Are you the leader you should be?

From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

In this Issue:

  1. Forward
  2. Taking a Leadership Role in Employee Relationships
  3. Leo Borwick's Establishing Thought Leadership with Your Customers and Trading Partners
  4. How Executives Can Create an Accurate Business Impression
  5. Shameless Self Promotion


In this issue, you will learn how to take a leadership role with your employees, methods to establish thought leadership, and tips to create an accurate business impression.

This month I am trimming some fat out of this newsletter by orienting its focus to your expectations and desires. I know this step will increase the value of this publication. What else can I do to help this publication solve issues you face?

My vision for the Center for Strategic Relations is to become the number one source for detailed solutions in strategic business relationships, helping readers ethically turn relationships into sustainable profits. In the coming months I will reveal how my vision can advance your business objectives. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, if there is anything I can do for you, just reply to this message and I will answer you promptly.


Justin Hitt
Strategic Relations Consultant, Author & Speaker

Taking a Leadership Role in Employee Relationships

Executive, Are you worthy of respect?

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Through the Center for Strategic Relations, I am building an army of professional executives who respect themselves enough to use ethical business practices to create sustainable profits constructive to those around them. Not the hungry back stabbing we have seen in the recent years, but a business ethic to prides itself on a team wins.

Yes, a few will think this is impossible to accomplish, after all we are only human, but I find most executives want to be proud of the business they created and have the capacity to be honest.

James Flanigan's article Wanted: Executives Worthy of Respect (Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2003) lays out a laundry list of those businesses that spit on the good names of executives everywhere. It does not matter that every industry will have a few bad apples, what really matters is can your employees trust you. Right now, your employees judge you based on the actions of a few bad apples.

You have to work twice as hard to earn the trust you deserve.

In the short of building employee relationships, it matters most how you demonstrate respect for employees. If a front line worker cannot be sure his job will be there tomorrow, then how can they put in 100% of their effort today? Do your employees trust you personally with their future?

The push for independent directors help improve this bond of trust, at least from the prospective that someone will watch you while you shape your employees futures -- but why would you let down your most valuable asset. Many people do get ahead without theft and embezzlement. Do you think outside reform necessary?

Look at your own practices; you know what is right, and what feels wrong. Ask yourself if you would want the same to happen to you. Demand your managers� respect the companies will, and their security by keeping their eyes open to abuse. Take responsibility for your own actions.

With strategic relations, you get the power to change things quickly by using points of influence. Can you resist the power this provides? When you surround yourself with strong employees, your company is less likely to be scrutinized by outsiders. If you treat your people with respect, they will be more loyal and supportive of your objectives.

What else contributes to the respect you deserve from employees?

© 2003 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
/ employee-relations | executive-relations /

Justin Hitt is a strategic relations consultant with the Center for Strategic Relations. He is available for limited consultative support of professional organizations serving other businesses. Call +1 (877) 207-3798 or visit

Establishing Thought Leadership with your Customers and Trading Partners

By Leo Borwick, Independent Strategy Consultant,

Demonstrate to your B2B customers that your thinking about the future goes beyond the next order or the next product launch and you gain the opportunity to raise the dialog above the issues of price, service and specifications. Doing so with them opens up the possibility of becoming their strategic partner -- perhaps cooperating in ways they had never considered -- and so closing the door on your competitors. In this article, we show you how.

The Big Switch

A few years back I worked as a planner for a big European Telco. It was before the market was liberalized and we mostly sold "plain old telephone service". But we also offered big corporate customers complex private switching systems ("big switches") -- a product I knew was unprofitable and yet nobody I asked could tell me why we continued it. Finally, I asked a seasoned senior executive, who I thought would have the clout to kill the thing off. His answer was: "If we didn't have this product, then what would the salesman say after 'Hello'?".

Well, the good news is that you do not need to add complex and unprofitable product lines to solve this problem. In essence, you just start a conversation about something of mutual concern and relevance in the wider world."Golf!", you're thinking "... or Tierra--del--Fuegan nose flutes!"?

Well maybe, but what I have in mind is a broader social, business, or environmental trend -- something you and they might not have given much consideration to up to now. Big corporations often spend thousands or millions of dollars doing just this, for example by sponsoring conferences and campaigns, or by endowing professorial chairs. They produce glossy publications about corporate citizenship (AT&T) and respect for the environment (HP). And perhaps they mean it. But somehow it's all a bit impersonal -- more of a statement than a conversation. And, besides, although you might work for one of these admirable behemoths, we're talking about you, as an individual, not the corporation.

What to Do

So what I propose is a simple, proven, process that you can do on your own, or with a small group of people, with or without external assistance. You might be best advised to start the process on your own to gain familiarity with it and to involve others once you are comfortable.

The first step is to consider the issues you have within your business (or that you and your customer have). Make a list and then park them -- you will come back there later.

The next few steps concern the external environment -- thinking about the trends that might be happening out there, without trying too hard to make them relevant, selecting some and then analyzing them in more detail. For example you might find out about population trends -- the increasing average age, more single households, people starting families later and so on. Other categories to brainstorm might include the physical environment -- global warming, pollution, water shortages and other cheerful things -- business, politics, legislation and the economy.

For each trend, sketch out what factors are driving it to happen, what reactions might take place (or are already doing so), for example new laws and regulation, or changes in people's behavior, and consider possible implications for your business, your customers and so on. Go back and do a few more until you start to see themes and clusters of issues emerging. Then you are ready to start linking what you have discovered to the business issues you first thought of and selecting priorities for action.


Sources of information will include the Internet, of course, and newspapers -- develop the habit of scanning different papers and asking yourself what trends might underlie each news item. Make a cuttings file for each trend that interests you. Look not only at the more earnest broadsheet papers -- Los Angeles Times, New York Times and the like -- but also at the populist press and papers directed at ethnic minorities and special interest groups. An hour or two in your local library is good for this. Consult experts -- email addresses for university faculty, pressure group researchers and journalists are often easy to find and these people often welcome inquiries from outside their normal circle.

How to have a conversation

So how you gain from all this with customers? One option is to invite them to a presentation of what you have found, why you think it is important for their business and yours and to discuss what you might do about it together. Do it on a forum on your website, if you must -- it's a lot better than the "big switch" and might impress them if you do it well. But a braver and more rewarding approach in the longer run is to involve them -- accept that you both have things to learn, jointly and from each other's insights. Conversations, after all, are based on some degree of parity and give--and--take.

Leo Borwick is the founder of Strategic Intelligence, a UK--based specialist that helps its clients visualize the future using Snowball Trends methodology, providing a database of trends and assistance with the process. He is a seasoned strategist with many years' experience in the telecommunications and Internet industries.

How Executives Can Create an Accurate Business Impression

You play a leading role in cultivating the impression people have of your business. Without going into details about image and brand advertising, I want to share how important it is that you make the right impression for your company.

Everything you have learned about corporate image is counter productive to business relationships. An image is something projected, not necessarily the true thing. On the other hand, an impression provides the prospect/customer/employee an influencing model based on certain desirable characteristics representing your corporate objectives.

The point, a corporate impression is more powerful and longer lasting than a corporate image.

Here are a number of strategies that can help executives create a great corporate impression:

  1. Hire the best people. Great people make you look good and solve customer’s problems right the first time. Hire for interpersonal skills in communications and problem solving.
  2. Keep people well trained. Make sure everyone who works for you is in the top of his or her field with regular training. Invest in your workforce.
  3. Check on customers regularly. Each of your most profitable customers should know you personally and regularly have the opportunity to share their feedback with you in person.
  4. Under promise by half. Your position authorizes you to make verbal agreements, be careful what you say and only promise only half of what you people can reasonably provide.
  5. Work through your team. Let your people solve problems for you and spend most of their time in front of customers, after all you hired employees for their expertise not your entertainment.
  6. Share your vision regularly. Tell customers and employees about your vision of the company, this will shape their actions in relation to your company.
  7. Delegate responsibilities to leaders. Your responsibility is to guide the company toward your vision, let your employees solve problems and do the jobs you hired them.
  8. Express interest in customer successes. Personally showing your interest in customers’ successes demonstrates your commitment to them.
  9. Be open and welcome feedback. If someone has something to say about your company or services, then listen to them and ask questions. Assign someone to address the situation immediately if at all possible.
  10. Share your company's successes. Tell everyone about what your company does right; highlight and celebrate employee successes regularly. Reward success and it will return to you.

© 2003 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.

Justin Hitt is a consultant who specializes in growing relationships for executives in technology companies who want greater profits. For a copy of his newsletter Inside Strategic Relations visit

Shameless Self Promotion:

How to reach more buyers in less time

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See your organization selling excess inventories quickly, finding cost effective services, obtaining necessary capital, and solving business problems with this private trade exchange. In fact, that is probably how your competition keeps their costs low and utilization so high. Every successful organization utilizes this type of resource, private trade exchanges are the tool you may have missed in the past.

Hear how this might be right for you

Are you a technology services provider looking to reach an international audience? Do you need something to advance your business, but wasn't sure were to look? Are you a B2B broker interested in trade alerts? Did you answer "Yes" to any of these questions? You will find a subscription to FYEO Trade Alerts is right for you.

You will find these alerts different from any trade exchange you may have experienced before; they are highly targeted to the technology industries serving financial institutions, aerospace, government contractors, semiconductor manufacturers, and management professionals. You will read about companies seeking, and even offering investment capital. Even companies who want what you are selling.

Connecting buyers and sellers quickly

How does FYEO Trade Alerts fit into the vision and mission of the Center for Strategic Relations? FYEO Trade Alerts directly implements an economic development method to connect necessary materials and resources inside a specific network of relationships. It fits into a marketing micro-loan program to be announced in a few months, and provides a low cost method to connect with buyers, while serving the need of sellers.

To learn more and subscribe to this cost effective solution visit -- this is the same trade alert publication used by subscribers of the Strategic Relations Journal, and frequented by technology buyers everywhere.

For a limited time, you will receive a free listing with your paid subscription (of equal or lesser value.) This offer expires 1 September 2003. This offer is open to any technology based company or service provider worldwide, forward to your purchasing department. Not all organizations accepted.

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