Voicings: Focus on the Fundamentals
The Five Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization.
Question 1: What is your mission?
Your mission defines your purpose- the fundamental reason d’etre of your business. Think of it as the answer to the question: “why do we do what we do?”. When properly crafted and communicated it gives guidance to you and your staff and sets the direction of the company now and for the future. It describes the “why” not the “how” of your business. Your mission should be distilled down to a mission statement. At its most effective, it is broad and eternal and directs you to do the right things now and in the future. It goes something like this. “At Sterns Loudspeaker Company, our mission is to save the world from bad sound”. Properly executed and communicated throughout the organization, a well crafted mission statement lets everyone in the organization see how they contribute to the goal.
Question 2: Who are your customers?
The only real purpose of your company is to create a customer, or in other words, nothing happens until somebody sells something. Drucker describes two types of customers which he calls Primary and Secondary. The primary customer is the one who ultimately writes the check. Supporting customers are employees, referral sources, industry partners, etc. While they are not the direct purchasers, they have the ability to make or break the sale. The reason you must clearly define who your customers are is to keep you focused on those that matter. Chase off in too many directions and you diffuse your energy and your performance suffers. When you clearly identify your primary and secondary customers, you have created a starting point for determining what those customers value.
Question 3: What do your customers value?
This is a key question and one that is often answered wrong by many of us. While we think we know our customers because we interact with them day in and day out, the truth is we don’t really know what they truly value-only they know what motivates them and the only way for you to know is to ask them. Don’t guess! Customers behave predictably based on their situations, but until you understand things from their perspective, it’s difficult to accurately predict their behavior. Ultimately, you’ll need to determine what your primary and supporting customers value and what motivates them. You can’t deliver for primary customers unless supporting customers go along, so make sure you survey supporting customers as well. Decide what knowledge you need to capture and create a process to collect it regularly.