost savings. It’s a win-win situation, and we want them to know it.
9. Leaders address security concerns.
No matter what your product is, customers won’t use it if they don’t feel safe. We are certified by the ICSA – the Internet Computer Security Association. We pay them every month to try to hack our site (just yesterday, the ICSA was successful and we took measures immediately).
10. Leaders fail fast.
Make business decisions unemotionally. And don’t keep going down the wrong path just to save face. Cut your losses, and cut them fast. Leaders make decisions about where you can fail and where you can’t. When we can’t afford to fail, we pull together and find the areas where we are vulnerable. So instead of putting our fire hats on with customers later, we take the time to make the right decisions now.
Business development can be fun with the right leadership.