Good Managers Focus on the Four Fundamentals

by Denny Strigl

Since our book was introduced a few weeks ago, I have had an opportunity to meet and talk to many people in several cities across the country.  It has been a pleasure to speak about Managers, Can You Hear Me Now? and to discuss the details of some of the hard- hitting lessons presented in the book, but what I have most enjoyed is responding to the many great questions people have asked.  Questions have ranged from the very general in nature like how one goes about writing a book to specific questions about some of the management concepts discussed in the book.

One question in particular which has been asked on three occasions concerns what I call the “Four Fundamentals.”  In the book I say these fundamentals should be the focus of all managers.  They are:

  1. Grow revenue
  2. Get new customers
  3. Keep the customers you already have
  4. Eliminate costs

Further, I suggest if managers are not focused on one or more of these fundamentals they probably need to prioritize what they are doing.

The question which has been raised concerns why there aren’t other important fundamentals.  For example, one individual mentioned nothing happens until a sale is made, therefore shouldn’t sales be a fundamental?  Another asked why employee training and development isn’t a fundamental because nothing gets done until employees are trained.  Yet another asked why I didn’t include product development and innovation as a fundamental because they are critical to a company’s success.  An article even appeared in GPS World written by Kevin Dennehy on April 13, 2011 quoting someone who apparently heard me speak at the CTIA Convention in Orlando a few weeks ago who said, “Apparently unlike Mr. Strigl I think product innovation needs to be at the top of a manager’s to-do list.”

All are good questions.  Of course, selling is important and so are employee training and product innovation.   All are extremely important, as are other functions within a company.  However, looking at just these three questions, I would suggest each function mentioned falls under the general umbrella of what I refer to as the “Four Fundamentals.” Selling is all about growing revenue and getting new customers.  Employee training and development can be aimed at any one or more of the four fundamentals.  And certainly product innovation and development concerns growing revenue, getting new customers and even keeping the customers you already have.  Developing new products can even be a way of eliminating old costs.

Bottom line for me:  It’s up to individual managers to decide what functions they need to undertake to contribute to one or more of the fundamentals.  I’m encouraged by the nature of these questions and that many managers may be doing important things which contribute directly to the four fundamentals without needing to even think about it.  At the same time if they are doing things which do not contribute to the four fundamentals, they should think about not doing those things.

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2011 International CTIA: Wireless Today and Tomorrow

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