Ten Attributes of Success in 2023 – Full Transcript

David Nour
David Nour

David Nour 00:02
Hi everybody, my name is David Nour. And on behalf of our team, I want to also welcome my partner Jenn Cordz. Hello, Jenn.

Jenn Cordz 00:10
Hi, David, how are you?

David Nour 00:11
I’m great. Thanks. For our audience. We’re with the Nour Group, a boutique advisory firm, based out of Atlanta. And I’m excited to launch the new year and a new live stream that we’re calling Intelligent Growth. That’s a lot of work that we’ve been doing over the last two decades. And we thought we’d share some insights, case studies, examples, hopefully guests that are senior executives or our client companies and, and fascinating people that we come across that really talk a lot about this idea of intelligent and profitable growth. We’ve never believed that growth at any cost is a viable one.

So we’re going to talk about what’s the difference? And how do you focus on the latter, not the former. For your reference. We’re live on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter. And if you’re joining us live, we’d encourage you to jump in with your questions, comments. We’d love to share insights, answer questions. So again, we know this information already, the goal is to share it with you. If you listen to the recording, you can also jump in we’ll give you an avenue or community to jump in and join the conversation and really share again, questions, your examples, your insights, your perspectives on any of the stuff we’re going to talk about today. So Jenn, what are you I know, I’ve had Curve Benders, you’ve had RevOps? What are you most excited about this new live stream we’re doing together?

Jenn Cordz 01:47
I’m probably most excited about combining our respective disciplines within what we do at the Nour Group. And also just sharing insights from the work that we do with our clients and industry trends, and talking about what is going to be most impactful to drive profitable and intelligent growth for 2023 and beyond.

David Nour 02:10
And it really is true, we’ve been living in kind of parallel universes in the last year or two, we’ve kind of brought different perspectives to the same clients. And we’ve done different projects with same clients. And as the audience will see shortly, I’m also really proud that it’s a very diverse client base. So we’ve got almost like that, you know, bird’s eye view across multitude of industries and size companies, and geographies. And, as you’ll see in a second, very different size companies, industries, leadership styles, leaders, all struggling with very similar challenges. So I’m gonna go ahead and share my screen. And let’s go ahead and let’s see start. Can you see my screen? Okay. Yep, we’ve got you. Great. So again, we’re fairly active on social. So just add the Nour Group is a good channel to find us on LinkedIn, and Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. We also have a YouTube channel.

And we’re using #IntelligentGrowthLIVE as a hashtag along amongst others that will, will share throughout this episode and subsequent ones. In this episode, specifically, we want to talk about 10 attributes, we’ve researched, we’ve interviewed with senior executives, that we believe are going to be instrumental to your success as a as a leader in this next year. If you think about we’re still dealing with pandemic, we still got supply chain issues, we’ve got inflationary pressures, we’ve got recession concerns. So how do you grow? And I gotta tell you, and two decades of doing this, I’ve never seen an organization cut its way to growth. So you can certainly trim some of the fat or some of the, you know, girth that organizations add in good times. But if you start cutting into bone and muscle and and really the critical aspects that fuel that growth, you’re going to feel it because most economies are cyclical.

Most challenges come and go. And that’s what a lot of we’re going to talk about. And not just this episode, but subsequent ones. Jenn, I was fascinated to read that PwC did their Annual Global Survey and you and I talked about this, really talking about, you know, financial environment, societal pressures. Today’s leaders got to solve a new equation, and I think it won’t be a surprise to our audience to hear that equation is unequivocally a threat to the top line. How do you grow especially in the next 12, 18 months? How do you drive top line results? I was talking to a CRO friend is like Yeah, we got to, we got to get out there and sell.

We got to get out there and talk to the right leaders who still believe in growth, who still are investing in key parts of their business, and really demonstrate our value. Jenn, in your experience, what do you think is one of the biggest challenges to that delivering top line results, you’ve worked with CROs, you’ve worked with CMOS in a lot of different industries? What’s one example what’s one of the challenges in their ability to deliver that top line top line growth?

Jenn Cordz 05:35
I would say their biggest challenge both for a CRO and a CMO would be focusing on too many things, they’re trying to do too much. And they’re not being as targeted as they should be. And really honing in on what they do well, and showing the value of that. They’re trying to do too many things. And so they become very thin, it’s a mile wide and an inch deep, instead of maybe half a mile wide and 10 inches deep. So yeah, they focus on too much.

David Nour 06:07
And you and I’ve talked about the shotgun approach, right, let’s just, you know, we sell a security solution we sell, let’s just take that to everybody. Or, you know, we’re not, you know, we’re a very mature company, very mature industry. I like the idea of looking for adjacencies. The problem is, they pick too many, or they go on adjacencies that really don’t have anything back to their core. Or yet they they acquire, you know, another line of business that I was reading about Disney, and the board, bringing Bob Iger back. And there’s been rumors for some time that Disney is going to shut ABC and ESPN and because that in many ways is not core to their business. It was a it was an adjacency. And what happens is now these other businesses start. And products are the same way, we’ve got a great product, let’s just add more to it. Well, you know what, they’re going to start losing money, and they start to drag the rest of the organization down.

So I agree with you, I think. And I tell most of my clients, if you think about the global pandemic, we didn’t spend more time with more people. We spent more time with fewer people, right. But it was people that we knew, and we trust them and we liked them we respected and we wanted to spend time with them, we got value from those exchanges. Very similarly, customers are very similarly. Right. So I agree with you, I think casting a wide net is dangerous. So for our audience, we’re going to use insights from you know, I’ve written several books, I call these three my Star Wars trilogy. And relationship economics is by far the most seminal work, there’s a brand new third edition coming out this next month or so we’ll talk more about that in a second.

Most recently, I wrote about Curve Benders. It’s really about future of work, and how relationships impact the way we learn and grow and remain relevant. And co creation is all about none of us have all the answers. And this is an example of Jenn and I co-creating, or we bring our respective strengths in a co-created relationships. Nobody can do it themselves by themselves. So they bring kind of the best of their respective strengths to the table to really create a unique offering unique approach. So Jenn, I gotta ask, Did you, we just finished a FIFA World Cup. Did you watch any of the games?

Jenn Cordz 08:25
Of course I watch most of the games.

David Nour 08:27
Did you envision Argentina winning the whole thing?

Jenn Cordz 08:31
No, I had a side bet going with my son. And it was either Argentina or France were the two that he chose.

David Nour 08:39
I thought for sure Brazil and France, back in the back in the swing of things. But so France, France made it that far. But Brazil exited kind of early. But the reason I bring this up for our audience is if you’ve played any of the dynamic sports like soccer, hockey, lacrosse, where there’s not necessarily a start or stop, and it just kind of keeps going. I think you would agree if you’re if your kids play or if you’ve been around these games, you watch the games, if you’re fan of these games, I think you would agree that the assertion that 90% of these games are played when you don’t have the ball or the puck. And by that I mean if you think about it, the best teams if you watch the World Cup, if you watch any of these, these sports, the best teams are the ones where individuals are always thinking “Where should I be?” “What should I be doing?” “How do I best prepare?”

Well, how do I put myself and it’s such a dynamic sport that it constantly moves, right? How do I put myself and my team in the best possible position? So when we do get the ball or the puck, we can create opportunities from it. And the reason I bring this up as Jenn and I really want to help you see this field, this ice, this as your market. It is constantly changing. It is constantly dynamic. The pieces on the board are always moving, whether it’s competitors or supply chain or geopolitics, or, I mean just the war in Ukraine alone is impacted everything from technology development to the flow of natural gas to global distribution of grain. Right? And and, you know, it’s very easy to say, well, that’s, that’s too far away, that doesn’t really impact us or impact our business. And I think that’s myopic.

Because it absolutely does. And I wrote about it and Curve Benders, it absolutely has a ripple effect. Our relations with other parts of the world, whether this China or Latin America, again, access to maybe not the core components, but the components you need to deliver the finished product. So this is the way ideally leaders are talking to teams, where should we be? What should we be doing? How do we think about set plays? How do we think about dynamic environments that were best prepared? Jenn comments on this or other sports or other avenues? You can think of that you’re constantly. I think you you didn’t you do crew and the river like the river, like the river dynamics, doesn’t that also change the way you think about rowing?

Jenn Cordz 11:27
Yeah, the river dynamics change the way you think about it, Wind, current, body of water you’re sitting on–all of those change things. But as we also had transitions to remote work environments, like not only are the business industry type impacts, affecting your business, but where your team members live work, travel to where their families are, that also affects their mindset as they approach work. So all of these things come into play when you’re trying to be successful and driving that growth within your business.

David Nour 12:02
And we do we talk about WFX, where X marks the spot where people work from. And I read a fascinating report, 7 million additional people, changed counties, so they moved seven additional Just this past year alone. So I think through the pandemic, we all learn if I can really work remotely, mostly remotely, or if I can work in pods, or if I can come in and still see the team one day a week or one day, every couple of weeks, I can work from anywhere. So why don’t I go live in more affordable places, more places where there’s quality of life, for better education for my kids, or whatever the case may be. So remote workforce, you’re exactly right. Over a million knowledge workers left the workforce in the last year to 18 months. So the talent agenda becomes an ongoing challenge. And these are these are ones that are going to continue. And these are the ones that increasingly leaders are going to have to adapt to. So we’re blessed to work with some, you know, fabulous clients. And as you can see very broad spectrum of industries.

And what’s really interesting is, again, between size and industry, that couldn’t be more different. It couldn’t be their focus couldn’t be more different and their priorities and the way their respective leaders lead. And what’s what’s really interesting is also the commonalities. And we you know, the goal is with this series to get you beyond intellectually understanding that you have to change. that you have to adapt that you have to test that you have to really leverage that proverbial S curve in reimagining reinventing kind of yourself, your product portfolio, your solution, your go to market strategies, to actually acting on it. And how do we, you know, think about market challenges as not just headwind, but opportunities. I was talking to a friend, Jenn, who said, you know, you tend to double down when the market is declining.

And as is he was really perplexed, like most people hunker back, and they don’t want to do anything different than I said, That’s exactly right. Because I see. And we see increasingly opportunities. So for our audience, you know, we’re launching this brand new practice, business process, and insights optimization, we call BizOps. And it’s a lot of work that Jenn does and Jenn, why don’t you tell the audience a little about kind of the data and the connective tissue of data across a lot of different things and projects you come across?

Jenn Cordz 14:49
Sure. So very similar to RevOps. The data drives the business operations drives the business and so many organizations currently are operating in silos, not only with their systems and their teams, but also with their data. So the insights that they’re trying to drive with their business is focused from a certain perspective, there’s not a unified set of numbers.

So what we’re focusing on with our new practice is really unifying that data, making sure that everybody, everybody on a specific team has a Northstar to work towards, and the numbers that everybody is looking at, are consistent across the organization so people and teams can make really intelligent decisions, based off of that unified set of data, instead of marketing has their number of sales has their numbers. We’re really trying to create a cohesive picture that will help drive the business in a really intelligent and impactful way.

David Nour 15:48
And what I what I’m most excited about is, you know, everybody talks about become increasingly more of a data driven culture. I sometimes want to scratch my head. So what does that mean? Exactly? What does that look like, you know, that they couldn’t, their data is not believable. And data is not accurate, the data is not complete. Their data is not bi directional. Their data is not – to the point that we’re still doing senior executive and board presentations manually and in spreadsheets. And, you know, you got to go get it. And it’s, it’s such a heavy lift to go get that information from 15 different places. And so the idea of believable data, intelligent data, actionable data, accurate data – in one place.

So executive dashboards, really leveraging AI capabilities to ask natural language questions and get, hopefully intelligent responses back. That’s a big part of what we’re trying to do. And that’s an example of it’s one thing to realize we need actionable metrics. It’s another thing to really take key steps forward in implementing those. So a lot of these the genesis for this live stream, the genesis for a lot of our work really came together more recently, when we put on our relationship Economic Summit.

What did you want, and for our audience, we gathered a small, it’s an example of micro event that we’re seeing more of, we’re doing more of, where we gathered, our top 2030 Senior Executive clients from a broad spectrum of industries for a couple of days, to just kind of talk and share and ask questions and engage and really influence each other. Jenn, what was the highlight for you? What what did you What did you take away from the summit?

Jenn Cordz 17:42
Oh, I took so many things away from that summit. One of the bigger ones was all of the knowledge that was shared. So we paired executives up to talk about a specific topic, because they’re all face, and they’re all in different industries, but they’re all facing similar challenges. So one of the really great things that we did was leverage their own knowledge and have them present to the rest of the room. And everybody found that that was a really engaging way of driving content and conversation.

So that was one the other one was also just how similar the challenges are and the many different ways to approach how to solve those things. Where in like, in one industry, they’re solving it in one way and an executive took a couple ideas from that solution and was planning to apply it into their own with a slight twist that would work in their industry. So it was really just a really great knowledge mastermind, almost and many of the clients also said it was like a mini CEO course in two three days. And so it was really great to see that and the group really come together.

David Nour 18:51
Yeah, and I gotta tell you, I was I was really excited about to build on that thing. We counted eight different industries represented in the room. And on the surface, you would think, you know, cybersecurity has nothing to do with industrial manufacturing. Or, you know, global travel company has nothing to do with a company that manufactures the last mile ethernet equipment. But it’s amazing how similar and, by the way, that there were CIOs there and CROs and you know, head of global supply chain and, you know, President of of industrial manufacturing. So different roles, different size, and geographies and certainly industries, unique challenges, but also very similar challenges and opportunities.

And Jenn, one of the things we did with the group was we actually presented, and for our audience, this our customer lifecycle journey maturity model. And this came from over 100 senior executives, specifically CMOs, CROs, Chief Revenue, Chief Growth, CFOs, conversations about, really the transformation that we’re seeing in the market, in going from transactional sales, to one of recurring revenue model. Or one of a lifetime value of that customer or one of, you know, selling a broader portfolio of products and services, and really deepening that relationship and material value in the relationship with that client.

So Jenn, can you quickly take the audience through, you know, you start at the bottom with digital onramp, where people, you know, search for you or search for a solution that you solve, kind of talk about what happens at each of these stages.

Jenn Cordz 20:42
Sure. So the customer lifecycle maturity model, most every organization has some version of this. And in the in the presentation that Nour talked about with our at our summit, it was really interesting to see the executives highlight where they are weak and where they are strong. And they they put sticky notes on this. So that’s a really great exercise that we did. But going through this, the left side of the model focuses more on the marketing sales pre purchase, if you will. And then the right side of the infinity loop is post purchase – it’s that amplification and impact. And then really creating customer advocates and leveraging your relationships in a very productive and positive way. And so yeah, the awareness engagement, that’s, that’s driving your demand.

And then evaluation, if you are a SaaS company, or if you have a free type model, it’s getting them into the product, getting them touching it, getting it sticky, making it resonate for them. And then the center is where they actually purchase. And that’s, that’s where the rubber meets the road and where the relationship really starts to take shape. Because you want to make sure that you’re delivering on the value that you’ve promised, but at the same time, you’re also wanting to deepen it and create a partnership with them, not just a vendor relationship. And so then as you come around the bottom of the loop, you’re seeing the adoption, like making it impactful for additional team members. And then also creating, showing the value that you’ve promised in reports and low hanging fruit and really seeing them realize the value and the solution that you’ve presented has drastically changed their business.

And then that leads to the evangelization. They become your raving fan. And so by creating that impact and becoming a partner for them, and looking for other ways that you can help them beyond what you originally sold, you have that land and expand. You also have less churn and it helps with your retention. So overall, this entire loop is really your customer lifecycle that you everybody needs to have a part in. And the best part of this and when customers do this really well, it’s like a relay race. And each one of these stages is a baton pass. And so what we do, we come in, and we can help evaluate where you are in this maturity model. And then what improvements need to be made to make the baton pass if you will, from step to step more seamless. And so I’ll pause there.

David Nour 23:25
Yeah, you brought up that great exercise we did. Lin Wilson is our creative director, and we had this maturity model on a on a six foot board. And the exercise with the executives in the room was, you know, two different color stickies go put a positive with an example of where are you in these seven steps, or seven phases? Where are you particularly strong? And then a different color, for Where are you struggling? Where are you are you falling short? And what’s fascinating is we’ve done that exercise with probably 40, 50 different teams, and forget, you know, it would make sense that different, you know, leaders from different companies and industries would disagree on. We’ve had people disagree inside the organization to a vast, you know, degree on where they’re strong and where they’re struggling. So getting everybody on the same page, as Jenn mentioned, everybody has in the organization should have a role in this.

Because it isn’t just a sales thing or a marketing thing or a customer success or a product or finance or HR – every aspect of this maturity model, this should be a big part of the focus, big part of the strategy for the organization. If you’re in fact pursuing a recurring revenue a a subscription based model a if you want to deepen the relationship with the end customers, some variation of this needs to be omnipresent. So with this context in mind, with this background, and this is again, part of our research. The reason we call it a maturity model, we’ve actually build a scorecard for this. And in our assessments, we kind of really assess capabilities, processes, tech stack, integration. Now with BizOps, the data, kind of integrity, the data accuracy, the data exchange on this continuum. So, and different organizations rank different ways very much around that maturity model. There’s some that are just nascent, and they’re start of this, and there’s some that are incredibly powerful, and they’ve got this down. But with this context, and the summit really led to the core of what we want to talk about in this episode, which are these attributes to success. So this is by no means a complete list.

This is by no mean, you know, written in stone, it’s just a lot of really sharp executives we like and trust and respect, a great deal of research, we’ve done ourselves, in conversations with multiple executives, again, over 100 continue to point to these 10 attributes in 23, given all the market challenges, again, the soccer field, right, with all the stuff that’s going on the field, here’s 10. Here’s a recipe. Here’s a playbook of 10 focal points that we believe will be instrumental in your success. And by the way, this isn’t also just some, you know, interesting perspective. Our own team met earlier this week. And, you know, we’ve created our own version of these attributes and our strategic priorities for the year. And as you can see, I’ve got notes and highlights all over mind from our leadership teams input on the things that I need to focus on, we need to amplify we need to think about and do differently.

So again, not just interesting construct, hopefully practical, pragmatic, applicable insight. So starting with number one, intentional positioning. Inner Brand is one of my favorite branding consultancies. And I love their research some time ago, where they said, you know, it really is the end of branding. It’s very much about iconic moments, and very much this intentionality about positioning yourself in the market against your competitive peers. So Jenn, talk about intentional positioning, kind of what are you seeing? What do you think what comes to mind when you hear that phrase?

Jenn Cordz 27:42
When I hear that phrase, I really think about creating or finding your purpose and honing in on that, what do you do well, that nobody else does, and then intentionally talking about it, it’s also doing less, not, don’t try and do everything. So the power of deduction is something that one of our executives brought up at the relationship Economic Summit, that scaling back on what you’re doing and focusing on less, but doing it better or, or well, is actually more powerful and going to drive better growth, because then you’re actually bringing in the people you’re wanting, versus trying to bring in everybody. And then half of them churn or whatever the case may be, but by focusing less is more, you’re actually going to drive that growth in a way that sustainable.

David Nour 28:39
That’s exactly right. Eric McCarthy is a longtime friend, and I thought his comment on “zero base everything” was brilliant, because you’re exactly right. We’re all I think it’s human tendency, especially executives to just add, right, let’s just, let’s just add, let’s just bring more or less what to do more initiatives what to do more, right. And, and, you know, Zero Based Costing, if the audience hasn’t heard of that, it’s you don’t go from a million dollar budget this year to just 1.2. Because next year, you will literally go back to zero. And you cannot justify every investment kind of coming back, you may still end up with 1.2. But it’s much more of a discipline approach of let’s go back and justify the investments we’re making, and not just do them blindly. So this is exactly right. Intentional positioning is all about how do we do less? How do we focus on just to reiterate Jenn’s comment, what do we do exceptionally well? And what do we have no business doing the cost of the acquisition of that customer? And this is where it might be counterintuitive.

Well, in tightening economies we need we need every deal we can get. No you really don’t. And we know companies right now that have 50, 60% churn in a segment of their their market. Why not dispense pursuing that profile because something is clearly not working? They’re buying from you the first time, they’re not coming back for subsequent renewals, or they’re not getting the impact and the value that they proceed from you’re early on. So become more intentional about positioning yourself with a much tighter market segment, if you will. The second one is all about consistent customer acquisition. And this is an interesting one, when you say, acquisition, everybody kind of their head, their mind goes to what net new.

No, no, no this is, and by the way, you see the the phone company’s advertising, we offer the same great deal, great service for both our existing and net new customers, right. And they do it in their own cute way. But this is all about consistency in both retaining your existing customers. And this is the right side of that maturity model that Jenn talked about. Customer success is gotta be a big investment of how do we ensure that the value that was promised is in fact that the value that’s delivered, realized and the impact that it’s created. So consistently, both retaining existing customers, but also acquiring net new becomes really critical. Jenn, any comments on this one?

Jenn Cordz 31:19
I would say one of the things that we’ve seen in our client work is a lot of companies focus on generating the net new and they ignore the existing or even the prospects that are in their pipeline. And by not addressing them, they’re actually keeping their acquisition costs really high. So again, it goes back to the intentional positioning, like focus on who you actually want, and then continue to drive value for those people. And it’ll help with evening out the inbound flow of your leads. And so it’ll it’ll create more consistency in your closed one rate, if you actually focus on the whole journey, versus just one segment of it.

David Nour 32:03
Again, another example, not just an interesting comment of hey, you should be more consistent in your customer acquisition. Well, thank you for that motherhood and apple pie insight. You know, we’re eating some of our own cooking. And right now going back to customers going back almost 20 years and asking them really interesting questions about how do they find out about it, they learn about us, and what was the perception before they worked with us and why and how they’ve kind of continued working with us. And we’re gathering some really interesting nuggets about, you know, who else they looked at? And why they chose us not just the first time but subsequent times. And and you know, what else are they trying to do that, likewise, we could add some value to.

So really getting and keeping your finger on the pulse of that customer. And And right now, Jenn and I thinking a lot about it, we’ve talked a lot of customers about their, you know, our customers’ customers, so going to level deep, and really understanding that dynamic helps this as well. Relentless execution. You’ve certainly seen this heard this, I read one of my first books on this 20, 30 years ago. This is all about a consistent manner and a set of creativity, set of consistencies, set of initiative set of resourcefulness, that is focused on getting things done. This is Make no mistake about it. This is a bias for action.

This is yet we can analyze for a while. And certainly we should discuss it and make sure there’s plenty of room for all the voices in the room to be heard, particularly the non-loud ones, right. But at the end of the day, at some point, we got to roll up our sleeves, and we got to get stuff done. We got to really focus on, as Jenn mentioned, with the intentional positioning, what do you do exceptionally well? How do we dispense with the distractions and the noise to really focus on what do we do exceptionally well. And that ties it into nicely into number three. Jenn, relentless execution.

Jenn Cordz 34:09
With the relentless execution, it goes kind of goes back to number two as well the consistent customer experience. You want to create a standard operating process for how you get things done. How reports are pulled. How leads are processed. So across the entire experience, the same person, it has the exact same experience. They’re not talking to a salesperson in one way and then have a completely different experience with maybe customer support. And so from the outside the customer is they know who you are and what their experience is going to be when they interact with you.

And so by creating that repeatable, scalable process, it helps not only the customer and for them to be feel comfortable with interacting with your team, but also your team to know who’s doing what when. If there’s problems if something’s broken down. And then also, when you bring on new people, it allows them to get ramped up really quickly, because they have a playbook, if you will, that allows them to understand, “Oh, these are all the parts, my pieces here in the middle, this person is going to hand me something, this is where I do my thing, and then I hand it off. And this is how we’re successful.” So creating that also allows you to test in a really data-driven way of “alright, we’ve tried it this way, we’re going to change this one thing, does it make it more efficient, or does it not.” And so that relentless execution that that bias for action, with a standard set of processes really becomes an efficient way of operating your business.

David Nour 35:46
To your comments, remind me of two quick stories. One, you mentioned, the customer lifecycle maturity model as a relay race. And I think most intelligent people, anybody who’s ever watched a relay race realizes you dropped the baton, the race is over, right? By the same token, if you leave too early, you’re going to be overlapping too often, if you leave too late, you’re going to miss each other. And so this is all about getting that timing, getting that process, getting that execution down. Number one, number two, I gotta tell you years ago, one of my favorite books was E Myth revisited. By I think, Michael Gerber, in which he talks about, you know, you go to a salon and first time you’re there to have tea for you, and, and they put a hot towel on your face, and you get a fabulous haircut, and they offer you a shampoo. And next time you go, there’s no tea, and there’s no hot towel. And now you’re like, “Wait, am I in the same place?

Because that’s not the experience I had last time.” And so the consistency of that, and that relentless focus on execution. How do we do a few things exceptionally well, every time, goes a long way in creating great experiences, material impact and real success around that customer lifecycle maturity. Actual metrics. I gotta tell you, this is a big reason we’re launching the BizOps practice, because we continue to see certainly metrics in almost inevitably, every organization. I’m not convinced they’re the right metrics. I’m not convinced.

There are the metrics of the things we should be measuring. I’m not convinced people believe in the data, and right, the validity of that information. And then certainly last but not least, is it actionable? So you tell me, this tonnage, are you telling me this timeline? Respectfully, so what? Right? What what what can we do with that information? And this is a classic case of just because you can doesn’t mean you should. All this data where there’s no shortage of data. We’re drowning in it. It’s, Is it viable? Is it real time? Is it actionable? And can we extract any kind of real insights from those metrics? Jenn, you live in this world day in and day out. What comes to mind for you for with actionable metrics?

Jenn Cordz 38:20
One of the biggest hurdles with deciding on metrics is what to focus on. So asking really good questions about “what is the end result,” “what is the outcome we’re after”, will help you identify the metrics that we actually should be tracking. And David, to your point of, we’re drowning in data, a lot of companies will track everything, and not everything, per se, but they’ll track way too much. And then it’s just noise. If you track everything, then you’re really tracking nothing.

And they’re not honing in into that really focused position of this is this is the data that we need. Or they’ll focus on surface level metrics of well, we sent a whole bunch of emails, and this is how many people open them. Okay, but then what next, like, where did they go. So really honing in on the outcome you’re after, and then identifying the metrics that will help you get there. And they may not be normal, quote, unquote, metrics, but they are the ones that are going to drive your business forward. It is good to keep your eye on all of the metrics, like the surface level metrics as well, because if those start going down, that’s a leading indicator of something else is wrong. But you really want to hone in on those metrics that are going to drive the outcome you’re after.

David Nour 39:36
again, your comments remind me of two two clients that will go unnamed, but two client examples. I think one client we worked with, had over a million contacts in their Salesforce database. And I think you told me, close to 600,000 of them hadn’t been touched with any sense of consistency in the previous like 18 months. So, we got a lot of great metrics.

We’re missing out on the bigger picture of some of those, again, actual ones. The other one was smaller company. But I think we uncovered in your baseline assessment work, something like 650 leads they had generated, they created programs, several programs generate these leads. And they went to never Neverland, because the form kind of went somewhere that nobody that knew or nobody had access to, or that person had left. And it just it’s an example of great intentions. Poor metrics, poor, actionable metrics, not really believable, a viable metrics that really moved the needle on the business.

Jenn Cordz 40:43
In your second example, that that client, also, the initiative, the campaign that created those records that went to never, Neverland was deemed a failure, because those records weren’t identified. Like these were people who were raising their hand saying, “yes, please talk to me.” But because they didn’t have the tracking in place to know how many people were filling out that form. And they didn’t have a fallback match method to understand what was happening within that campaign. That campaign was deemed a failure at its at the very end.

David Nour 41:20
The other thing, I keep thinking, is that customer, right, you got me excited about what you’re doing, I reached out to raise my hand, I reached out to you, I’m interested. And then you ghost me. Yeah, that doesn’t really bode well for the organization, its reputation. It’s another perception becomes, either they’re indifferent, or they’re incompetent. And either neither neither one of those really boast anybody’s confidence in kind of wanting to work with you. So so yeah, the actual metrics are critical.

Profitable scaling. Again, this is a big part of our our assessment of your sales, marketing, customer success world, if you will, your kind of your revenue engine, if you will. And, and we’re big believers of, you know, think big, start small, find a way to scale. But that scale has got to be profitable, that scales got to be. I was president of a company, and that the dot bomb era, and the painful lesson I learned back then was you cannot buy something for $2, sell it for $1 and make it up on volume. And that’s just been true ever since the beginning of time. And yet you sit still see, I saw a post the other day of a CMO raving about their views on their videos and their YouTube channel. Well, that’s great. At what cost? What did it cost you to create those? And Jenn often asked, Where do they go next? And how are you building and nurturing and deepening of relationship with that audience? Jenn, profitable scaling.

Jenn Cordz 42:57
This goes to kind of to that data conversation that we were having a little bit earlier, just because you can track everything doesn’t mean you should. Just because there is a technology for that doesn’t mean it should be within your tech stack. Early on in our conversations, we were finding that people tech stacks, they had huge tech stacks. Yet, they were only leveraging about 10% of the capabilities that those tools could give them. And so they have this huge tech budget, yet, the return on that investment wasn’t there. And there wasn’t any one team actually being held accountable, if you will, to making sure that they’re leveraging the technology to their fullest.

And that profitable scaling. I mean, it goes team members, systems, data, processes, like as you add new features and capabilities of your product, do you actually have the things to then support it? If you’re adding a new tool within your tech stack? Do you have a team member who can own that fully? Are you are you running your teams at capacity? Like does anybody have any breathing room? Are they all underwater? If they do, how are they creating a long term strategy while keeping the wheels on the bus? So this scaling, it’s an ebb and flow. And it takes a little practice to get a good rhythm, but it’s definitely something that you need to keep focused on.

David Nour 44:22
One nuance here as well, that the conversation I have with CEOs and typically even some board members. In many situations, the reward system in many companies doesn’t take into consideration the profitable part of that statement. So executives are paid. Leaders are recognized. You get more perks. You get a bigger P&L as you get bigger, but seldom we ask at what cost? At what human costs, at what reputational costs, at what financial cost? So, really building a culture that believes in profitable scaling will go a long way in building up a healthy team. Adaptable leadership – this is certainly something that we’ve all experienced in the last two, three years of this global pandemic, the in Curve Benders, I wrote, how the pandemic is one of 15 forces we’ve researched and believe, that will continue to create disruption in the way we work and the way we live and the way we play and we give to others.

And the best leaders are the ones that can anticipate, can build relationships, I call them signal scouts, that identify these market trends early and really hone in on which ones are going to be most impactful to our business. And really focus on developing that team and the capabilities and the competencies and the infrastructure, the tools, the resources to get, you know, ahead of whatever that disruption is, is is headed our way. With a with a reminder that not all disruption is silly bad. We often talk about headwind, tailwind. We have several clients and several industries that had phenomenal 2019, 2020, 2021. You know, during the pandemic, they thrived. That’s tailwind. And some disruption will suddenly be turbulence. So really identifying, which one are you facing? And are we ready to tackle those is going to be critical. Jenn, adaptable leadership.

Jenn Cordz 46:47
I would say I mean, just the nature of business in general, like with more people going remote, and all of the inflation pressures and everything else like just because it works two years ago doesn’t mean it’s going to continue to work. Also, we’ve talked about that, in pandemic, some industries, and some some organizations experienced a ton of growth.

And they think that that’s going to continue. That that was pandemic growth, when everything starts to shift back to normal and as it has shifted back to normal, that growth isn’t going to continue. So you have to continue to change your business model and how you do business. Without keeping like, that’s an anomaly. You’ve got to keep your eyes on it. And yes, it was fantastic. But business is not going to go back to pre pandemic, and it’s not going to continue at pandemic, it’s going to change yet again. And you need to be able to modify how you’re doing things in a way that’s going to continue to be successful.

David Nour 47:41
Love that. And a good reminder for our audience, pandemic growth doesn’t equate to forever growth. So if your industry is one of those that really benefited from limited options, or increased discretionary spend, or the fact that we were not traveling, we had more money to spend in other categories, does not mean as Jenn alluded to, is going to continue. So it’s a fallacy. And there’s several industries we are working with, we know that really benefited during the during the pandemic. And they’re still not only that, you know, many, many leaders in that industry are patting themselves on the back of “Did you see what a fantastic job we did” and maybe so. But you also had a whole bunch of tailwind pushing you through that period. And that’s just not going to continue.

So so really learning and identifying that the way maybe our dads or grandparents lead isn’t going to be the way that we’re going to lead moving forward is critical. Resilient team health. This is, Jenn brought up purpose. We believe purpose is bi directional. So you got to both articulate the organization’s purpose, but only when you understand the individuals purpose. What what why are they there, it’s got to be more than just a paycheck. What do they get most excited about? What do they want to do more of? When you align those, that’s when you got to create an environment where people want to make a difference and really believe that they’re valued and and contribute to something more than just clocking in and clocking out.

And team health increasingly, I think during the pandemic, it also heightened a leaders’ empathy for mental health. Burnout is real. I saw, Jenn I saw a great meme the other day was a battery that was that was declining. And the visual said you know in the left hand side is fully green. It’s full. Right hand side, it’s red and it’s got one bar. There was an arrow right in the middle and said get help here. When you’re not completely drained when you’re not burned out when you’re not. And the beautiful part about this conversation is we just started a brand new year. Hopefully you got, our listeners, got some sort of a reprieve some sort of a break during the holidays and you had a chance to recharge and and now you’re coming back with gusto. You’re coming back excited about tackling this new year. But for every leader, for every colleague, really important to again, get and keep your finger on the pulse of the team health, and increasingly build grit, build resilience, build the ability to overcome challenges and opportunities. Jenn, anything to add on that one?

Jenn Cordz 50:18
I would just say make sure that when there’s a sprint, that it’s truly a sprint, like when there’s a big project needing to be done like it truly is a short timeframe of we’re asking everybody put in extra hours or everybody needs to chip in here. And then it kind of ebbs back to being a more normal workflow. And then in addition to that, I would say, ask, be willing to ask your team questions.

Create an environment of trust within your team, both as a leader and then also as a colleague of where you can ask each other questions of like, “how are you doing”, or “I noticed that you’ve been coming in late like, is there anything we can help” and really create an environment of supporting each other without going overly touchy feely, there’s there’s boundaries, obviously, in work type environments. But make sure that you that everybody keeps the mental health aspect in mind, as well as the burnout because it is real. And as we continue to blend, work and life together, there’s less lines, you always are connected on your phone. Your office is oftentimes in your home, like make sure that you create your own boundaries. And then make sure to communicate openly and honestly with your team at but also like your leader.

David Nour 51:37
Homestretch with couple of Jenn’s favorites – frictionless technology and systems. This is one where we’ve had a lot of really interesting debate both internally as well as with clients. Listen, I’m passionate about technology. I’ve grown up professionally through technology. And I’m in awe of what technology is increasingly capable of. It cannot be in lieu of really focusing on the outcomes. Focusing on the business impact of that technology. And if the technology or systems you have in place are creating friction today, if you’re asking people to eat like this, if you’re, if you’re creating keystrokes, if you’re creating unnecessary redundancy, where I have to do the same thing over and over again.

If systems aren’t talking to each other, where they naturally should. If I can’t get my finger on that report, or that that dashboard as I needed to, you’re creating friction. And that friction continues to add to that high level of stress to that team dysfunction to the why can’t we get this right? We’re an organization of however many people and however much in revenue and what you know, we’re too big or too small, why can’t we get this right? Those are all signs of the technology is not a business enabler in your organization. It is not technology and systems have become a business inhibitor. And that’s never a good environment to really thrive in. Jenn, anything to add here?

Jenn Cordz 53:14
We’ve talked about this in the past and also with clients that technologies and processes and your systems they cannot be a set it and forget it. This is no George Foreman grill. Like you have to constantly evolve what you’re doing and how you’re doing it as the team grows, as the business scales. What worked when you were 100 person company is not going to necessarily work in the exact same way for 200 250 person company. So as you grow as the business changes, continually look at what you’re doing and what your systems are doing.

And when you add a new system, put it into your procurement process of what is the capability of this tool? And what else and look at the rest of your tech stack of what else do we have that potentially could do this to warrant “Do we need net new?” Or can we leverage another module of something we already have. So by continuing to look at what you’re already doing, or already have within your stack, will really help the company grow in in a really profitable and smart way, versus just throwing more technology thinking that it’s going to solve the problem. Technology is rarely a bandaid for long term solution.

David Nour 54:27
I love to quote again, two quick stories. I love the fact that one of our clients is this, you know CIO, CISO of a multibillion dollar company. And he leads with this, how are we ensured that we’re rolling out frictionless technology and systems. The other one is we’ve got another client who just brought in a CTO who doesn’t have a technical background. He was a business unit leader, but what he did in the business unit that is coming from you turned around this poorly performing business through the implementation of some really smart, intelligent technology. And he’s surrounded himself with people who are technologists and can candidly tell them what works, what doesn’t. And they also have committed to it. So so those are two examples of this becoming an organizational asset. The last two, we’re going to kind of quickly run through obviously defensible profitability. We talked about profitable scale.

And number five, is really understanding your win losses is really understanding, you know, being able to defend where that profitability is coming from again, is it accurate? Is it short term? Is that really sustainable long term method? And then last, but not least real and paying innovation. Whether it’s a product, process, or a business model, listen, we love experimentation, we love testing new ideas. But in the last decade or so we’ve seen every executives pet projects suddenly become an innovation project. And there’s a lot of them that are zombie projects. By that, I mean, I’m pretty sure we killed that project, the last time we met, and yet it rears its head again. So really focusing on what’s real, what’s paying? Do our customers really have this problem? Are they willing and able to pay for it? Because if you present me with $100 app, that’s a to do list, I’m gonna say politely, thank you, I’ve got this pad and this pen. And I think that combination of investment, there’s $1.50. So your solution is I’m looking for a problem. And not the other way around Jenn, anything on the last two?

Jenn Cordz 56:37
The last one, specifically, when you’re wanting to roll out a new feature, and a new idea for us, like a new service offering, listening to your customer feedback, or reviewing your win loss statement, and why people left or what they’ve asked for, or feature enhancements that you’ve been gathering all this time, like, that’s really what will drive the innovation, and start small and then scale it. David said this before, like start with a small beta test. And if there’s traction, if there’s stickiness, if people are finding value, then roll it out to more people. Don’t create this huge solution in this small silo and then roll it out to everyone thinking it’s going to solve everyone’s problems, like start small, and actually ask questions and listen and experiment, before rolling it out to a bigger audience.

David Nour 57:28
So we hope this list has been useful to us been interesting to you. Again, I’ve sat in on sessions like this, and I’m like, That’s interesting. So what do you want me to do with it next? And that’s what really we don’t want anything from you. What we want for you is really take, you know, the takeaways from from this session, and really create ideally, your own personal 30, 60, 90 day plan. It’s often what skills you need to kind of think about, again, thinking about that field, that soccer field of dynamic environment we’re all facing, what skills, what knowledge, what behaviors do you need to know, you know, acquire, modify, enhance, amplify. And then more importantly, who’s going to hold you accountable, who’s going to ensure that you know what you do commit to.

And again, our council is committ to fewer things, but really ensure you’re committing to the right things that are going to move the organization forward. We hope you can continue that conversation. We’ll post a copy of this presentation. If you’re listening to it, there’s some great visuals along the way that you can download the presentation, watch it. But we’ll hope you’ll come join us in our private online community called the Nour Group or Nour Forum is just nourgroup.com/forum. It’s doesn’t cost anything. It is a it is an exclusive kind of community where we share unique content, unique, you know, resources and events. If you’re watching us, you can also scan that QR code, and that will get you directly there as well. This is also a good opportunity for a word from our sponsor.

As I mentioned, I’m launching, we’re launching the third edition of the Relationship Economics book this month. It’s my seminal work. I wrote the first edition of this book in 2008. The second edition came out in 2012. And Wiley in the last year or so was kind enough to ask me to completely rewrite it, thinking about the post pandemic, thinking about digital and hybrid relationships, and the role of AI and ML in business relationships. So I talk a lot about those. We have a promotion this month that if you preorder the Relationship Economics book, you also get a free signed copy of either CoCreate or Curve Benders for your reading pleasure. We are launching this this book. If you’re in the Atlanta area where we are based out of we’re doing an in person book launch party at the Atlanta Tech Village on February 13. If you are part of our global community, on Tuesday, February 14 we’re doing a virtual book launch, where we’re going to interview senior executives about their perspectives on strategic relationships.

Again, you can learn more about both and join us nourgroup.com/forum. Let me pause for a second and let you if you can see us read this. If not, I’m also going to read it for those that are listening, intelligent and profitable growth, we believe, is delivered when an organization’s marketing sales, as we’ve shown you, customer success functions really work seamlessly to create not only an exceptional experience that Jenn brought up, but material value for the customers. No customer experience buys things because they’re bored. No one is buying because they have this bottomless pit of resources. They don’t know what to do with. They buy, because they want to solve a problem. They buy because they want an impact. They want the results, the outcome from the solution they’re buying. So we’ve come up with a unique what we call an Amplified Time to Impact (ATI) process – we believe is repeatable. We know it’s predictable. It’s an assessment, but also an enhancement of the critical steps, really necessary to deliver both strategic but also quantifiable results in that customer lifecycle maturity model that we showed you.

So in the next several episodes, we’re going to talk more about the Amplified Time to Impact we’re going to show you the key stages. We’ll talk about what organizations we’ve seen struggle, their challenges, their opportunities. We’re lining up guests, senior executives that have experienced some of this. So I hope you’ll continue to join us each Tuesday, at noon, Eastern will be live. You can also catch the recording at Nour Group, nourgroup.com/podcasts We’ll turn these into podcasts. So come join us. We’d love to have you jump in with your questions, with your comments. And again, don’t forget the nourgroup.com/forum as our community to come and really share your questions, your ideas, your perspectives. Zameer it is good to see you my friend joining us all the way from Azerbaijan. It was delightful to have you here. Jenn, any closing comments for our audience?

Jenn Cordz 1:02:22
I just look forward to sharing our insights and continuing this conversation with everyone.

David Nour 1:02:27
Sounds great again every Tuesday at noon Eastern. This is the Intelligent Growth live stream and podcast. Come join us. We’d love to hear your perspectives. On behalf of my partner Jenn Cordz. I’m David Nour with the Nour Group. Thanks for joining us, and we’ll see you next time. Thanks everybody. All the best. Bye bye

Photo by Brad Barmore on Unsplash

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