This post was originally posted on Linkedin, 30th of Sept, 2015. with the title “The Most Important Skill For Experienced Business Developers” Now revised.
What is your best guess about the most important skill for an experienced business developer?
Business Canvas? Crunching numbers? Timing? Something else? Well, there is a lot of important stuff, but my own guess is on letting go. Yes, you read it right, letting go.
If you, like me, are an experienced business developer, you know already how to build great businesses. You have a solid track record of successful cases on your CV. Based on your experience, you have found out the best methods, the best procedures, and the best team composition, that you know will generate the result you expect and want. But then one day…
The world changes and it starts to behave differently.
For some, the day has already passed.
For instance, for marketers. Most of them realized the hard way that the old way of marketing did not have the same impact anymore. They could increase the market budget, they could raise their efforts, but still, the market did not respond as they were used to.They did everything right, according to what they knew, what they had learned and what they had experienced. Still, it did not work. Something was different.
The world had changed.
Consumers got tools to participate in mass communication. Consumers got power, consumers got responsibilities. We got transparency.
Guess what the most challenging part is for marketers (and their bosses :))? Yes, letting go.
They can no longer control their campaigns and results. The campaign is free, as soon as it is out. From a one way communication, they are now in a conversation with customers, they have one voice of many. Marketers do not decide the length of a campaign. Their customers do. If customers love their message, the company will be well rewarded. If not, they have to deal with the consequences.
The world keeps changing. The change creeps closer to the core of the business.
A retrospective look shows us that we are going from scarcity to abundance. From “Any customer can have a car painted any color he wants so long as it is black” — Tom Ford, to “Build your own Volvo”. (You can replace “Volvo” with several other products.)
As customers’ power grows — what keeps them away from engaging in the very business model? Actually, several companies already work with involving customers in their business work.
As the pace of change increase, it will be more or less impossible to plan in advance. (You can read about the exponential increase of change here.) The worth of your excel sheet´s figures of prospected sales for the next months will be as much worth as a guess — or less. As the world gets to the core of your business model it will be very difficult to keep hold on to your basic concept of what your business model is.
Your role as a business developer will change the same way it has begun to change for marketers. Marketers have nowadays tools for “real-time marketing” to act on up to date events. The work goes towards going with the flow and acting upon what is (with the purpose in mind). Marketers have to adjust and be more flexible, more alert, more at ease with not knowing what the day will bring.
Imagine a sea captain — his job is to get to a certain place, his job is to continually keep the direction, the vision and choosing how to respond to each new arriving wave. The weather changes, and comes and goes, if he is lucky he gets good sight and can see a big wave approaching. At other times, he is in the middle of a high sea and his skills are set on challenge. A good captain knows how to run his ship in all kinds of weather.
You will most often have to let go of your predefined way, in order to reach your vision, your goal. In order to let something else in, in order to not risk to become irrelevant. Most certainly, what you will allow in, will be of much bigger importance, than what you hold on to.
Do you know where you are heading?
Do you have the courage and faith to go with the flow and let go of your control?
The power of now. The art of letting go. Welcome to the new way of business developing.