Volume 13, Issue 1 - January-February 2011

Customer Service
tips for quality service

Make Waves, Baby!

by Carl Tompkins

A condition that I see in most all businesses is what I’ve come to call “complacency with the given” (CWTG). This condition causes companies to suffer poor business results, and these organizations must realize two important facts. The first is that most businesses fail to realize that they’ve contracted this terrible condition and, the second is that it’s important to understand how to rid your business of this condition in order to get back on the track to profitable growth.

CWTG is defined as “the mindset, thinking and attitude that the way things are is the way they will stay, and that it’s only within this given state that the business will operate.”

A Bad Condition
Not one person in business wants this condition to exist within his/her organization. I’ve heard management raise their voices and watched them shake their fingers at unacceptable results much the same way an obese person acts while in front of the mirror. And, just as an overweight person claims to be committed to losing weight, the company wants to improve its business—but neither happens. The overweight person changes no activities, thinking that he/she is just “big-boned;” likewise, the company continues to bellyache, doing everything the same way, blaming its misfortunes on a bad economy.

Even worse than this particular case of CWTG is the scenario in which the company and obese person think and operate under the impression that everything is fine. They work under the “it is what it is” mindset, and neither voices are raised nor fingers pointed. Neither party has a clue of how things could be. What makes this second degree of CWTG worse than the opening first degree of CWTG is that there is no recognition of the opportunity for improvement, creating a lack of motivation to change.

“Just as an overweight person
claims to be committed to losing weight, the company wants to improve its business—but neither happens.”

The Remedy
So what’s the remedy for CWTG? There’s no set one, but following are a few possible prescription “pills” you might consider.

Pill #1: Believe and demonstrate the attitude that you can and should grow revenue and profit every year.
This keeps the organization in the right frame of mind to investigate ways to improve constantly, avoiding complacency and excuse. And, don’t forget to look both inside and outside your organization when doing your homework.

Pill #2: Establish S.M.A.R.T. goals aimed to overcome hurdles and meet growth objectives.
Turn your investigations into new goals that are specific, measureable, agreeable, realistic and time-bound so that everyone in the organization has a new destination for which to strive. Note that there will always be hurdles, problems or difficulties, but all hurdles can be jumped successfully; do so without excuse. Also, make sure everyone involved is on board and held accountable for attaining goals. Effective goal-setting is a great way to take charge and keep advancing. This avoids the doom of simply floating down the river, letting the current dictate how fast you reach the falls. Make waves, baby!

Pill #3: Implement new activities or modify existing activities that will enable goal attainment. Setting goals with out proper activity support is a waste of time and effort. You must learn what activities are required and then put them into action in an effective manner. Be reminded—if there is no change in activity there will be no change in results.

Discipline Equals Completion
Lastly, you must be disciplined toward the completion of taking your prescription. At best, most companies start good things, but never finish them, causing them to do what the obese person does: standing in front of the mirror and shaking his/her finger at who really is to blame. As stark of a comment as this may be, it’s the truth—and I would much rather associate with fit people and wealthy companies that may have had their feelings hurt along the way. One thing you can count on 100 percent of the time is how the pain of getting to a tough destination becomes meaningless once you arrive to enjoy the benefits of a job well done.

Carl Tompkins is the global marketing resources manager for SIKA Corp. in Madison Heights, Mich. He is based in Spokane, Wash. Mr. Tompkins’ opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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