Over the past 4 years I have been privileged to work side-by-side with peers and thought leaders to focus on developing greater vision, alignment, and traction both in my own company as well as helping guide others with theirs. This has been an incredible learning experience as we have shared ideas, best practices, and processes, holding each other accountable along the way.
As I read books from great authors like Pat Lencioni, Jim Collins, Gino Wickman, and others on leading a business, I noticed how these great thought leaders are all within our lifetime. Perhaps it is the power of the internet to know and be known that has opened the floodgates for leadership development. At the same time I wondered why there didn’t appear to be much in the way of thought leaders before our time who shared their experiences outside the occasional quote or biography.
That was until recently. During a time of daily devotions I was studying Philippians 3. As I read through verses 12 to 19 I happened to read them in The Message translation. Wow, what an AHA moment. While I know Paul was speaking towards a relationship with Christ, the parallels with vision, alignment, and traction are astonishing.
When was the last time you thought about the significance of alignment? It affects performance in so many ways. Our car drives straight and true when it is properly aligned. Doors open and close when they align with the frame as they should. Chiropractic promotes health benefits with proper alignment of the spine. I'm sure at least one or two other things that rely on alignment come to mind when you think about it. How about your business?
In business, alignment is when we the entire team is moving shoulder-to-shoulder in the same direction, focused on the same thing, speaking in one voice. This is wholly different from what we typically picture when thinking about company alignment. It is horizontal alignment rather than the typical Top-Down, vertical alignment as many companies focus on.
I was having a casual conversation with a client a few days ago and he shared with me a recently completed service request for one of his customers. After completing the service request, the customer was caught off-guard by the amount of time my client’s team had invested in providing a “Disney” moment (making their dreams come true). When he asked the customer why he was surprised, the customer replied, “When I talked to my team they told me that all you did was take a copy of an existing report and change the way it looked to make the new report”.
It occurred to me that he had experienced “The Iceberg Syndrome”. An obstacle of sorts that often leads to misunderstanding and dissatisfaction with our customers, our teammates, and our colleagues. Typically found when the person or people on the receiving side only see the 10% of the iceberg that is visible above the water, but are unaware, or perhaps don’t understand the other 90% hidden from sight below the water.
A little while back, a friend and mentor shared the lesson of the Cod and the Catfish with me.
He said fisherman discovered that when cod are captured and put in a live well they become lethargic and die before the fishing boats return to shore. This makes the cod useless and uneatable. The fisherman then put catfish in the live well with the cod and they discovered something remarkable. The catfish poke, prod, nip and totally aggravate the cod so that upon return the cod are alive and well.
I recently read an on-line article by Steve Dorfman about customer experience titled “Would you invest a dollar in your business to make four thousand?
” In the article, Steve shared an experience he had with a moving company he hired to move some extra furniture out of their home. He shared that they arrived on time, where polite, and did a careful job.
Over the next couple of days, he discovered a number of places that needed to have scuff marks removed (a natural occurrence during moving furniture) and spent about 10 minutes with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser getting rid of the scuff-marks. The thought struck him of what the reaction might have been if the moving company, knowing that scuff-marks are a product of moving furniture, spent an extra 10 or 15 minutes scrubbing the walls. I would imagine it would be awesome.
Have you ever considered that? I am sure we all have an idea of the important issues, challenges, obstacles in both our personal and business lives. But have you ever added the "Right Now!"
to the end of that thought or that discussion? It really can be a game changer in how you approach things.
If you haven't added the "Right Now!"
yet, let me offer you a suggestion on what your first "Right Now!"
Over the last few weeks I have shared thoughts on:
- Why do we exist - We exist to serve our clients IT needs!
If someone asked you to tell them in one simple sentence what we do, what would you tell them. Would you say:
- We solve our clients problems
Ingredient #1: How do we behave?
I hope you took some time to reflect on "Why we exist" and gained some clarity on the reality that we exist simply because people need us. We have the unique opportunity to solve their problems and bring value to their lives. The value we bring is created through 5 key ingredients.
Why do we exist?
I got some really great answers from the initial post on this subject. Some are included below: