The Top 100 Business Schools prefer to divide business up into departments and silos. However, as business owners we would do well to spend all of our time recruiting Advocates instead of building more little business wrecking Territories.
Scientists have been working towards a theory of everything for many decades now. Slowly as each new discovery has been made in the scientific field, we have come to realise that everything is interconnected in our world and the wider universe beyond.
This has blurred the edges between the once distinct disciplines of chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics and astronomy to the point where it is increasingly difficult to continue to think about any problem in isolation.
As this has been happening, big picture thinkers who have long been thought of as arty farty and less than serious due to their lack of detailed analysis of problems have come back to the fore as their unique skills are required to make sense of the discoveries being made. Albert Einstein was famously inspired by dreaming and the arts as well as hard scientific research.
What’s this got to do with business?…everything.
So why then would the top 100 business schools in the world completely overlook such a critical piece of business thinking?
For the longest time business teaching has tried to divide business into distinct little chunks that can be taught and dealt with in isolation such as Marketing, Finance, Human Resources and Customer Care to name a few.
The trouble with this is twofold:
- Disparate groups of people, with widely different views on whats good for the business push and pull at each other to gain a bit of ground for their side…all at the expense of…the customer. I mean literally at the customer’s expense, because this silo approach is costly and creates a lot of opportunities for shirking responsibility, invisible men and above all…waste.
- The business loses focus on what is important…the customer!
So like the scientists, we business people need to be working towards a theory of everything, because if we don’t use all of our resources to simply delight the customer…we’ve failed and they’ve gone to the guy next door’s business instead.
The 10 Minute MBA starts with the premise that the sole aim of the business is to make each and every customer an advocate for the business. Not just a satisfied customer or even a raving fan, but an advocate. Someone who will feel so good about being a customer that they will promote the business to their friends, colleagues and/or family far and wide with no prompting…just because of the experience they get when they deal with our business.
On reading that last paragraph you might well ask why that isn’t already the aim of all businesses? Well I think it kind of is…to start with in any case. But, only kind of, because I think a very large proportion of new business owners don’t have a strong enough focus on it, due in part to the race to make money first and foremost (which of course is completely counter productive) but mainly because once they are in the thick of it they lose focus due to being distracted by the trivia of running a business. Nobody wants to have a crap business after-all…do they?
When it comes to older, established businesses; ones that have been through a few phases of growth and contraction, they get bloated and start to have the dreaded “departments”. As soon as you have a department for anything be it marketing, finance, HR or whatever…you set up territories within your business and the people who work in these departments will fight for their territory instead of the overall good of the business.
So start with the customer experience in mind and make your aim deliberately to recruit advocates; forget number of transactions per customer, average transaction values, profit per customer etc etc, as this will lead you down the wrong road.
Don’t build territories, recruit advocates instead.
Photo thanks to: Adam Evans via Compfight
What are the alternative functional structures out there that others have used?