Under the current economic market pattern of China’s rapid changes, there are no “mature” enterprises, only lagging enterprises. “Mature” companies are relative. If the market is relatively stable and the company is mature, then this maturity may bring positive value, but in the context of high market changes, maturity may mean lag. When the market changes so quickly, the manager uses the so-called orthodox way to wait for the layer of information to be conveyed in the office. When it is passed to the manager, the information must be distorted and outdated, especially considering China. The vertical depth of the market has long been different, and new starting lines have emerged. This requires business managers to constantly reposition their origins, constantly subvert themselves in a dynamic market, and re-start at all times to continue to create their own unique values.
While driving a high-speed rail, changing parts
People who are immersed in the business for a long time will form their own strong market intuition and evolve into the strategic direction of the market. This strategic direction is generally constant over time. However, the Chinese market is changing very fast, and the market environment is very complicated. We must maintain our humility to the market, because no matter how hard we try, we cannot completely and accurately understand the overall market, the overall business and the overall team. Cognition.
A company, many times the biggest problem comes from the inefficiency and distortion of various exchanges. Many so-called “big company diseases” stem from this. The direct contact between managers and front-line staff will partially address this distortion. Direct dialogue with front-line employees and direct observation of the market is my important job.
What is going to take the market? I think it is a direct observation of the effectiveness of our management and management, to test whether these methods and models have really played a role in the market, so that the real market to subvert and correct the market we imagine. In fact, during the visit I discovered that the market would accurately expose the shortcomings in our corporate management details. We listened to the feedback from frontline colleagues, listened to customers’ requests in person, directly observed the psychology of consumers, and grasped the changes in the market, and adjusted and revised our management in a timely manner. These are important for our grasp of the rhythm of the key nodes.
I don’t think that humility in the market is a virtue beyond common sense, because it should be like this from the facts. No one in this world is omniscient. We must realize that we, like others, make mistakes. But our work requires us to make decisions even if we don’t have complete confidence in our judgment. However, when I made my decision, I knew that I had to keep an open mind at all times. I always knew that I would continue to look for more information to help me adjust and help me move forward. Because in today’s business world, it is impossible for you to stop and make judgments statically.
Twenty years ago, at McKinsey, an international consulting firm I worked for, we felt that we could stop for three months to do a lot of data analysis and investigations and make various predictions. It may be possible to do so at that time, but today it is impossible. The “rigority” of the time was more of an illusion from internal processes. Moreover, this illusion is constantly emphasized by the collision between various departments.
Therefore, maintaining humility in the business world is not a gesture, nor a moral choice, but it is a necessity. We can’t be omnipotent, but we don’t have to lose our confidence and lose the ability to make decisions. At the same time, we must maintain an open mind when making decisions, knowing that we are still likely to continue to improve and continue to improve.
In the process of corporate governance, we need to transform static analytical capabilities into dynamic trial and error capabilities; we must accept and cultivate the company’s trial and error culture, and let employees dare to try and try to inspire innovation. However, it is impossible for a company to use limited resources to make trial and error indefinitely, and thus continue to promote trial and error, which will inevitably reduce trial and error costs, including capital costs, labor costs, and opportunity costs. This transformation from static analysis capability to dynamic trial and error capability is the key to adapting to high-speed market changes and high complexity, and is one of the most important innovation drivers for enterprises.
Most of the time, we are all driving high-speed rails while changing parts. There is no choice. In this process, when you realize that you are not omnipotent, you must remain humble and open on the one hand, and actively advance on the other. This balance of grasping and grasping is the basic ability necessary for modern business leaders.
Employees communicate first, observe the market second, visit customers third
To lead the enterprise and the business, we must first maintain the intuition of the market. This kind of intuition is very important, so I must go to the market and get the market information directly. The so-called intuition, in my opinion, is to connect a lot of information that seems irrelevant.
We spend a lot of time looking at all kinds of information, and we hope that this information will slowly form an intuition in our minds. If I am sitting in the office, I can’t have a first-hand understanding of the market. Market visits are not just as simple as visiting customers. My priority is always the first place for employee exchanges. The second is to observe the market, and the third is to visit customers.
For managers, it takes a lot of time to spend a week or two watching the first-line market every month. But our marketing team, rooted in the market every day for 365 days a year, is immersed in this market, and their perception of the market is definitely more lively, more stereoscopic and more complete than the manager. So for me, to see the first-line team in the first priority is actually a shortcut to understand the market. From the communication with the team, I can absorb a large part of what he has accumulated for so long. This can also make employees understand the company’s development strategy more directly. Efficient face-to-face two-way communication can also help solve some big business problems. Therefore, it can be said that meeting with the first-line team can achieve a multi-faceted effect in management.
Many companies often say that people are the first. What is the first, it depends entirely on the proportion of your resource allocation. What is the biggest resource for managers? It must be time. If the manager says that I love employees, I think that employees are our most important asset. The most meaningful way to express it is to give the most important thing, time, to them. If this is the most basic and core No, everything else is virtual.
Going to the front line is a shortcut to leading the business
By communicating with customers and front-line employees, we will get a lot of information about the current situation of the business. However, history and the present are not necessarily predictions for tomorrow. The forward-looking insight into the market is the most important basis for strategy formulation. Forward-looking results only rely on a large number of observations. Only the more you look at it, the more you can predict the consumer market as a whole. Therefore, in the process of market visits, I will definitely ask to see the first-line stores, and to see a wide range of different formats, different time periods, and different consumption scenarios. Our colleagues know that every time I go to a place, I often go to the store in the middle of the night. Because the consumption in the middle of the night, including night market consumption, is also consumption, this often brings me different ideas.
We will think about issues like “why fruit stalls will be late” that seem to be unrelated to the business. But this way of thinking about the market will give you excellent insights that are our competitive advantage.
Everyone who does business knows that the so-called customer feedback we collect from inside is not the same as the feedback that the customer directly tells you; you call to communicate with the customer, sit down with him and talk to you differently. When you first met with the customer, what he said to you and him had already eaten with you, or after drinking a cup of tea, it was not the same as what you said. These all-round information is very important to grasp these details.
So do you think it takes time? I don’t think so. The so-called occupation does not take time, it is because you think this is not important. Since I think this is the most important part of my work, I don’t think it takes time to even save time. Because for me, instead of sitting in the company, watching a lot of materials to open a large number of meetings, the quality and effectiveness of the information obtained is actually not as good as the one I got to the market.
Because every time you visit the market, it must not be blind or aimless. I will continue to confirm these assumptions during the visit with some assumptions or presuppositions. These assumptions are generally key decisions for the business, including resource allocation, strategic direction, core pain points, etc. I will consciously go to the market to prove whether our judgment is accurate.
At the same time, there is a scale issue of putting and receiving. While confirming your own assumptions, you should also keep open and curious, receive as much information as possible, and ask for many seemingly insignificant details to continue to broaden your thinking.
In the general decision-making process of the company, it is difficult for front-line employees to have the opportunity to participate in the discussion of decision-making. During the process of questioning and discussion in the process of visiting the market, many front-line employees will participate. This is actually to tie the thoughts and insights of front-line employees to our management decision-making system. The benefit of this is that it releases a strong signal to underscore the establishment of our organizational culture (pragmatic, innovative, agile, inclusive, etc.). This is important to avoid the creation of “big business illnesses”.
So for me, going to the front line is actually a shortcut to lead the business, not a waste of time, not a show. Now, our business has been getting deeper and deeper. The more places I am going to now are the 3rd, 4th and 5th tier cities, and many of them are rural towns. Even if it takes a lot of time to penetrate the capillaries in these markets, I think that such market visits are particularly efficient.
Recognize the dynamics of user loyalty
Some people have said that China’s consumer loyalty is very low, like to change brands, like toss. But in fact, this should not be attributed to consumers, but rather the enterprise should be “three provinces and oneself.” Because the current Chinese market environment is changing too fast, consumers are always faced with choices, and these choices are increasing and constantly updated. The channel through which consumers obtain value is not unique, but rather relative. Not only are we creating value for others, but others are also trying to create value for him. Naturally, in the minds of consumers, the reference coordinates of the relative value of corporate brands have also been changing.
So for business, instead of thinking about consumer loyalty, why not consider the nature of business? What kind of value do we create for our customers so that we can stand up to their loyalty. Therefore, if companies can’t update the value they create for consumers from time to time, the relative value of the company will be weak, and the loyalty of consumers to the brand will naturally decline.
The company’s requirements for itself should be: I create more value for consumers than he does through other means. This relative value is meaningful. This requires us to constantly push forward the margins of our services and create more relative value. In this way, customers and consumers will stand with us in order to have so-called loyalty.
For companies, always recognize the dynamics of loyalty, no one will stay with you for no reason, until the day you fall.
The goal of the company is to use value to win loyalty.
For us to do business, instead of thinking about this loyalty, it is better to think about the nature of our business. My essence is the same as the commercial nature of the customer and the essence of the consumer. I bring value to him. In order to create value, my value must have several aspects. First, this value is relative, because not only is I spreading value to others, but others are trying to create value for him. He himself You can also see this value, for example, I have done a lot of things for the customer, he can do it himself, or he has other completely different, alternative ways to do it, and it can be satisfied without any relationship with my industry. His way to do it. So the value I create must be relative value, that is to say, my way of creating value for him is higher than others, other ways, himself or competitors or other alternative solutions, this value is only It makes sense. (Zhu Xiaojing, holds a master’s degree in business administration from Columbia University Business School and a bachelor’s degree in literature from Beijing Foreign Studies University. In 2015, he was appointed as the head of Fonterra Greater China, leading the company’s consumer brands, catering services and ranch business. The first Chinese president in the Greater China region in the past 20 years.