IS YOUR ORGANIZATION READY FOR THE NEW CHALLENGES?
Indeed, to be ready for this new age and economic shift, our assumptions, thoughts, plans and decisions must fit reality. One of the business realities is that what counts in the business’ success are the organization’s people, knowledge, its customer service system, and the product.
Another reality is that customers do not pay for the product; they pay for the satisfaction and the pleasure that the product and the service bring. Sam M. Walton, the owner and the CEO of Wal-Mart said, “Literally everything we do, every concept perceived, every technology developed and associate employed, is directed with this one objective clearly in mind – pleasing the customer”.
Organizations must be customer-focused organizations, for; the purpose of any business is to create an external customer. If we ask any business owner about what he really wants, the answer will be that he wants loyal and productive internal customers and loyal and satisfied external customers. However, no organization will have long-term loyal and satisfied external customers without having loyal and productive internal customers.
Internal customers are the people we work with and rely on us for service, production and information. Not only it is too important to hire the right person for the job, but also to give him/her the same care that we give to the external customers. Otherwise, there will never be an external customer.
When being asked about his “secret to success”, Herb Kelleher, the CEO of South West Airlines, said, “You have to treat your employees like customers”.
Hiring the right person, even though with a higher pay, will ensure effectiveness and efficiency in the business process. Paul Russell, the Director of Leadership and Development at Google, said, “Development can help great people be even better— but if I had a dollar to spend, I would spend 70 cents getting the right person in the door”.
External customers are the people we deal with from outside the company. Without them, we have no sales, no business and no salary. They are the people who vote with their money and pay everyone’s salary and who decide whether a business is going to succeed or fail. In fact, the external customer can fire everybody in the company, and he/she can do it simply by spending his money somewhere else.
The future is going to be different, and unless we are ready to face it, we will face difficulties in maintaining our business. The economic growth, as Peter Drucker said, “Can no longer come from either putting more people to work, or from greater consumer demand. It can only come from a very sharp and continuing increase in the productivity of the one resource, in which the developed countries still have an edge: the productivity of knowledge work and of knowledge workers”.
Our government is giving almost every necessary support to organizations and individuals to be ready for tomorrow’s competition. What we have to do is to take this opportunity to improve ourselves, our organizations in any area that needs improvement and change.
Most organizations set major meetings for setting the organization’s goals and objectives, the present and future plans and strategies for increasing profit, development and growth; however, only few organizations ever realize them.
In Harvard Business Review, October, 2005, Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton quoted Chris Zook and James Allen in their book, “Profit from the Core” saying, “Between 1988 and 1998, seven out of eight companies in a global sample of 1,854 large corporations failed to achieve profitable growth”.
The cause of nearly every one of these failures is that things are being done but with outdated ideas, narrow conceptions of problems, denying the business, the customer and the market realities. In addition to that, the assumptions, on which the organization has been built and is being run, no longer fit reality.
Malaysia is growing rapidly and the future is going to be different. Organizations that living in the comfort zone, which is now called the “Danger Zone’ will not be able to maintain their business and will face many unpredictable difficulties in the future when the competition enters the market.