You manage an executive team, a middle management team, a sales team, a project team, a team of auditors, an engineering team, a customer service team.
A “What’s Next?” strategy creates a team environment where team members are responsible and accountable for identifying key industry trends impacting customers today, tomorrow and in the future.
If you currently are managing one tactical quarter at a time, you and your team are (literally) short selling yourselves and your capabilities.
Develop a strategy with an 18-month (or more) timeline. This window of time allows you and your team to bring more realistic solutions to your clients’ business tables. You set more realistic expectations regarding ROI (return on investment) for your products, platforms and services.
Your project portfolio and customer pipeline begin to look different with a 12-18 month timeline. You specialize on acquiring larger customers focused on strategy over the same time frame. These clients ask different questions and require different skill sets.
Your hiring and training practices will look different as well. Your team wins larger, longer-term contracts. The days of prospecting low-hanging fruit fade away.
Your team meetings become more collaborative, focused on sharing information with team members and customers. When you focus on a longer ROI horizon for your team, each team member becomes responsible for researching, analyzing and communicating industry trends which impact project outcomes. Your team develops industry expertise and credibility.
Your team management strategy creates a different set of data to analyze. Your project portfolio or client base morphs into something more than making your numbers, a win-loss or P&L analyses. Your team is better able to evaluate how your own customer base behaves compared to the industry as a whole.
Your output becomes more creative due to your synergy with each other and with your clients’ teams. Everyone gets a whole lot smarter. Everyone gets unstuck from “the way we’ve always done things.” Everyone on your team starts collecting, analyzing, interpreting and implementing information differently.
A 12-18 month team management strategy is dynamic. You and your team have multiple opportunities to “touch” the customer and engage in dialogue. As your team shares relevant information, their skill sets morph. They have their fingers on the pulse of “What’s Next” in your industry.
When you start to evaluate customer behavior within your client base, you develop customer personas. When you understand industry behavior you develop an industry persona. When you compare, your team is better able to understand whom they are working with on the client-side of the equation.
Your team creates a set of checks and balances questions to ask themselves. Is this a “typical” industry customer or an “a-typical” customer? Is this a high-value industry customer whose company is also strategically focused on growth or is this a customer who will be good for generating repeat business only?
Develop a team management strategy with a 12-18 month window. It is one of the best means of catalyzing yourself as a manager and your people into becoming business people of worth for tomorrow and the future. It is one of the most effective growth and expansion strategies I’ve found.
Babette N. Ten Haken builds innovative, productive and profitable teams focused on excellence in the execution of strategy. Her Playbook on collaboration hacks, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.