Rita McGrath, who will be presenting at World Business Forum New York in October, offers some insights on strategy.
1. For years, companies have established their niches, put up barriers to protect those niches and have fought to protect their competitive advantages. Does this approach to strategy still carry relevance today, or can it be dangerous?
It can be extremely dangerous if it causes a firm to ignore or overlook potential threats to their position. Some firms are able to get away with this approach (Heinz Ketchup comes to mind) but they are increasingly rare. Among the issues company executives are grappling with is what to do about competition that emerges from players in other industries. Google Maps and Apple iPhone didn’t intend to put Rand McNally out of business in many of their traditional markets, but that’s what happened.
One of the biggest concerns expressed by marketing and sales professionals is that they are finding it more difficult to reach and engage with new prospects than they did in the past. Strategies they once used are no longer effective. But it’s not lack of effort. In fact most say they are working harder than ever before; they just aren’t getting the results they once did. It is a particularly difficult issue for those who market business services in industries such as finance, insurance, legal and other businesses that sell complex, information intensive services.
If reaching and engaging with new prospects is a challenge you are experiencing, evaluate your marketing and sales through the lens of the three principles outlined below. Then take a moment to answer the questions thoughtfully and candidly. Even the smallest changes can make a huge impact on how your communication is received by your customers.
Despite the variety of personalities and attitudes out there, you can still roughly categorize people into two groups: the problem bringers and problem solvers. When you ask a problem bringer about a problem, you'll hear about the problem and nothing more. We've all worked with these folks who can spend the day telling you about a problem without ever coming close to offering a solution.
By contrast, when you ask a problem solver about a problem, you'll hear about the problem, but you'll also hear some potential solutions. For these folks, separating problems and solutions is as ludicrous as separating wet from water. No matter what particular attitude you're looking to hire, you'll want that person to have a problem solver predisposition.
Let's look at how this applies to 3 common behavioral interview questions...