My Terms or Yours: What Creates More Value?


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Before I go into this week’s mailer, let me request you join the 4th Global Conference on Creating Value, The conference is on September 21-23, 2021. The conference is free. There will also be a certification program for those who want a Creating Value Certificate. Now let’s look at the article of the week below.

We are all brought up to follow rules. Sometimes we are forced to…when we buy something, we find that we have to follow the terms of the seller. When we enter school, we have to toe the line with the terms of the school (both parents and children). 

When we play with kids and animals, we often want to play with them on our terms; play when we want to, and how. We pay scant attention to whether the kid or the pet wants our attention then, or prefers to be alone or sleep. We want to play ball with them, and they want to read…. who will prevail? 

At the end neither does or one or the other does and the kids get used to following the terms, because they cannot change the parents, the system. 

The most enduring love is when it is on the loved one’s terms and not just on the lover’s terms. Yet we try to impose our terms on the loved one. 

Lessons to be learnt: 

Stakeholders do not want to live just with your terms. They want their terms to be taken into account. This is true whether you are an employee or a customer. Neither want only your rules to prevail. For example, have you thought of the customer’s rules? If the customer is much larger than you, you tend to follow the customer’s terms. 

This has best been brought out in Firms of Endearment by Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth and others. We all should have terms of endearment. Terms that give rather than take, and are customer friendly. 

Government and bureaucratic organisations are the worst. It is my way or the highway. Countries with economic strength always try to deal with you on their terms. A great example is the US. 

Companies have rules so that there is no confusion, so that they can exercise control, and these rules are made for their convenience (to hell with the customer’s convenience). Health care is an example of not really caring about the customer’s importance. 

I understand you cannot make individual rules to suit individual stakeholders. Perhaps you can segment the customers by those who need more handholding, those that are savvier, those that have less time, those that have a serious problem. 

Even more serious is the issue of what terms do you dictate to AI? What can AI dictate to you? Should AI be allowed to dictate to you? And on what issues?

The least today’s leaders and corporate chiefs and customer people should be understanding the other person or customer’s terms and thinking about how to accept them. This thinking is the first step towards redesigning your own terms, because if you only think your terms are correct and will prevail you will not be able to get customer’s eyeballs and differentiation.

All of us have to embrace the two-way door concept to create value. You can create value by accepting the terms of the other person completely. This is what true love is, true caring is. But it cannot always be a one-way street and has to be two ways to create the most value.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Gautam Mahajan
Gautam Mahajan, President of Customer Value Foundation is the leading global leader in Customer Value Management. Mr Mahajan worked for a Fortune 50 company in the USA for 17 years and had hand-on experience in consulting, training of leaders, professionals, managers and CEOs from numerous MNCs and local conglomerates like Tata, Birla and Godrej groups. He is also the author of widely acclaimed books "Customer Value Investment: Formula for Sustained Business Success" and "Total Customer Value Management: Transforming Business Thinking." He is Founder Editor of the Journal of Creating Value ( and runs the global conference on Creating Value (


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