I was thinking about, or maybe more the case obsessing about, market leadership on my bike ride the other morning.  I had just gotten a tune up and a fix up of my road bike, and was enjoying a early morning ride that was reminding me why I love living in Northern California, 68 degrees, sunny and the road nearly to myself.  That is, until I got about two thirds of the way up my climb of Old La Honda Road and passed the always cruel intersection with the well marked “Upenuf Road“.  Of course, to reach the summit, you are NOT up enough at all.  You still have a third of the way to go.

Building and tuning the right machine isn’t enough to get you to the summit of market leadership.  You must fuel the machine well.

Starting your climb is not sufficient, you must execute until you reach the summit and beyond.

And unlike cycling, which is, even when riding with a group, a fundamentally solitary endeavor, achieving and sustaining market leadership is a team accomplishment, one that requires great leadership.

Some observations (and links to more thoughts on each):

That’s right.  Leading and winning in your market is HARD work.  Damn hard work at that.  You need the right machine, committed execution and the right leadership.  I’ve blogged, I’ve spoken, I’ve consulted, and clearly, even when I am not “working” I am thinking about this. And I’ve concluded that great companies are led to market by great leaders, who build amazing go to market machines, and execute with excellence.  No small task indeed.

Back on my bike, I did summit Old La Honda Road that morning.  And while my execution was far from perfect, I definitely enjoyed the journey, the view from the top, and the long winding descent down and back home where fresh eggs and a warm shower awaited as my rewards.

The rewards of market leadership are many.  But the journey to the top is what great leaders really enjoy.  Because once you reach the summit, everything gets easier as you descend down to the other side of success, and your competitors are not “upenuf” to keep up.

I wish you all success on whatever road you are summiting as an individual or a team. Keep your machine well tuned and fueled, your execution committed, and your leadership focused, because it is all about all three!

See you on the road or in the marketplace!

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