The Concept of Insight-Based Management
The Classic Use of Insight in Management
Executives have long used the insights they derive from tearing apart their latest financials to steer their businesses. Everyone in an executive role is good at that, or they wouldn't be in the job.
We're not proposing to improve on that process. Instead, we're advocating a new one: using insight to find the best ways to boost results, going forward, in your unique business.
Using Insight to Boost Results
The concept is simple: first understand the best thing(s) you can do to boost results; then do those.
Instead of doing the first things that come to mind (aka winging it), and being frustrated (or worse) when the outcome doesn't meet expectations.
There are several ways to use insight to boost future results:
- Grasp the full extent of the improvements you can make in terms of advertising effectiveness, customers' positive feelings about your business, the value proposition you offer, and others.
- Of these, which are the best, and most realistic, ways that you can grow profits and revenue?
Boosting Profits and Near-Term Revenue
One of management's most enduring traditions has been the way CEOs and those who lead large business units get their direct reports to improve profits and boost revenue. You could call it "heat-based management." The heat comes in the form of tough profit and revenue-growth targets assigned to the general managers and other executives who run the company's businesses.
This is not to fault senior management: their Job 1 is to boost results, and heat is the only tool they've had, up 'til now…
Most executives who've had P&L responsibility, particularly in public companies, have experienced heat-based management at the gut level. Their challenge is clear; how to meet it, anything but. There are the usual options: cut costs, squeeze suppliers (again), exhort the sales force to still higher heights, etc. But they did that last time, too.
The Problems Heat-Based Management Creates
There are two (beyond the obvious—unwanted turnover):
- The first is "numbers stress"—the chronic, nagging, "Will I make my numbers? And what if I don't?" worries. Numbers stress suppresses both creativity and clear thinking; not helpful in figuring out what to do. It can cause powerful possibilities to be overlooked or underappreciated.
- The bigger problem is that the results it produces can be below all they can be (to hit the target; not go beyond it). And the subconcious weighs in with, "we hit the target, so we're done, for now."
In other words, the very management approach intended to boost results can cause shareholder value to go unrealized.
We believe that heat-based management represents a yawning gap management practice that shortchanges both investors and executives.
Well, We Could Use… Insight
There are better ways to boost results and shareholder value. Their effectiveness stems from insights into three key questions:
- Where does the untapped potential lie in my business? can I delivered on it?
- Will it contribute more to the value of my business to boost its profits or to grow its revenues? Both contribute. Which matters more? How much more?
- What are the best actions I can take? (There are more than 60, and counting, honest ways to do this: improving customers' experience, irresistibly communicating customer value, modern cost management, product or service design, pricing perspectives, etc. Which handful are my "best shots" for hitting or exceeding my targets?)
All of these questions have answers. And now there are tools that you can use to find them. The answers are different for every business, because every business has unique financial characteristics, opportunities, talents and constraints.
Is it worth your time to find the answers? Let's look at actual results.
We worked with the $22 million US division of a booming international marketing and distribution company. It was growing at 30% per year, with an operating profit margin of 16%.
They used one of our insight tools, The Fortune Finder, to identify 6 specific actions that together
would boost their 30% annual revenue growth rate by another 14.5% over the next 36 months, while raising profits by 147% and increasing their operating profit margin from 16 to 23%, as shown here.
Interestingly, 60% of the profit gain and 62% of the increased revenue growth came from actions that the division's well-regarded president had not considered pursuing.
For the first time, executives have a choice when faced with challenging results targets: stress out, wing it and hope that what they do works, or knowingly execute their best ways to hit them.
This new form of Insight-Based Management simply requires the tools for finding what's best, and the skills needed to use them.
- It's now possible to boost the profits and grow the revenue of a business substantially—without monkey business, and to set a company's profit versus growth direction wisely.
- Executives who become skilled at doing this will tend to rise faster in their companies.
- The fortunes of the business-unit executives and CEOs who can then report the improved aggregate results will improve, as well.
- From a shareholder-returns perspective, investors will now be able to put their money into companies whose executives understand and can skillfully use this new insight-based approach.
Arguably, a new era in management.
Using Insight-Based Management To Boost Your Results
If you're interested in putting these new tools to work, you're welcome to contact us by email, which we'll confirm, at email@example.com.
Help Spread the Word About Insight-Based Management
We're trying to make as many executives as we can aware of the power of Insight-Based Management to boost their results. We invite you to forward this to your
friends and fellow executives.
Finally, we'd be grateful to know about other work that's relevant to finding the best things executives can do to boost their results. Please feel free to email us about it.
Drew Morris, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org