One of my favorite thoughts for inspiration is by Jim Cathcart: "How would the person I'd like to be do the thing I'm about to do?" Whenever I ask myself that question, I usually ratchet up what I'm going to do a notch or two - and the result is usually much better than if I'd done "just enough" to get by.
I recently worked with a client I've supported on and off for years. They've always been a great client to work with because I invariably learn something from them. I am also routinely impressed with their willingness to push themselves to expect more of themselves than their competitors. However, during this most recent project, things were different. A few people have left and a few people have joined the team and things are different. Longer term managers behaved differently than I'd ever seen them behave before. New managers behaved in ways different from what had ever been demonstrated before. And "different" in each of these cases wasn't good. Different was tactical not strategic. Different was many of the managers saying,"We can't do anything." Different was more in line with what their competitors do.
In talking with the executive team about the differences, I was told cash flow is tight, they're being asked to do more with less, and the future is a big question mark. My not-so-diplomatic response was: "Join the club. We're all under pressure. We all have cash flow concerns, need to do more with less, and face an uncertain future. However, we won't have a future if we no longer provide the level of service, anticipate our customers' needs, and extend the quality of products our customers expect and deserve. If we start operating below our own standards, why do we deserve our customers' business?" The answer is obviously, "We don't."
That's much easier to say than to do when our current business models are being challenged. However, we need to remember what allowed us to earn our customers' trust and business in the first place. Why did they choose us before and what will it take for them to continue to choose us in the future? If we are without a doubt an organization they will want to continue or start to do business with going forward, we'll be able to meet their needs and ours as well. But we need to live up to our own standards in tough times as well as in the good times to provide this assurance to our customers.
So, are you the kind of organization you need to be? If not, why not? Your customers are waiting for your answer.
Copyright MMIX Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.