It is said that one sign of running mad is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. Well, unless the results are fulfilling and yielding positive outcomes, it is futile to keep going around the same viscous cycle. However, as much as this should be common sense to all of us, we find that it is not common practice most of the time either in our personal lives, careers or businesses. Human beings are creatures of habit and are naturally lazy. It takes a lot of effort and time to instil a new habit or un-learn an old bad habit.
A few years back, Scientists had claimed that in order to inculcate a new habit, we needed to be at it for 21 days. However a recent study from the University College London revealed that it will take you not less than 66 days to wire in a new habit – if you were strong enough to stay the course. 66 days!
Well, research, once again has publicised that majority of the population falls in the 97% who will falter long before the 66 days are over. Only 3% stay the course, adopt a new habit and go ahead into forging yet another new one. And so it is even in our businesses and careers. We are excited at the prospects of change and sometimes claim to have adopted change whilst carrying on doing the same old things. There are a few phrases we hear or say often as well as attitudes that we exhibit that gradually chip off on the growth and success of our businesses. Let’s have a look at some common ones:
‘We have always done it that way!’
Business gurus claim that this is the most expensive 7 word phrase that businesses utter. To tell your customers that you have always done it that way is to politely tell them that you are so rigid and self-centred that you cannot be bothered to engage your thoughts too much. You are further revealing to your clients that you are not willing to listen to what they want/need, and neither do they have much choice in the matter, they either take it as provided or get nothing at all.
We say and act out these words long enough and then begin to wonder why the competition is taking all our customers or blame the revenue performance on the harsh economic environment. My suggestion would be to clean up your house first before laying blame on external factors. Examine your attitude and service towards your clients – therein lies your solution.
‘It’s company policy!’
There is nothing as insulting to a customer as those 4 words. “It is company policy.” Really! Who cares? Not the customer definitely. The company policy is none of the customers’ business and neither should you make it so. Company policies are your internal guiding standards – guiding standards, not cast-on-stone-commandments. And even if they are cast on stone, look for alternatives for your client and convey the message without making them feel trapped.
Insurance companies are great at giving that line, especially when they have to pay up the clients’ claims. It is always ‘company policy’ when it comes to their obligations but never company policy when they are cheerfully collecting your premiums.
You want mass-exodus of your customer? Practice the four words long enough and it will be the company policy to shut down the business.
‘It’s never been done before.’
“It’s innovative but am afraid we cannot consider it as it has never been done before.” Waoh! This is the fastest way to kill innovation in your business. This statement is usually given by management to water down suggestions of doing business in a new way usually brought forth by employees or other partners. Unfortunately, the same old thinking can only yield the same old results.
We live in an extremely disruptive world, what was new yesterday is obsolete today – and so are the ways of conducting business. If you are stuck in the mind-set and practices of yesterday, do not be surprised if your customers do not stay too long with you. Either listen to your employees, partners and even customers on new ways of doing things or listen to the sound of their footsteps walking away from you.
In a nut shell: – innovation is with us on a daily basis, the world is fast changing the way of interaction and transaction. To succeed in the rapid metamorphosic environment, we must either be the disrupters or join the disrupted. The choice and consequences will be yours to show.
To your success!