The Unconventional CEO – Some actions are incremental; Some are transformational

The Unconventional CEO

Chapter 69 – Let’s harp on the 80/20 principle some more. Within the 20%, there would be another 80/20 too, and that’s where these second-generation questions become interesting.

Let’s get back to the Reasons for Success. The second generation’s 20% should be more revealing than the first. Moira and Corene are the salespeople who bring in the most business. The bulk of the business emanates from the mining sector. The mining houses where we have had success make their decisions at the mine site. They are not made at the company headquarters. Moira will routinely make a three-hour sojourn to the desolate countryside where the mining operations are located.

Is she that good, or are they just glad to see someone from the city making an effort?

What can we do that’s transformational? We sold telecommunications services that were cheaper than those of the incumbent. When Chris, the buyer for one of our customers, said his boss would be pleased if we could quantify this, we started printing a ‘Saving Cheque’ every month, with the exact value of the savings down to two decimals. We started generating this for his company and he added it to his monthly report. The first cheque was for about $40 000.

What we did next was transformational. We generated a report in graphic format showing where we had saved him money. With the cheque, we automatically produced this report, in PDF, for all our customers, as part of our invoice run. Twelve years later, Chris’ office has a wall plastered with our cheques. He has saved over $6 million, even though he was paid only about 5% of that as salary. His profile as a money generator in a budget-conscious industry is safe.

Strive for the transformational. What are the things emanating from your successes that you can do elsewhere to transform your business and even your industry? It may take a lot of ideas, time and frustration, but finding the diamond in the pile is more than worth the hunt. It becomes essential to your business.

Don’t just manage in paradigms and clichés such as: ‘known knowns.’ It is evident that many CEOs have a limited Bag of Tricks and, like street magicians, fall back on what pleases the crowds. You need a bigger repertoire and you first need to create it and to test it, in non-critical areas. Sales slump? The knee-jerk knowns are price cuts, cost cuts and lay-offs; like a Dr Seuss on management. You are in charge here. Where’s plan B and why didn’t it kick in automatically? Think transformational!

The Unconventional CEO offers succinct, compelling advice from one successful CEO Mario Pretorius, to you The Cape Messenger reader.

The book is also available to purchase in full from the Amazon store.

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