Our markets continuously change, driven by any number of dynamic
events; buyer behaviors, fickle brand preferences, or economic pressures—just to name a few.

Competitors and
partners are changing as well. New competitors emerge as
older ones fade—or become stronger. Once powerful partners fall as new ones appear on our horizon. 

To
thrive in this ever-changing horizon, we must be dynamic as well!

When we listen to our markets, evolving our plan
becomes a natural endeavor.  Think about it.

  • If your current market takes a nosedive,  you'd want to be ready to
    shift course, even if your plan said to stay the course. Wouldn't it be
    nice to do that ahead of the big nosedive?
  • When you see a stronger tailwind in another market, you'd want to
    adjust your course to take advantage of that acceleration for market
    expansion. And it would be best to do it before another competitor grabs that opportunity, right?
  • That emerging market you’ve been watching may be just what you need
    to grow. But your plan doesn't
    mention it.  Are you going to ignore it?
Leading for success requires us to be
aware of our markets. 

With
that awareness, we can subtly evolve both our value and our market
focus as we move forward.

How do we stay aware? Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to customers.  If someone gives you negative feedback,
    don't
    dismiss it.  Pay attention.  That customer may be saving your business.
    Listen to them and change the plan if it needs to be changed. All the
    wishing in the world won't make customers love your new product if it's
    not lovable.
  • Talk to  partners as well.  They can see issues and
    opportunities that you can't, thanks to their objectivity about your
    plan and your business. When a partner tries to tell you something needs
    work, listen objectively. Explore their perspective.  The more you
    understand your markets, the more likely your success.
  • Bring in a few field reps who are working with customers and
    partners daily.  Get them in on the early discussions of your plan.
    Listen and learn from their feedback.
  • Pay attention to what's happening in your market.  That competitor just
    announced a product similar to yours?  Don't just go ahead and announce
    yours. You look like a 'me-too'.  Slow down and replan. Major customers are moving in a new and unexpected direction?  don't just assume the rest of your customers will follow your planned course! Take a hard look and realign your plan!



Success doesn't come from executing a plan.  It comes from
offering
value to our markets.

Sometimes we're right on with our plan. More often than not, we need
to evolve that plan to stay in sync with our world.  As we move into a market, gather experience and tune in on market dynamics, we can evolve to a better plan, and a better plan again. 

Leaders need to be ready and willing to evolve - focusing on market success, instead of that silly plan.