Thursday, November 7, 2013

Why Dissension is Good...

I wanted to write on " Minds and Hearts of Customers" but came across this topic in Bloomberg weekly that caught my attention that lead me to pen my thoughts (yea yea..key my thoughts) in on this topic. Nevertheless its a good one..try it..honestly

Dissension, every one hates it. That awkward situation, a CXO or even a common man would try to avert when another person doesn't agree with what you say. Well, there is a perfect or valid reason to do so but having one doesn't bring you any good. We all are smart in our own ways ( and dumb too !!) but the quotient of acting smart or feeling smart increases exponentially where as being smart is left in the same place where we left it when we started to feel smart or smarter (than x,y,z and sometimes every one). When this smartness blinds our logical or good old sense carrying high on the "me smart" tide, dissension is probably the best way to stop us from meeting the obvious disaster. I am not going into the meanings and types as dictionaries do a pretty good job on that. My primary focus in this blog would be of dissension in your big meeting when you came up with the "Big Idea" of making it big (too many bigs..hmmm). You would ask " Some one in the meeting raises his/her hand or even without doing so says the idea is impractical or is not viable at this situation or is not smart enough and I should think it is good and I should love it? "..Bingo, you are right on the money! Let me help you understand how good it is when you know how to handle it.

Here are the reasons for you to reason on..

Reason 1 - If there is no dissension for any idea that you come up with, it shows that you are super smart and an expert who can predict and make moves that will not fail - Not possible. Coming back to reality, it shows that either your employees are not interested in the company or they are just "yes men/women" to impress you - not a good group to hang out with unless you are not serious about the business.

Reason 2 - Strong dissension (may be not too strong, that you end up punching each other) may indicate that the organisation has problems that needs to be addressed, can be relative to the point for which there is a dissension.

Reason 3 - Sometimes people just try to show their dissent to grab attention or just to throw something at you as you are stealing all the limelight (may be they are envious..aha !!)

Whatever the reason is, it is always better to deal with it rather than avoid it and dealing with it has the following benefits.

Checkpoint - Dissension serves as the first checkpoint to see if the thing suggested by you is valid or feasible or practical etc. Instead of just dismissing the counter points, discussing or at least mere listening (listening like real listening) will give a whole lot of different perspective and even may open ways for improvisation.

Test of the Mettle - Dissension can really give you a good chance to test your mettle as a leader. You may think that you are the best leader and why every one cannot be like you, well here is your chance to prove it..the question is are you up for it or just break away like every one else.

Trust Builder - A well handled dissension definitely builds more trust for the leader which can increase the productivity of the employees as they are not condemned for free thinking. The bottom line is that employees are not afraid to reach either to help or for help.

Big Saver - The impetus to make it "big" can cost you big both in time and money if it is not duly discussed and what else is a good way other than a descent dissent from your think tank. Apart from the tangible damage, it can also serve big time as an embarrassment saver.

Those are the huge benefits that can be leveraged when a dissent is handled properly. Well there are some not so gorgeous moments like the raise of voice, ego hurting, playing the blame game, shoulder shrugging..etc etc..but still isn't Dissent a good thing? ( you can show your dissent in the comments)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Knowing What Customers you want to Serve.

Its always easy to ride on the enthusiasm wave to start up a business and get disappointed as soon as your so called customers or market doesn't perceive your business or product or services as interesting as you think. Well it happens to every one who doesn't do a little homework (one of the things you hate? I know) before venturing in to conquer the minds and hearts of the customers. There is good old reason in using the phrase "minds and hearts of Customers" which is the topic of my next post. Coming back to this one, let us first consider the environment in which we are in. Long gone are the days where the business needs to find the customers. This is the age where the customers try to find the right Business for them and hence the question " Do you know what customers you want to serve?" makes more sense as the customers always exist. At this point it is more apt to quote Theodore Levitt, the father of modern marketing who clearly explained "Marketing Myopia" and laid foundations to modern business success through his article on " What Business Are you in? (you can read the entire article here  : What Business are you in? ). I think it is essential and take it as a first step in understanding what business we are in to chalk out the strategy and positioning aspect and taking it a little further to succeed is knowing what customers you want to serve.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways you can know more about the customer than 10 years ago and guess what? the consumer black box is turning transparent now. Every netizen on the planet is eager to lay down their digital foot print which is a valuable contribution for the business to dissect the customer segmentation and target the niche areas. Here are the simple steps to know what customer you want to target or serve.

Step 1 - Its always Knowing your Business - find your exact market rather than generalization. For example, if you are soft drink maker who invented an amazing recipe, find the best attributes of it like fruit based or flavour based or health based etc.

Step 2 - Knowing the Market - What is the market position of this kind of Business you want to jump in. Is it more B2B or B2C. First stick to one market unless you have really heavy muscle power either to dislocate the players or push your product into the market

Step 3 -Know your customers - I know I am using the word customers rather than prospects, because my friend we moved from building a business to find customers to building business to reach the customers. Before I digress let me finish the step. Knowing the customers is not just segmenting them based on the common out loud traits but finding the silent traits hidden beneath the statements. This is an interesting article on segmentation from Adobe blogs : Digital Marketing Segmentation which throws some light on what we may miss out.

Step 4 - Keep Simple but (St)Right - Once steps 1 to 3 are covered, its time to lay the road straight for the customers to come to you. It is a little tricky as laying the road involves triggering the right touch points, less curves and less speed bumps (this is a topic in itself) and making your shop clearly visible even from afar.

As ending note for this blog, many say it is easier said than done but I would say it is not impossible and anything impossible is doable with the right tools.


Thursday, October 24, 2013


Hello Fellow Digital friends,

I am Charan Teja, an aspiring business philosopher with a tinge of philanthropy (aah..come on..too boring !!) I know I know..well lets just keep it that way for now but I am evolving and change is the only constant (wait a minute..I know this line, yeah me too) in me and I guess in my blogs too. This blog as the domain name evidently suggests is a dump of my learnings, interesting topics and current trends. Don't judge yet, you can bring on any flavour you want to as long as it is interesting and helps some one run their "business" better. On the other hand lets just keep vulgarity, explicit material, posts and "other stuff" in the places where they are already there and not bring it here. So in a nut shell this blog will be featuring everything that surrounds a Market/ting ( yep all 7 Ps, 5S, etc etc and many more). Lets rock ( wait is this phrase out of fashion!!)