The late New York City mayor Ed Koch created a personal, attention-getting mechanism for gaining input and feedback. He famously asked: How am I doing?
Business and marketing leaders have much to gain by utilizing a “How are we doing?” outside-in learning approach. One easy-to-implement way to get started is to conduct a regular program to compare your products and services versus other available options.
During my brand management days at Unilever, the marketing teams had scheduled “cuttings” during which they would compare their products to those of their competitors, review new products and/or generally explore options in the category. It was a cross-functional gathering including R&D and sometimes other colleagues. It fostered collaboration and led to productive and interesting conversations about the business, beyond the technical details.
It was also a fun part of the job, and vividly demonstrated why we all came to work each day: to provide great tasting products to consumers.
I remembered those product review sessions when reading about the keynote speech former Kroger and Harris Teeter executive Fred Morganthall gave during this month’s Private Label Manufacturers Association trade show. His advice has widespread relevance beyond the grocery business: Continue reading
Let’s say you’re a new business unit leader or CMO.
You want to get an unvarnished, 360-degree view of the situation and challenge at-hand. You have to get prepared to give your boss an action plan.
What do you do and how do you do it?
To demonstrate, let’s use a high-profile, global example that just happened. I’ll tell you who it is at the end of the post.
Here are some of the steps taken by the new leader:
* Invited a range of outside industry experts to a private dinner. They represented views both consistent with, and alternate to, the company’s strategic direction.
* The guests had to earn their meal by commenting on the most pressing problems facing the company. Specifically, they were asked: “Tell me something I don’t know;” and “Give me a new way of thinking about things.”
“It’s important that I not be recognized when scouting. I have Bubba teeth to dive to another level. The goofier you are, the more folks don’t care about telling you stuff.” Kent Taylor, Texas Roadhouse CEO
Photo: Texas Roadhouse Facebook.
Getting closer to your business operations, employees and even competitors doesn’t require a trip to your local pop-up costume store. Save that for this year’s Halloween shopping.
Kent Taylor, the founder and CEO of Texas Roadhouse provides a funny reminder that business leaders need to avoid the ivory tower syndrome and get out into the market for real learning. Continue reading