Out of the millions of businesses, there are a small number generally recognized world-wide as stand-outs due to their game-changing products or services. There are a few more that are remarkable within their industries, regions, market segments or communities; yet that lofty status is rarely a function of “what” they do, but rather a result of “how” they do it. International stature doesn’t make you a market leader; that banner can belong to any business that elevates their game above the competition and plays at a higher level.
Four decades of work dedicated to building different businesses has revealed to me these six crucial and balanced elements that fuel a seismic shift from ‘ordinary business’ to exceptional ‘market maker’:
- Belief System. The Leader and their team must believe in something more, much more. And they must live it through words, deeds and decisions. Everyone must know them. There can be no exceptions to these fundamental rules — and that can be hard.
- Vision. Presence of a motivating force, something far more powerful than merely selling more stuff to more people, must inspire team members daily. It must be so compelling that it engages hearts and minds, along with hands and feet. In fact, the team believes in the possibilities so deeply that they will work toward the goal long after others have quit and gone home. It isn’t a Vision unless you can describe it so vividly that others can see it too.
- Market Perspective. In some ways, this aspect can be the most difficult. We accept what’s around us and the way that it’s always been. We get comfortable with the status quo. Yet, these days, “always” isn’t a whole lot longer than the week before last! Market leaders aspire to elevate the market to levels no one else has envisioned; they see a better future state and decide that it’s up to them to create it. They don’t wait, or believe in the same tired excuses about “why” it can’t be better. (You can recite them in your head, so I will not bore you with them here!). Market leaders seek out the few they can partner with to bring their Vision to life.
- Systems. The market leader’s team is never content. They constantly tweak, adjust and improve. Occasionally they scrap the model and start over to build it better. They realize that clients may not remember when they did it, but know they will absolutely remember how well it was done. Systems are flexible, not robotic, yet they follow a consistent logic from start to finish. Market leaders do not wait for perfection to ship, realizing that perfection is an oasis in the desert.
- Expectations. Market leaders realize that Exceptional begins where Expected ends; they seek to raise the bar and to create new art, rather than reprint copies of what has been.
- Desired Outcomes. When you have crystal clarity on where you’re headed, it becomes easier to navigate to stops along the way. People on the team need to understand the critical outcomes required and clients need to experience them.