Leadership is essential to any account management team — but how do you ensure it’s happening, and happening well? According to Zippia, "Only 10% of people are natural leaders — another 20% show some qualities of basic managerial talent that can be cultivated into high-quality leadership."
At face value, that sounds like horrible news: the leadership pool is restricted to 30% of professionals. But there is no such thing as natural leadership — successful leaders receive training, support, and professional development to get there. That means the pool of potential leaders isn't restricted at all. It means, with the right support and perspective, professionals can develop themselves and people on their teams into leaders with a proper leadership mindset.
Learn more about how a leadership mindset is at the core of successful leadership and how a key account management maturity model is the missing tool your organization needs to reach new heights.
What Is a Leadership Mindset?
A leadership mindset isn't just a requirement for executive team members and directors. Anyone can develop a leadership mindset. It's made up of attitudes and beliefs that guide your actions, as well as the expectations you have for yourself and members of your team. There are multiple different types of leadership mindsets, each with different strengths, priorities, and levels of development.
Harvard Business Review defines a leadership mindset as:
Leaders' mental lenses dictate what information they take in and use to make sense of and navigate the situations they encounter. Simply, mindsets drive what leaders do and why.
Because it encompasses every element of what you think and do in the workplace, it influences every aspect of performance. A good leadership mindset includes the following elements so leaders can drive customer-centric success:
- Resourcefulness: Adaptability, the ability to use tools and information in new contexts, and a deep understanding of your organization are crucial to a leadership mindset.
- Directness: Leaders must be able to face challenges head-on in order to respond appropriately and come up with proper resolutions.
- A focus on the future: A future-based mindset is the best lens for making changes to your organization, creating new workflows and processes, and evaluating how to build client-facing services.
- Customer-centricity: Good leaders in B2B, B2C, and D2C organizations put the customer at the center of every decision to ensure the client experience is excellent and customers get the most possible value.
But developing a strong leadership mindset is hard, especially if you don't know where you are in your journey and don't have the support to grow your mindset, which is where a key account management maturity model comes into play.
What Is a Maturity Model?
Despite how important leadership mindsets can be throughout every level of an organization, organizations often struggle to cultivate them. In Brandon Hall Group's leadership conference summary, they noted that "Almost 75% of respondents to Brandon Hall Group's 2013 Leadership Development Benchmarking Survey said their Leadership Development programs are not very effective." Some of the reasons why leadership mindsets might not be cultivated easily include the lack of time and money to focus on professional development, how businesses tend to focus on urgent tasks over important ones, and the lack of quantitative metrics by which to gauge the development of a leadership mindset.
That last point — that it's difficult to measure and improve something as seemingly unquantifiable as a mindset — is crucial, and that's where maturity models come in. Rather than reducing a leadership mindset to a series of tangential numbers and metrics that glancingly measure the qualities of a good leadership mindset, a maturity model shows what the mindset should look like at various stages and levels.
The leadership mindset portion of the KAM maturity model we use has five stages, each of which is defined by different behaviors, levels of understanding, and customer-focused actions. With this sort of framework, evaluators and individuals can determine which level most closely mirrors their current mindset. They can then make adjustments in business workflows and their own mindset to rise through the levels and become a fully matured leader. A maturity model gives all members of an organization an objective, holistic tool for gauging mindset and development without either becoming too vague or getting lost in the weeds of metrics.
How to Develop and Evolve Your Leadership Mindset
Find where you stand in this KAM leadership mindset maturity model by evaluating your processes and perspective. At each level, you can see actions and characteristics that define that level, as well as what steps are needed to reach the next level.
Level 1: Ad Hoc
Here, your systems are messy, inconsistent, and unprofessional. If you use key performance indicators (KPIs) and management by objectives (MBOs), the efforts are short-term and sporadic.
You can't move to the next level until you and your team acknowledge (and commit to) the need for change.
Level 2: Awareness
Things are better at this stage, and your team is getting more new business. However, customers aren't sticking around. Poor retention could be due to:
- Lack of customer history information
- Lack of customer progress tracking
- Reactive client outreach and services instead of proactive services
This results in a lot of stress, which exacerbates the adverse environment.
To move to the next level, you need to invest in infrastructure and consistent work processes that allow you to keep up with current clients.
Level 3: Repeatable
The key element of this stage of the maturity model is seeing retention as a driver of valuation. Your core focus is retention through excellent service. Now you'll see a greater degree of retention, but processes are still rocky and inconsistent.
To progress to the fourth level, focus on making everything more customer-centric.
Level 4: Predictable
Now you're doing more than keeping up with clients. You're building your team's work processes around them. You and your team are constantly making improvements that proactively serve clients and enhance their experiences. However, the customer doesn't always come first.
To reach the final level of the leadership mindset maturity model, everything needs to be about the customer. Your perspective, mindset, and motivations should all gravitate toward the customer.
Level 5: Activating
At the final level, you prioritize the customer in every decision. The customer is a stakeholder in your processes, and every decision is made based on its impact on your customers.
Evolve Your Leadership Mindset With Support From Kapta
A leadership mindset can make all the difference in your organization, but how you get there matters. Develop your team and your own mindset with tools built to support customer-centric organizations. At Kapta, we create software solutions that help teams proactively manage accounts, stay on top of clients' needs, and create consistently excellent experiences. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule a demo.