How to Succeed in Leadership, Marketing, Innovation and Insight

Although I love quotes, especially about how to succeed, I love success even more. Do you?

One of my favourite quotes on the topic of success comes from Winston Churchill during his address to the Harrow School (UK) during WWII in 1941. It was one of his shortest speeches but probably one of his most quoted. He said:

“Never give in, never, never, never, never”

If you are interested, you can read his full speech – which is not a lot longer! – here.

 

Hearing this quote again recently, got me thinking about failure. Failure in our lives, our businesses, our jobs, our relationships. And you must admit that we are just at the beginning of the impact of covid on the world and I know we need to prepare for a lot of failures in the coming months and years. But I ask myself how often we fail merely because we give up too quickly?

Another of my favourite quotes on success and failure comes from Napolean Hill:

“Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” 

Now whereas I do advise people today on how to find more happiness in their lives (See my new website on intuitive coaching at Finding-Your-Happy.com), I want to address here the many current and possibly future failures in business.

Another recent post of mine concentrated on why companies fail in their adoption of a customer-first strategy. You can read it here: 7 reasons most companies fail to adopt a customer first strategy. This was a follow up to another popular post on what a customer-first strategy is, and what it isn’t. If you missed it, then you can read it here: “What Customer First Strategies Really Are (And What They’re Not!)”

Over almost a decade of blog posting, I have written many other articles which include my solutions to failing in countless areas of marketing. I, therefore, thought it would be useful to share four of the most popular ones here in a single post (Links to original full-length posts in titles). Let me know what you think.

 

How you React to Failure Could Make You a Success

Failure's only a failure when you don't learn from it
Source: Microsoft

For this first summary of a post, I’d like to share not a list of solutions but a selection of inspiring quotes on reacting to failure. I think it sets the stage beautifully for the other articles to come.

In the full post (which you can read by clicking the above link) you can also find suggested actions for each of them. They will make you realise that there are great opportunities in every failure! So don’t be afraid to fail. Just never give up!

1. “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure” Bill Gates, American Businessman

2. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be” John Wooden, American Coach

“Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be” John Wooden, American Coach Click to Tweet

3. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin, American Politician

4. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” Henry Ford, American Businessman

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” Henry Ford, American Businessman Click to Tweet

5. “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure” John C. Maxwell, American Clergyman

6. “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet” Robert H. Schuller, American Clergyman

“Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet” Robert H. Schuller, American Clergyman Click to Tweet

7. “Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success” Sir James Dyson, British Designer

8. “Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try something” Frederick W. Smith, American Businessman

“Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try something” Frederick W. Smith, American Businessman Click to Tweet

9. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” Nelson Mandela, South African Statesman

10. “Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure” Jack Lemmon, American Actor

“Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure” Jack Lemmon, American Actor Click to Tweet

They say that pride comes before a fall; I say success follows failure! I wish you much success in failing fast, learning faster, so you can enjoy more success! And remember the full post linked in the above title contains suggested actions for each of these quotes. What are you waiting for?!

 

How to Innovate Successfully (What You’re Still Getting Wrong!)

This post mentions the ten reasons innovation fails and then shares ideas on finding a solution to each of them. If you are struggling to fill your pipeline (and shame on you if you are still using a linear approach – see why below), or can’t seem to get the same number of successful launches you used to have, then this article is for you.

successful innovation process

#1 The process: Introduce some creativity into the process. Use a virtuous circle (as shown above) rather than the usual linear or funnel approach.  All innovation processes should start with a deep understanding of the potential customer segment you want to attract and then the insight developed about them.

All innovation processes should start with a deep understanding of the potential customer segment you want to attract and the insight developed about them. Click To Tweet

#2 Meeting company quotas: Instead of company quotas on the number or proportion of new product launches, a better target is a percentage of sales. This should eliminate all but the very best ideas, which are expected to increase sales rather than merely replace current products or expand on-shelf display.

 

#3 Lack of customer understanding: The best way to innovate successfully is to start by looking at the target customer’s lifestyle and seeing how you can make it easier and more enjoyable for them. Watching and listening to your customers with an open mind, rather than with a pre-prepared hypothesis in your head, will enable you to identify pain points the customer may even be unaware of.

The best way to innovate is to start by looking at your target customer’s lifestyle and seeing how you can make it easier and more enjoyable for them. Find a solution to their problems. #Innovation #Brand #Marketing Click To Tweet

#4 Lack of category understanding: Never assume you are competing in a certain category until you have identified how your customers are choosing and using it. You might be surprised to learn that your competitors are not those you thought they were!

 

#5 Not living up to your promises: In today’s connected world, false or exaggerated promises are quickly identified and shared on social media. Nothing is every hidden for long these days, so if you make a mistake, admit it, own it, correct it and move on. It will be forgotten or forgiven quicker than if it becomes a scandal.

If you make a mistake, admit it, own it, correct it and move on. It will be forgotten or forgiven quicker than if it becomes a scandal. #Mistake #Brand #Marketing #Scandal Click To Tweet

#6 Not being sufficiently differentiated: With such an abundance of information available to everyone, comparisons are easy to make.  Solution-based offers will always be able to charge more than product-based ones. It’s up to you to decide which you want to be.

 

#7 Being too different: Identifying a sub-category of users with a precise need and then meeting that need better than anyone else, is the more successful way to differentiate.

 

#8 Pricing yourself out of the market: Understanding how much potential customers value your offer is essential to the success of any product or service. Neither cost nor price is relevant to your customers other than in helping them to decide to purchase when they see the value you offer. If they perceive greater value then they will buy, otherwise, they won’t. Pricing really is as simple as that.

 

#9 Inappropriate distribution: Appropriate distribution doesn’t mean being in stock everywhere at the lowest price. But it does mean being available in the retail outlets that your target customers visit more often, whenever they are ready to buy.

Appropriate distribution doesn’t mean being in stock everywhere at the lowest price. #Distribution #Brand #Marketing #Sales Click To Tweet

#10 Being too far ahead of the customer:  If you can’t afford to wait for your customers to catch up with your new product or service idea, then you should certainly reconsider your launch decision. Keep the concept in your “back drawer” until customers are ready. You will then be the first to respond to these new needs and beat the competition to market with the correct solution. Launching too early and failing, gives the competition time to catch up and probably launch at a more appropriate time.

 

The full article goes into more detail on each of these solutions of course. So if any of them resonate with you, it is worth checking out the full post.

You must innovate to stay in the game, but that doesn’t mean launching anything just to meet the company’s innovation targets. Launch bigger, bolder and better, as one of my bosses used to say. And never give up!

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What Great Leaders Know and You Probably Don't

LeadershipThis post summarises my easily applied learnings that will make your leadership style more efficient and effective, no matter the industry in which you work.

1. We should never stop learning. As we age and rise in the corporate world, we seem to forget that we don’t know it all! We even think that we should have all the answers, or worse still, think that we do!

 

2. We should accept help. Some people find it hard to ask for help or even to accept it when it is offered. This is foolish since we cannot be an expert in every area of business. In fact, if we lead a team, whether just a few people or many thousands, we should be good at managing people first. 

If we lead a team, whether just a few people or many thousands, we should be good at managing people first. #Leadership #Management Click To Tweet

3. Practice really does make perfect. It’s not only perfectionists that think they’re never good enough. We should always strive to be the best we can be. We should never compare ourselves to others, only to our previous selves. 

We should never compare ourselves to others, only to our previous selves. #Leadership #Learning #Management Click To Tweet

4. That final check is worth itWhen I was learning to fly, my instructor never stopped reminding me that the pre-flight checks were vital to do thoroughly. He reminded me that once you’re in the air, it’s too late!

The same goes for meetings, events and conferences once they’ve started. Make and use checklists, like pilots do, and complete that final check thoroughly and completely.

 

5. Accept defeat and mistakes. We all make mistakes sometimes and get defeated occasionally. We’re human after all.

However, those mistakes and defeats are great teachers. If we learn and grow from them, then the pain involved should be short-lived, as we move on to bigger and better things.

 

6. Honesty is always the best policy. Somehow honesty is rarely discussed these days and yet we all know that trust is one of the main reasons people do business with companies. Trust built over the long term will enable companies to be forgiven for any occasional mishaps that may occur.

Trust built over the long term will enable companies to be forgiven for any occasional mishap that may occur. #Trust #Failure #Mistakes Click To Tweet

 

7. Business isn’t only about Millenials. Everyone is speaking about the Millenials these days. While Millenials may be trendy, there are other groups which are arguably just as important if not more so, to consider for a successful business. For example, there are now more Baby Boomers that Millenials in the US; and guess which has the money?!

Great leaders are aware of these seven points; are you? If not, then read the full article for further details. Leaders don't know it all but they do know how to learn, and especially from failure. Never give up on your plans, just adapt them when needed, which these days is almost monthly!

 

How the Best Marketers are getting More Actionable Insights

Developing insightBe honest! Everyone struggles to develop true insights about their customers. Most times we accept summary information or facts about the marketplace and call them insights.

But we all know that insight development is difficult. So hard to get to that "aha" moment when what we have said about our customers is so obvious we can't understand how we - or anyone else for that matter - never realised it before.

If you are struggling to develop insights that truly resonate with your consumers or customers, I suggest you follow these 8 tips.

#1. Turn business objectives into customer-centric ones. Identify what you want to change in terms of your customers’ behaviour or attitudes. This way you will be thinking about your customers’ objectives rather than (just) your own.

#2. Insight generation should start with customer connections. When was the last time you personally spoke with your customers? If it wasn’t in the last week or two, you’re not getting out enough!

Insight generation should start with customer connections #Insights #MRX Click To Tweet

#3. Have regular contact with all other departments. It is impossible to really understand the business if your contact with other groups is limited to meetings and presentations. Make a habit of taking a coffee or lunch with people from other spheres of the company and exchange your latest ideas and learnings. You will both discover a lot about the organisation and its customers!

#4. Get MRI (Market Research & Insight) to share their nuggets of information regularly. Market research and insight teams learn new things about the business every day, so why not ask them to share more? Don't wait for a formal presentation of the results of the latest piece of research. Get them to share findings and analyses with you on a regular, (at least) monthly basis.

#5. Get into the habit of speaking with consumers at every chance you can. Suggest to join in when research projects are being run. Listen in to call centre conversations, speak to demonstrators and merchandisers, or even talk to shoppers at retail (but always ask the permission of the store owner).

#6. Ask MRI to analyse more than market research information alone. They are the best synthesisers you have and can integrate multiple data sets from all available sources. Ask them to manage more information and you will both be happier.

#7. Remember that insight development takes energy and time. It usually takes days, if not weeks or even months to refine, group and synthesise information down to an actionable insight

#8. Insight development should involve more than the insight team, which is why it is important for them to build relationships with other departments.

Following these 8 ideas will make your business one of the most successful in insight development. How would that feel? Read the full article HERE. Insight development may be difficult, but it's not impossible. Never give up.

 

And if you want to improve even faster in any areas of learning from failure, you can invite us to give a 1-Day training that will catalyse your team in record time. Download the summary brochure of all our current training courses HERE.

 

These are some ideas and processes for avoiding failure or even more importantly, learning (a lot) from them. Whether it is in business management, innovation or customer understanding, you can learn from the best, so you don't have to make the same mistakes. I hope you appreciate it!

 

SOLVE YOUR CURRENT CHALLENGESComplementary half-hour Solutions Call with Denyse - CLICK

 

How you React to Failure could Make you a Success

These past few weeks, I have been speaking about very basic, rational and tangible subjects like brand planning, innovation  and portfolio management. Therefore I’d like to take a step back and look at a more philosophical and emotional approach to marketing this week. After all, we’re all creatives, even if these days we must manage brand data almost as often as we create communications.

Life is a journey made up of highs and lows, wins and losses, and the same applies to business. This week I have been working on a new product idea based upon the most popular blog posts on my website. These are the ones that suggest actions coming from some of the most inspiring marketing quotes I’ve found over the years. In my search for new ones, I was reminded of one of my all-time favourites:

“A man’s life is interesting primarily when he has failed. I well know. For it’s a sign that he tried to surpass himself” Georges Clemenceau, French Statesman

I love this quote for two reasons. Firstly because it reminds us that we all – without exception – fail sometimes. And secondly, that it is these failures that are the signposts of our moving forward. If we never try anything new then we are unlikely to fail.

Why is it then, that at least in Western culture, we are taught to avoid failure and celebrate success? Shouldn’t it, in fact, be the other way around? A similar proverb shows how Eastern culture has, at least in my opinion, a better perception of failure:

“Fall seven times, stand up eight” Japanese proverb

In other words, it is not the failure that matters as much as what we do afterwards. If we learn from it and get back up, then success will follow. In fact, it was the prolific inventor Thomas Alva Edison who it is claimed “failed” thousands of times before he succeeded in inventing such things as the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. As far as he was concerned:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”

We have all known and will continue to experience failure, but it is what we do after it that differentiates winners from losers, the successful from the less so. However, failure in itself doesn’t mean that you have failed, only that you haven’t as yet found the right way to succeed.

So with a few more inspiring quotes on failure, let’s all think about the future, stand back up and take action; success might just come from our very next idea.

1. “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure” Bill Gates, American Businessman (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: Do you only celebrate success? If so, your business is giving out the wrong message. In fact we learn much more from our failures than from our successes.

 

2. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be” John Wooden, American Coach (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: Learn from every failure and celebrate those who share theirs with everyone, because it takes courage to do so, but also gives free learning.

 

3. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin, American Politician (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: Lack of success can come from a lack of preparation, as much as from a lack of, or incorrect action. Thinking before acting increases the chance of success.

 

4. “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently” Henry Ford, American Businessman (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: Every failure teaches us something new. Use that knowledge to change the future and get closer to success.

 

5. “The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure” John C. Maxwell, American Clergyman (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: As already mentioned everyone fails at times, but successful people don’t stop, they just try again, but differently.

 

6. “Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure it just means you haven’t succeeded yet” Robert H. Schuller, American Clergyman (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: I love this one, as it gives hope for the future. Never take failure – or success for that matter – personally. We are all just on a road of growing and learning.

 

7. “Enjoy failure and learn from it. You can never learn from success” Sir James Dyson, British Designer (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: This quote from James Dyson is particularly poignant. As Edison before him, Dyson made thousands of “tries” before getting his inventions right (5,127 and 14 years of “failures” to get his vacuum cleaner prototype to be precise). Success is never easy and it is never fast – except when viewed from the outside.

 

8. “Fear of failure must never be a reason not to try something” Frederick W. Smith, American Businessman (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: We should never fear failure when we can learn from it. Success should be feared, as we might then stop trying and learning.

 

9. “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” Nelson M Mandela, South African Statesman (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: This reflects the Japanese quote mentioned above. Appreciate failure as a chance to prove your strength to stand again.

 

10. “Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure” Jack Lemmon, American Actor (>>Tweet this<<)

THOUGHT: Never give in to fear. Prepare as best you can and then if you fail, learn from it and move quickly forward.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading these quotes and the thoughts they prompted in my head. They say that pride comes before a fall; I say success follows failure. I wish you much success in failing fast and often, so you can enjoy more successes!

If you have a favourite quote on failure, please share it below. I’d love to add it to the collection on our website, with attribution to you of course.

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