Date posted: April 5, 2016

Did you ever see that movie ‘What Women Want’? Fantasy/romance from about 15 years ago starring Mel Gibson, who gets a whole new outlook on life when a fluke accident gives him the ability to read women’s minds. At first, this “gift” provides him with way too much information, but he begins to realise that he can use it to good effect… spoiler alert – he won the girl! 

One cannot please or satisfy people unless you understand what they want. I reflected on this last month when I attended the Growth Summit and heard Frances Frei speak on ‘Uncommon Service’. Frances is Senior Associate Dean, Director of Faculty Planning and Recruiting and UPS Foundation Professor of Service Management at Harvard Business School and she spoke about the ‘price’ of excellent service. Essentially, she suggested that service comes at the price of something else – in some cases – at the price of everything else. Clearly this depends on your industry, but let’s consider an organisation that is based on service – like FBA.  Frances’ reasoning is that no one organisation or individual can be ‘excellent’ at everything they do, and mostly they do not need to be either.

Organisations need to be excellent at the thing that drew to customer to them in the first place – at the promise they made to the customer. Beyond that, if the organisation also excels in other aspects of performance then they are likely to score a lot more ‘Brownie points’ and customers, BUT – if they MUST get their core competencies right.

So let me get back to Mel Gibson (!). He only started to get things right when he truly understood what the women in his world really wanted, and that took some depth of exploration on part of the women as well as Mel, plus ongoing communication, trial and error.

When you joined FBA – what did you really hope would happen? Is it the same now as it was? What do you hope for in the future – why do you stay? As I cannot read your mind, I need you to tell me – over again if necessary. Like any relationship, your membership of FBA needs to be ‘reviewed for relevance’ and that communication needs to be 2-way. FBA really wants to be relevant to the family business sector, so emails, phone calls and SMS messages will all be collated and considered – and I so look forward to receiving them!

Also, make sure Friday 27 May is in your diaries for the NSW and ACT Summit . You will have the opportunity to hear from successful family business leaders and expert advisers on a diverse range of topics pertinent to family business success including branding, leadership and growth strategies – the program is not to be missed!

Wendy Foster
NSW and ACT Manager
Family Business Australia