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 NEWBIES 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 the right stuff.
They are getting traditional pedagogy jammed down their throats by professors who have ZERO experience running businesses “in the real world” of aggressive competition, unpredictability and biased employees.
These principles MUST be espoused by business schools if graduates are to be relevant to business in today’s markets.
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.
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. Organization’s 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 success.
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 behavior.
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 healthy dose of learning from them = more successes. Punish failure ONLY if you want compliance, policy-pushers and order takers.
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.
Screw-ups 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.
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.
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 sell another day.
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. It makes the organization’s purpose real to employees in a way that excites them to play an active role in the chosen future.
Build a business curriculum around these subjects; old school teaching gets a failing grade.
Roy Osing (@royosing) is a former President of TELUS and Current president and CEO of the consulting firm Brilliance for Business, with over 33 years of leadership experience covering all the major business functions including business strategy, marketing, sales, customer service and people development. He is a blogger, content marketer, educator, coach, adviser and the author of the book series Be Different or Be Dead.