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The No. 1 reason companies fall apart

October 3, 2015, 5:00 PM UTC
Courtesy of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What is the biggest leadership lesson you’ve learned in the past year? is written by Stacia Pierce, CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises.

The biggest lesson that I was reminded of this year is that what once worked for a company doesn’t always work. As a creative entrepreneur and business coach, it’s important to stay innovative. However, when you’re in the midst of rolling out new products — regardless of the industry you’re in — you must also take time to evaluate what is working and pinpoint areas of opportunities for improvement. You can’t keep producing the same things and expect different results.

My team and I recently made a strong effort to listen to our customers and made relevant, innovative changes to deliver superior product and services. I first started with a company audit, reviewing all product performance, quality and relevancy, and discovered there were some things that were ready to be phased out. So we came up with some new ideas to increase productivity for our customers — and for us.

We took a three-step approach to improve the quality of our annual conference, The Women’s Success Conference, and our training program, Success Mastery. The process guided us deeper into truly understanding the needs of our clients and, as a result, enabled us to become more efficient and effective.

Try it for yourself
I recruited team members who didn’t work closely with our training program to test drive it and go through each training as our clients do. We then asked for straightforward, honest feedback on what worked and what didn’t, which was a real eye opener. The feedback enlightened our team on how to fix the problem spots and enhance what was already working. As a result, we developed new and improved training modules that have gotten great feedback.

See also: Oracle’s Co-CEO: Leaders need to ask tougher questions

Talk to your clients
For quality assurance, we set up meetings with some of our most engaged clients to discover more of what helped them during the training program and what else they needed to succeed. This informative part of our research was the most fun — it’s always good to hear how clients have succeeded with your help. When you speak with clients directly, you’ll learn more about their growing needs and what you can do to help them achieve their new goals.

Enhance with innovation
Armed with new insight on our products, services and events, we set out to create more powerful and impactful experiences. From our presentations to customer service, we left no stone unturned, which allowed for a better overall experience and gave our clients more of what they wanted.

It is very important to find ways to stay relevant in business. Whether you’re a small business owner or running a large corporation, the key is to never lose touch with the people you’ve set out to serve. Our job as a company is to solve problems for our clients. Taking a proactive approach to grow with your clients and continuing to provide excellent service and quality products is crucial for business success.


Read all responses to the MPW Insider question: What is the biggest leadership lesson you’ve learned in the past year?

What millennials can teach CEOs about leadership by Sharon Price John, CEO of Build-A-Bear Workshop.

Lockheed Martin’s Marillyn Hewson: One of the biggest lessons she learned this year by Marillyn Hewson, CEO, chairman, and president of Lockheed Martin.

How CST Brands’ CEO overcomes resistance to change byKim Lubel, CEO, chairman and president of CST Brands.

IBM CEO Ginni Rometty’s secret to a successful career by Ginni Rometty, CEO, chairman and president of IBM.

Mondelez CEO says this is why managers need to be more transparent with employees by Irene Rosenfeld, CEO of Mondelez.