- Needs cover the basics a customer must have to avoid being dissatisfied.
- Wants cover the basics a customer must have to be satisfied.
- Delighters cover the added value (benefits) that exceed a customer’s Needs or Wants.
To swing the lead, according to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, is 'to avoid work by pretending to be ill'. Having witnessed colleagues' behaviour for over 30 years, I believe the lead often swings because people cannot be bothered travelling, or need an extra hour sleeping, or have important responsibilities at home, or need an hour or two for themselves — anything draconian employers deny. And organisations employing manipulative leaders ('do as I say, not as I do') who enjoy their own unofficial flexibility, while forbidding the same behaviour from their teams, deserve the lead swinging in their direction. There is never an excuse for double-standards, and it begins the vicious cycle to morale, financial or commercial collapse. The alternative is Adaptive Leadership, which begins a virtuous circle to increased morale, financial advantage and commercial success. I am a passionate advocate for flexible working, where possible, and consider it among the most effective measures organisations can adopt to increase efficiency. During COVID-19, when social-distancing guidance and stay-at-home orders urge remote working, I wonder if the lead remains still. Legalities prevent organisations from prying into how much lead is swung, so there are unlikely to be meaningful surveys or reports on the matter. But it is not difficult to imagine how many unsick days an organisation gains from permitting its employees to work from home.
Since exploiting opportunity requires balancing priorities, exciting, dynamic and thriving enterprises overturn commercial norms. Destabilising the equilibrium is easy, rewarding or lucrative. Gut instinct plays decision-maker. Some opportunities tick every checkbox, yet gut instinct rejects them. Conversely, forward-thinkers embrace other dire-looking opportunities that offer gut instinct approval. The wild card takes another successful approach, lurking somewhere between rigid plans and ad-hoc responses. If people wait for perfection they risk delaying hopes and dreams pursuing what might not exist. Off-the-wall ideas, progressive thinking and taking chances create unexpected triumphs. Too many undertakings fail through neglecting a new approach, failing to test hypotheses that deviate from preconceived ideas. Successful enterprises overlook staid, sober and conservative methods and take chances on unorthodox solutions and practices. Rejecting traditions and commercial norms ignites a new prosperity, which is difficult to extinguish.
As failure-demand increases to untenable levels, Customer Service Orientation suffers — struggling business's first casualty. Outdated 'leaders' (the job title undeserved) intensify success-crushing behaviour; they revoke all niceties, blame everyone and reward 'ungrateful' customers with reduced quality. At the same time tightening their control over a demotivated workforce. Dissatisfaction spreads across social media as instantaneous communication fuels customers' pervasive influence. A last chance for commercial survival focuses on improving customer service, for people recognise when businesses treat them with contempt.
While learning is among commercial vaccines protecting against future loss, adaptation is the only cure. Nature learnt over millennia, but humanity regresses over decades and abandons the lessons to ravage the environment. However, we are awakening from our stupor, realising we are affecting our own demise. And business embracing learning and adaptation will celebrate the victory most.
Organisations competing with each other in a race to the bottom care little about what matters most: customer value. And it is an alarming trend. Professor Noriaki Kano's eponymous model states customers have three requirements: Needs, Wants and Delighters. (Alongside customer indifference.)
Entrepreneurs and small businesses consider it imperative to nurture togetherness, collaboration and cooperation in the coming months. Unified voices and a strength in numbers carry considerable influence and affect greater change. Greater change offers commercial survival through 2020 and ensures recovery and greater success in the years beyond. Moreover, an inevitable commercial landscape appears through the mist, unrecognisable. Competitiveness, greed, profit over people and contempt for sustainability have no role in a balanced future. Jokkmokk's Louis Klomp inspires other entrepreneurs through cooperation during challenging times.
Leaving Florence, Sarah Dunant's prophetic views on 21st century tourism, forewarns us: a cheap journey to disaster. Environmental criminals with an insatiable thirst for cut-throat travel, budget airlines and Airbnb devastating cultural value. And we learn nothing from COVID-19. Once we are free from social restrictions, we will continue to reoffend with gusto. But is travel the only culprit? Is a hometown sociocultural void driving the need to escape? To reverse a trend for abandoning familiar locations for somewhere new, regional endeavours and local enterprises should blossom and thrive. We must invest and contribute more to our communities — we have little choice.
Besides their own wealth and power, demagogues disregard everything and everyone, especially when they can dump problems in somebody else's lap. It is inexcusable to see personal gain as preferable to untenable causalities and economic catastrophe, despite solutions existing in their circle of influence. As a result of today’s crisis, I hope world leaders see the bigger picture and recognise global fragility and the perils of self-interest. But I doubt it. Unfortunately, people forget situations and oversights once commercial wheels start turning again. Demagogues manipulate the masses, and indefensible business-as-usual practices continue.
I recommend the following book to everybody with hands-on involvement in creating sustainable cultural and organisational change. It is ideal for professional leaders who engage with people or everyone who has an interest in behaviour dynamics, particularly within groups. Change 3.0 — Seven essential principles for organisational change from within The book details the Change 3.0 model, developed by Gewoon aan de slag, whcih has many years’ experience in facilitating change across a wide business spectrum. It enables people and organisation to harness a new and innovative capacity for transformation, an approach that grasps and develops the inherent human desire and potential for change.
Balancing Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners maintains healthy and relevant organisations and teams — mature, durable and capable. According to the model, nurturing the three personal characteristic types facilities commercial change and transformation. While I welcome any models proving success favours disparate personalities and cultural groups, I dislike the terminology. The Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners model derives from an earlier model: Commandos, Infantry and Police — even worse terms. I dislike the terminology because it evokes the American Frontier, white settlers conquering lands west of the Mississippi River several hundred years ago. It overlooks a key group: the indigenous people, too often displaced by pioneers, settlers and town planners, supported by military might. For argument's sake, these people are the Disenfranchised. The Disenfranchised, excluded from the Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners model, exist in business too. An organisation denies disenfranchised employees training, promotion and an opportunity to contribute in commercial change and transformation. If the commercial world is to prosper, every business must enfranchise its disenfranchised.