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Play your ball from where it lies

All you have to do is get a little white ball in the cup 18 times with no more than 72 shots.  Having an ideal shot for a 2 iron doesn’t do much good if you don’t have one or can’t hit straight with it. Most people easily get that CRM is an extremely powerful way to profitably grow your organization. Few are able to know what to do and are able to act on it. 

The investments necessary in building out the operations that enable CRM functions span capital, time and management bandwidth. It’s not about writing a check. Leaders need to put their personal credibility and relationships on the line to perform CRM as a business discipline at increasingly higher levels of sophistication.

Many organizations fail to deliver business results pursuing what look like well-intended strategies. They either over- or under-invest in the wrong areas at the wrong times. Despite the promise of self-funded projects and roadmaps that deliver value along the way, most often they built it and they don’t come.  These breakdowns manifest as failure to execute within the organization, which gets interpreted as a lack of adoption.  Somehow it’s cast as the fault of employees who are fearful of – or simply unwilling to – change their proven ways.

Our view is that adoption breakdowns are really predictable outcomes of a flawed approach. It’s like complaining about a bad lie. Just like the club you choose, top-down and bottom-up approaches are both legitimate options but aren’t both always right for every situation. When the wrong approach is used for the situation, capital is wasted, leaders lose credibility and people become skeptical. The sad reality is that these setbacks make the journey to value longer – if they don’t stop it altogether.


Although using top-down for minor changes can produce desired impact, it is akin to over-clubbing and swinging lightly. Most common breakdown occurs when a lower-level leader tries to sponsor far-reaching improvements by building bigger than their own needs when their cohorts have other priorities. Even if they get the budget or “permission” to go forward, these shots tend to end up lost in the water or stuck in a sand trap.

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