Is your company obsessed with your customers?

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Let me take a few minutes to share lessons from an interesting interview with the founder of Amazon.com. A few minutes into the discussion at the Internet Association Gala 2017, Jeff Bezos, shares the secrets of Amazon’s success. The beauty behind the success of most great companies is that the reasons are so simple. The secrets are so obvious, you can hardly consider them secrets. Amazons secret sauce is the same.

Jeff outlined a few very simple principles behind Amazon’s success. These principles earned him the title of the richest man in America for the first-time.

1) Amazons culture does not simply focus on customer experience. They turn this statement into a passion with a focus on ‘Customer Obsession.’ There are different models that different companies use instead like; competitor obsession, product obsession, industry obsession and so on.

2) Even if customers are happy, they still want something better. It is Amazon’s job to constantly invent new things that provide an even better customer experience.

3) Don’t focus on the short term, have a long-term view. Have a five-year view. Don’t just look at having a good next Quarter. He mentioned that quarter results are already baked. Quarter results are based on management decisions years ago. Focusing on the future changes the way you plan and focus your energy.

4) Experimentation and failing is supported in Amazon. Innovation goes together with customer obsession.

5) Identify 2-3 big ideas and force great execution. For Amazon, it’s low prices, fast delivery, and vast selection. Ten years from today no customer in his right mind would go to Amazon and request a slower delivery. No customer will request for higher prices and less selection. These are obvious things. Big ideas are often so obvious that we don’t see them.

6) Most overnight success takes about ten years. Hard work and perseverance is needed to create an ‘overnight’ success.

Companies cannot claim that their Invention is disruptive. New products and services are not and cannot be disruptive. Only customer acceptance is disruptive. Why are customers going to like it? Why would customers buy your product or service?

Lots of people dispense advise and tips. However, when the tip comes from someone valued at $109 Billion running a 22-year-old company valued at $702.5 Billion then one thing is for certain. The tip may be worth thinking about from the perspective of our own companies.

ORA/BED

Finger pointing.jpgFinger pointing and excuses seem to make up part of most corporate culture. You often hear, it’s not me it was another person that failed to deliver. I waited for the other department to reply but they never did. In my consulting years here in the Philippines, I witness this behaviour from entry level employees to a number of high ranking executives.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover a simple approach to making people aware of their finger pointing behaviour. The approach was shared by the Managing Director of an ad agency. It is called ORA / BED.

The ORA / BED phrase has two parts. On the left side or on the top of the line we have ORA. ORA stands for Ownership, Responsible, Accountable. All positive traits of a successful leader, manager or employee.

At the bottom you have BED. This stands for Blaming, Excuses and Denial. They are all negative behaviours.

The way it is used is three parts. First, explain the meaning of ORA / BED. Second, have it posted on collaterals to serve as a reminder. Third, whenever discussions turn negative (BED), you just have to remind everyone to keep the discussion in ORA. Personally, I say ‘Hey guys let’s keep the discussion above the line. Let’s keep it in ORA.’ It helps people become conscious of their behaviour.

Since I started using this in the groups I manage and clients I mentor, the discussions I get are more positive and productive.

Try it. ORA / BED. It’s deceptively simple. It’s so simple that it works.