21 January 2016
Who hasn’t heard of Peter Drucker, essentially the father of business consulting? Yet, few people (including me) spend time remembering some of the very profound observations he made decades ago. Many of these remains relevant years later so I thought I could perhaps offer a reminder.
“The purpose of a business”, he said, “is to create customers”
“The business enterprise has two, ONLY TWO, basic functions, and they are MARKETING and INNOVATION. Marketing and innovation produce results, all the rest are costs.”
“The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or services fits him and sells itself.”
While most of us are not businesses, we do have a product to sell, so let’s look at these and consider how they can provide guidance especially as you approach an interview for a new job or are newly arrived on a new job, as is the case with my candidates, so I thought I would share some thoughts.
- Marketing in interviews - How well do you know who you are interviewing with? Have you asked your recruiter to see their CV? Have you done research to really understand the company and what are their strengths, weakness, opportunities, and threats? Have you practiced answers to common interview questions that demonstrate that you understand them and how you can make a difference in each of these areas? This is showing a product fit and makes the pricing discussion much easier.
- Marketing on the job - Day one when joining a new company you need to market yourself. After getting that dream job, you will be rewarded if you put effort into making connections with your new colleagues, showing them how well you listen (your most important capability) as well as demonstrating what you can do by quietly prioritizing the work and getting it done. This shows every one why the company was right in hiring you and makes you visible to Management long after the honeymoon period is over. “Those who do are able to command respect, those who don’t are often seen as trying to demand respect.”
- Innovations in interviews - What innovative book have you read recently? What new business practice were you last involved in at you current or past company? It is not just talking about these things; can you apply the lessons to your industry and to this new company? Can you answer the standard kind of interview questions and demonstrate that you can find new ways to succeed?
- Innovation at work - Today’s technologies and work tools are threatening our positioning at work. While Robots threaten product workers, “Automated Processes” will threaten Sales, Marketing, as well as Operations over the years you most likely still need to work. Smart workers don’t try to beat the trends; they try to find ways to incorporate these innovations faster than others, that is the new competitive advantage. Working the same way as last year is a near guarantee of making yourself redundant, the only way forward is, is to keep reinventing oneself The more you think about, you will see marketing and innovation related opportunities everywhere. So why not schedule a coffee break for yourself each week to really think about what you have learned from customers and about competitors and how you can put a new twist on it, and then upgrade what or how you are doing what you do today. The result may be not just the chance to keep doing it, but it may just give you the visibility that you need to be considered for that next step.
So remember to say “Thank you Mr. Drucker” when you get the call from your recruiter or your boss who says he want to talk about your future moves.