Environment, values, attitude and relationships all inform behaviors and what impact you and your team make. Ultimately, you lead with your feet, with what you do, more than with what you say. So focus everything and everyone on those few behaviors with the greatest impact.

(Note this is the fifth of The Five Most Important Questions for BRAVE Leaders.)

Depending upon which part of the value chain you’re focused on, different behaviors will have greater impacts.

    • Design – If your focus is design, innovation is the key to your success. If you’re not innovating, you’re falling behind. And in a world of rapid change, that fall can happen very very fast.
    • Produce – If your focus is production, supply chain negotiating has to be your bailiwick. You need to get clear on what core competencies you’re going to keep in house to be best in the world and which you can outsource because being good enough is good enough.
    • Sell – Everybody has to sell and market. As Drucker says, the purpose of business is to create customers. Pay attention to strategic selling and creative briefs here.
    • Distribute – Distributing is like building in that supply chain negotiating is key.
    • Service – If your focus is service and support, make sure everyone in your organization is committed to the customer as boss and is prepared to react and respond as required by that boss.

Design – Innovation

Innovation is inherently messy. Bring some order to the chaos with a create – iterate – assess – implement and scale approach combining IDEO’s Human-Centered Design and BAC’s Scratch approaches: learning, listening, observing, generating ideas, iterating them based on user responses, analyzing, filtering and deciphering before implementing and scaling across products, processes, services, technologies and business models.

Produce – Discipline

Negotiating with the different part of your supply chain is critical. Make a plan, identifying your needs and concerns and the other party’s. Get started with areas of agreement. Clarity positions, stating, supporting, listening. Find alternatives. Gain agreement by studying proposals, making concessions, summarizing and testing. Implement, communicating, delivering and monitoring.

Sell (and market)

Work through the steps of AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Desire, Action) Broadly build awareness. Engage in conversations with those interested. Jump in with both feet once someone has a real desire. And then follow through to over deliver once they act.

Distribute – Preparation

Negotiating with the supply chain is critical again. When you’re building, you’re the customer of the supply chain. When you’re distributing, you’re the first supplier to the supply chain. So, make sure you’re building things in a way that makes it as easy as possible for the other members of the supply chain to their jobs right.

Service – Responsiveness/Agility

Service and support is where you turn habitual loyalists into emotional loyalists. In their excellent book “Leading Loyalty – Cracking the Code to Customer Devotion,” Sandy Rogers et al suggest loyalty is built on empathy, responsibility and generosity.[1] Empathetically make human connections, listening to learn. Lead with others’ needs, taking responsibility for getting the real job done and following up to strengthen relationships while generously enabling, sharing and surprising others with unexpected extras.

Follow through

No matter where you’re having your team focus, follow through is essential. You’ll likely want to track with different frequency.

    • Daily or more frequently – Tasks for which smaller, more frequent feedback and adjustments are more helpful than bigger-picture less frequent input to the doers.
    • Weekly – Projects, made up of a collection of discrete, interdependent, parallel or sequential tasks all combining to produce one specific end results. Follow up with first-line supervising project managers weekly to give them the space they need to manage the overall project and discrete tasks.
    • Monthly – Programs in turn are made up of projects combining to meet an over-arching objective. Monitor monthly to help middle managers coordinate all their project components.
    • Quarterly – Business Reviews, adjustments serving as mid-course corrections for resource allocation across programs and projects.
    • Annually – Strategic/Organizational/Operational processes to set direction for program and project arcs.

[1] “Leading Loyalty – Cracking the Code to Customer Devotion”, Sandy Rogers, Shawn Moon, Leena Rinne, Harper Collins, April 16, 2019