6 Fl!pping Lessons Every CEO Should Learn
I just finished reading Fl!p: How to Turn Everything You Know on Its Head and Succeed Beyond Your Wildest Imaginings.* The author, Peter Sheahan, is one of the featured speakers at the 2010 NFCA Annual Meeting, September 9-11, in Chicago. I thought the book was terrific and encourage you to a) pick up a copy and b) register for the Annual Meeting so that you can experience Mr. Sheahan in person. Here are six of the most important lessons I learned that I intend to implement at the NFCA:
- To move forward you must act in spite of ambiguity. Action creates clarity. No one can be 100% sure that any new venture will work. But getting off the bench and into the game will create the clarity you’re looking for – clarity that all the strategic planning and analysis in the world will never deliver.
- What is your story? How does it feel for customers to say they own your product or use your service – to be a member of your society? The story customers tell themselves about why they became members of your organization and why they have an affinity with your society is the most powerful element in branding.
- High tech is not about technology; it is about connecting with your customers. Young consumers – and increasingly the broader market – use technology as their means to connect. Don’t make technology your obsession – make connecting with your customers (and prospective customers) your obsession. Technology can help you accomplish that.
- Crowds don’t create innovations, they validate them. Crowds will recognize and celebrate the best innovations, but the innovations themselves will come from the fringe – the bold companies and individuals who are willing to risk doing something different from their competitors.
- Instead of trying to compete with traditional banks in traditional ways, ING has created a new banking brand story by offering savings accounts online at higher rates than their brick-and-mortar competitors. Appealing especially to young people who are comfortable with online banking, these accounts give ING a chance to achieve impressive long-term growth by offering new services to these young customers as they progress through the life cycle, develop their careers, and become more affluent.
- The idea of partnering with competitors in strategic alliances – cooperatives, if you will – seems to be gathering real momentum. More than 50 percent of such alliances were between competitors and lead on average to a seven percent higher return than traditional business collaborations. These are win-win relationships, not hostile partnerships.
One of my favorite features of the book is that at the conclusion of every chapter there is a list of “Five Things To Do Now” – real, practical steps you and your staff can take to become, in Mr. Sheahan’s term, a “Fl!p Star.” At NFCA, we’re going to put many of Sheahan’s “To Do” projects on the agenda of our regular staff meetings and make sure we all take just a little time to “Fl!p out” – to envision what we can become as an association and figure out what it would take to get there.
What business books are on your “must read” list? What are the key lessons you’ve learned from them? Share your thoughts here…
*PLEASE NOTE: “Flip” will be the official NFCA Annual Meeting Book Club selection. Those attendees who read it will have a chance to informally discuss the book at the new NFCA Internet Café and how it might inspire you to make changes at your society. More Annual Meeting details are headed your way soon.