What does being Secure have to do with Creating Value?

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You know people who are secure and others who are insecure. There are many people with low self-esteem.

Security comes from the way you have been treated as a child. But your sense of security and self-esteem can suffer or be enhanced at work.

People who are insecure or have low self-esteem are less likely to create value for themselves, their colleagues, Customers and for their companies.

Hierarchical companies tend to be feudal, and kill security and self-esteem. They tend to cultivate followers rather than leaders or risk takers, or even Value Creators.

When we try to build Customer Value, we find two things are important. These are pro-activeness of the employees and the sense of ownership of the employee of the Customer. Both these are related to security, self-esteem and how companies nurture these and employees.

To build the nurturing or developing process, we build Customer Circles in companies. The idea came from quality circles. What we found was that a Continuous Customer Improvement Program (CCIP) became a necessity to foster Customer Value and Value Creation. Customer Circles, typically consist of front line employees, with some staff people in them, from IT, HR, finance etc. These circles meet once in a month or two, and discuss what employees should do to create value for the Customer and build a CCIP

When we started these Customer Circles, we found that the employees were neutral about being in them. Often, they thought this was a waste of time. They had been told what to do from birth. Mother said drink your milk, eat spinach, or wash behind your ears. Do not put your hand into the cookie jar, do your homework etc., etc., Teacher said, stand up and say, Good morning teacher, or stand in the corner, or recite your multiplication tables and on and on. And then you joined work. Not only did you have to follow the looks and clothes (uniform) culture, but you were told what to do. Visit three Customers today. So even if you had time to visit a fourth Customer, most would duck the opportunity. Not my job became an inherent characteristic.

And suddenly people like me were asking these people to be pro-active and take charge of the Customers.

So they looked at us, some suspiciously, and others quizzically. We talked about Customers, and we got stony responses.

When we asked about what they thought of Customers, the answers were non-committal. We then asked them to relate cases when Customers made them happy or unhappy. The unhappy answers came first. Customers are irrational, they get mad for nothing. And we walked through examples of why their Customers got mad, and they started to see that it was due to some acts of omission or commission committed by the employee or the company…For example Customer service people visiting Customer’s homes, said the Customer got angry because they were late and kept the Customer waiting, or they had brought the wrong equipment, or come unprepared for the job. The frontline employees started to see why Customers got mad. And the support employees noticed that they had not given the address properly or the landmarks or the Customer’s telephone numbers, or what the Customer really expected to the service people. When employees started to see why the Customer were mad, they were able to devise ways of avoiding making Customers mad, and in fact how they could have made the Customer happy.

The support staff also started to take note of how the frontline person was taking a beating, often because of the inadequacies of the support staff.

The employees then start to examine why Customers are sometimes happy. What did the employees do to make them happy? So they build the Customers DNA (Do Not Annoy) and delight factors.

And then, when asked what they would like to do to make the Customers happy, the employees come up with great ideas. Letting them enunciate their ideas, and running with them builds their self-esteem. This is followed by awareness of the Customer. Pro-activeness follows, because they feel more secure and in control.

The trick for management is to create this environment so that employees can feel secure, take control, become aware, get a sense of ownership, understand, Create and Deliver Value. Your comments are welcome!

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 (jcv.sagepub.com) and runs the global conference on Creating Value (https://goo.gl/4f56PX).

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