Your company is an inch away from greatness. Just one inch away from explosive growth and healthy profits. You have all the ingredients in your company to make the change required to dominate your competitors and grow beyond your category.
But you’re not going to make it.
You will always be wondering why your competitors have made it and you didn’t, even though you were nearly there. Because you didn’t focus on the internal barriers to success and push through the focus required to really make a difference.
All this occurred to me last night as I sat at a dinner, listening to the ex-marketing director of O2 tell the story of how they succeeded in moving from number 4 to number 1 in a commodity market. The shift they made was so simple as to sound almost clichéd and banal. They made customer satisfaction their single metric for success.
Well, you may think, that’s not very clever, is it? We all know that customer satisfaction is really important. We all do customer satisfaction, in fact people in your organisation are probably bored of you talking about it. You’re probably searching for a clever idea, or trying to construct a more clever strategic platform, or set of objectives.
You just missed the last inch.
Because the last inch is realising that customer satisfaction is the single most important thing you can do. And then acting on it. Properly acting on it. Cutting away anything that doesn’t help deliver customer satisfaction. Promoting the people who are good at delivering it and letting the people who don’t believe in it go elsewhere. Of course this is the tough inch, the hardest inch, the longest inch. But it’s the only inch that really matters.
Working out what your organisation’s single focus should be (look, it’s probably customer satisfaction, but if you have a different one, then good for you – the point is to have just one and then really go for it) is the first step. Making it real is the thing that makes the difference between the companies that win and the companies that finish second, third, or worse.
Look around you and work out what you are doing that you shouldn’t be doing. Work out what the barriers are to getting to your focus. Work out what resource you need to really deliver on it and make an audacious business case. Because if you don’t, you only have yourself to blame and you have no licence to moan anymore.
Remember, you’re just an inch away.