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2017 Is Now in the Rearview Mirror: What did we Learn?

As the new year is officially upon us, we need to take a minute and reflect on what we learned in 2017. I am a big fan of the old adage:

“Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.”

In short, we must continue to learn from our experiences and make the necessary adjustments.

No change. No change. If you are not going to do anything differently, then why expect anything to change?

Welcome to the hyper-competitive business environment with the dawn of Artificial Intelligence (AI) upon us. To quote rock ’n roll great Bob Dylan, “The times, they are a changin'….” Are you ready to effectively compete?

So, let’s start with a simple question.

When asked what business your company is in, how would you respond?

The people business?

The printing business?

The staffing business?

The technology services business?

If you would have asked executives from Blockbuster Video in 2005, they would have probably told you, "the video business.” That is exactly why they went from the darlings of Wall Street in 2000 to filing for bankruptcy in 2010. There are a number of similar high-profile failures like Circuit City, featured in the book Good to Great or My Space, which had the lead in social networking until Facebook came along and literally cleaned their clock. Blackberry (Research in Motion), and the list goes on.

Great companies, with great leaders understand this basic concept:

  • You are not in the staffing business

  • Nor the video business

  • Nor technology services business.

You are in the CUSTOMER business, first and foremost. Why is being in the customer business the #1 fundamental to a successful long-term strategy and successful sales transformation? It affords you the ability to mutate and evolve with the needs and wants of your customers. A sort of Digital Darwinism “adapt or die” if you will.

Cultural transformation does not happen unless it is driven by deep convictions. The culture you aspire to become must be pursued with an undeniable and burning desire by everyone from the lowest level employee to the CEO.

Being in the “Customer Business” is the foundation to profitable growth. It cannot be a “taste test” nor a flavor of the day. It has to be woven into the fabric of the company from both the top down and the bottom up! Every single person in the organization must have a clear understanding of exactly what it is you do to create value for your customers. When JFK, made his famous “We choose to go to the moon!” speech at Rice University in 1963, everyone at NASA was on board. If you asked a janitor in NASA, what his job was, he would respond, “I am helping to put a man on the moon.”

If you want to move the masses, the message has to be simple, focused and have meaning, so that everyone may internalize their role. Transformations don’t come easy and it is the reinforcement of a simple message that will prevail. Take Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. The message was simple: equality.

Every single employee is a stakeholder in this transformation, because quite simply, a company is only a as good as it is represented by its people. It is the employees who earn the customers’ trust. It is the employees who deliver on your promise. It is the employees who bring in the REVENUE to sustain the company. Did I say revenue? It’s not revenue!!! Revenue is a benign, sterile type of term. It is CUSTOMER MONEY! If you are in the customer business, how could it be anything else?

In 2018, consider Butler Street for your training needs. We have a unique approach to complex sales transformations and can help you build a system of reinforcing activities to ensure the training sticks and that you get the most out of your sales transformation. Click CONTACT and let’s have a conversation.

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