Profitable Growth Is Everyone's Business: 10 Tools You Can Use Monday Morning (Hardcover) Review

Profitable Growth Is Everyone's Business: 10 Tools You Can Use Monday MorningCharan's credentials include co-authoring the bestseller "Execution". His writing is very much down-to-earth, no-nonsense, and straightforward. So when he says 10 tools for Monday morning, believe him! Here they are:

1. MAKE REVENUE GROWTH EVERYONE'S BUSINESS. Just like a cost reduction agenda may be a permanent theme in daily conversations and meetings in all departments, so should revenue growth be. And it's not just for the management, it's for all employees to think in this direction (just like we try with the cost reduction agenda).

2. HIT MANY SINGLES AND DOUBLES, NOT JUST HOME RUNS. While home runs provide the opportunity for a quantum leap, they are unpredictable and don't happen all the time. Singles and doubles, however, can happen every day of the year. This piece of advice may sound somewhat trivial. But for what it's worth, my experience from especially larger firms is that it may turn out to be the most important tool. Many big corporations tend to devote too much thinking into finding the big home run - and may give too little attention to the many small growth areas that short-term perhaps do not make an important contribution, but often keep the organization full of life and energy - and well-prepared for take-off...if the elusive home run should materialise.

3. SEEK GOOD GROWTH AND AVOID BAD GROWTH. Good growth not only increases revenues but improves profits, is sustainable over time, and does not use unacceptable levels of capital. It is also primarily organic (internally generated) and based on differentiated products and services that fill new or unmet needs, creating value for customers. Charan constantly challenges leaders that seek acquisitions as primary driver for revenue growth ... instead of organic growth.

4. DISPEL THE MYTHS THAT INHIBIT BOTH PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS FROM GROWING. Confront excuses such as: "We are in a no-growth industry, and no one is growing"; "Customers are buying only on price"; or "The distributors are the ones in direct contact with retailers, and there's not much I can do."

5. TURN THE IDEA OF PRODUCTIVITY ON ITS HEAD BY INCREASING REVENUE PRODUCTIVITY. The old saw says, "We have to do more with less." The problem, though, is that the focus is usually on the "less" and the "more" rarely happens. Revenue productivity is a tool for getting that elusive "more" by actively and creatively searching for ideas for revenue growth without using a disproportionate amount of resources.

6. DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A GROWTH BUDGET. All companies have a budget. It is, however, astonishing how little detail about revenue and sources of revenue growth you can find there. Almost all of the lines in the budget are cost-related. Few, if any, identify resources explicitly earmarked for growth. The growth budget provides a foundation that will allow a company to increase revenues instead of just talking about it.

7. BEEF UP STRATEGIC MARKETING. One of the key missing links for generating revenue growth at most firms is strategic marketing. Most people visualize marketing as tactical tools such as advertising, promotion, and brand-building. Strategic marketing, on the other hand, takes place at a much earlier stage by identifying and precisely defining which customer segments to focus on. It analyzes how the end-user uses the product or service and what competitive advantage will be required to win the customer and at what price points. Charan is using the term "upstream marketing". But I find it a weird way of describing strategic marketing. So I changed it.

8. UNDERSTAND HOW TO DO EFFECTIVE CROSS-SELLING (or value/solutions selling). Cross-selling can be a significant source of revenue growth, but most companies approach it from exactly the wrong perspective. They start by saying, "What else can we sell to our existing customer base?" Instead of looking inside-out your organization, you need to look outside-in. Successful cross-selling starts by selecting a segment of customers and then working backward to define precisely the mix of products and services they need and creatively shaping a value proposition unique to them.

9. CREATE A SOCIAL ENGINE TO ACCELERATE REVENUE GROWTH. Every organization is a social system, the center of which is a way of thinking and acting that sets both day-to-day actions and the long-term agenda. When an organization has an explicit growth agenda understood by everyone, growth becomes a central focus--a social engine--during formal meetings as well as informal discussions. This tool is closely linked to tool no. 1.

10. OPERATIONALIZE INNOVATION BY CONVERTING IDEAS INTO REVENUE GROWTH. Innovation is not the private property of lone geniuses working apart from the mainstream of the business. In any company of reasonable size, innovation is a social process that requires collaboration and communication for idea generation, selecting those ideas for revenue growth that are to be funded, and shaping those ideas into product prototypes and launching them into the marketplace.

Those were the 10 tools. I find the conclusion to be that revenue growth must supplement a cost reduction agenda (though you may want to wait 6-9 months after the efficiency programme have been initiated before embarking on the growth theme). Too many firms focus narrowly on cost cuttings, but to survive long-term we need to have the growth engine to be running as well (singles and doubles are just fine!). Charan explains how to make it work in practice.

Peter Leerskov,
MSc in International Business (Marketing & Management) and Graduate Diploma in E-business

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Product Description:
The coauthor of the international bestseller Execution has created the how-to guide for solving today's toughest business challenge: creating profitable growth that is organic, differentiated, and sustainable.

For many, growth is about "home runs" - the big bold idea, the next new thing, the product that will revolutionize the marketplace. While obviously attractive and lucrative, home runs don't happen every day and frequently come in cycles.

Products like Kevlar, Teflon, and the Dell business model for selling personal computers may be once-in-a-decade phenomena.A surer and more consistent path to profitable revenue growth is through "singles and doubles"-small day-to-day wins and adaptation to changes in the marketplace that build the foundation for substantially increasing revenues. The impact of singles and doubles can be huge. They are not only the basis for sustained revenue growth but, in fact, the foundation for home runs. Singles and doubles provide the discipline of execution, an absolute necessity for successfully bringing a breakthrough technology to market or implementing a new business model.

Inherent in this way of thinking is the revolutionary idea that growth is everyone's business-not solely the concern of the sales force or top management. Just as everyone participates in cost reduction, so must everyone be engaged in the growth agenda of the business. Every contact of each employee with a customer is an opportunity for revenue growth. That includes everyone from the people working in a company's call center handling customer inquiries and complaints to the CEO.

In this trailblazing book, Ram Charan provides the building blocks and tools that can put a business on the path to sustained, profitable growth. For more than twenty-five years, Ram Charan has been working day in and day out with companies around the world. The ideas he has developed for solving the profitable revenue growth dilemma facing many businesses are based on personally seeing what works in real time. These are ideas that have been tested across industries and that deliver results, and they can be put to use starting Monday morning.

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