While “change” is an opportunity in disguise (see last week’s blog), where it becomes a significant challenge is when the information or the data that you are counting on to be the baseline of conversations with a client suddenly, significantly, changes. Commitments made, facts presented, and known good information has been the cornerstone of conversations with our clients forever. We communicate deliveries, prices, dates, and critical steps in all things. We make commitments to our clients regularly. And our clients count on those commitments. All is ok….till it’s NOT.
One day the data fails us. The commitment that has been made is missed.
A “promise” to a client is broken. Not intentionally, but that is not important. The “facts” just changed and that has implications in many places. Everyone scrambles. We quickly search to see how it can all be fixed, now. In years gone by the world’s manufacturing systems had sufficient flex in them that they could most times quickly move to shift something around that would allow for a fairly quick recovery from the missed commitment. We would expedite, use things known as “hot lots”, and juggle transportation processes to accommodate a recovery mode that would in most cases cover everyone’s backside.
Well, along came the curse known as COVID. It started a chain of events that took us all down an extremely rapid and steep roller coaster that dropped demand, scared everyone, and left us standing flat-footed. Then the world turned an about-face and rocketed up with demand at levels never seen before. From all-new lows to all new highs. Bipolar disorder gone beserk!
Most “systems”…information, manufacturing, planning, scheduling, all of them…hit the wall. Our source of all of the sacred data was now, struggling to get it right. Our conversations with our clients were about to CHANGE, really CHANGE. Broken promises(commitments) were about to become the new normal. How were we supposed to handle this big difference? What were our conversations going to be based on?
Well, as we have found out now, as this challenged new “norm” has set in and we have been dealing with it, the conversations can be stressful, awkward, sometimes confrontational, and just not what we were all used to.
Our value in these conversations was once created, we believed, by the data that we brought to the party. That once truly reliable data, is now highly unstable, changing hourly sometimes, and even when conveyed, is likely to change again very soon. Now what?
Well, just as it actually was, when data was perceived king, our real value to our clients lays in our connection with them. YOU are the DIFFERENCE MAKERS in the relationships with our clients. Now our conversations, without great data, need to focus clearly on the understanding of the personal and professional challenges that our clients are facing in these times of broken data.
MASSIVE empathy is the reframe to our conversations and our relationships with those we serve. If you were empathic before, try 10X’ing that level. Put your heart and soul on the line, let it show that you professionally care about the person and their challenges. The data will always be part of the conversation, for sure. It just needs to be the second part of it all.
We must assume that our current state, of broken data, will reside for a long time to come. Only time will tell that to be a reality or not. In any case, the ONLY tool that you have at your immediate disposal is changing the personal connectivity level with those that we serve. Make it very real. It is your choice here, like always, to blame the data, or change the conversation. If you want to add value, we shift the dialog. It is a great joy to connect and serve. It is again the fundamentals of…
SERVE endlessly, with
OK, LET’s ROLL!
It’s time to 10X the empathy in our lives.