How do you grow a great midmarket business? What qualities do they possess? What are the major issues impacting your business for 2015? I’ve spent most of my career working in and with market leading midmarket businesses. Over the past 25 years, I discovered there are several key leadership strengths that market leading mid markets businesses share.
This week, we share the key attributes you might consider as you contemplate how you grow and expand your business in 2015 and beyond. Things are changing quickly and leaders who do not leverage their key capabilities in the best way may be left behind.
The first strength all successful midmarket organizations share is they have strong leadership teams. Many of these organization leaders are the most innovative entrepreneurs on the planet. They build high performing teams to support key aspects of their business growth. They know where their customers are and these leaders make sure they provide clients with a superior experience where they value it most.
One thing I’ve learned over the past 25 years is I may not be able to predict the future, but my best partners and clients are going to create their future. Strong leadership means you are willing to assume levels of risk that others don’t. The good news is if you’ve surrounded yourself with strong leaders you become more agile in the ways you interact with your clients and, ultimately, your markets. Strong leaders learn to mitigate risk by knowing their clients and partners better than other, larger, competitors.
The second strength all successful midmarket organizations share is they nurture an entrepreneurial culture. If you could teach your team members only one thing, teach them to be entrepreneurs. Many midmarket businesses have the best and brightest on their teams, but they have been habitually beaten in developing markets by scrappy entrepreneurs. Money is no substitute for organizational innovation.
It’s the classic David versus Goliath in the marketplace. The smaller business consistently dodges the bigger market players by developing strategies that allow them to take away profitable niches from their larger competitors. In my early career, I spent time working with a smaller midmarket organization called Progressive Insurance, out of Northern Ohio. I watched them consistently develop specialty niches that were outside the insurance mainstream until they became very successful in the insurance business.
The third strength all successful midmarket organizations share is the ability to develop leaders up and down the organizational chart. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I talk to front line employees and hear how they are implementing their organization’s business strategy. The stronger their vision, the more likely the organization is going to be a long term market beater. When your people are engaged they will subtly take over what needs to be done. They do it in a way that senior leadership could not have imagined and with much better results.
Finally, how much joy do you and your organization have in what you do? Successful midmarket organizations are consistently a great place to work. If you or your teams are not having fun working, your business will never be a successful business. I can’t think of a single situation over the past 30 plus years that a dull organization becomes a market leader. The other success factor is how crazy your leadership is. Crazy good, I mean. There is no replacement for a leader who does what they say they are going to do, and then does it incredible well. Today, I think of Richard Branson. In the past, I think of leaders such as Herb Kelleher. These leaders are excited about life and the way they model and live their leadership. These leaders are very comfortable with the ambiguity of uncertain times.
So what are you doing to embrace the creative side of your leadership? This week on Friday, we share several ideas that can help transform your leadership and make your work joy again.
See you Friday.