What every CEO needs to know about FlashMobs and Leadership

Leveraging the Power of 20,000 people to Impact Your Bottom Line

What, if suddenly, all 20,000 of your partners decided at the same time to deliver a sale to you? Or they decided to tweet about you. Or they decided to write a post about your excellent customer service. Or they issued a Press Release about a joint customer story. All at the same time! Would this create buzz around your company? Would it make a difference to your bottom line – you bet it would!
That’s the concept of a flash mob – a large group of people who come to a place and perform an act. I started to think about how flash mobs can be harnessed in the sales channel after seeing the following Oprah’s season kickoff video. In this video you can clearly see how to harness a large group of people to accomplish a single objective. Take 3 minutes and view this now as there are valuable lessons here that every CEO needs to know about leadership to improve your channel performance.

So, hopefully you’ve watched the video. How should this impact your behavior? I think the answer is easy – be a leader. I see too many CEO’s who are not the leaders of their sales channels (there, I’ve said it). The woman in blue at the front of the group is clearly the leader of the group. What is it about her that defines leadership? Here’s what I think it is:

a. Goals: All 20,000 people in this mob know what the objective of the flash mob is, and they’re committed to making that goal happen. Does your channel know what the goals are? Are they committed and on board with them? Do they understand why you partnered with them to help accomplish the goals?

b. Roles: Every member in this mob knows what their role is. Do your channels know their roles in getting tasks done? Does every member on your team know what their role is in supporting the channel?

c. Great product. The song in this video is clearly outstanding and has been #1 on the charts for 22 weeks. Do you have a great product? Do your partners believe it? Do your channel partners know how to market and sell it? Have you thought through the whole product and the value each partner brings to the customer solution?

d. Execution: Every person in this mob knows what they are supposed to do, when they are supposed to do it and who does it. Have you documented a similar plan for your channels and are you successfully executing against that plan?

e. Coverage: This mob consists of 20,000 people. They’re a diverse group and they cover Michigan Avenue in Chicago pretty well. Do you have the channel mix that drives optimal profitability? Do you have sufficient coverage in your target markets?

f. Communication and Recognition: This mob is clearly recognizing and celebrating the unique personalities of each member. They’re having fun. They’re engaging. They’re communicating. Are you doing that with/for your channel partners?

g. Effectiveness and Training: This group was clearly trained to deliver this dance. Does your channel have the skills to deliver? Have you trained them effectively?

h. Success: This mob clearly knows it has done a great job. Does your channel know when they’ve been successful and do you celebrate this?

This is how leadership is defined. It starts with the CEO. Are you like the woman in blue? If you’re not, you’re missing the boat.

Lori Budin has been the President of Channel Fundamentals, Inc. for 5 years. She’s a results-driven sales and marketing executive with a 20-year track record of developing and implementing profitable channel strategies, building high-performance channel programs, and optimizing channel sales operations for businesses ranging from pre-IPO startups to market-leading corporations.

Many of her clients are recognized leaders in their fields including VeriSign, Postini/Google, LogLogic and Solidcore/McAfee. Her unique background in Channels began in the Semiconductor category where she ran the Channel for a large manufacturer and then transferred that experience to many Silicon Valley software and SaaS companies over the past 20 years.

1 Comment on "What every CEO needs to know about FlashMobs and Leadership"

  1. Kelly Brieger | July 21, 2010 at 2:28 pm |

    I love this blog, and i loved watching the video. I got goosebumps. You are spot on — crowdsourcing gives most people that deep down feeling, getting people thinking, “why didn’t i do that…I thought about it, but…” And, then, you soon notice the fascinating leaders behind-not just the idea-but the action to make it happen. A few examples that come to mind for me are TOMS Shoes. What a great idea, easy to implement, great help for many without shoes. Two other less known groups called Ushahidi and FrontlineSMS, grassroots organizations full of smart people who wanted to make a difference, using the crowd to solve problems. They offer help and support during terrible tragedies using the social technologies available today. Great job, Lori! I love your posts.

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