Brampton - For a number of years my role in the corporate world was to prepare the annual expense budget for seven data processing centres across Canada. Of course this was definitely not a one person job.In fact, my main task was to evaluate the budget from each centre then prepare a consolidated version for approval.A simple task one might say. Maybe, in some instances.
Consider the budget approval came from three individuals each a level higher in the organization. Consider also that everyone in every organization needs to believe that what they are doing is adding value. As a result, each level has to make changes to reflect the fact that they read and approved the proposed budget. Now you are seeing the complexity of the issue being faced every year.
However, in spite of the complexity of the challenge, there was one single response received more often than enough:
Statement: "This is not exactly what I was looking for."
Question: "What exactly are you looking for?"
Response: "I don't know what I am looking for but I will know it when I see it."
Your challenge may not be one of putting together a financial budget against a vague target. No doubt you would agree, at least one challenge every entrepreneur faces is to provide to the client what they are looking for. The issue then becomes one of finding out what they the paying client truly wants.
This can be accomplished in a number of ways, depending upon the importance and value placed on the information. An organization can:
- Provide feedback / comment cards to clients asking how they liked the service received
- Hold independently facilitated focus groups presenting options for ranking
- Review any and all complaints registered looking for a common theme
- Conduct random sampling of existing clients asking what they are looking for
Regardless of the method employed, it should be clear that information is key. Also critical to the success and growth of any venture is that the information be valid. Dare I also say that gathering the information independently is central to it being valid information? When we have a vested interested in the outcome of any survey we tend to view it through that lens.
You can leave it to chance and keep tweaking things every time you hear: "I don't know what I am looking for but I will know it when I see it." Or, you can plan today to find out what it looks like. That "it" may be the product; service; price point that will make the client want to deal with you.
If you do nothing; the answer to the question of "What does success look like for your organization?" may well be: "I don't know but I will know it when I see it."
Which do you prefer?
Copyright: Gordon J. H. Newman, CPT