Our customers are either teams or an individual employee of companies who are charged with executing business strategy. The following is a specific, but partial list, based on typical roles and titles. If what you do resembles any of the descriptions, then we are targeting benefits and pain points of interest to you.
- CEO, President. The buck stops with you. Period. You are under pressure to meet revenue and profit targets. You deal with big, hairy issues that are life and death for your organization, such as the political climate, competitive threats, shifts in customer needs, and hostile takeovers. You constantly wonder whether to hire new talent, or train existing talent, or outsource tasks. You are interested in building capabilities to execute strategy to remain competitive. You are fully aware of what the expression “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” means.
- SVP, VP, or General Manager. As a key member of the executive suite, you actively participate in shaping the strategy of the organization, and you are accountable for execution. You have to balance multiple and conflicting priorities, be mindful of what is good for the organization while achieving excellence for your function (marketing, sales, finance, manufacturing, human resources, IT, customer service etc.). You strive to build symbiotic relationships with your peers in the executive suite. Ultimately, your success and growth depends on being able to think, act, and look like a CEO.
- Sr. Director or Director. You are on the path to the executive suite, but still earning your stripes by working to execute the business strategies for the organization. You have line responsibility for budgets and bottom line results. Your title may not have “Operations,” but that is what you do as you resolve day-to-day issues, fight fires, while keeping an eye on emerging threats and opportunities. Your executives depend on you for objective reporting of facts from the front line. Your success depends on support from the rest of the organization. From time to time, you are given “big and special projects” to test your readiness for the next step.
- Sr. Manager, Manager, or Supervisor. You wish you were a Director. You do the job of a Director for the most part, but your responsibilities are not as broad, and your budget is not as big. From time to time, you are given “special projects” to test your readiness for the next step. Since there may be a lot of people with your title working to get to the Director level, your competitive spirit is put to the test on a daily basis. You have to somehow find the strength to add genuine value while learning to “play the game” that takes place at more senior levels.
- Strategy & Planning professional. You are the quintessential staff member, you may even have the title “Chief of Staff.” If your organization is big enough, you will be attached to an executive or Sr. Director, be accountable for herding the cats on the team and keep them coordinated. You connect the dots via planning efforts and are the master of portfolio management. Business review meetings would be an utter failure without your superior understanding of the organization and ability to coordinate. If your organization is not big enough, you are asked to perform this role, but you may not know it. In such cases, you will view this critical effort as “extra work” or “carrying water for the team.”
- Process Owner, Project Manager or Business Analyst. You are on the front lines of strategy execution. While sometimes these roles are separate and considered “specialized,” in reality, you need to wear all three hats. Sometimes one hat is bigger than the other two hats. Your core value add is to run the red flag up the pole if priorities need to change. The unsung part of your job is to just make the strategy work on the front lines. You live and die by the mantra, “Time, Cost, Quality, you can have any two.” You always fret that there is not enough time and resources to get things done, and wish you had more control over the priorities set by the organization. Because you know more of how things work on the ground!
- The individual contributor. If you were a soldier, you would be the boots on the ground and deal with bullets whizzing past your head in the battlefield. You operate the machines, deal with customers, troubleshoot and solve problems. You will become a subject matter expert if you do your job long enough. This is great if your role is in demand, but scary if your role becomes obsolete. You have to constantly grow your skill set and broaden your perspectives to achieve the “escape velocity” needed to move to the next level. Otherwise you could be stuck in your role for a long time.
- Anyone preparing for employment. You could be a fresh graduate, on a sabbatical, or between jobs. As the saying goes, being prepared for the challenges in the workplace is half the battle. In addition, it prepares you for winning the other half of the battle.
We’d love to hear whether the above captures your role, if not, how your role is different.