Customer Culture

Do you want to lead people?

Let's say you had two camps of workers, the coaches and the critics. If you think those labels are two leading call them A and B. I'm flexible.

In one group people try to find the light at the end of the tunnel forever looking for the positive.

  • You did that really well, next time, let's try this
  • That was really creative. Here's another way to think about it
  • You're making great progress on this, keep in mind this key point in the future

You can see the coaches – er, Group A, always try to frame things in a positive manner, affirming someone even as they're correcting.

Group B as you might imagine has a different perspective.

  • If you do it like that they'll fire you
  • You were hired to work, not think
  • When I want your opinion I'll ask for it

The impact from this approach is going to be a little different.

Now here's the funny thing, the subtlety a simplistic blog glosses over: both groups get results. That's right: Either A or B will still allow you to make your numbers, so which is best?

The key question here is one of culture and customer. Yes, you can produce results through an overly subtractive management model – subtractive in the sense that every time someone does something wrong they “lose points”. And guess what? At some stage you've lost so many points you're down to zero. You have no value left.

If somone have no value per se, or more correctly, is perceived as having no value, what compels them to take risks to try and produce any? The world doesn't work like that.

Soon that organization starts to slow down as people strive not to do well, but to simply avoid mistakes thus losing more points. Who pays for this? The customer of course.

The customer in such an organization will never be delighted by above and beyond service, fanatical attention to detail or any affect of people doing more than is required.

But if we opt for coaching – the art of continual gentle course correction as we give people feedback and keep them focused on doing more – things shift remarkably.

People take ownership doing more than what is required developing a true love for service and for customers. Because in the additive model, its the motivation we concentrate on not the temporal mistakes one makes. We recognize their devotion to service and build on that one interaction at a time, one instance after another.

In this culture the customer rules as employees takes responsibilty to try and do things right compelled by the knowledge that any effort to serve the customer (within legal bounds) is a good one.

Yes, coach or critic can get results.

But if you want those results to be sustainable, that is to build a long lasting competitive advantage for your firm, you'll do the work it takes to build a coaching culture.

Building this culture does take more work.

Which is why there's only one market leader in every segment.




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