Business Stupidity Is as Business Stupidity Does
In business or want to be in business…? Well then, the odds are that you want to do better and make more money. Not so easy though since competition is fierce, customers are busy and resources to grow are scarce. Not to mention that today our life can change on a daily basis. Hell, the world is changing daily. Business is more complicated because we’re living in a truly fast age with all our cellphones, Skype, Internet, cars, and planes. Elon Musk is building test tunnels underground in Las Angeles right now and exploring for ways to propel cars 120 MPH without traffic jams. The future is imaginable because anything… anything is possible. Shift happens! It means that many businesses and business owners are in trouble because keeping up and planning ahead is like never before in history. After all it is not widely known that many billion-dollar companies now have certified Futurist on their staff who are driving next level thinking and planning at wild levels.
There are many decisions business owners have to make, which contradict business sense and earning customer loyalty. Most of them, or if you don’t mind, I would better say most of YOU, spend your time and planning on figuring out WHAT TO DO to get current or potential customers to spend more dollars and buy as much as possible from you. It seems like that’s what occupies minds of close to 100% of business owners. And why not, because if a business isn’t growing then it’s dying. In fact, I love to say, “sales driven businesses thrive and operations driven businesses die.” So, it is critical that business leaders focus on everything they can do to make people stay with them and spend more money or how to get new customers who will spend money.
I am suggesting a little bit different approach. Instead of figuring out what else TO DO, start thinking about what you should STOP DOING. Think about things you do, which prevent customers from saying YES to you, and spending money with you. Do whatever it takes to make certain that negative action or reaction never happens again. It’s very powerful to regularly read google feedback to your company if you have some. I recommend VOC, Voice of The Customer programs and if you don’t already know what NPS, Net Promoter Scores are, then learn quickly and start getting your NPS. Do this soon because once you turn on the microphone and start listening to your stakeholders it will take time to course correct the negative feedback so that your business performs at a higher level of customer satisfaction and sales results. People will tell you exactly what you are doing wrong and what should be fixed and especially the things you should stop doing. There are many “stupid things or rules” companies have that prevent them from making more money. Especially those things that get done because “that’s how we always did it.” Be fluid like and build stronger people and processes continually.
Here is an example of what I call “stupid things or rules”. Some airlines sell upgrade tickets just in order to give you a chance to pick your seat on the plane. The upgrade itself will cost you a significant amount more just for the ticket, plus you still will have to pay for the seat you choose. Sure, airlines are data driven and their data science probably computes how much extra revenue will be gained from these tactics, but that doesn’t make it right for the customer. So yes, there is a fine line between maximizing revenues and building customer satisfaction and loyalty.
There are some subtle but no less damaging “stupid things” managers or business owners choose to do and need to stop doing. Can you think of some things in your own business that fit this category? Write them down and bring them up in the next leadership meeting.
For example, the boards with photos of best employees of the month. It’s common between managers to believe that such thing motivates employees. In fact, surveys indicate it actually demotivates new employees and those who feel they give their best but don’t get noticed over and over again. Plus, inner office politics too often drive the best employee measurements or unfair metrics that don’t account for the differences in the work some employees do that looks similar to their peers but is actually different for various reasons. Do you know how many of these demotivated employees exist as a result? Odds are that it is almost everyone who is not on that best employee board! It would be the best to find ways to honor the whole team rather than selected members of it.
You see at the end of the day, Business Stupid Is as Business Stupid Does (taking some alterations on Forrest Gump’s old adage). Good news is that you can stop the stupidity and pull your head out of the sand to make changes that make you victorious in the market place. How do you make changes that better your business? One person can’t do it alone, so you could be frustrated because you feel top leaders aren’t listening to you or you’re a top leader and you feel your people don’t care. Well… too bad! Either way it is your duty to find the way to be heard. Being non-responsible is not an option for driven people. Find the right way in your company to establish what I call a “vertical two-way communication” from the top to the front line and all the way to the prospects and customers because all stakeholders need a voice and a system for studying the feedback and taking appropriate actions. I recommend using the Renaissance Methodology and the Theory of Accelerance to build such an organization. So, stop saying “No” and start finding ways to say “Yes”. Stop charging for services that are possible to give customers for free. Stop pressuring your employees with rules which don’t really make a difference. Find out what exasperates, discourages, hassles, or confuses your customers and employees and stop doing it!