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  • Chuck Thomas
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Does vision ever take a day off?  The importance of share values and vision

Does vision ever take a day off? The importance of share values and vision

Does vision within an organization need to be tempered, does the role of vision ever stop or slow? Does forever need to reach into the future and push the envelope out of the current state? I believe continued, ever-expanding vision is critical if an organization is to create sustainable growth. To understand the need for pervasive vision, we must start with shared values. Let me tell you why. Values are those core motivators that reside deep in one’s heart and soul.  They show up sometimes as c...

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Lift the Fog: Leadership values as the key to growth

Lift the Fog: Leadership values as the key to growth

As an employee, customer, investor, or a competitor, what is the most important thing you can learn about a company?  If you said profitability, market share, operating margin, or the direction of their industry segment, you’d be hitting on strong factors impacting the company’s financial health. But I’d suggest that what you should study mostly intently are not these metrics, but rather the values of the company’s leaders. That’s why we begin our in-depth management and marketing study of a com...

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Are you a victim of organizational drift?

Are you a victim of organizational drift?

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth. #17: Have a formal process in place that makes sure that your products and services, your sales approach, and your internal operations all line up with the needs of specific, well-defined customer groups. Slipping on the fins and covering my face with the snorkel and mask, I jumped overboard. The world beneath Baja Mexico’s Sea of Cortez was magical. Surrounded by thousands of silvery fish I was transported 15 feet deep into the center of a fish cloud. I retur...

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How  clear customer focus can prevent a crash landing

How clear customer focus can prevent a crash landing

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #15  Have a clear, customer-focused approach to your business that drives important business decisions. “Six Alpha Romeo, clear to land.” An F-16 fighter pilot recently told me that they are routinely trained and warned to keep their head up and eyes outside the cockpit.  Without that orientation and clear focus on the world outside, bad things can happen very quickly at Mach 1. When things are going fast, leaders can get caught in the daily internal pressures...

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Building trust-oriented business relationships at every point of contact

Building trust-oriented business relationships at every point of contact

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth.  #13 - Identify every point of contact with your customers.  Assure that every employee that has personal contact with a customer or can influence a customer relationship is trained and equipped to engage them in a trust-oriented relationship with your company. Frequently I drive across a massive suspension bridge built around 1944 that spans a mile-long stretch of the Illinois River. Usually I don’t give it thought; just drive to go from one side to the other...

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Increasing your margin and moving pianos

Increasing your margin and moving pianos

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #10 Understand why customers value your products and services as well as your competitors’ products and services, and what drives their choice. When she answered she was pleasant, helpful and engaging. I needed a good quality mover that could protect my sleek black grand piano from harm as I moved from one home to a new one. She was a good sales person for Company A and was selling their standard moving services. For me, I wanted more than moving services, I ...

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Re-inventing the mission statement.

Re-inventing the mission statement.

[Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #8: Have a mission statement that is easy to understand with clear benefits for employees, customers and vendors.] It’s time to re-invent the mission statement. A mission statement clarifies purpose. It describes what an organization does, defines the core activity and sets the boundaries for the output of the work. It brings clarity to how you organize and do your work. But in our work with over a hundred organizations of all types and sizes, too often a mis...

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An Earful of Change

An Earful of Change

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth:  #6  When you talk with your customer, listen carefully, capturing their comments and any information that helps you understand their buying habits and unmet needs.   “WHY won’t you JUST LISTEN TO ME!” she said in a tense, high pitched voice. And with that outburst from the famous Patient F in 1965, psychologist Heinz Kohut opened the vault of change management. Kohut, along with his colleague Henri Maslow, was on a quest to identify the hot buttons for c...

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Why selling your products is a bad idea

Why selling your products is a bad idea

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth:  #4  Have a clear understanding of how each of your products and services relate to the other and to the company as a whole.” I watched as my 10 year-old son dug around in a bin of hundreds of small and odd shaped little pieces. He turned a red plastic block in his hand - shiny, triangular, smaller than his fingernail. It was a cool shape. He studied it and quickly placed it on the growing geometry of blocks. He pulled out another piece, imagined it, then pus...

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What People Believe Matters

What People Believe Matters

Valcort 35 Keys to Growth: #2 Know what customers, distributors, shareholders, vendors and employees believe about your company.  Let’s face it. You act on what you believe to be true. Last week I decided to purchase a watch as a birthday gift for my wife. As I was thinking about where to purchase it, my mind ran through a mental list of potential stores. My perceptions, my beliefs, about each of these retailers, influenced my decision about where I should to go to find the perfect gift. My beli...

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