We find this reflection in Jim Collins’s book “Good to Great”. Imagine that, during a meeting with your team, you challenge them to share their answers and reflections on this question. What would happen? Would they be interested? Would they share positive thoughts or would they hesitate to speak up?We, at Dicere, help organizations to build their innovation culture. On occasions we confront our clients with this question and observe interesting reactions. All shared ideas, comments, answers and debates are fully valid, as well as the tone and atmosphere generated. This does not mean that they are always positive. However, isn’t it better for this to happen in a controlled environment like an internal discussion?
Not long ago, during summer time, we had an informal lunch with a client who told us things were not going too well for them. They were losing clients and their profit margins were decreasing with their loyal ones. This was a bleak prospect for them! So we asked him “the” question. He almost fainted! We felt sorry because he is a nice person and a great professional, and we had no intention to ruin his lunch.
After a long silence that we did not dare interrupting, he honestly said he had never asked himself something so simple and blunt. He started sharing all they did and how they did it. We listened to him attentively. We even wrote on paper napkins (bless them!) some of his key thoughts to comment later. There was much more positive than negative on what he shared. He did not realize he was giving many answers to that question. However, his arguments were not clearly articulated and difficult to summarize.
Many of us wished to have clients that could not live without us. But, do these clients really exist? If there is a client who can survive without us, she will likely do so at some point in time. We all choose according to the circumstances in our role as clients. As an organization, a great challenge for us is to be indispensable for our clients, conquer them emotionally in ways that are unexpected and memorable, making them live unforgettable experiences.
It is well known that the most remembered moments are those connected to emotions. Therefore, the “how” is as important, if not more, as the “what”. Talking about services rather than products, the “how” is probably more important than the “what”.
Who will miss us if we shut down tomorrow? As leaders or as managers, without a clear answer to this question, how can we possibly expect our employees and our clients to have it?