Follow the Succeeder

Fourth-quarter profitability was at historic lows, and the bigger they are, the harder they are falling.  So answer me this: Why are so many companies playing “Follow the Leader” when so many “leaders” are going right off the cliff?

It’s like Mom always said: “If Angelo Mozilo jumped off a cliff, would YOU jump off a cliff?”  (Before you answer, remember which of you has the golden parachute.)

It’s like any habit.  After years of sleeping under a Bernie Madoff poster, it can be hard to break out of the habit of following the big boys.  But you know you’ve got to do it.  So I suggest you switch from “Follow the Leader” to “Follow the Succeeder.”

There ARE some succeeders out there, you know.  Even in the midst of all this mess, many companies made more profit in the fourth quarter than they had in any year in the past. Others have had outstanding growth while increasing the profit on that growth.  And no, I’m not talking about foreclosure sign painters.

So what’s the difference between going off that cliff and taking wing? It’s all in the belief systems.

Once the business media finally began using the “R” word in the middle of last year, I took it upon myself to call over 30 CEOs to prepare them for the excuse they would soon be hearing: “We didn’t get the results we wanted because there is a recession.” Yeah, that’s a good one.

My coaching was intended to put them ahead of that game, preparing them to say, “Not in OUR world. We didn’t sign up for the recession, and we’re not participating, thank you very much!”

Several of those leaders have since called me to report they were among those who ended up with record profits in the fourth quarter!  Why?  Because they decided to by getting smart about execution.

This is when you need to throw out the old “big business” marketing approach that costs you big dollars and does little to get and keep profitable relationships.

This is when your sales process cannot even begin to look like the old “relationship selling” but instead commands premium pricing and wins 90 percent of the time once you’ve established you have a fit — even when the bottom feeders are undercutting your process. This is when you must have a one-page strategy that everyone in the organization understands, as well as an iron-clad execution process to make sure it happens regardless of what economic and competitive challenges hit.

This is the time when the smart will pull ahead of those stuck in yesterday’s mindsets.  Get smart. Implement smart.  Don’t follow the “leaders,” follow the succeeders!

Be extraordinary!

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