People and businesses alike want to be connected. Forming connections with other people fulfils our personal need for security, sociability and acceptance. Making networks, links and agreements with other companies is the life blood of corporate growth, in just about any industry or organisation. That seems obvious, you might say, but I’ve recently been reflecting on one particular implication of this for my business that’s challenging my thinking and my customer approach. We’re not all the same and we’re certainly not all at the same place or on the same journey. We all need different connections.
This spring I’ve finally felt that I’m ready for some changes in my life. I’ve been quite static for a while. My life’s been in a bit of a recovery mode after a difficult personal time, but now I’m feeling safe enough to let go of some security blankets and maybe adventure a little. Interestingly, some people around me struggled to get their heads around where I was, but equally are not coping too well with where I’m going now! Right now I’m ready for change and they’re urging caution. Back a year or two ago, when I was feeling in need of some security, those very same people wanted me to take risks, try new things and take on the world. They misread the messages I was sending out – or maybe didn’t even hear the messages at all! Sometimes tired platitudes are easy to give out to those around us……. Result, not good!
In business, education and in working relationships I know I can easily apply a one-size-fits-all approach. It is so easy to rush ahead without taking the time to really understand… where IS my potential customer, business partner or student at? We so often dive in with the corporate message, the current all-singing marketing campaign or motivational address. It must be the answer for them, after all! Perhaps we’re too often like the market stall holder who offers just one jacket on his stall. ‘One size-fits-all’, he proudly shouts. Yes, if you’re male, middle-aged and XL, it will fit you fine.
So, if you would like to be more of a made-to-measure tailor to your clients, colleagues, prospective trade partners or students, perhaps asking these three questions of your connections might serve both as a guide and a temporary pause point in your hasty path: -