Select Page

The latest in a randomly advancing long-term sequel-based trilogy that just got bigger

[George Lucas eat your heart out]

though we do promise no early prequels that re-write the mythology

[we do that well enough in the present-tense, thank you very much]

It goes without saying that we recommend you catch up with how we got to where we are:

Part IPart IIPart III

But we also know that this is the web-generation and the idea of reading anything to gain context is, er, like… so, er… rilly, rilly old school. So, let us summarise:

  • Your company spends inordinate amounts of money to wring out any new product, process or strategic innovation
  • Your company avoids doing anything innovative in relation to people – the one asset which can appreciate with investment
  • Your company perpetuates a myth that [spit] “People are our greatest asset”

The net result is that your company has developed, and does everything it can to sustain, a culture of averageness.

As always, we have suggested there may be a different way. We have asked three simple questions:

  1. Who is your ideal employee?
  2. What proportion of your workforce could be classed as your ideal employee?
  3. How do you increase that proportion?

And we’ve helped you find the answer to the first question:

Q: Who is your ideal employee?

A: Those employees most likely to maintain and grow their productivity in the future and who have most potential to increase value for our future customers.

… or, put more simply, those employees who are getting better at delivering customers who are more willing to buy your product.

So, with that in hand, without further ado, we can move onto question two

[and that kind of rhymes, so you know it’s right, unless you want to debate the nature of customers – in which case we’d be more than please to submit a supplemental statement of work for your consideration]

Q: What proportion of your workforce could be classed as your ideal employee?

Easy. The sales force, right? Right?

Er…

Wrong.

Or, more accurately, only very partially right.

[like right and wrong have any relevance, right?]

Because your customer’s decision to buy more of your product

[and we’ll include services in the product category right now because we can’t be bothered typing ‘products and services’ every time]

is influenced by everyone who touches anything to do with that decision. That means the product itself, the brand promise, the packaging, the identification of need, the R&D investment to bring the product to life. In short, it’s everyone who actually makes the product something that fulfills a need in your customer’s life.

That’s right, the point of customer decision is what really matters.

Let’s pause to reflect on what we’ve just done, because if it doesn’t strike you as either odd, profound, simple, confusing or cool, then we need to go back and re-read how we got here.

We asked ‘What proportion of your workforce could be classed as your ideal employee?’ and ended up talking about a the lifestyle need of your ideal customer.

Common sense, maybe. But we’re willing to bet good money that most of your discussions of employee engagement, satisfaction, productivity, performance, etc. are based on internal (to your company) relativism – i.e. who is performing better than who, how much does so-and-so get paid compared to the norm, etc. Even when you do look beyond what happens in your own walls, we’re willing to bet that you go to industry benchmarks

[comparative salary rates for systems integration professionals in the downtown Detroit area, anyone? Anyone?]

to assess how to get away with paying your own people as little as possible. For just turning up. Because you’re not really rewarding for performance. Not really. Because you haven’t connected the notion that your ideal employee is directly linked to a customer’s lifestyle decision.

Which is how you end up perpetuating your own culture of averageness.

Which should give you some sense that answering question 2 will be a little more complex than just counting the number of reps you have facing the customer.

Which is where we’ll go in Part V.

Later, dudes and dudettes,

BC