Don’t lead from the bottom line

Posted: September 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Having trouble setting a goal for your company? Try this: make more money!

That’s a clear, crisp, and utterly compelling goal. That’s why we’re all in business.

In fact, go a step further. I want you to earn revenues of $100 million a year five years from now. Now that’s a goal worth having.

If you know your business model, I’m sure you can figure out how many sales you’ll need to make. Tell your sales team their quotas just went up! They’ll tell the marketing team to generate more leads and they’ll tell the product team to add more features.

Sit back and relax. Your company will take care of itself, right?

What exactly do you do here?

Here’s the problem. Every business has the same objective–to make more money. How is your organization going to decide what to do that is different from any other company? If you just want money, you could always open a McDonald’s franchise because that would be a surer path to millions.

Remember, you’re in business to do something. You’re creating value for some customer. Changing the world in some small or big way. As the leader, your plans need to reflect that.

Decisions, decisions.

Of course, plans are worthless, but planning is everything. Great plans let your organization make decisions on their own.

Your product team will need to decide what problems it’s solving for what customers. Your marketing team will need to decide what markets to attack with what positions. Your sales team will need to know which leads are priorities.

If you just tell your organization to “make more money” or “hit this revenue target”, you are asking others in your organization to make the real decisions for you.

Then, natural and accidental leaders throughout your organization alike will pick the best options they can see. But no one can see the whole picture but you. Your organization will run madly off in different directions, marketing to one market and building a product for another.

The person who has to set the one true vision is you, the leader. Your job is to provide a plan complete enough that people throughout your organization can independently make decisions yet remain in harmony with each other. The marketing team will go after the right markets, the sales team will pick the best leads in those markets, and your product team will build the right enhancements to sell more to those leads.

Rather than lead from the bottom line, your job is to take the helm and lead your organization together forward into the market.

One Comment on “Don’t lead from the bottom line”

  1. 1 Carley said at 3:01 am on February 3rd, 2012:

    Deep thinking – adds a new deimnsion to it all.