Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

Is It Really About the Product? February 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 9:05 pm
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If you are like most companies, you pride yourself by fixating on your core product or service. Makes sense, yes? In order to WIN in the market, one must have laser focus on quality, fast delivery, streamlined operations, and flawless communication with the customer.

Lately, I’ve been asking myself if it’s really all about the product, and does this “product” obsession distract us from the real reasons customers select suppliers? In other words, are we so focused on delivering perfection on today’s tangible that we miss where the true value is created?

As an owner of a manufacturing company, my mind naturally gravitates to product. It consumes organizational energy as we focus on the fulfillment cycle which runs the gamut from selling to delivery. That cycle is our natural obsession because it’s tangible and urgent. We fixate on excellence at each stage.

And yet, this all-consuming cycle blinds manufacturers from a fundamental truth: your product is only one limb of your overall relationship with the client. This begs the question: how do you create true, sustainable value for your client regardless of your product’s placement in its life-cycle?

Overemphasis on product leaves you limping when your product, like every other product, enters a mature phase. Margins collapse, competition pounces, and if you haven’t built an awesome, repeatable method for engaging in meaningful ways with your client – ways that alleviate their true pain points & anticipate their next “gap”, you have nothing left to talk about than price. And assuming status quo, slow steady death prevails.

There has never been a better time to reinvent your business by engaging your team in the question: Besides product, what do our customers most need in order to reach their goals? What keeps them up at night, and how can we alleviate that pain?

 

Fierce Conversations February 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 6:41 pm
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Fierce Conversations, by Susan Scott, is one of the best communications books I’ve read; hands down.  Our relationships evolve one conversation at a time, and we have the ability to enhance their significance and power enhancing the “fierceness” of our conversations.  Our conversations are not separate from our relationships.  They are the relationship. 

 What is a fierce conversation?  It embraces compassion woven with candor, empowering questions that interrogate reality, deep presence, operating from a position of alignment versus competition, and owning our behaviors and words.

 Our preference for politeness and “niceness,” are prettily clad justifications for avoiding the truth and accepting mediocrity.  Sugar coating, couching, ignoring… we all see it daily.  Conversations where preserving someone’s feelings is a larger goal than reaching an optimal solution. 

Imagine engaging with peers in a way that maximizes the ideas, intellect, and intuition of all parties?  Where trust, compassion, and candid expression of truth are high?  No more sub-optimal compromises leaving everyone feeling drained.   

Susan Scott encourages us to bea crucible, or as she defines, “a strong, resilient vessel in which profound change could safely take place.”   How?  Enter a conversation without expectation of others, commit to non-judgment, & stay true to who you want to be.  We are not victims to a topic, another person’s words, or our own experience. 

I have worked with 100s of people in my career; many truly brilliant, sub 4 minute milers. 

Yet, often the potential of an individual is KILLED by the dysfunction of their work team.  Can you think of a single team you belong to that lives at superstar status?  Most tap dance around root issues, become territorial, and thus, result in people leaving and wispering the “real conversation” in teh hallway or behind a closed door.  Imagine the results these teams would generate if fierce conversations happened?   

Susan closes her book with her personal testament to live her life “at the conversational cliff’s edge.”  What if we all did this?  In other words, we made the conscious decision to be present, fierce, compassionate, and intentional in our conversations (aka: relationships).  What would change for you?