14 Sep Synch: the most important word in business
Profits? Innovation? People? What do you think is the most important to business success? In one word? To me, it’s synch. Here’s why.
Synch as the truest measure of business success
Success in business is about synching strategy with tactics. Synching visions of what to achieve in the future with what to do today, tomorrow, this quarter and year. Synching business innovation with marketplace preferences. Long-term organic growth strategies with short-term lead and sales generation tactics. Internal understanding and alignment with external activation and loyalty. Local activities with global initiatives. And so on. The end result is an aligned customer and employee experience of the brand. And that is the ultimate synch.
What if your business could synch what it wants to achieve with how you are perceived? Or synch its business development activities with market preferences? Its long-term organic growth building strategies with its short-term sales generation tactics? Synch internal alignment with external loyalty? Or local activities with global initiatives? As well as synch cold, hard operative business process with the passion and persistence of the people performing the work everyday?
How being in synch positively impacts a business
If you could make it happen, would all this synch positively impact your business? You bet it would. Here are just four examples:
- Synch how you want your business to stand out uniquely with perceptions: By ensuring customers and employees understand what’s unique about your business, you help to actively reinforce your intended value propositions and real competitive advantages
- Synch “where you are today” to “where you want to be” to attain your desired reputation: By connecting your business with customers and employees on deeper levels, you build the likelihood of realizing your desired reputation
- Synch strategy and tactics to help employees know how to contribute: good employees want to feel unique, important and as contributor to their business’s success
- Synch certainty with decision-making process in you business to help professionals avoid risk: customers and employees would better understand your business, the value it offers and think favorably during purchasing, employment, recommendation and other decisions, i.e.: risk avoidance
Let’s consider each of these. Starting in reverse order.
Synching professionals decision-making processes & risk avoidance
Professional customers cling to what they know. The reliable, the dependable, the strong, the helpful: the brand thought of in these terms has a tremendous competitive advantage. This is why there are direct correlations between how a professional customer ranks a supplier against performance criteria that drive preference and loyalty, what the customer is prepared to buy from the supplier as well as how much (volume or price) the customers is willing to pay.
The considered purchase, which is common in nearly all b2b relationships, is a perfect example of how professional customers avoid risk. In it, customers are highly involved in making decisions throughout a multi-stage purchasing process that spans from:
- Perceiving need, challenge or opportunity
- Investigating and short-listing suppliers to solve need, challenge oropportunity
- Comparing offers
- Choosing or re-choosing one supplier
Synching strategy & tactics
Can you summarize your company’s strategy in 35 words or less? If so, would your colleagues put it the same way? It is my experience that very few corporate employees — or even management executives — can honestly answer these simple questions in the affirmative. However, companies where executives and employees can answer ”how I contribute to the strategy” are often most successful in their industry.
Synching “where you are” with “where to be” to achieve desired results and reputation
Getting a strong reputation – and the right one – is a conscious, planned and co-ordinated effort. It is not the result of chance; it is the reward for smart thinking and hard work. There is a saying that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there. What you need, then, is to create a map you can trust and decide on an action plan for getting from where you are to where you want to be. Without the map, you will only be running around like the proverbial headless chicken. And no business professional has interest or time to follow a wandering chicken whilst climbing the rungs of corporate business life.
Synching what makes you stand out uniquely with perceptions
Very few successful businesses or people are about conformity. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Success is about being unique. And that is no small task. I would argue that appearing and being unique is amongst the most advanced achievements and difficult tasks there is today. More to come soon. But first, the simple truth is this:
Ensuring people perceive your business for what what you want to make you stand out uniquely is the basis of business success. It's all about making a name for yourself — and ensuring your name is remembered in the way you want it to be remembered.
For this to happen, it’s best to ensure what you say makes your unique is of:
- High relative importance to customers & employees
- Highly relevant today, tomorrow and the long term
- You are truly unique in your sector
Being unique is not the exclusive job of marketing or sales. It is so much more than just mind or word game. It demands continually managing your intentions, your actions and your communications. More on this another day. Now I’d like to follow-through on my earlier premise.
Appearing and being unique is hard to do
Again, appearing and being unique is amongst the most advanced achievements and difficult tasks for a person or business today. To understand what I mean, just examine a blood sample. Take it from any two business people — or even one person and one banana, chimp, slug, your average mammal or a fruit fly. Put these into your DNA sequencer and you will see nearly all the same genes. Genetically speaking, we’re 60% the same as bananas and fruit flies, 70% the same as slugs and 90% identical to most mammals. And between two humans, there’s only 0.01% difference. So congratulations, you are the same as your worst enemy. Who, as you know, is not far removed from a slug. In short: genetically speaking, we are all just standard, off-the-rack mammals built up the same parts. And yet, we not only want to be unique. We know we are unique.
This is the so-called theory of mind. The theory of mind is the ability we mammals have to attribute specific mental states—like beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to individual entities (like people, places, companies, etc.). And from a marketing perspective, here is the important part: we others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from our own. This theory was introduced by David Premack and Guy Woodruff in the paper “Does the chimpanzee have a theory of mind?”, published in Behavioral and Brain Sciences back in 1978.
BUSINESSES CAN STAY IN SYNCH
One last thought, this time borrowed from the Danish philosopher, theologian and psychologist Søren Kierkegaard. He tells us that humans truly believe this: the less something is possible, the more it must happen. His conception of the leap of requires that faith persists in the face of the impossible. That the very nature of an implausible idea makes realizing it all the more vital, essential and imperative. To me, this means the following. The more great businesses I have been around, the more I realize that it is really impossible for one person or business to make a unique impact.
Thus, the more utterly and irrevocably clear it is that your business can not only stand out uniquely — it can stay in synch!