Remember the time you tried opening a door and quickly realized the door didn’t open - it fell at your feet. Today, business leaders must be extremely in-tune with the innovations around them. Most organizations are entering the crossroads of being irrelevant. The past and its successes no longer carry the organization forward as a matter of fact. Leaders are consistently looking for ways to improve, and great leaders are looking for ways that are different. Benchmarking the competition has lost its value. The solutions and strategies which merely freshen up the sameness quickly prove inadequate.
Organizations today must first look deep into their corporate souls for the keys which will open them up to a better way. All organizations which believe luck is not a business plan understand that staleness in leadership’s creativity is one of the root causes of an organizations demise. The key component will always be the leadership. Knowing when this component needs a simple shot of oil or when the hinge needs replacing will ultimately determine the successes the future has in store for them.
Too many organizations ignore the signs of status quo; they simply focus on the way it is instead of the way it should be. When times are great, they easily become complacent. Their subconscious keeps them from raising the bar. Have you ever heard a leader say how perfect everything is? They brag about how great everyone gets along and they believe that any conflict is poison. These types of organizations are poised for being substituted. Constant agreement is a fast path to dysfunction. I guess when you think about it, if you never challenge the team, complacency becomes normal, and usually without any stress at all. The team members which possess any strengths will leave the pack of commonality in search of something more challenging.
Obviously, when every rows the boat together, they reach the other side of their destination quicker. The problem is constantly rowing in sequence could bring you un-intended consequences - there may be a water fall just ahead.
The worst situation for any organization could be their success. The leadership team runs from opportunities which cause a shift in thinking; after all, they feel quite content. When organizations build a culture around what made them great, instead of a culture based on what keeps them great they will struggle in any concepts which invokes a serious decision of change.
The Customer Challenge
Customers are a fantastic vehicle for helping an organization understand the future. When good customers either outgrow you, or simply leave, how you respond will highlight the value you really gave to what you defined as a great customer. Customers are like business; some of them are just happy with the way things are, they pay their bills and never challenge your management or your teams. The defined “great customer” will more than likely be much nosier; if they value the relationship they will always challenge your team to raise their bar in order to keep up with them. These customers are gold and most of the time are simply allowed to be discarded and discounted. Organizations which allow this have the belief it’s easier to improve the quiet customer than fix or change the way they seek the better one. If they stay on this path, they will soon recognize the mistake. When organization allow this it usually gives birth to a competitor, or enhances an existing one.
The ability of a leader to recognize when their management becomes content is key in understanding the value a particular circumstance of a lost customer brings. I don’t believe that any organization should completely change or disavow their way of doing business for the satisfaction of an outlying customer and their needs. Although, if you sought after this customer because you believe that what they have to offer would propel your deliverable, make sure your management understands the importance of meeting the customers’ expectations. This new customer and their challenges will become valuable as you transition your deliverable.
The challenge for all organizations: how they determine what makes a great customer should coincide with how they develop to keep a great customer. Everyone one knows all customers are not equal, and all customer retention programs have to understand when adjustments must be made to favor the valuable ones. Sometimes it is what we lose that teaches us what we should never lose again.
If your leadership team is threatened by the great customer, you more than likely need more than oil to fix the component.
“Recognizing when to replace key components is just as important in business as doors.” RJS
R, J. Stasieczko