Wednesday, January 3, 2007

The 8 Characteristics Of Great Leaders

A summary of the new book by Ram Charan highlights eight characteristics of great leaders. I think they're all very good, but the first one is particularly apt in the context of my previous post:

"1. Positioning the Business to Make Money. You have to keep the business in sync with your customers at all times, and ahead of the external environment. Figuring out what to add, what to take out, what new opportunities might arise for profitable growth and which technologies to adopt are among the most demanding requirements of the twenty-first century leader. It is a challenge, for example, now facing publishers of magazines and newspapers as they see their decades-long stable positioning shattered because of the Google phenomenon and the resulting decline in advertising revenue."

It's unfortunate that Charan's salient point is titled "...Make Money..." because I'm seeing with BlogPatrol that when a business does not keep in sync with its customers and ahead of the external environment, then it creates friction with its customers rather than ease of adoption and use. Friction naturally leads to attrition, which in turn does lead to financial loss. More importantly though, a worthwhile, effortless experience generates a positive feedback loop that is not only profitable for the company, but enjoyable for the customer.

BlogPatrol needs to do a better job on both fronts. As for keeping in sync, we are working on rolling out customized timezones -- but this small requirement has been over a year in the making. Concerning the external environment, it took us too long to recognize that the new Blogger platform required a new set of instructions for installing the BlogPatrol counter code. I feel that we are woefully behind schedule on so many fronts, but that is part of the business challenge -- and the business fun -- to get back on track and ahead of the game.

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