We Build Businesses
by Kevin D. Crone
Business people build businesses. Highly knowledgeable, technically-oriented people are part of the creative force needed to enable a company to compete and succeed in today’s incredibly changed business world. The future belongs to enterprises that add value for their customers and support offerings that turn on markets. When young people take over, the emerging connected, collaborative, and innovative new culture will create team and customer-focused people.
Unfortunately, most technical people are not business savvy – they’re often inward-driven loners who aren’t customer-focused. What’s more, they actually think they are customer-centric because they took a course in university or college and got a passing mark. But they were trying to pass an exam, not change on the inside – which is what’s required today. These technical people come into a worldwide culture where people-focus is missing.
My good friend, George Puccia, a successful accountant and one of our long-term coaches, told me recently that we live in an “impersonal but connected” world. He gave examples of how he sees people texting in their cars while he’s in traffic, people who stay home and play with their iPads instead of getting together with other people to talk to each other. He says emails can be arrogant and toxic. Yet so many people just want to Google interpersonal skills rather than develop them. People skills is an inner game, not an information-gathering or an academic one. Technical people who need to be customer-focused have to shift their emphasis and take the time to receive coaching to develop the required people skills.
It’s important to take a deeper look at your staff, culture and business to collect your thoughts about what you want and what is really going on.
- Are your people really listening to your customers to see how you match up?
- Do you receive complaints about your systems from both external and internal sources?
- Are your people engaging – or turning off – your customers?
- Do you have a continual training and development culture that brings out the inner change required?
Fundamentally, one of the best investments you can make is to engage your knowledgeable, technical people in core people/customer training.
We have helped organizations like the worldwide engineering firm, Hatch, to develop their staff into win-win partners with their clients. Ron Nolan, now-retired CEO, always said it was because engineers need “people-wiring” to be extraordinary at engaging customers. Engagement can’t come from just a wordsmithed mission statement which is nothing more than an intention.
Don’t forget to engage people with the customer and help them to develop people skills required to compete. Our enterprises and careers depend on it.
- Do your people understand that customer/people skills are important? Would you like to know the answer to this question?
- Why not find out?
- Do your people see a need to improve? Are they willing to take coaching?
Try as you must to change customer’s lives, if you can’t change and improve yourself, it doesn’t work well.
- What was significant to you this morning?
- What’s your first step?
Have a great week!
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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