In his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey presents seven habits (and one bonus habit) that he observed made some people more effective than others. Since his passing in 2012 I have revisited my copy of this book on a number of occasions. I have found overwhelming similarities between how these 7 Habits, if practiced consistently, not only produce more effective people but also more effective companies. Over the next week I will highlight each habit and how it can translate into helping you understand your buyer’s journey.
Habit 1 is about being proactive and taking responsibility. In business, the leader’s job is to provide the vision for where the company is headed, and is the owner and nurturer of the company’s culture. Many companies delegate cultural ownership to the head of HR or some other executive. But culture is much deeper than simply finding a champion or cheerleader. Culture is about setting a tone, establishing expectations, accepted behaviors, and perhaps the most difficult ingredient of the culture, which is the creation of confidence. The ultimate leader of the company sets the culture even if he or she doesn’t want to “own” it. It just happens. Employees look to THE leader as both watchers and witnesses to behaviors. How THE leader acts and behaves is how the entire organization will act and behave. If the leader is proactive, the company will be proactive. If the leader hides behind walls, doors, and desks, the entire company will hide from its customers’ behind walls, doors, and desks.
To be proactive requires a great degree of curiosity. It’s the ability to wonder what if, what could be, or how could we? The ultimate one word that demonstrates just how proactive someone is – “why”. When you ask “why”, you’re being proactive. Think about it. If Thomas Edison never asked why, would we have lights? If Steve Jobs hadn’t asked why, would we have many of the modern-day conveniences and access to information that we have today? There are thousands of examples of how asking why delivered major inventions or innovations to our society. If no one took the time to ask why, we’d simply all be sitting around, idle, stagnant, and unchanged.
As you look at your buyer’s journey ask why? Be proactive. Don’t wait for a major disruption or crisis to force your evolution. Get out in front of it. Take every opportunity to talk to your customers and ask questions, get their ideas, opinions, emotions. Don’t rely on paper, or automated survey’s. Engage them live, in real time. Be bold, brave, and most of all be proactive in understanding what’s important to your buyer.