The organisation chart

Oh yummie, I really love these charts. You can actually see who is being paid more than the other level. And sometimes you can find email addresses and phone numbers, right next to the title. Handy.

I have worked in quite a few big companies that make tens if not hundreds of millions in turnover. What is scary is that in none of them I heard the word customer first, but always “the organisation”, closely followed by “the processes”.

You set up an organisation, describe the processes, make a product and sell that to your customer.

That’s Okay if you are selling commodities where the differentiation is not really important and the path is evened. Although you then should keep an alert eye to that other thing, called “service”.

But most customers want something special and are really not – like in not giving one fuck – interested in your company. They want a full service, no nonsense, adequate solution to their problem. 

Try it out for yourself: go to the local bakery and ask for a loaf of bread, but before you get it, you really really want to know about all the organizational issues that play. Like an organization chart, the KPI’s, the way the EBIT is reached and the way monthly meetings are transferred into minutes of meeting. And that it is the fault of the miller that the baker today has no fresh bread.

So? Now try telling me without feeling stupid.

In fact, we should look the other way around. Start with the customer – don’t think in internal or external, just think “customer, the one you are doing something for – and try to really understand what he or she wants. That’s called the product. Or a capability.

If you think that’s too easy, as you surely want to earn money and that should be in focus, you missed the point.

In the end it all turns to one thing only: “customer satisfaction”. If you don’t make money, that says something about how you either did not realize that you are not the one to provide that product, or that you did not think about how to be efficient in making that product.

Customer satisfaction is a goal, profit a result. If you mix these things up, at best you will make money only for a short time. Until people realise you’re actually stealing.

Try it out! Again? Yep, again!

Try to envision the bakery where “making profit” is the goal and customer satisfaction comes second. Good luck with that loaf of two days old, baked with second grade ingredients.

And if you think that’s still a good way to make money, as hey, there’s a lower end to the market as well, realise that the lower you get, the more “entrepreneurs” will be coasting the same shores.

Forget about the organisation until you really understand who you are, who your customer is, what that customer wants so bad that he loves to shovel his money in your pocket and then provide him with something that is even slightly better.

With a smile.