There is an interesting article in Quartz titled “How Trained Incapacity Could Be Damaging Your Career.” This closely parallels my experience with corporate pricing professionals.
Trained incapacity is where people in your company tell you to “stay in your lane.” It’s not your job so don’t worry about it. When you listen to them, you put blinders on and don’t see the big picture of the company. It limits your ability to be promoted.
My experience with corporate pricing people isn’t exactly the same, but very similar. Pricing folks in corporations often think that pricing is what they do in their company. In EVERY circumstance, I guarantee that pricing is much bigger than that. But, pricing people may only be exposed to a small subset of the totality of pricing. They don’t know better.
In a recent conversation with a very smart friend, we discussed companies where employees tend to stay for 20 years or more. These companies are very slow to change. Everybody knows the status quo. Bringing in fresh people doesn’t help much because the new people must try to change the entire system without in-depth knowledge of the status quo. The most successful people at changing these companies are the ones who worked there for several years, left to go somewhere else, and then returned. These people have a broader vision while understanding the existing culture.
Back to pricing. Pricing consultants have the advantage of seeing many different pricing problems. They learn to use the right strategy/tactic/tool depending on the situation. I’m not suggesting that corporate pricing professionals leave their company (but it may not be a bad idea.) I am suggesting you look beyond your company and current role. Continue to learn.
One suggestion is to look at pricing in different industries. Assume they are making smart decisions. Why did they make those decisions? Why does it work? For example, look at my recent blog on pricing at the library. As you do this over and over, you will create your own framework for understanding the big picture of pricing. Then, as you see different pricing strategies in different industries ask yourself if or how they apply to your company.
As a corporate pricing professional, you have the advantage of knowing your current company culture. What you need is a more expansive view of pricing. That only comes from intentional effort. My recommendation is to make that effort.
Now, go make an impact!
Tags: pricing, pricing foundations, pricing skills, pricing strategies