What’s On Your Plate?

There have been thousands of business books about how to create an effective internal organizational culture. And there have been nearly as many books about how to create a powerful external company brand. Experts have commented about how important these two issues are and how they are somehow interconnected, forming in effect two halves of a business puzzle, but none effectively joined them together. I think that’s what’s unique about our Lead With Your Customer book, is that it integrates both realities into one business model.

Throughout our years of experience with successful organizations of all sizes, we have observed striking behind-the-scenes similarities in how they have achieved consistently excellent results and earned the respect of both professionals and customers around the world. Eventually, we began to see a cohesive pattern and developed our model, which reveals how these organizations transform their cultures and brands to become wildly successful and truly world class—and which likewise can enable you to optimize your own operation.

The Chain Reaction of Excellence.

What do these legendary companies do that is different and better? Let’s start with a quick analogy. Ask leaders if they are busy, and they will usually respond by saying that their “plate is full.” Consequently, in today’s fast-moving business environment, we’re so busy day today that any new responsibilities tend to “fall off the plate” when accountability begins to wane 6 to 12 months later—creating the infamous program-of-the-month problem.

How do successful organizations avoid the program-of-the-month trap when they make a change to improve their operations? Instead of making the change a discrete project (just another thing on “the plate”), they do something radically different: They make it “the plate” – a sustainable, long-term process of improvement that isn’t seen as an initiative with an end date. According to this approach, business issues—such as your values and vision, your methods of delivering service, and how you interact with people—should be constant non-negotiables, while everything else that is largely beyond your control—such as economic circumstances and political and social issues—shifts with the seasons. World-class companies establish a strategic foundation once and for all and then reinvest their savings of resources (the time, money, and effort not wasted chasing business fads) on adapting to the ever-changing context of business.

Obviously, no organization is perfect. Just because an organization is legendary today doesn’t mean that it can’t fail tomorrow. But successful organizations have followed this simple approach of thinking carefully about what really matters on the plate. Customer focus, employee engagement, developing leadership, these should all be the focus of what is on your plate.

Want to know more about how to achieve great results by focusing first on your customer? Check out our book, Lead With Your Customer: Transform Culture and Brand Into World-Class Excellence. Grab a copy today!

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