Want – Like – Need
Years ago, as part of a never-ending series of company reorganizations, a team of our change management consultants headed to the ‘field’ to interview users. Upon their return, they presented an extensive list of technology investments deemed necessary to remain competitive.
Their list focused on technology and not business concerns. Wondering, I asked who they interviewed. Proudly, they proclaimed the “field engineers.” When queried–did they talk with district managers, regional engineers and others with P&L or other managerial responsibilities, the answer was “no.”
This very expensive process by a major professional services organization simply generated a wish list of junior employees. It was what they thought they WANTED.
In our current jargon, “cool stuff.” Needless to say, none of these projects were funded. Wasted time and money by those not familiar with our business!
Today, we are driven to LIKE everything! CRM systems demand input before we have even procured the product or service. Log on to any given website and the request to complete a survey will hit you before you read the first line. Five stars or thumbs-up emojis appears to be the goal.
Do wants and likes add value? Perhaps a like is a statement of preference, but perhaps the consumer wants the digital driven question to just go away without the hassle of someone begging for a higher ranking like. Fibbing to surveys has become a national pastime.
Business should be most concerned about what a prospect or returning customer NEED. What pain point or problem does your product/service solve? If you can’t answer that question, no amount of wants and likes will add to your bottom line.
I may want a hamburger and go to a fast food restaurant with lots of likes. However, if I am in a hurry and their preference is clearly to move cars via the drive-through faster than those of us waiting inside, my need to eat quickly will not be met. I may leave without my meal or most likely not respond to a survey seeking likes. Then never return!
That lost customer will never surface in any analysis—not even one star. Enough of those responses and the business will be in jeopardy and management my not even know why. Collecting likes should never be a Key Performance Indicator (KPI).
Finding the Pain
In a recent Global Energy Mentors leadership meeting, an investment group recounted their business model as one that focused on identifying organizational ‘pain’ points.[i] Once a specific pain was articulated, the search for new technologies that would address/resolve that pain was undertaken.
This model flies in the face of Steve Job’s, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”[ii] That may be and sometimes unknown needs are uncovered.
However, in critical infrastructure sectors where failure is not be an option because it can be very expensive solving a known need is usually most important. Without exception, this entrepreneur’s success has been focusing on addressing industrial client known pain points. As an example, our EVPM modeling process demands input from customer groups.
In this blog series, we have referred to successful change management that comes from addressing the—what’s in it for me question.[iii] From a customer perspective; freeing ‘me’ from known pain is often more valuable than alleviating pain I did not know I had.
Does Your Value Proposition Solve a Need, Address a Want, or Simply Generate a Like?
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Critical Mass: Value from the RBC Framework
Nuclear physicists define the term, “critical mass” as the amount of fissile material whereby a nuclear reaction is self-sustaining. From that original definition, the construct is further developed along societal and political terms as a function of the environment and number of adopters and their interdependencies that create enough of a consensus for individual actions that sustains an undertaking.
In 1996, the author published the first of several case studies on a societal interaction model based on the Relationships, Behavior and Conditions (RBC) construct among economic actors. Previously the model was only in the domain of academia.
This blog addresses contemporary issues from the RBC perspective and whether in the present state they are sustainable or not. Many readers may be familiar with the “Innovation Adoption Curve.” RBC seeks to enlighten the causality of behaviors that cause movement towards the critical mass that generates movement along this diffusion curve.
Other Blogs by Dr. Shemwell
Dr. Shemwell is an author/contributor for the following 3rd party blogs.
So, You Want to be an Entrepreneur
Dr. Shemwell is a member of the Global Energy Mentors (GEM) Leadership Team. Every month he or one of his colleagues is posting timely tips to help entrepreneurs navigate the energy start up sector. Check out the Landing Page.
Governing Energy Blog
BTOES Insights is the content portal for Business Transformation & Operational Excellence opinions, reports & news. Dr. Shemwell is a contributor.
Consult 2050 connects organizations with a wide range of consultants all around the world. The firm operates an online marketplace for consultancy services.
Essays on Business and Information
This two volume set covers a series of newsletters and opinion pieces published circa 2002-2009, including Bug Lore–Lessons for the Online Economy that addressed real time systems vulnerabilities from Y2K (1998-99).
About the Author
Dr. Scott M. Shemwell has over 30 years technical and executive management experience primarily in the energy sector. He is the author of six books and has written extensively about the field of operations. Shemwell is the Managing Director of The Rapid Response Institute, a firm that focuses on providing its customers with solutions enabling Operational Excellence and regulatory compliance management. He has studied cultural interactions for more than 30 years—his dissertation; Cross Cultural Negotiations Between Japanese and American Businessmen: A Systems Analysis (Exploratory Study) is an early peer reviewed manuscript addressing the systemic structure of societal relationships.