PART 1: Your Most Important Career Strategy
For building the career of your dreams—and for that matter, for protecting your job in turbulent times like these—the most important thing is:
(1) Be perceived by your senior leaders and board as indispensable to the growth of the business. Not just important. Not just a contributor to growth. Indispensable.
This will take some time. By following these 10 parts, you’ll be well on your way.
A crucial stepping stone to this is:
(2) The customers you engage and work with should be perceived by senior leadership as the firm's most powerful growth resource.
You can start establishing this right now.
So what does “most powerful growth resource” actually mean? It means that skillfully connecting your best customers–the advocates, evangelists, MVPs, champions, co-creators, etc.–with prospects and other customers at risk, can achieve more business growth objectives, and do so more efficiently than marketing, or sales, or product people or any other resource in your firm. Often, your customers can CRUSH such objectives. We call this Customer-led Growth.
So how do you persuade leadership and other stakeholders of this? It’s not easy. This question occupied considerable discussion and even research for the Roundtable Founders, a dream team of leaders with business savvy and customer savvy formed by me and Jeff Ernst, CEO of SlapFive (for more about the Roundtable project, please see below). The explanation Jeff and I developed was then tested with our Roundtable Founders, various other senior leaders and thought leaders, and beta Roundtable for exceptional CEOs.
The formula that worked was to show the CEOs "the immense potential" of customers to grow the business. We did this with examples from widely known and successful companies that engaged their customers in ways that had huge impact on high-stakes growth objectives—often crushing them in ways unexpected by the executives.
And I could eventually explain this in 2 minutes or less. With a single slide. Now I want to pass along this knowledge to you. Here’s a clip.
The CEOs were seriously digging it–I include reactions from two of them (I had never talked or met them until this Zoom call).