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Getting Commercial

totem-commerceCombining learning, digitisation & commercial leadership

All this talk of technology (see our recent articles on the topic here) could be distracting us from the desired outcome.  Are we helping our people deliver better results?  Are we helping to build sustainable growth in the business?

We’re finding that many of our clients are looking at their priorities to improve their technology or digital service, improve their commerciality or people’s profitability and to improve people leadership.  Rather than seeing these as three separate priorities, what if we combine them?

Most if not all businesses need leaders to engage their people with the digital age, deliver great, profitable service to customers and lead high performance.

What does this mean in terms of actions for the talent, learning and leadership functions?  We’re finding more and more clients are needing to do more with less and that includes getting smart with how learning budgets and projects are used.

In one organisation we found that people were not engaging with digital products or talking to clients about the wider service on offer because they thought they needed to be experts before they could mention it.  Sound familiar?

Totem Gummi Bears

Most people have a fear of looking stupid or being considered unhelpful, so we can relate to the idea that people need to be the expert or at least feel they know more than others before they can speak about products or services.  This raised an interesting question – do we need to give people more knowledge or help them realise they already know enough to be helpful?

It could have gone either way, but in this instance the latter turned out to be true.  We needed to help people feel more confident that they already knew more than their clients and could refer interested customers to the relevant experts when required.

Why is this example so important?  The story highlights that a need for people to engage with the digital age may not simply be a cry for technical training.  What can managers and leaders do to understand the blockers and help their people engage?  If we can show people managers how to explore these ideas with their teams, then we can start addressing the need for digital development in a different way.  And the same goes with commercial thinking.

What can managers do to understand the blockers to more profitable or commercial-thinking?

If we shift management and leadership development toward conversations on commercial, digitally-engaged high performance, will we see a shift?  Will we get better value from our learning programmes?  We’re certainly seeing that shift in the work we’re doing, so maybe it’s an interesting starting point for the year ahead?