For people and companies there is only really one way to judge character: Watch their behavior in a wide variety of circumstances. Watch what they do when they’re in the spotlight, and watch what they do when they think they’re unobserved. Watch what they do every day, and watch what they infrequently do.
Somebody may speak eloquently about their respect for others, but if you watch them treat an Uber driver callously, you can lay a pretty strong bet about how they’ll walk their talk in other areas.
There’s a school of thought (going back to Aristotle) that suggests that personalities are an outgrowth of our personal habits. What we do on a daily basis shapes how we act, how we think, and who we are.
I’ve seen a similar truth in companies–the strongest companies I’ve worked with have required that their people adopt certain habits and they ruthlessly enforce the exercise of those habits. Perhaps more encouraging, I’ve seen companies make dramatic improvements when they adopt new (healthy) habits, replace bad ones, and encourage and enforce adoption of the new habits.
You’ve heard me harping about the power of my simple Pick-3 Process (which was described in my previous book, The Customer Loyalty Loop, and will soon be available as a service that helps make it drop dead easy for companies and individuals to use the process on a daily basis.)
Some clients tell me how this simple process has dramatically changed their business by creating new habits when it comes to customer care and growing revenue. For those who start and stick with it, the results are awe-inspiring. The reason it’s so impactful is it forces you to think about your clients every day. It forces you to interact with your clients every day. It forces you to learn something new, or do something positive for your business every day. It forces your people to engage in proactive sales, marketing, and retention efforts. And, it helps you avoid the ridiculous “Undercover Boss” face that is so shocking to almost every CEO who goes on that show.
But it’s not easy. The adoption of new habits, new tools, and new processes requires work. It often requires sometimes harsh enforcement for those who don’t want to play ball. I remember working with a client once where a handful of sales people I interviewed told me they were just trying to hold on a few more years before retirement. They could have been forced to adopt new habits, but nobody was willing to enforce the new state of the union.
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