On Senior Management's Responsibilities

KENNESAW, Ga. (Jul 11, 2017) — We are zealous in our belief that the overall strategy of a company should be a responsibility vested exclusively in senior management. Seems obvious doesn’t it?

Why then do so many firms allow themselves to be led by the sales organization – doing business with the clients – any clients – that the sales organization can manage to bring to them? We see it time and again and it’s deadly. Client retention starts with an organizations’ willingness to discipline itself to only do business with the “Right Clients® under the “Right Terms®”.

Another reality that we consistently encounter is that senior executives generally do a poor job of leveraging the knowledge they have acquired over their careers in order to benefit the newer people as they enter the organization. Usually there is no system or process to institutionalize it. As a result, young managers end up repeating the same mistakes that senior executives made early in their careers – and clients suffer for it again and again. Developing and communicating the “Lessons Learned” helps an organization avoid repeating the same mistakes generation after generation.  Losing clients is an expensive seminar to attend, especially when we’ve already been to it time and again. Lessons Learned can and should be the embodiment of effective internal knowledge management.

Finally, senior executives, who control the investment purse strings, have a responsibility to fund those capabilities that provide the most “Relevant Value sm to their targeted clients. Again, there is seldom a system in place to determine what those investments should be and in what proportions. So they guess – or decide by instinct and gut feel.

The cold hard truth is that if senior management does its job well in these three areas, client losses in most companies can be immediately cut by half. Doing well, however, means not only making the right decisions, but also ensuring they are implemented and institutionalized. In this way they become cultural.

The Clients for Life client retention process will either be cultural (“the way we do things around here”) or it will be just another “flavor of the month”. Only senior management can establish a culture and only by fully engaging senior management can Clients for Life® succeed. 

John, Steve and Gary