Last Sunday, just two days back, I was in Bengaluru to meet a German businessman regarding Car Detailing Services. During my meeting with him, I requested him to reduce the price of the products to gain easier access to a tough market.
His stance was that the people with a mind set for quality and class will choose his products over other products, despite the high price. He stands for quality and his products are unique. He is reconciled to the fact his products are not for everyone.
What he suggested is that when there is an alignment between the values customers hold and those offered by a company, trust is built as a result.
Individuals too, seek out the company of those professing similar values and beliefs. Trust happens as a consequence of their shared beliefs.
This has huge relevance for Service Square. Values cannot be donned as a publicity stunt or as an advertisement gimmick. We cannot practice values we do not hold. This has to be a way of life with everyone in the company.
Customers have so many choices and they look for experience rather than a transaction from service providers. And experiences which entail emotions need the bedrock of the values of the company – to cause and sustain them.
When Service Square attracts customers for the values we represent, our price is hardly a deterrent. We make competition redundant when we are not competing with them on price or features. Our competition is only with ourselves…… striving for ways to be even more valuable to customers.
When Service Square was born in the year 2000, we decided our quest would be to “Bring a smile on our customers face each time through a strict compliance of quality, commitment, value for money, honesty and timely service.”
This will be a reality when we drive these values in the everyday life of the company. All members of Service Square will have to stretch every day, and in every interaction with customers, exhibit these values. I have to give the lead by upholding and championing our values personally, with passion.
Purposes and trust levels within the company and with the world of customers outside, determine the success levels of companies. Because, purpose and trust bring energy which fuels organizations.
Steve Jobs nurtured the value of innovation and cutting edge technology to keep his company, Apple, on top of the competition. Then he had to vacate his position because of differences with the board of directors. He was brought back after a decade to revive a near bankrupt company. He physically personified the congruence between what his company did and why it did those. Then trust levels again percolated deep into the company. And Apple again surged ahead of the competition.
Narayanamurthy of Infosys fostered in his company an atmosphere and system of ethical values. His beliefs became the beliefs of those who worked at his company. Trust levels were high. And he created history by making his company the best known among software brands. In 2013, he was brought back from retirement to resusciate the slowly sinking fortunes of Infosys. Within a matter of about 5 months, market value of Infosys is moving northward. Of course, it is too early to predict how it would be in future.
When what organizations do gains currency over why they do them, trust levels dwindle on account of the split and people work without passion. That is when decline begin to seep in.
Customers are more interested in knowing who we are, rather than what we do.
Unfortunately, our country, India, has not had any leader in the recent past with the capacity to invigorate its millions with dreams and purpose. Trust levels among the citizens for its leaders is at its lowest ebb. We have the sorry spectacles of various groups and political parties trying to pull one another down.
The lack of values has bred an atmosphere of mistrust everywhere. The opposition seeks to derail even good programmes of the government, while the government wages a battle to corner the opposition. The people of the country are caught in between and suffer, victims of leaders without vision, values and dreams.
Yet, very slowly, people like Anna Hazare, Abdul Kalam and perhaps, Arvind Kejriwal or Yogendra Yadav are stirring thousands by their beliefs and the causes they represent. Such heroes are the silver linings in a bleak atmosphere of mistrust and gloom. They may be showing the people the courage to stand up for their beliefs.
What inspired me to write this particular post is a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek, ‘First Why and then Trust‘. This talk is about how surrounding yourself with people who believe what you believe creates Trust which is essential for the survival of humanity.
Another, ‘How great Leaders Inspire Action’ is a masterpiece and is among the most watched Ted Talks. This is a very insightful presentation about how ordinary people become extra-ordinary by their unwavering commitment to their purpose. In turn they attract people who believe what they believe, bringing about mammoth changes and a new paradigm of life.
Yes, I agree, for me, none of this will wash, if these brave words are not matched by a fierce fire that burn within me, kindling light on my beliefs and values. The trick I have to master, is to stand up for my beliefs, show up, and do the work with grit and passion. No one else will do this for me. The only thing I can do is to change my world.
Everything else is bakwas.