Over dinner with Ted, the retired founder/CEO of a successful company in the electric power sector, I heard an interesting story with a widely applicable lesson.
Ted co-founded an engineering company that developed and implemented sophisticated control systems for industrial and utility power systems. Let’s call the company “Sorettah.”
After recruiting, training, and retaining a superb team of engineers, the company delivered consistently valuable results for its clients. It didn’t take long for word-of-mouth in their industry to send plenty of business their way.
After many years in business, Ted and his partner sold the company to a group of employees and stayed on the board.
“In board meetings, I came to realize that our team took pride in never having had to do any selling or marketing. That worked really well, until it didn’t.”
The new employee-owners never questioned that Sorettah could continue in the same markets and do business the same way indefinitely.
A vulnerability they didn’t spot was that a substantial portion of their revenue came from a handful of customers that build power systems around the equipment made by Manufacturers B and C. Sorettah’s expertise was tied to those equipment brands.
Manufacturer A bought two of those customers and switched their equipment purchases exclusively to A’s products. That put a quick end to any new Sorettah projects with those customers.
Sorettah’s owners were shocked. They found themselves at a loss about how to break out of a suddenly weakened market position.
To earn the great outcomes leaders desire, I advise:
Because many industry environments and market requirements are dynamic, change is coming to many companies’ customers whether they like it or not. By moving faster than bigger competitors to meet new or evolving needs, and message to them, there’s an excellent chance of making major gains.
Even if a competitive picture has been relatively static, there may be tremendous changes coming that create opportunities for companies to add Bigger Value.
I recognize that implementing the recommended steps above is not easy for execs to do on their own.
That’s why I created Forge the Future.
It’s help for business leaders, especially when their companies are at a critical transition point. They see big changes ahead in their markets, and are unsure about where their business will be in 3 to 5 years. For example, their concerns may include:
In Forge the Future, my teammates and I assist business leaders to create several outcomes:
Ultimately, they’ll harness their team’s strengths and find the few missing pieces that hold back bigger results.
If you, or someone you know, have interest in learning more, I invite you to head over here.