Crazy is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results
No one likes to waste time and no one intentionally attends a meeting with the expectation that they will be no better off than before. But it happens. Everyday, everywhere and with most people. The problem is that we’re creatures of habits. So if we sit in the same conference room with the same people and tackle the problem the same way, chances are the results will be the same.
In order to affect change, you need to think and act differently. The harsh reality is that you need to bring in new people with new thinking and different perspectives. Otherwise the typical process, which homogenizes ideas, will lead to the same old ideas. And, that was never what you wanted in the first place.
We want to keep our jobs. We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Frankly, it’s easier to just get along, so the meeting will move along, so you can get back to your cube and surf the net – no harm no foul. Well, guess what. It’s just a matter of time before you have an emergency meeting because a competitor is invading your space, or the product is stuck on the shelf or that your largest customer wants less of what you offer. If you just were a little more diligent about doing research. If you asked “why” in that meeting or challenged Henderson on his projections (even though it was close to lunch and you were hungry), you probably wouldn’t be nervous as you go back to your cube, surfing the net for a new job.
Unforgettable conversation with a friend
Forget all that brand/marketing/consultant mumbo jumbo. Everything that touches a customer should be an “unforgettable conversation with a friend”. Here’s why:
Friend – if you really treat your customers and prospects as friends you’ll know exactly how to treat them – honestly, no salesy talk. You relay all the facts that are important to them. And, when you have that conversation, you’ll have it in a place and at a time, when they want to hear from you – not all the time.
Conversation – sometimes we have funny conversations with our friends, sometimes we have serious conversations. Sometimes we can get pretty emotional. But a conversation is conversing – and not me just shouting at my friend. I know how to say what I want to say when I need to say it, because we’re having a conversation.
Unforgettable – remember that bore at the company retreat – that’s why you want to be mindful say stuff that’s unforgettable – really important in a really important way. Otherwise, why say it.
Customers first, organization second and you third
The words are easy to recite, it’s the practice that’s really hard, especially in this “me first” world. However, despite changes in our culture, we have noticed most successful organizations live by this creed. They “do the right thing” and always are respectful of their clients and colleagues. They, as the expression goes, “park their egos at the door”. We try to live by this creed, too. We are lucky to work with great clients. And, since we are small group and pick our partners carefully, we’ve been able to focus on what’s important – the work.