Previously on Totally, Totally, Global Inc. Sales are down. Morale is low. Strategy has been neglected. Jo has a breakthrough and develops a saga.
I looked around: it was Mary who headed up IT. She was holding some kind of tea from the appearance of the dangling tab. Yes, herbal. I always considered it an odd beverage.
Me: Oh hi Mary. How’s things?
Mary: Good, mind if I join you?
Me: Of course not: that’d be nice.
Mary: Haha, I thought this was my secret place: far from the madding crowd etc.
Me: Yeah, I know what you mean. I always get my coffee here. It’s a good place to think.
Mary. Ahh. Now I feel kind of bad disturbing your reflections…..
Me: No, no, no. Conversation often helps. It’s the different location that is important to me. No coffee? It’s good here.
Mary: I’d love to, but I can’t take too many a day. And at least their herbal teas are good to drink not just pretty to look at. So what are you working on if it’s not confidential?
Me: In a sentence: we need to get back to leading the market and product innovation where we were 5 years go. We’ve become a follower and we sell on price. And we don’t have the volume to make that work.
Mary. Wow: succinct! Now you know me Jo, I make IT work but I don’t really ‘get’ much selling and marketing. Can’t only a few be leaders? Won’t every market have a lot of followers?
Me: Sure. But you have to lead on something. Leading on price, without volume is very, very hard as there will always be a new entrant who is willing to fight to the death on price. But true difference be it product or service or… is something which is hard to beat. You’ve got to find it. Sustain it. Make sure you are excellent at it.
Mary: So with an espresso and in the confines of Caffeine Molecule, you’re going to make that happen. She smiled as she teased.
Me: I know, crazy isn’t it? But so many of the great breakthroughs in science, marketing, sport happened in the most ordinary of circumstances apart from one common factor: some dedicated thinking.
Mary: And it’s something we don’t do anymore?
Me: not at all. So, how’s your team?
Mary: OK but only OK. There’s still a skills shortage and it is hard to recruit when the company isn’t doing so well. My people rely a lot on bonuses which are well down at the moment of course…..And they want a CV which is strengthening as their career develops.
Jo: Once, again it’s why our position is so crucial. Great people want to work for the leader in any market, in any niche.
Mary: I’m going to slowly walk back and enjoy this sunshine. Nice to talk to you, Jo.
Jo: And you Mary. See you soon.