18 Jun Criminals Among Us
If you look at the strata, at the very bottom is something I call “criminal.” I call it criminal because criminals take away from us and give nothing in return. Worse, sometimes they take from us and return pain. Recently, I sat down at a restaurant with my family. The experience was bad, the service was bad, and the food was toxic! I paid $150 for indigestion. Frankly, I would rather a burglar had kicked in the front door and taken my wallet, because I could have at least forgone the indigestion.
Many companies – without knowing it – operate at the “criminal” level. Now, the criminal level, and the “bad” level, are the two levels that operate in the “death” zone. It’s not “will their business fail?” but a matter of “when will their business fail?” This is the most dangerous area to live.
What’s sad is a lot of companies started out with the goal of delivering great customer value, but have fallen into this area because they changed their focus, their “gaze,” from external to internal priorities, from the external delivery of meaningful net value to customers to the internal focus of protecting themselves. They develop bureaucracy – systems, policies and procedures – that drive their business, instead of utilizing customers and customer needs.
The restaurant that made me sick found ways of improving productivity and reducing food costs, I suppose that’s good for them, but bad for their customer. They hired low quality employees who were poorly trained – good for them, bad for the customer. They provided a speedy process that got people in and out. Table turns increase profit – good for them, bad for the customer. I talk about these focal issues with great frequency throughout The Innovation Playbook with good reason– as we begin to focus internally; we begin to lose sight of what we do for a living, which should be delivering exceptional levels of customer value.