Developing Through Adversity

Every organization will go through adversity. Whether big or small, adversity is one of the absolute key components of innovation and development. But how, exactly, can we successfully navigate ourselves and our organization through adversity? All organizations are different. They have different ideals, brands, cultures, services, philosophies, and the list goes on. However, to navigate tough adversity, there are a few steps that can be applied to any organization and industry to facilitate development through tough challenges.


Step 1: Define Situation

    When Alan Mulally took over as CEO for Ford Motors Co., Ford was looking at possible government bailout. Ford Motors Co. was deep in the red with almost $13 billion in liabilities. When Mulally brought his team together to discover why the situation was so dire, his team members refused to report any failure. This is the first lesson in turning an organization around, if no one admits there is an issue, nothing can be fixed.

    Fortunately, after weeks of consistent effort in pinpointing issues within the organization, one of his members acknowledged that his division was facing major challenges that could hurt Ford Motors further. Mulally had finally found a place to work in and acknowledged the executive in front of all his other members. This established the second lesson in developing an organization through adversity: Open communication without blame will target the problems.


Step 2: Assemble the Core

    Once you have established that the organization requires a turn around, leaders must find a delicate balance of key people to move the cause forward. This is perhaps the most difficult step. The correct group of people must be influential enough within the organization to make a difference. They must also willingly change organizational behaviors. The core group must include a balance between change agents and established executives.

    As a leader, your objective is to merge this group of individuals into a team. This is your core. It will be entirely up to your leadership style how to best create the team culture, however, what you create here, will eventually spread out through your organization, so beware.


Step 3: Sense of Urgency

Why would your team want to take action? Why should your team take action now? This is going to be very specific to your firm and your situation, however the idea is the same: create a sense of urgency! Underperforming teams always have similarities, one of them is procrastination. A sense of urgency will create a must-do attitude. This is where leadership will shine.

Under pressure, we often reveal our true selves and values. Leadership is never more important than when the balance between an ethical or unethical decision hangs on the edge. Leaders’ responsibility in creating a sense of urgency is followed by bringing out the best in the team. This is the true measure of leadership. Can you advance your organization without compromising your and your team’s integrity?

Bringing out the best in people under a sense of urgency doesn’t have to be complicated, but it requires your best.

Step 4: Master the Vision

Create, share, and empower others towards a strong vision. You have acknowledged a situation within your organization, you have assembled a strong core, and you have created a positive sense of urgency, your organization is now ready to turn around and push through its current circumstances. However, how will you know if you’re being successful?

Establishing a strong and tangible vision for the future of your organization will give you direction. The vision is the most vital step in moving forward. The vision must be so powerful, that it must move your team to lead or follow towards it. Once you’ve created your vision, give everyone in your organization the power to share it constantly.


Step 5: Set Goals, Schedule Victories

    To achieve your vision, you must break it down into small achievable goals. Add a realistic deadline and begin accomplishing them. I always suggest creating goals that are action based instead of results based. This gives you power and control over achieving it instead of others. For example, if you want to grow sales, make the goal to contact x many people, instead of getting z many sales.

Small goals achieved by a deadline will give your vision credibility and start one of the most important factors of successful organizations: Momentum. Momentum gives strength and power to you, your core, and your organization. Momentum is the X factor in moving from small victories to medium victories to eventual major victories. This is how a culture of winning is established.

Step 6: Analyze and Implement

    As time progresses through your turnaround efforts, there will be changes in the way things are done. These changes can be organic, organized or established. Keep track of the changes you see. The more information you can keep track of, the better reference it will become. Lessons learned within organizations are a major factor in development.

    Once you consistently have a core team successfully moving the organization towards a vision, results can begin to be analyzed. What has worked the best? What hasn’t given results expected? With these answers you can begin to reshape step 5 for necessary changes and begin implementing processes that have proven successful.



    By 2010, Alan Mulally, former Ford Motor Co. CEO, had pushed profits to the highest they had been in a decade ($6.6 billion). When Mulally left Ford Motors Co. in July of 2014 he had created such a culture of winning, FY14 Q2 marked its 20th consecutive profitable quarter ($1.3 billion). This major turnaround was all accomplished without federal bailout money.

    As leaders, adversity gives us the opportunity to grow leaner and stronger organizations towards innovation. Where you finish after the struggle is in large part based on your vision and your ability to share it with your core. Breaking down your vision into manageable action-based goals will create momentum and a culture of winning. Remember, your integrity will always be the most valuable asset you bring as a leader and many times a key deciding factor in the future of the world.

Diego M. Silva Aceituno, Managing Partner





New Market Penetration Strategy

We live in a world of abundance. As new markets emerge and young markets become established , it is the ethical and sustainable firms that must lead the charge to set the standard in local, domestic, and global capitalization. To do this, you must be willing to enter new markets.

Creating a New Market Penetration Strategy (NMPS) is faster and simpler than most business owners think. You can do countless and thousands of studies before committing to entering a new market, however, it will ultimately come down to your product/service’s ability to stand out – as it should.

Step 1: Defining the Goal / Purpose

If your business has nothing offer of value to the market, it is best to decide on a different business development strategy. Here is our goal for the latest market we’ve entered.

Goal:    Create valuable, loyal, & ongoing partners, in which we provide ethical and sustainable services to create a long lasting impact on Global Development.

Step 2: Define Boundaries & Territory

For you to enter a new market, it will require someone to sell into the market. Unless the client comes to you first, you will have to make the initial contact. This requires for you to know your boundaries. In The Silva Aceituno Group’s (The S.A.G.) case, A Global Solutions Firm, we’ll be utilizing continents as territories.

  • Latin America
  • North America
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Africa
  • Oceania

Note: that we separate Latin & North America due to the vast difference in services provided (North America is domestic market which allows us to sell BD services). The order listed should be prioritized based on strategic client orders, by volume of sales, or if easier, by desired volume of sales.
















Step 3: Define Strategic Requirements

Whether it’s a product or a service, your firm should choose cities that allow for easy implementation of your service first. In The S.A.G.’s case, our strategic requirements would be:

  • Big cities (which will have the most population need in restoration and overall development).
  • Free Trade Agreements
  • Ability to send directly to Port
  • No language barrier


Step 4: Choose Strategic Targets

Which cities, regions, countries fit your requirements? To start out with Latin America, The S.A.G. would choose 3 countries in which it can provide services through a Free Trade Agreement with the domestic country, in our case, The USA. The target country will be:

  • Chile – established economy
  • Peru – establishing economy
  • Colombia – emerging economy


Step 5: Create Action Based benchmarks

Ultimately, you cannot control your clients nor your results. All you can control are the action taken to give way for results. This means that to get results, we must create actionably goals. Want to go from 0 sales to 100 sales? Here are samples The S.A.G. has:

  • Take South American sales from US$5 Million to $8 Million.
  • Open Asian Markets to sales worth $1 Million.

To know how to convert sales, you must have a sales process. Don’t have one? Don’t worry, we’ll cover how to make one soon. Here is ours:

With this process in mind, our goal action steps to more sales is creating qualified proposals out into the world of prospects.

Our data has taught us 1 thing: for every 12 qualified proposals, we get 1 sale. That’s about an 8% conversation rate. What is your company’s conversion rate? Think of how many estimates/quotes/proposals you’ve put out compared to how many sales (correlated to those numbers) you’ve won.

Conversion rate = proposals created and submitted x 100
                                           number of proposals won

Step 6: Action Plan

Reverse engineer your sales process. For a total of 8 sales, we’re looking at an estimated 96 proposals necessary to complete. So for The S.A.G., 100 sample contacts will give us the following results.

  • We expect around 70% open rate thanks to our customized high open emails (separate article). 100 emails will result in 60-70 opens.
    • An additional 22% will open polite and consistent follow ups (total 92%/92 opens)
  • Of the initial 70 opens, 55 will be interested in more information (55 appointments)
  • Of the 55 appointments, you can expect that around 2 in 3 will be qualified: 36.7 qualified
  • Submit 36.7 qualified proposals

Do this 3 times over your target demographics and we’ll reach our goal of 96 proposals.

Step 7: The secret to Market Penetration

As we’ve discussed so far, market penetration can be achieved for little by any firm willing to put in the work. However, the biggest factor in marketing is the combination of emotional attachment and repetition. Consistency of the right actions, the secret of business in general, will win out even in the most impregnable markets.

Follow these 7 steps to have a simple strategy ready to be implemented. The overall goal is to create a guiding strategy that will aid you in market development. This combined with consistency will break through metropolitan markets. The key to moving business forward is anticipating the next step and executing it aggressively. After you have a strategy all you truly need is either a prospect or a lead (depending on your sales process). Thanks to the strategy above, the hard part is over as you can easily find international prospects and turn them into sales (next article) utilizing your strategy.

Has your firm tapped into new markets in the recent years? What have been some of the best lessons learned you learned? We always enjoy thoughts on important global landscape changes. Subscribe to receive our next article on generating prospects and leads.

Very Bests,

Diego M. Silva Aceituno, Managing Partner

The SAG Logo