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Embracing Authentic Demand

This is the core of innovative leadership

What distinguishes true leaders from managers is their commitment to innovation. Indeed, managing any business is challenging and complex work. It includes facilitating transactions, meeting quality standards, ensuring team productivity and setting and achieving goals — all of which are a manager’s responsibility. But leadership adds another layer.  Leaders must also keep an innovative eye on business sustainability. That involves one continual challenge and a periodic hurdle. Meeting each of those challenges requires paying attention to authentic demand.

Keeping one eye on the ball and the other on the whole game

The continual challenge leaders face is staying attuned to trends. Markets are constantly in flux, and new technologies, demographics, competitors, regulations and public moods can undermine the assumptions that sustain any business. When managers focus exclusively on current sales targets and other metrics, they can quickly lose sight of emerging developments that present new opportunities or threaten the relevance of entire categories of products and services.

To see trending opportunities and threats clearly, leaders need to understand how their customers’ daily situations shape the demand for their products. So long as customers rely on your products to navigate their situations, they remain reliable. But when their conditions change, it’s time to watch out.  

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