Overcoming the Leadership Gap – The Imaging Channel

Overcoming the Leadership Gap • The Imaging

Channel Voice

Overcoming the Leadership Gap; published by BPO Media

 Diane Waltemath

Helping imaging dealers move forward progressively

There is a divide in leadership today, one that exists at two levels of the organization and is perpetuated from the top down. However, this is not an intentional fallacy or devious plot for subordination and mediocrity.  Rather, this divide is the reflection of a deeply rooted and interconnected generation of leaders that rose to success in the same era, making use of similar strategies at similar companies producing similar solutions. Yet today, these successful leaders find themselves, knowingly or not, in conflict with or an obstacle to next-generation success.  In this article, we’ll explore what we will coin the “leadership gap” and will reveal the associated fallout, as well as opportunities to be realized and modes of execution.  

To begin, let’s consider the demographics and motivations of the current leadership in the imaging channel.  When you look around the executive circle predominant in organizations, you will find baby boomers, folks that were born between 1946 and 1964. This means that today these individuals are in their 60s and 70s and looking toward retirement. And when retirement is on the horizon is when the leadership gap is at its strongest.  

Motivations of retiring baby boomers do not align with the motivations of rising talent — Generation X and, in some cases, millennial leaders.  We find that baby boomers look to drive revenue and sell or partner with private equity and seek acquisition growth prior to full earn-out. These motivations pay little attention to the initiatives of active Gen X leaders or the customer base.  

Within this same construct of the leadership gap, we find Gen X professionals focused on new programs, new products, improved deliverables, increased automation and efficiency, changing work environments, alternate communication and meaningful culture.  Gen X leaders are focused on building their teams authentically and improving the business from all angles.  They are still building their careers and are primed for stepping into that next business role, and it is up to the current executive leadership to recognize this energy and the ability to rise even higher than standard complacency by allowing their next-gen leaders to thrive.  Mentor, train, and unleash your best talent!

“Top of the org chart” executives are likely no longer the workflow experts in the company, nor is that where their value should be.  But this expertise does exist within the organization at the next level.  These are the folks who integrate with the front line as well as the customer and set standards of excellence.  Those leaders can and should benchmark their staff for multiple facets of excellence. Additionally, they should justify any project expense in terms of ROI, so decision making and forward progress is supported by positive financial outcome. 

Specifically, look to embrace program review.  What sort of contract types are you supporting, how aged and individual are they and can they be upgraded to eliminate antiquated service models?  What does that do for GP, efficiency, and opportunity cost?  Also, review your billing schedules. Do they still make sense, or can adjustments be made to reduce labor and manage staff planning?  In that vein, please invite your administrative manager to the executive table. On dealership visits, we rarely find administrative representation at the executive planning table, yet this person oversees the abilities and systems for executing program deliverables.  Explore distribution billing and the many benefits to be had at the organization: revenue and profit by device, sales planning, tax compliance, and automating customized invoicing to name a few.  

HINT – don’t be discouraged by a CFO that rebukes due to historical accounting.  There has to be a cutover for excellence at some point, and back-end accounting needs cannot govern front-end deliverable effectiveness.  Don’t be discouraged by the weight of the task of converting contracts.  Apply a system, schedule, and deadline instead, as everything in business comes back to process!

When you begin to explore your current systems, you have the opportunity to start asking questions again.  Interview your team to understand how each member views their job responsibilities as well as their job authorities.  To have authorities by role, we must introduce controls to each position.  Controls allow for excellence and management to best practice.  They also increase employee autonomy and contribution while creating efficiencies for all.  

In a time of increased customer-centricity and disruptive competition, the organization must continue to develop internally, improve customer offerings and accessibility, and increase employee commitment, as skilled and creative tenured talent will be critical to narrowing the leadership gap and ensuring lasting success.

New Customers & Change Management

New Customers and Change Management, let’s go!!! Your effectiveness in this area makes a hell of a first impression. You’re either killing it, or sucking wind. The customer’s organization plays a role in it, but that’s not their problem, it’s yours. But… does it have to be? Can you plan for success in ways the competition is not? Can you think more about your customer and their needs, than your own? When you truly endeavor to build a partnership with your client, when you can harvest out the most vital of information to their workflow, when you document what you heard, and become vested in understanding the systems and folks that will be impacted, that is when you as a Sales Rep, are really doing your job. But if you’re just a show pony, out there stamping your hooves, and flashing your pearly whites, selling what you want to sell, and you can’t see the vision…well then, you’ve really screwed your team and your client.

However, if you can master the process and intel on the Sales side then you have positioned your internal team for pure success. Once the deal is with them, you should be able to bet on Order, ETA, Communication, Best Practices, Teamwork, Leadership, Creativity, and Calm if something goes awry.

Are you interested in strategies yielding 96%+ customer satisfaction on change management and tech installs? Consider what goes into that; tenacious planning, expert systems, eye for talent and restructuring teams, communication prowess, implementing tools and automation, building executive relationships across the client base.

Let Performance Now partner with you for greatness in 2019

Leasing for Technology Solutions

If you’re out there conquering enterprise accounts or multi-state contracts…these requests for Leasing should be on your radar. 🤔

1. Please be an accountable partner in allocating service $ to the proper tax authority, not only equip. (yes we’ll help with the allocation. It takes 2 to tango👌)

2. Please also commit to allocating service $ to tax authorities for which there may be no financed assets 👏

3. Please be a best partner in processing re-allocations of service $ whenever the dealer communicates. Even in instances when there is no active funding to be had, but rather a simple reallocation of service-only (yes docs will be submitted if total payment is going to change 👌)

4. Produce accurate and variable custom invoice options in mass. This is a value-add, as a Leasing company’s sell-point of bill/collect relief is moot when 85% of clients want custom invoicing. ☝️

5. Please be competitive in your full offering so as to automatically deduct fees from dealer quotes; don’t make us haggle when we’re doing mutually beneficial business. 🙌

6. Please stop having Credit Approvals expire… it creates admin labor on both sides and our Agreements always state credit approval is subject to denial under adverse credit changes…etc etc 🤙

DON’T BAKE IT ALL INTO OUR RATES 🙏

That’s the real innovation we want to see. Show me you’re alive out there and are still working at being the best at your business! 🤩

For more ins-and-outs to benefit your business, info@performancenow.us