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Winning Hearts and Minds

Are you, like many others, feeling the stresses and strains of the downturn? Does it feel like you have been treading water for months on end just to keep the doors open?

“If you work just for money, you’ll never make it, but if you love what you’re doing and you always put the customer first, success will be yours.” Ray Kroc, Founder of McDonalds

McDonalds’ Ray Kroc, understood that without passion for what you do, there is little chance of developing a compelling proposition that customers and staff will buy into. Reconnecting with that passion will help you be more focused and more productive. Passionate leaders are the driving force of every successful business; they inspire staff to work towards a vision with purpose and meaning.

Passion v Logic

The truly successful visionaries are not only passionate about their business ideas, they are also able to apply logic to how they create and capture value, better than their competitors. Finding the right balance of Passion and Logic will drive sustainable business growth, especially if you can add a level of objectivity to the process.

“Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your sea fairing soul, if either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas…

….For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.” Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer 1883-1931

Creating and Capturing Value

With a clear vision for the future, and the motivation to drive your business forward, the next step is to sense check your ideas – otherwise you are navigating without a rudder, as Gibran’s poem illustrates. This is not about what you thinking you know… it’s about really understanding all of the things that impact your business, including making sure that there are enough customers out there who believe what you believe.

Step out of your shoes and ask these fundamental questions to get you going;

  • How will what you’re doing/offering really benefit customers?
  • What types of customers will benefit the most?
  • Are there enough of them out there to make you money?
  • Who or what else is meeting these customers’ needs?
  • How will you reach these customers…today, tomorrow and the next day, and at what cost?
  • Why would they choose you…how are you better than the alternative?
  • Is your revenue model future proofed?
  • How will you know if things are changing, and be ready to adapt?

The Objectivity Challenge

These questions are very simple, so why are so many businesses still getting it wrong? Because the quality of the answers, and insights they offer, are very much dependent on your ability to be objective. Many business leaders, desperately seeking solutions, end up being dishonest with themselves about how they create value for customers.

The fear of finding out that the business may need to change some of its core strategies in order to grow can lead companies down a one way road to closure. Those that are really ready to challenge the status quo understand that they are too close to the problems to see the wood for the trees. They are out there asking customers, staff and advisors what is wrong and how they can be better. More importantly, they are having fun facing challenges head on, and feeling that fire in the belly once again.

Are you ready to win hearts and minds?

Author: Dayna Caceres
Image: www.shutterstock.com

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