Part two of a three part series on Proactive Improvement
Blog Article Written By: Dave Mills, Managing Partner – Columbus
In our last conversation, we discussed how supplier relationships are a common “forgotten” element of many businesses. Did you have a chance to think about any other forgotten elements of your business? What were they?
It seems that even the President has been thinking about what he forgot in 2010 so he can focus on how to most effectively spend his time in 2011. According to senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, “the President’s ‘biggest regret’ was that because of economic turmoil – ‘he had to spend almost every waking hour in Washington working on solving that crisis.’”
For Obama, spending his time almost exclusively with politicians and advisors meant he was not connecting with the public, something that, over time, could diminish his chances of re-election. What are the implications of the forgotten elements of your business?
Let’s analyze customer relationships. As a good businessperson, you know the value of spending time with customers. But how deeply do you delve into those relationships? We have found that engaging deeply with customers is usually forgotten.
With superficial relationships, it’s what you miss that matters. Specifically, you miss an opportunity to gather market intelligence and consumer insights. Your customers have a valuable perspective. They can provide information about potential future demand that is important to keep in mind when budgeting, scheduling and purchasing. They can also help you identify product improvements and gaps in the marketplace.
Consider this story from our friend Ron Stibich, President of ITW Fibre Glass Evercoat. Stibich’s team has spent hundreds of hours with customers observing them using ITW products. By dissecting the customers’ behavior and processes, his team gained a better understanding of how the products were being used and what problems occurred in the process. This knowledge lead to new and improved products.
Many times, Stichich’s customers hadn’t been able to articulate that they needed anything new. They had accepted the products as they were. By remembering to engage deeply with customers, ITW found new opportunities to lead the industry.
Like the President, the emergency of the day can prevent you from spending time on other important business matters. Great leaders have to learn to juggle them all. How well do you handle all of the elements of your business?
In the last blog of our series, we will be going through our proven strategy that allows leaders to have confidence in their middle managers so they can step away from the daily Run to turn their attention to future focused matters that can lead to growth. Do you have the time to join us for that helpful conversation?