I was inspired to write this after reading a recent Seth Godin post where he asks the question:
Are you doing this to get people to do what’s good for them or what’s good for you?
I think we all want to think we act altruistically and with our stakeholders best interests at heart; nevertheless, it’s a valuable practice to re-evaluate what we are doing and why we are doing it – and what stakeholders we might be favoring with our actions. This is what a board does – or should do – when it takes decisions.
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At the management level, if we make a decision to launch a new product or service into a new market like Colombia, we are probably doing it to provide value to new clients in a new market. The client might be grateful to have another option to choose from or a new service that wasn’t available before in Bogotá or easy to access from his/her vacation home in Cali. This is common sense.
But what happens when you change status quo? When you “throw your weight around” as Seth Godin says. That’s when the importance of real alignment with organization mission (and what your customers value) comes into play. As Godin says are you changing pricing, technology or policies because “it’s good for the organization, because it raises quarterly earnings,” or because it’s good for the customer. Are you making decisions to delight the customer and to bring positive change to your community?
There’s no way of pleasing all people all of the time but if you are making changes in line with your core values and what your followers and clients value about you, this mean you are leading your stakeholders to change for their benefit, not forcing them to change for yours.
“Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.”
— Margaret Wheatley, American writer
“The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.”
― Peter F. Drucker
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I believe in doing things well – not always perfectly – but well. I believe in putting effort into the “small stuff”. It’s also a great way to make your brand stand out from the rest by creating unique and meaningful interactions with your customers/suppliers/employees etc. A coffee is just a coffee, or is it?
Here is a photo of the coffee I had yesterday at the Canadian Embassy’s Canada Day event in Quito, Ecuador. There is art in everything and artists everywhere…
(Photo credit to my friend Maria Ruth!).