I Read: Growth or Bust!: Proven Turnaround Strategies to Grow Your Business — Game-Changing Secrets From A Leading Corporate Strategist by Mark Faust

In the name of Allah, the All-Compassionate, the All-Merciful.

I’m just going to quickly write some notes from my reading of the book here.

First attribute of a great leader: The ability to get things done.

If a company is to succeed, you and everyone in your charge must come to work daily with an obsessive focus on bringing those aspirations to ground, on making a vision reality. (Santo J. Costa, 2011)

Marketing is: ‘The management process that profitably identifirs, anticipates, and satisfies what the customer values. Seeing the business from the customer’s point of view. This focus on what the customer values must permeate all areas of the enterprise.’ (Mark Faust, 2011)

Innovation is: ‘Change that creates a new dimension of performance.’ (Faust, 2011)

7 parts of building an innovation culture:

  1. Prioritise from the top down: Innovation is a top priority.
  2. Clarify your innovation values: Build innovation in company values, growth objectives, mission, and vision.
  3. Get all hands on deck: Management must require a minimum number of ideas to be turned in from every employee.
  4. Initially focus on quantity vs. quality: Research consistently proves that a quantity of ideas will beget better-quality ideas in the end.
  5. Consistently communicate implementation and successes: Always share implementation of ideas and feedback on the successes of those. implementations or lackthereof.
  6. Give specific and universal rewards: Individuals who recommend ideas that have significant impact to profits should be given significant rewards.
  7. Make innovation a Möbius strip: Innovation must be an ongoing process at sustainable levels.

7 innovation skills:

  1. Connecting the unconnected: The ability to connect two unconnected issues for a new solution or dynamic.
  2. Respectfully challenging the status quo: Great innovations come from someone asking a great question.
  3. Flipping: Taking a positiob or issue and flipping it (or your conversation or consideration about it) to the opposite view.
  4. Embracing constraints: Great questions create nonexistent constraints. False constraints challenge one’s mind to think of alternatives that it otherwise would not.
  5. Studying customers like a scientist: Genchi genbutsu, which means “going to the spot and seeing for yourself”.
  6. Experimenting: Share experiments, lessons learned, failures, and successes.
  7. Networking: “The insights required to solve many of our most challengig problems come from outside our industry and scientific field. We must aggressively and proudly incorporate into our work, findings, and advances which were not invented here.”

SMART objectives are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Accountable
  • Realistically challenging
  • Timed

Focus on quarter-by-quarter progress and realignment: keeping perspectives with the seasons.

Assess your customers’ impressions:

  • How satisfied are they with your service?
  • How does your service impression compare with the competition’s service impression?
  • Where are your service strengths and improvement opportunities?
  • What will it take to improve the service impressions you are making, and what is the value of that improved service to the customer?

What makes the best impressions on your customers:

  • Prompt response to the first phone call
  • Thoroughness in communication
  • Frequency of communication
  • Service promises and commitments
  • Accessibility to the top

Blocking off Focus Hours on your calendar for strategic non-urgent growth and turnaround work ensures that more non-urgent high-priority work gets done. Trear these hours like you have clocked into the production line to ensure zero interruptions. Strstegic plans become useless unless the required work hits someone’s calendar or to-do list. (Faust, 2011)

Using priority management to accomplish the turnaround strategy: Knowing our ‘A’s and ‘B’s and 1-2-3s — Create a list of only six items a day, to prioritise it, and to work through it in priority every day.

Ask, don’t tell to get more growth (Socratic Stretch). Because people tend to support that which they help you to create, you will get more buy-in by geting your team to set the targets rather than you telling them what you think they should be. Socratically sell your team; don’t tell your team the potential. (Faust, 2011)

The challenge you may be facing in managing a team of diverse talent, experience, and confidence is that you can’t be sure whom on your team succeeds unintentionally, and who is truly achieving on their intent. (Faust, 2011)

Stretch 100: Achieving three-year objectives within 100 days instead. However, it is okay for the team to fail in achieving them. At the same time, if achieved, the team is not expected to replicate the same result in the next cycle.

What matters to the top leader:

  • The priority of significant growth and how everyone can contribute to accelerating the company’s progress toward aggressive growth goals.
  • The power, influence, and importance of the sales team’s efforts and input regarding bringing on larer and higher-quality customers, and how sales can contribute in other ways that will help to grow profits and revenues.
  • That his door is always open for anyone who has important insights on how we could grow sales.
  • That she is eager to become personally involved in helping to close large deals or speak to other C-level executives with prospective new business, in phone calls, meetings, or whatever she can reasonably contribute in the effort to grow sales.
  • That sales is as critical a function of the company as any other part of the company.

Best practices of top-echelon executives:

  • Going on key account calls and priority selling opportunities.
  • Being involved in recognising and delivering incentives with the sales team.
  • Listening to the sales team for input on how to improve issues with the company and within the selling process and sales support.

A look at the leader: Five impediments to turnaround and growth:-

  1. Pride
  2. Abusive relationships
  3. Gossiping
  4. Greed
  5. Any of the five dysfunctions in the principle of authority:

i. Lack of clear authority structure.

ii. Lack of respect for the chain of command.

iii. The inability to communicate up the ladder without fear of retribution.

iv. The lack of checks and balances.

v. Megalomania and rebellion.

There is no virtue in leadership as important to accelerated growth and turnaround as that of humility. (Faust, 2011)

The call of the leader: You have a responsibility to the families that depend on your company. Carpe diem.

And Allah is Al-Hasib, the Reckoner. -MM

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