LSA Global Insights Newsletter

January 15, 2019

LSA Global - Top Articles from 2018




Wishing you good times, good cheer, and a memorable new year.


Thank you from all of us at LSA Global for your business, loyalty, and
support in 2018. We have enjoyed helping you to create a competitive advantage through people.

We hope you enjoy these top 10 downloads from 2018.


About LSA Global

Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned

November 24, 2018

Sales Toolkit to Stay Above the Competition


Effective sales leaders grow revenue and profits through organizational alignment by ensuring the go-to-market sales strategy is clear, by building a high performance sales culture and by attracting, developing, engaging and retaining top sales talent.
  • At a strategic level, good sales leaders set the right course and create clear goals, roles, success metrics and career paths. 
  • At a cultural level, good sales leaders ensure that the sales culture is not only healthy, but 100% aligned with the sales and business strategies. 
  • At a talent level, good sales leaders consistently attract, develop, engage and retain top sales talent that fits.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Are You Truly Setting Yourself Apart from the Competition?


Your company's unique value proposition is worth the time and effort to get it right.

Yet, Many Sales Teams Struggle to Differentiate
Any successful go-to-market strategy depends heavily upon a clear and compelling value proposition that sets you and your company apart from the pack in the eyes of your target clients. 

Eventually, all sales and marketing teams are confronted with articulating what makes their offering superior to the competition. 

If you cannot simply and easily describe what specifically makes your offering better, faster or cheaper than the alternatives in the marketplace, you have some work to do. 

The Definition of a Unique Value Proposition 
A unique value proposition is typically a concise sentence or two that communicates the compelling value of what you do for your clients and why you do it better than anyone else. It is specific, simple, and clear in the areas of "better, faster, or cheaper." 

Why Differentiation Matters
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic sales clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing sales teams in terms of revenue growth, margin attainment, customer retention, and sales team engagement. 

Strategy requires choice. Clarity about your differentiation helps improve your ability to make decisions about how to market, prospect, sell, win deals, serve clients and allocate scarce resources.

While many sales teams mistakenly try to "be all things to all people" to fuel growth, research confirms the opposite. Narrowing the focus of both your services and your target clients improves, rather than hinders, growth.

Common Problems Caused by Unclear Differentiation
If you are not clear about what sets you apart from the competition, your marketing, sales and resource allocation efforts will most likely run into problems.

Marketing Problems Caused by Weak Value Propositions
We believe that the fundamental purpose of marketing is to do three things:
  1. Create brand clarity
  2. Increase market awareness
  3. Deliver qualified leads to sales
It is almost impossible to accomplish any of these if there is confusion or disagreement regarding what sets you apart. 

Sales Problems Caused by Weak Value Propositions
We believe that the fundamental purpose of sales is to:
  1. Drive profitable revenue growth
  2. Win new business
  3. Meet portfolio mix and deal size targets
  4. Reduce sales cycles
If you are trying to be all things to all people, your chances of success at any of the four are low. And forget about sales training. Trying to improve the sales skills of sales reps armed with an unclear value proposition is just wishful thinking.

Resource Allocation Problems Caused by Weak Value Propositions
Effective strategies ruthlessly prioritize investments and allocate scarce resources based upon what matters most. Because different value propositions require different things from different support systems, ambiguity creates tremendous organizational ineffectiveness.

If your unique value proposition is unclear, it is very difficult to make smart choices regarding sales territories, compensation plans, organizational structure, success metrics, sales training, and product road maps.
 
It could be just the right time for you to refine how you set yourself apart from the competition.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


October 27, 2018

Leadership Toolkit


Effective leaders who align their culture and talent with their strategy grow revenues 58% faster, are 72% more profitable, retain customers 2.23-to-1, and engage employees 16.8-to-1.

They outperform their peers by creating organizational alignment for growth. They take care of the business and their people by:
  • Ensuring strategic clarity
  • Building high performance cultures
  • Differentiating top talent
Get field-tested tools to outperform your peers.

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


How to Break Down Silos & Resolve Cross-Unit Conflicts


Like change and increased competition, we believe conflict is here to stay.

In a recent study, 85% of workers across all levels report experiencing some form of conflict that decreases their productivity.  29% reported experiencing unproductive conflict frequently. In the U.S. alone that equates to over $350 billion of worker time spent in unproductive conflict.

Why This Matters
Too many leaders, factions and functions are competing for influence and limited resources instead of working seamlessly together across geographies, silos, departments and conflicts to successfully execute their go-to-market strategy. 

The need for increased collaboration has been driven by strategies that require common goals and complex solutions that span disciplines - strategies that can present a single face to the customer, rapidly adapt products and services, and fight off intensified competition.

The Root Cause
We find that most companies mistakenly believe that cross-function conflict is caused by interpersonal challenges that erode trust. While it is true that trust is the bedrock of healthy conflict, our research and field experience has taught us that most conflict is due instead to misalignment and a lack of clarity around strategies, success metrics, roles, cultural expectations, information sharing, and cross-function processes.

In other words, team building events rarely serve the purpose of breaking down silos over the long term when organizational strategies, structures and systems are at odds. If you are experiencing a "bunker mentality" across your organization, don't resort to superficial solutions like communication styles or conflict training. 

Invest the time to understand what's happening and take the steps required to align your functions for mutual success.

The Most Common Causes of Conflict

1. Unclear Strategies 
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing organizations in terms of profitable revenue growth, customer loyalty, and employee engagement. To set the stage for collaboration, your strategies must be understood by your key stakeholders, believed in by those who must execute them, and implementable in your unique industry and culture.  

If you want to increase collaboration and reduce cross-unit conflicts, invest the time to define why the company, function or team does what it does and how specific and integrated actions should lead to superior performance. 

2. Conflicted Leadership Teams 
More often than not, it all starts at the top. Even subtle differences or confusion between leaders have a tendency to create conflicting and misaligned priorities, roles, and reward systems. If your leadership team is not 100% aligned and committed to what matters most and who does what, your chances of creating a culture of collaboration will be limited. 

If you want to increase collaboration and reduce cross-unit conflicts, invest the time to align your leadership team to common priorities and inter-dependencies.  



About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


September 22, 2018

8 Reasons Leaders Need 360 Feedback

wire human figure

It is difficult to improve performance without feedback about what's working, and what's not.

360-degree feedback, a formal, structured process for soliciting feedback from coworkers, has grown in popularity. Done right, 360-degree feedback provides valuable insights that individuals typically cannot gain on their own. Not long ago, however, critics were calling 360-degree feedback a "performance-reviewing fad." 

Today, some estimates suggest 90% of US employers rely on 360 evaluations -though not all successfully. Let's start with why 360 feedback works and when it fails.

Why 360-Degree Feedback Works
Unfortunately, our own perceptions of ourselves are rarely accurate or predictive. Leaders need feedback from those around them (typically their boss, peers, direct reports, and others in the organization) if they want to gain an accurate picture of their strengths and weaknesses.  

Employers typically rely on 360-degree feedback to diagnose a variety of organizational issues, including turnover, productivity dips, lackluster morale, and stagnant growth. The idea behind 360-degree feedback is to collect feedback from different points of view including colleagues, supervisors, subordinates, partners, and clients. 

Done right, 360-degree feedback allows a person to get something that is often difficult to acquire - increased self-knowledge about how their behavior is viewed by those around them. This helps to shed a constructive light on key strengths, relevant weaknesses and potential blind spots. The process itself can help improve trust, communication, team development, career development, performance management, and self-awareness - a critical component to effective leadership and team work.

When 360-Degree Feedback Fails
For those of us with experience in 360-degree feedback, we have painfully learned that if 360-degree feedback isn't carefully executed and followed up on, it can do more harm than good to individuals, teams and those charged with administering and coaching to the feedback. 

Done wrong, 360-degree feedback can create problems when people are:  
  • Not getting feedback from at least 8-10 raters to maximize the reliability of the feedback
  • Unprepared or ill-equipped to hear and act upon candid feedback 
  • Left to sort through the feedback on their own without experienced support, context or a plan for improvement 
  • Not held accountable to follow-up actions to improve behaviors
8 Reasons Leaders Need 360 Feedback
Done right, however, 360-degree feedback offers powerful advantages to leaders looking to raise their level of performance.


Voice of the Customer
"I continue to be impressed by the level of leadership expertise and the quality of advice that LSA has to offer. What a smart and client-centric group of great people who really know how to help assess and develop high performing leaders."
Tracy Esposito | Director | Zynga

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Leadership Toolkit

looking through binoculars

Effective leaders who align their culture and talent with their strategy grow revenues 58% faster, are 72% more profitable, retain customers 2.23-to-1, and engage employees 16.8-to-1.

They outperform their peers by creating organizational alignment for growth. They take care of the business and their people by:
  • Ensuring strategic clarity
  • Building high performance cultures
  • Differentiating top talent
Get field-tested tools to outperform your peers.



About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


August 26, 2018

3 Ways to Protect and Grow Your Major Accounts


We define major accounts as the critical few client accounts (typically between 5 and 20 depending upon your sales model) that are the most important to you and your company both now and into the future.

While each go-to-market sales strategy has a unique flavor, the criteria typically fall into two main categories:
  • Financial Significance
  • Strategic Significance
Financial Significance
Financially significant accounts represent substantial financial value in terms of revenue, gross margin or profit to the sales person, the sales team or the company. In general, your major accounts should be 20% of your client base and provide 80% of the financial value.

Strategic Significance
Strategically significant accounts signify vital strategic importance in terms of providing you with marquee brand recognition, the ability to create valuable new capabilities, or the opportunity to intelligently expand into desirable new markets, geographies or verticals. 

While major accounts take a considerable investment of time and energy, the payoffs can be huge. When properly managed, major accounts can anchor your business through thick and through thin.

The Benefits of Major Account Management
While some companies worry that higher levels of investments in major accounts will decrease gross margins, recent research by Kapta and Harvard Business Review found major accounts on average:
  • Are 60% more likely to close than a new client
  • Spend 33% more than new customers
  • Have shorter sales cycles
  • Decrease marketing and sales costs by six to seven times
  • Have 20% higher customer satisfaction scores
  • Generate 15% greater profits and revenue
How to Protect and Grow Your Major Accounts
Once you define your major accounts and believe in the benefit of going after them, it is time to create a clear and compelling plan to achieve lasting and mutually beneficial relationships. 

If you truly want to protect and grow your strategic accounts, follow these three field-tested best practices.


Voice of the Customer
"LSA's ability to get a group of 20+ executives from around the globe on the same page, push their thinking to new heights, and ensure an executable plan was excellent. I would recommend LSA to anyone looking to take their leaders and sales execution to the next level."
Rob Sturgeon | Executive Vice President | ServiceSource

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


Sales Health Check to See Where You Stand


Sales leaders who align their sales culture and talent with their sales strategy grow revenues 58% faster and are 72% more profitable.

If you would like to know how you stack up to leading sales organizations in the following sales best practice areas, then this sales health check is for you:
  • Sales Strategy and Planning
  • Inside Sales and Referral Selling
  • Communicating and Sales Presentations
  • Executive Selling
  • Selling Solutions 
  • Sales Negotiations.
The assessment should take 5 minutes to complete. 
 

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


July 29, 2018

7 Immediate Management Actions to Create Team Alignment


Your employees may have their oars in the water, but do they know what direction the boat is headed?

And if so, do they understand how their oars can best move the team toward its goal? 

Successful managers know that team alignment is critical. Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing teams. And our annual Best Places to Work engagement research confirms that three "Alignment with Goals" questions matter most for managerial effectiveness. 

3 Questions Matter Most
In terms of goal alignment, the most effective managers have employees that rate the following three questions higher than their lower performing peers: 
  • "I understand the company's plans for future success." 
  • "I know how I fit into the company's future plans." 
  • "I understand how my job helps the organization achieve success."   
As you can imagine, getting consistently high scores on these questions is not always easy. But it is worth it. Employees, who rate these questions higher, perform better in terms of four key managerial effectiveness metrics.

4 Important Management Metrics

Employee Relations
 
Bad managers exacerbate employee relations problems while effective managers decrease issues, claims and lawsuits. This is not a trivial matter. The number of claims by employees increased by 2000% from 1969 to 1994 and increased by 70% between 1992 and 2003.

Employee Performance
Bad managers negatively impact financial health. Companies with higher performing managers realize a 48% increase in profitability and a 20% gain in performance.

Employee Engagement and Retention
Bad managers negatively impact employee engagement and retention. Companies with higher performing managers realize a 30% increase in employee engagement scores and a 19% decrease in turnover. 

Customer Engagement
Bad customer-facing managers negatively impact customer engagement. Companies with higher performing managers realize a 17% increase in customer engagement scores. 

7 Management Actions to Increase Alignment
We have identified seven concrete actions your managers can take to improve alignment with goals to improve performance, engagement and retention.

Voice of the Customer

"LSA's ability to get a group of 20+ executives from around the globe on the same page, push their thinking to new heights, and ensure an executable plan was excellent. I would recommend LSA to anyone looking to take their leaders and execution to the next level."
Rob Sturgeon | Executive Vice President | ServiceSource

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned


The Key to Unlocking Better Managers


Effective managers create organizational alignment by ensuring strategic clarity, building high performance cultures and differentiating top talent.
  • At a strategic level, good managers set the right course by creating clear goals, roles, success metrics and career paths. 
  • At a cultural level, good managers commit to making it a great place to work and value people as their most important resource while ensuring that their direct reports are held accountable and recognized for their contributions. 
  • At a talent level, good managers consistently attract, develop, engage and retain top talent that fits.
 

About LSA Global
Founded in 1995, LSA Global is a leading performance consulting and training firm that helps high growth technology, services, and life-science companies create a competitive advantage by powerfully aligning their culture and talent with their strategy. Learn more about getting aligned