My need for Change
Begin with the End in Mind. Steven Covey
I've just finished another year long consulting gig and subsequently realized that my focus is continuing to shift. All part of a continuous improvement thing -- I hope.
Whereas I used to be more Techy focused, the passed 7+ years of life's lessons have increasingly taught me that:
Its All About the People!
Even in the specialized Techy world where the focus is too often on inanimate objects, and definitely in the broader business world. So I've come to the realization that the most pragmatic starting point and finishing point is 'The People'. More specifically, and hopefully a near statement of the obvious, its people's Universal Basic Needs that are the quantum start point for every business endeavour.
I liken this set of needs, to the physicist's quantum world, i.e the search for the smallest indivisible truths such as the atomic particles of matter from which we can build a more useful understanding of our world.
For example, in the residential construction industry it starts with people's need for a 'home'. In terms of the finite set of Universal Basic Needs, this need is more specifically understood as the need for shelter, warmth, privacy, and safety. These needs are the fundamental motivations of every buyer or renter - i.e. its universal. Separately, we consider the act of building, selling, or renting any house, condo, or apartment as the method of fulfilling this need. Add that experience teaches there are many ways, many methods, to fill any one need .. many ways to 'skin a cat'. And so too it becomes evident that the method is less important than the need. And sadly I remember that too often I, if not most everyone, was wasting a lot of time and energy focusing and arguing about the method with little to no understanding of the real need, the real motivations of the buyer.
My Old Way - Sadly, the Common Way
So in every sense, my previous techy focus was at least one step, one important degree removed from The people. Simply, I was working in an indirect way on the real source, the real root cause, of any issue. When this understanding first dawned in me a huge light bulb went off in my head. It became immediately obvious that throughout my career to-date I had been guilty of working inefficiently and may even have missed many better solutions altogether.
Too often I was thinking things like, "What is the best solution to the current problem?", and for sure was focusing on a best techy solution. That also meant I was using an unacknowledged techy value system to gauge the Fitness for Use of my proposed solutions. But there is nothing in this, now my older way, of thinking that assured anyone that my techy value system was anywhere near the customer's value system. In retrospect its now a "no wonder" realization that too many of my previous best efforts came with continuous difficulty to try to convince the buyer that my solutions were what they needed. And this convincing/ re-selling always bothered me at the time. It added widely variable and sometimes even huge amounts of effort and time to the business transaction. Unconsciously, I can only hope, I may have known something was amiss.
The New Approach
The new approach is the direct approach. Focus 1st and always on The People - and their basic needs. Customers, employees, owners and investors, and even third-party special interest groups may have significant needs that arise out of your endeavours, out of your business - more particularly, out of the ways and means, i.e. the methods, of your business. Each person and group may have differing basic needs, but to be aware of them and to focus directly on them will help tremendously as you guide and build your business. For me, this is the new and most powerful strategic advantage above all else.
And yes, its a tall order.
For those who take up this approach, probably the most important aspect of getting ahead of the crowd, of leading yourself and your business into Greatness, this approach is also its own barrier to entry. Meaning that those who go there and get there, not only achieve a strategic advantage, they also have a built-in mechanism for keeping the competition far at bay. So the promise is both a method to get there, as well as a method to sustain your lead.
The Re-Making of LSCi
For LSCi, I've decided to re-engineer our entire works to use this new approach. So a new web, a new way of presenting the what and how of our work, a new way of thinking and being, and ultimately, a new and improved set of values we can bring to the table.
We've also taken the bold step to offer all our services via pure collaboration. Since we are all about helping maximize business performance, our new understandings sheds much light on what works and what doesn't in the field of consulting. So, never again will we come and overwhelm with our data, our smarts, to beat you into submission over changing your business to our sense of what's best for you — the more common approach. In fact, our understanding of universal basic needs, worries us that the Overwhelm Them approach is most often a subtle yet manipulative way of interfering with the client's basic need for control - your need to maintain control of your business. Interference with anyone's needs is likely to result in some form of resistance - even if just a subtle yet hidden reservation about the proposed changes. And it seems most obvious to me that can only lead to a less-than-best result. And that's not what I want for LSCi and all our clients.
Putting it altogether is a big task. But one I welcome, and one that really fits my dream of how I want to do business.
What We NOW Do
In the briefest elevator-pitch description:
We collaborate with organizations to maximize Total Business Performance - meaning the joint maximization of Strategy, all Tactical operations, as well as Change Acceptance; all while leaving management firmly in control.
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