Professionals in corporate fields spend a shockingly small percentage of their time in review and refinement. We often almost become one-trick-ponies where we follow a pattern of behaviour, often easily identified and predicted, and very rarely evolve with the circumstances. There are two sides.
Recognise when a different strategy may be more appropriate for your side!
It’s no surprise… but to a plumber, everything looks like a plumbing problem. The same is true for consultants, accountants, lawyers, and salespeople… to a salesperson, the risk is that everything looks like a problem of pitching the value!
We should slow down and spend more time in our transactions defining the problem, our desired objectives, and exploring possible strategies for achieving.
When we are talking about the problem, we are talking about boiling the situation down to the clear and simple commercial objectives. For example, you might be looking for a price increase of 10% and they only want 3%... so the problem is 7%.
The next step would some good creative brainstorming where we ask ourselves how we could go about closing the 7% problem? This should involve calling out the pros and cons of each strategy before deliberately settling on a plan.
Then we deploy the plan and review how it went, what the problem is now, and explore strategies again.
Notice and anticipate patterns on their side!
Not only do we spend very little time as professionals in review of our own strategy, but we often spend even less time thinking about that of our counterparts. Over the last month or so there have been a couple of instances where it was reinforced how handy it would be to pay attention to / and remember the way individuals and organisations operate.
Firstly, a senior executive attending a public course recently was very bullish when engaging with counterparts. He would often make overly optimistic proposals, delivering them confidently, but then relying heavily on people just accepting. What became apparent from watching him over a few days was that after the posturing, if challenged respectfully he would completely roll over to the point of being soft commercially. Wouldn’t that be handy to remember! Let the posturing finish and challenge respectfully!
Secondly, an organisation I have been working with has become desperately focused on hitting revenue targets. It has become so important to them, that they would quite readily trade off margin (where they previously wouldn’t have) to hit those revenue targets. Lucky for them, none of their counterparts have noticed this desperation yet! Just imagine what would happen if their counterparts did notice the shift from margin to revenue… and if those counterparts adjusted their strategy to leverage this!