What if his supplies get finished? He will die soon of dehydration anyway. Why bring flesh in a place of dry bones? I’m talking about the man in the photo above. Forget about that… Who between the two salespersons below would make the highest sales by the end of the day?
Salesperson A: Hello sir, I have some cool products here that would blow your mind. With me are cool TVs; flexible screens hence you can always fold them, check it out, cool isn’t it (he demos the folding as the customer remains wide-mouthed in wonders), also making them entirely very portable. Better still you can connect to the internet through them, you can browse online and even watch your favourite shows live, and I mean they are smart... Would you have one, please? You won’t regret it.
Salesperson B: Excuse me, sir, hello. May I have a minute with you? Of late, we have witnessed various moves to better people’s lives, haven’t we? I mean, the old dogma of the electronics industry had it that you had to identify a customer’s problem and then make a move to develop a product to solve the single problem, right? Well, this only led to life being expensive, as, for each problem, a product was availed to solve it. What if you had ten different problems related to electronics…we just happen to have what we think is the right solution. Very flexible…it is solutions to ten problems under one beautiful package (he demos)... We develop smart TVs, would love to have one?
You be careful when answering the question. Most would go for salesperson A. Reason being? “Business is time, you get to know how to manage it”. “Path B is just not for business, it is ‘socializing’”. “Just go straight to the point with the customer, people are busy, you know…”Yet, business is not time but the customer. You got to buy the customer before your sell the product. Consider the picture below.
The major reason why most businesses (be it SMEs or large Enterprises) fail is because their way of doing things is always defined by path marked red. The outward-in approach. Be it that they want to manufacture a new product or sell the same, or they are promoting their company (even through advertisements), the same controller path A is what they use. It is not surprising that about 96% of organizations know what they are doing, about 50% know how they do it, and a low 23% know why they are doing whatever they are doing. It is also the mirror of how they carry out their daily activities, they always begin with ‘what they are doing’, then go to ‘how they are going to do it.’ Often forgetting ‘why’. Albeit created by the human's imagination, a business is to an entrepreneur, a living entity. An entrepreneur gives birth to a business, they take care of it as it grows, and the business may eventually die. That’s why you say, “My business is doing well”, “my business is dying”. Unless you aren’t a real entrepreneur.
Many know of the Wright brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright. They were the first to build a machine that would give man a sustainable flight on the air (first acceptable aeroplane). Yet in the flight competition, it was majorly a race between two giants. I have mentioned the first giant. The second was the most famous at their time, being backed and financed by the billionaires of that time and often followed by the media agencies just to hear of his progress. How comes you don’t know about him now. His disappearance was the product of the path A- thinking. Find out about Samuel Langley.
An advice to any critical thinker; each project you undertake has to be a living entity. The reason why salesperson B would win the day is because he bought the customer before selling his product. He gave out the ‘why’ first, the reason for having a different product from what people have. He then went to the ‘how’, how are they differentiating their product. And in a last single statement, he gave out the ‘what’. Having stolen the heart of the customer, salesperson A, now owns the customer. It would just be discouraging if any sales executive isn’t aware of how the entity they deal with thinks and works. How the human being makes decisions. The first chain of command in the human decision making isn’t always amusements and surprises or simple enticements that a well-mannered being would repudiate, it is the heart sway. He who owns the soul owns the body (who owns your soul anyway? What of your friends?). Below I highlight my inside-out approach.
Why? It is not surprising to see a dog bark at a visitor but as soon as the owner signals the dog ‘no harm’, the dog retreats from barking. The dog retreats because it has now found a reason to; it believes what the owner believes: - no harm is to come from the visitor. If the other signal were to come from the owner then you know what ought to have happened. The dog will fight the course of the owner. It believes what the owner believes. During recruitment interviews, it is advisable to select those who believe in the course of the organization. You will have given them a course to believe in, a reason to work hard for your organization. Many tyrants arise from organizations, not because they are fed up by situations like the pays but because they simply haven’t found a reason to fight for the organization. They have failed to believe what the organization believes. If they happen to find another organization with a course quite convincing enough to fight for, then for sure most will flee your organization to resettle on the other. As a leader, you got to give your subjects a reason to follow you. You have to make ‘your why’ plain and understandable for them to believe in. unless they believe in the same course as you, it will be a divided working environment. The why always have to come first, (you have to buy the heart first) only then can you own fully the body.
Many organizations pretend to have visions and well-defined missions imprinted on office walls and even on papers. Some even printing them on their logos. Yes, it is the vision that defines your why. Why does your organization exist? In its absence, what would the humanity miss? Why should I even work for your organization? What is your organization doing that others can’t do hence its need? Were you to compare any organization’s vision with their daily missions, most are easy to tell from the other. It is like the plump fellow in the picture above. He is well aware of what he is doing: -eating in a desert. He knows a lot about how he is doing it- you can even tell how boluses after boluses are flowing in his oesophagus. But does he even know why he is in a desert? The desert cares not that you are fat with resources. In any fight, it is the guy who is willing to die that’s going to win the fight. He has the ultimate reason to believe in. the other fighter obviously has lame whys hence would most surely lose.
How? You can do this little homework. Walk into two to three organizations, even just institutions for the betterment of knowledge (I mean schools). Try to find out ‘how’ they are teaching their students. You will be highly entertained to find out that most of them follow the how defined by their national governing bodies. If organizations were to be defined by how high (physically) their ‘hows’ are; and were you to array them for the public to see, then it would be a calm sea of heights. No bumps to knock a customer down in order to notice you, nor would you encounter a pothole. It is just a walk in a clear path: -all are of the same height. It is what you do differently from the crowd that defines you. Often attracting their attention. “If I were to go to organization C, I will meet these same nonsenses. Organization E is quite different, however…” we are in a century filled with photocopiers as brains, product differentiation is the mother of all attentions. The entrepreneur knows what to do.
What? I wouldn’t say much here because I’m sure you know what you are doing. You know what your organization is doing. But what of the 4% group that knows not what they are doing? In real life, they are the kind that would want to buy a car just because you bought one. They want to learn a new language just because you are learning one. They want to automate their production line just because company X did the same. They want to give a head start exams just because the mathematics department is doing the same. I mean their ‘whats’ are not theirs. They are someone else’s. They are simply a clean swine in a pig’s sty. Call them the confused, they are the photocopiers of the century although some behave entirely like scanners (often borrowing entirely your business templates for their own masterpieces). Unless you have found your own purpose, you will always be employed to do what others are doing. Don’t cheat yourself of being the CEO of Z, as long as you are guided by what company X is doing, you are their slave, you are doing what they told you to. Some of the photocopiers even employ special bunches of people as spies. They really want to know what is going on. What if your template company dies? You also die? Do you stop innovating? What if they tighten their security beyond the reach of your spies, ideas stop flowing? As the head, discuss with your followers what it is that you are doing and not what the other department did (often asking quietly, “what can we do about it?”). Were you to study carefully, all the destinations of man are the single man’s type. It is a one by one acceptance scenario. If you were the photocopier then what happens if the genuine you comes first before you(the fake) arrives?
I would give you a reason why the ‘why’ should be strong enough. Consider a vehicle tyre. At the heart of its design is the material to be used for each part. Often guided by why this and not the other material. It is the material that spells the design methodology. Followed immediately is how the design is to be fulfilled. But what makes your design unique? In the preceding analogy, the why controls the material type. The how defines the design methodology. As of now, you should be aware of what we are making and how yours will stand out. I have been taught that, in any manufacturing project, it is the material used that controls the rest of everything. Or rather model a three section wheel with each sections size determined by the corresponding sizes of your why-how-what. Would your wheel go farthest and last longest? As of now, your answer should be the right one, if not reread the article before walking away.