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

Advertisements

I Write: Mortal — Chapter 4

Zola awakened from her slumber, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the brightness of her room light and her ears pricked at the ruckus going on outside her room.

Damn, I forgot to switch off the light. And wow, people are so happy about the first day of classes?

She got up from her bed steadily as she rubbed her sleepy eyes a bit. She walked to the window to take a look outside.

Before she could even gasp, a firm face appeared right in front of her and his arms embraced her tightly, while a burning meteor-like giant stone flew towards them from behind him at a rapid speed.

Zola and the stranger disappeared just as the fiery stone crashed into Zola’s room, wrecking walls and shattering glass, producing a thunderous cacophony and strewing a devastating mosaic of the opaque and the transparent.

*

Zola gasped loudly as she appeared at a hall full of students with the stranger. There must have been hundreds of them; some sitting on the benches, some tending to their wounds, and a few were lying on wheeled-beds. She trembled and nearly fainted as the stranger stepped away from her and disappeared from sight. Right at that moment, a girl caught her just in time and propped her up from her left.

“It’s okay, I got you. Just try to calm down a bit. Let’s sit over there with the other first-year girls,” the girl said gently and Zola immediately realised who it was.

Zola nodded weakly and tried to muster all the strength in her legs. She was too stunned and too bewildered to say anything. She was not even sure if she knew of any questions to ask. She would just have to trust Venera. Zola sat beside a girl who was trembling like her and sobbing quietly while Venera took her place beside Zola. Zola tried to find her voice to ask Venera about the situation at hand but failed. Venera, who seemed to have deciphered Zola’s confusion, rubbed Zola’s back comfortingly and said, “I think it’s best if you don’t look up or look around yet until you are calm enough to speak. For now, just know that something very serious is going on right now. The school is in a state of emergency. More will be explained to you later when you are no longer in a state of shock.”

Zola nodded weakly again and closed her eyes for a bit. She inhaled deeply before exhaling it all out. She repeated the breathing technique her mother taught her when she was a child after waking up from a horrible nightmare. Since then, nightmares became a frequent occurrence for Zola. Zola was able to put up with it at first but the intensity of the nightmares increased until she was hospitalised for a severe panic attack one night. Despaired, her mother brought her to stay with her grandmother in a remote village in Nigeria. Zola could not recall what those nightmares were about. She could not recall exactly what happened at her grandmother’s house either. All she could recall were the times she spent happily with her grandmother, learning about flowers and their uses in her grandmother’s garden. And that the nightmares stopped since then.

“Venera…” Zola’s voiced trailed off as she turned to her left, only to find Venera’s seat vacant. During that short glance to her left, Zola noticed that a few benches were empty and managed to catch sight of a girl leaving her seat, following a line of girls who were being ushered out of the hall by student councillors. She wondered where they were heading to and if she needed to leave the hall with them as well.

“They’re being sent home, Zola,” Venera interrupted her thoughts while propping Nerea and leading her to the empty space on the bench beside Zola.

Zola found Nerea’s pallid visage and vacant stare disconcerting. She looked at Venera and asked meekly, “All of us?”

There was a look of hesitation on Venera’s face. Zola found that to be even more disconcerting. For someone like Venera to be uncertain, the situation at hand must have been a greatly distressing one. Before Venera could answer, she was tugged away by a girl who whispered something urgently in her ear as they pulled away from Zola’s sight.

Zola looked down, slightly afraid to look at Nerea and the girl on her right, who was still sobbing and trembling.

What the hell is going on?

*

“Damn it! It’s my bedtime! Give me a break! I must have already killed at least fifty of you!” Yezekael yelled as he landed a blow with his fist on the creature’s face before him.

“Ouch! Shit! Is your head made of brick or something?!” Yezekael continued to punch with his other fist.

The creature screeched horribly at each of his hit. It opened its mouth and Yezekael could spot a glowing ember emerging from the back of the creature’s mouth.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Yezekael got down and swept the creature’s legs with his right leg. The creature was knocked over and Yezekael could see a burning ball of fiery stone shooting out of its mouth before quickly dropping back into it due to gravity.

The creature went into spasms and choked. Yezekael took the opportunity to take his dagger chucked aside nearby on the ground and stabbed the creature in the chest with it.

Black liquid flowed from it as Yezekael yanked his dagger out. He was ready to plunge it in again but stopped when he saw the creature’s eyes roll up. The creature shook vigorously for a few more moments before it went limp and then immobile.

Yezekael heard a horrible screech that must have been a hundred times worse than that of the creature before him. Yezekael covered his ears quickly and looked up.

“Shit!”

The mother of the Qakkirs he killed was getting angrier, especially at him.