Is Your Company a Kool-Aid Drinker?

Koolaid Drinker

David Gordon

Sometimes companies, and more importantly, “leadership (managers),” exhibit corporate ADD and other times they drink their own Kool-Aid. It’s the rare company leadership that has vision and can generate support to affect the needed change to achieve their vision… or a change in direction.

I want to touch on those who lead departments that drink their own Kool-Aid and hence inhibit achieving organizational growth.

Let’s be honest, you’ve never heard an idea from yourself that you didn’t like. It’s human nature.

We all have built-in biases, especially when it comes to our jobs, the direction of our company (or departments), or when long -held assumptions are challenged. In other words, we like drinking our own Kool-Aid.

But what worked yesterday and still suffices today is not necessarily what our company needs, our customers want, or what will be needed for tomorrow to serve customer needs and attract business. The key is evolving, involving others and challenging yesterday’s assumptions.

I was speaking with a client last week. Some in the company sense the market is changing, that customers are looking for more. There is a thought that specific types of customers may desire, or perhaps require, different services and may needed to be marketed to differently.

Others, however, take a traditional product marketing centric approach and essentially say, “Let’s just promote product that works for that market segment to them.” These individuals are using their history of “product marketing is all customers want/need” rather than trying to understand customer needs and market direction.

Most customers rarely shop; they buy. They know what they need and are seeking the most value (as they would define it) from a supplier. But understanding the definition of value in the eyes of the customer is what differentiates companies… and management/leadership.

Companies, and management, that continue to drink their own Kool-Aid will typically generate sub-par results as they won’t grow with their customers, generate new customers and be able to take market share.

If you want to remain a kid, drink Kool-Aid. If you want to grow, think differently and expand your horizons… be open to new ideas, new information sources and new ways of thinking.

Oh… and the corporate ADD environments… a whole different challenge… they drink a different type of Kool-Aid, the one where it is a different flavor every day!


David Gordon is President of Channel Marketing Group. Channel Marketing Group helps manufacturers and distributors in the construction and industrial trades generate ideas to accelerate revenue through strategic planning, marketing planning and coaching and market research initiatives. He can be reached at 919.488.8635.


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