Recently I have been following and participating in a discussion on LinkedIn regarding the question of “What is the root cause of the mindset that fails to put customers first”. There are a whole host of good observations and viewpoints on the topic. These, range from, the greed of executive leadership, to ivory tower thinking to the lack of “servant” mentality and so on. I think we could ask this question of each of the organizations we work in. Recent studies have pointed out that, customers expectations continue to fall with respect to customer service. This does NOT mean that the customer is happy about the situation.
I think there may be another reason for this apparent disconnect between organizations and their customers.I say apparent because most organization (although I’ve met a few who don’t think much of their customer) want to deliver value to their buyers. What happens?
One observation is with the suggestion box. Many of us have worked in or with organizations that have one. Perhaps executive leadership in their zeal for unlocking the creative juices of the organization have even offer a cash reward for creative ideas. People want to contribute to the success of their companies and they really thrive on recognition. So what happens?
The ideas begin to flow. The suggestions come in. The senior leadership examines the suggestions. Remember now in many cases senior leadership is in a leadership position because they are the “experts”. When the suggestions do not fit in their box of experience, expertise and point of view, the suggestions are disposed of or watered down at best. Because it is not obvious, where the revenue stream will come from or what it will cost, the idea is squashed. As a result, the creative juices of the organization are blocked.
Tim Brown in his book Change By Design, suggests that in order to make this kind of initiative work leaders have to make a serious commitment to step out of the box to examine the creative ideas and to unlock the value in them. There has to be a commitment to trying ideas that may fail.
Realizing that as leaders, managers and creators of value, each of you wants to unlock the creative juices that lie latent within your organizations; what commitment will you make this year to nurture the flow of ideas? How will you identify the next I-phone or game changing process?
Take Good Care,