Six Focus Areas to Ensure Business Mindset and
Leadership Readiness

What matters in business, is business! And business is all about performing as on organization, in the marketplace.

 Sai Kumar Chandran

Performing in the marketplace can be understood at two levels:

1. Effectiveness as an organisational machinery: which means success of every single function in the organisation and at all levels of the organisation

2. Effectiveness as an organisation in the marketplace: which means having the right brand presence, attracting & monetising the right set of customers, retaining customers & expanding the customer base (possibly into newer markets and newer segments of customers)

A third category under performance in the market can also be: becoming an influencer of the marketplace itself, influencing some of the market regulations, market practices et cetera. Though this is a criterion that will apply only to some organisations.

Now if you are a leader in an organisation, or you are the owner of a business, you would like to keep your eyes on both parts of the definition of performance given above. Some of you may argue, that the boundaries of your role really do not allow you to influence success in the second part of the definition. This is where the point is: all leaders and business owners of today, must be exceptionally good at the first part and derive the impact that will qualify them for the second part.

Another argument that may come, if that all this is very intuitive, and everybody does it naturally. I would like to argue and even give you a surprising answer – this is NOT true. There are several organisations, which have managed to attract very good talent, maybe even have a good cultural setup, but they really do not have what it takes to compete in the market and do their best. Such organisations could be a great place to work for some people, but they are not market leaders, neither are they optimising revenue nor profit opportunity.

At the same time, there are other organisations that are exceptionally competitive in the marketplace, and are viewed as top two or three market leaders; but their culture, people who work there and sometimes given the way they approach their work is not necessarily work one can take pride in. These are the highly profit-making companies, which possibly might have low care quotient for their employees or customers.

Then there is a group of organisations in almost every sector, which have mastered the art of running a good organisational machinery, and really deliver results in the marketplace. Every now and then each one of us has experienced either working for such a company or being the customer of one such company. The nature of my work prevents taking names; hence I will avoid giving you examples and rather encourage you to intuit these brands.

Having mastered building an effective organisational machinery, doesn’t mean that you will master effectiveness in the marketplace. Or having mastered effectiveness in the marketplace, doesn’t mean that you have built an effective organisational machinery. One needs to build an organisation and get the organisation to perform. These are two distinct approaches which need to be brought together, for creating an organisation that not only performs but is able to scale and sustain. To some enthusiastic minds, it may even seem that there is a perfect correlation between these two. However, having built a good organisation makes it easy for us to succeed in the marketplace; similarly, success in the marketplace, does give us the wherewithal to build a great organisation. However, both are only facilitative conditions for each other. A leader or business owner, needs to learn and master both.

In a nutshell, effectiveness as an organisational machinery, is the means to the end towards building effectiveness as an organisation in the marketplace. And effectiveness in the marketplace, is the means that will fund the ends of building an effective organisational machinery.

Start small if you’re starting and build it right. And if you’re already sitting with a large organisation, start balancing these two.
There are many things that you can do to excel at both these definitions of being a leader or owner who creates an organisation that is performing both as an organisational machinery and in the market.

But there are 6 key focus areas of leaders and business owners who really do well.

1. Learn, Learn, Learn
Management of an organisation is learning the hard science, of how every function in the business runs. Leadership on the other hand is a set of mental and emotional competencies that deliver the hard science to get results. A good leader or business owner, needs to understand all aspects of management, and master one or two. At the same time, they need to master the science and art of leadership.

Both are pursuits, in which an individual needs to set learning and performance goals for every 3 – 5 years. This means that in every 3 – 5 years, they need to learn, perform and master the next higher level of management and leadership skills. Mastery takes no less than this 3 – 5 year period. In this case, mastery is a combination of both formal and informal learning. This means everything from taking courses, to reading books, to interactions, to getting coached and mentored, and actual performance

  • What were the management and leadership capabilities that are developed in the last 3 – 5 years?
  • What are the management and leadership capabilities that you are planning to develop in the next 3 – 5 years? How do these build upon what you already know?

2. Never believe that you have figured it all out – keep looking for answers
Many researchers in the field of behavioural economics, have now conclusively proven that we are primarily irrational, and both our intuitive and the thinking is flawed because of inherent biases.

Hence, at any point in time, remember to execute with what you have and in consultation with experts around you. We are living in times when in most matters under consideration none of us will ever know as much as a few of us or all of us will know. Hence make the time to connect with experts in your field and collaborate with people around.

At the same time, we are living in times, when a person could have been correct one evening, and the next morning the person may entirely need to change their thinking, approach, or decision. That’s the speed at which things are changing to. In such cases. course correction without delay becomes imperative.

3. Keep your ears to the ground in the market
Keeping your ears to the ground, will help you understand the market reality, to understand each of the elements of market reality, there is a bunch of variables that we can observe. Once we have enough data, understand the story behind the data, and the connections and meaning in that story. This is what will give us actionable insights, into:
a. What customers and consumers really want?
b. What your competitors are failing at?

Knowing what customers and consumers want is really intuitive. But the real power is in knowing what your competitors are failing at. This will help us understand all the attempts being made at meeting the needs of customers. The lesson that they can derive from this are either how not to do things, or to understand areas in which we need to make different kinds of attempt to achieve what our competitors were trying to achieve and changed. Both are invaluable insights for running a business

4. Keep your ears to the ground in the organization
The next area where leader needs to get data, stories and insights is what people in the organisation really want. Some bits of this pursuit are to understand, what people at senior levels want, similarly what peer groups want and what people in the teams below want. All three of these are equally important to be triangulated and know what’s the best course of action to take. A sensible business leaders will also learn to understand what some of the real needs are, and what is nearly noise. Some of this will have to be understood through learning, other bits through experience, and other bits through deliberation and exploration. Understanding this will help an individual, act with earnestness and impact.

5. Learn to read data and signals both
The times that we are living in, data has been hailed as the king. However, all individuals and organisational tools can only capture the data or the extent of data that is designed to be captured. Such data captured correctly can help us understand the stories, the pattern, the meanings and actionable insights.

However, leaders also need to understand dynamics of interactions, changing dynamics in the market, strange and unforeseen events, crisis et cetera which are not captured as data. They need to start understanding trends of incidences, energies, feelings, silence, gaps, triggers, variations and so many other things which will not all be hard data in front of them from a data capturing system.

This is what will make a leader capable of fully succeeding in managing the environment in.

6. Market yourself – but do not forget to challenge yourself everyday
While the first five help us develop substance, it is also equally important for us to package and market ourselves. Before others buy our products or take our services, they have to accept us, hence selling ourselves is important to establish what we do. Hence learn to do this well.

At the same time exercise caution and do not make this your single-minded pursuit. There is a bunch of people, professionals and business owners who believe that in the age of Facebook and Instagram marketing is everything. This may give you some short-term gains, but eventually people will discover that you lack substance if you do not do 1-5. Hence do invest in improving yourself and progressing.

An old proverb goes like this: we never step into the same water twice…things are either getting better or worse. Choose to flow, and grow that’s the only way to get along with others and get ahead of the current state be being.

Sai Kumar Chandran is the founder of OrbitShift. He is a coaching and consulting practitioner and an entrepreneur at heart. He can be reached at

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top