The gap between school teachings and what is REALLY needed for organizations to thrive and survive in the new markets that are unfolding is WIDE and is getting WIDER.
Approaching CHASM proportions in fact.
As an executive leader, I made it a priority to engage with business students and graduates on a regular basis. I needed to know where the talent was; who I should keep my eyes on for employment.
Based on my experience, my conclusion is that graduates aren’t ready!
Straight out of school they are ill-prepared to add the value required to enable our organizations to be remarkable, compelling, indispensable and unforgettable.
They are not being taught enough of the “right stuff”.
They are getting traditional pedagogy jammed down their throats by professors who have limited, if no, practical experience running a business in the real world.
These principles MUST be espoused by business schools if graduates are to be relevant to business in today’s markets.
1. Execution is the key to winning
A business plan without flawless execution is worthless. It’s one thing to define WHAT has to be done, but without a detailed implementation plan and accountability, nothing happens and strategic intent remains a dream.
2. Customer learning is a competitive advantage
We need more than periodic market research to keep pace with how customers are changing; we require a continuous process of “going deep” to monitor minute by minute what people desire.
Organizations today succeed by providing what makes people happy; what they want, covet and “lust for” in their lives. Satisfying what they “need” is no longer a recipe for sustainable competitive advantage.
3. Serve people don’t service them
You service computers; you SERVE people . Amazing and remarkable organizations put the customer ahead of themselves; they exist to SERVE others.
They build operations system to make engagement easy; they create policies and procedures that enable transactions not control customer behaviour.
4. Perfect solutions don’t exist
The business world is too complex to be “formularized”. Flawed solutions that excite people beat those that may be theoretically pristine but don’t meet the practical realities of the specific organization and the market it serves. Imperfection rules and be imperfect fast is the guiding mantra.
The more failures with a heathy dose of learning from them = more successes. Punish failure ONLY if you want compliance, policy-pushers and order takers.
5. The frontline is the boss
People who control the customer experience are the really important people, not the executives. Build your hierarchy to serve them.
6. Screw-ups can create customer loyalty
A successful WOW! service recovery from an OOPS! results in a more loyal customer than if the screw-up never happened. And when someone is screwed over , “I’m sorry” is THE most strategic phrase ever and is the heart of a mind-blowing service recovery.
7. Erect barriers to customer exit
Ignore the competition and creating barriers to competitive entry. You can’t control the competition; if they want to attack you they will. The right strategy is to prevent customers from LEAVING and you won’t have to worry about the hordes entering.
8. Lose a sale (but keep the customer)
The immediate transaction should not be the number one priority; building a long term relationship with a client should be the ultimate mission and focus of all sales activity.
So if you find yourself unable to satisfy a short term need your client has, suck it up and help them find a solution elsewhere.
Be the problem solver, preserve the relationship and earn the right to make a sale another day.
9. Storytelling ignites the passion
Every organization needs a cadre of amazing storytellers who are able to make a vision or strategy come alive for people.
“The story” makes the organization’s purpose real to employees in a way that excites them to play an active role in its chosen future.
Build a business curricula around these subjects; old school teaching gets a failing grade.