“I had to step back and learn that my job is to help others shine. It was all about communication, motivation, vision, and lifting up others. I would say that was the first real key lesson in leadership that I had to learn the hard way.” – Dennis Geelen
Recently I sat down with Dennis Geelen to learn more about his new book, The Zero In Formula. Dennis is the founder of Zero In, a consulting company that works with small to medium sized businesses, to help them implement creative strategies to be more customer centric and innovative.
In this episode, we cover:
- The hardest management truth Dennis ever learned, and how you can leverage self-awareness to elevate your game
- Why innovation doesn’t necessarily equate to technology, and how small changes can create big results
- How customer-centricity is often missed, and how to ensure you get it right
- The simple 3 step formula to drive customer-centric innovation throughout your organization
- and more!
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The biggest lesson I think I had was, “OK, now that you’re in a leadership role, things need to change.” I didn’t realize that in the beginning. I kept wanting to be that go-to guy, keep being very involved in the operations, keep being very hands-on. And I quickly had to learn, now that I’m in a leadership position, it’s not about me anymore.
I had to step back and learn that my job is to help others shine. It was all about communication, motivation, vision, and lifting up others. I would say that was the first real key lesson in leadership that I had to learn the hard way.
Create a customer-centric foundation
There’s so much noise out there. You need to market yourself, you need to brand yourself, you need a good sales funnel, and there’s so much information coming at us.
Sure, some of those other things are good, but not if you don’t have a good foundation. Right?
You have great marketing and sales, but at the end of the day, if you’re not creating a good experience for those customers once they land with you, if there’s nothing different or innovative about you, they’re not going to stay.
The key here for me is “intentional”. You are intentional about being customer-centric, and you are intentional about being innovative.
What does that look like on the innovation side?
I like to give different principles that I believe need to be followed in order to be an innovative company. One, you’ve got practices in place that are designed to create new ideas. Do you have practices in place? Do you have regular brainstorming meetings? Do you have ways of gathering ideas from your employees? That’s one way of being intentional.
Are those ideas coming from a diverse group of people? You want to have perspectives from all areas of your company – people from sales, operations, marketing, leadership, they all see it differently. Get those perspectives and make each of those people feel included, like their idea and their perspective matters just as much as the next person.
Links and Resources
Connect with Dennis: LinkedIn
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
Dennis’ Productivity Tip: Organize and prioritize your day