Trust, Empower, Support

It’s not enough to hire the best people. You must allow them to perform at their maximum ability. Great people need to have the ability to excel otherwise they will fail to achieve glory and will just leave.

And the ability of anyone of perform well in an executive (or leadership of a team) position is to have the ability to make decisions based on agreed objectives.

Plans that change with the wind are all too common, and virtually always fail.

What is critical is that once a plan is agreed it’s implemented by high performers who have the trust of their managers and are empowered to make decisions in-line with the plan, and critical to success, are supported in these decisions.

There is no point in allowing someone to make a decision and then spending months questioning the detail. That form of micro-management is very common, and incredibly destructive. Instead stand behind the decisions you empowered your team to make.If they made the wrong choices, you as the leader must take responsibility. This ensures teams succeed (or fail) together, and everyone supporting each other leads to the greatest successes.

This doesn’t mean you can’t disagree with a poor decision, just do it behind closed doors, and use it as a chance to grow trust and improve teamwork. Then together fix the mistake. If your team knows they are trusted and supported they will be empowered to make the best in every situation. And they can and will continually improve.

Hire well, plan well, and then trust your team to deliver.

Measure people by their ethics and the results achieved.

Be open and honest when setting goals. Make sure everyone knows the plan. Everyone must know deeply:

Why we are in this business
What problem we are tasked with solving
Why is solving this problem critical
What budget, timeline, resources are available to solve this problem

Trust, empower and support your team if you want to drive to success and retain you top talent.


The Lead Misnomer

Whenever I meet a new company or more importantly a new member of the management or sales team. As the “marketing” guy, I’m always asked about leads.

Of course leads are the most important things that marketing delivers. Branding is important, as are sales enablement, websites, public relations and all the other elements of marketing. But let’s face it the culmination of all your marketing investment is the amount of demand that is consumed by sales, and how much of this turns into cash in the bucket that finance manages.

So leads are absolutely the right discussion to have with marketing, as it summarizes the most important measure.

But I am regularly shocked by the experiences of people I meet and companies I work with. The definition of a lead is far too simplistic. Not all leads are created equally, and if the definition of a lead is weak, then marketing is weak.

When I first started running marketing at the company I am at today, I was amazed at the volume of “leads” that were passed to sales. Quite simply every business card scanned or name on a list was passed directly to sales. And as a consequence, sales just thought marketing’s demand generation work was a complete waste of time.

I put in place a very simple but effective new series of definitions that immediately improved the situation.

A business card was not a lead a business card was a contact that marketing would then market towards.

When a contact engaged with marketing, then this became an inquiry.

And when an inquiry exposed information on a project that could be engaged in, this was a lead. And the more information that was identified the higher the value of the lead.

1) A business card, scanned at a trade show, that was a contact
2) A contact that downloaded a white paper or attended a webcast became an inquiry.
3) An inquiry that shared the timescale, budget, and decision team or defined project became a lead.
4) A lead that sales decided to expend effort, became qualified.

This model ensured several things happened more effectively, most critical were:

1) Sales could quickly spot important leads.
2) Marketing could be measured against sales need.

Nothing was hidden from sales, they could see every contact, inquiry, and lead. When there were enough leads, sales would be happy. If they needed to go and hunt their own, they could choose to dig into the inquiries. Sales have not needed to go below the leads, because marketing know exactly what sales need in terms of mix. This just drives a better team spirit.


Is the Apple Watch the must have gadget or the badge of the asshole nerd, or both?

New technology is something I’ve always been attracted to. I grew up enjoying, understanding and being enthralled by all thing tech. And today my house is about as automated as it’s possible to be. The internet of things lives in my pad, much to the chagrin of my good wife. While she prefers to read by turning paper, I’ve been a kindle freak from day one. Bluetooth ear pieces are my daily Borg implant, and I actually use a live scribe pen, taking notes and sending PDFs of scribble to my team on a regular basis. There isn’t a single light in my house that connects directly to a wall switch, everything is automated and it’s awesome!

It’s fair to say I’m what you would call an early adopter of tech, and I LOVE IT.

I’m also a watch collector. I have close to thirty watches and the sound of automatic watch winders is a constant friend in our house. Many of my relatives have ended up with high end watches, just to assuage my guilt from having possibly too many.

So it would seem like a simple step for me to pre-order an apple watch, but I’m not entirely convinced.

I have an iphone, and of all the phones I’ve used (and use today) I still prefer it, so I have the require base infrastructure in place. So what is stopping me taking the plunge?

It’s simple, I’m just not sure that I really want to make phone calls from my wrist, and I’m not sure it’s going to be a useful addition to my world.

I saw the Google glass, and thought it was a fantastic idea in principle, but in practice it did turn people into glass-holes.

I Love tech and I love watches, but do I really want or need a watch that needs charging every night, and that does exactly what my phone does, just on my wrist. And makes people look like a poor rendition of Dick Tracy meets Captain Kirk (original series and not even the slightly higher production quality reboots)

This is the first bit of new tech in many years that I can’t truly convince myself I want.

Now I’m not saying I won’t be getting up a 3am on the 10th to place my order, and I’m not saying I will. The jury in my mind palace is still out, and it quite possibly won’t be able to make a decision in time.