‘The cobbler’s children have no shoes” is a phrase that tells a story of a cobbler putting his customer’s needs ahead of his (and his family’s) own.
This particular cobbler is a master of his trade and takes great pride in delivering only the best service to his customers, the talent is in the process and creation and the end goal is the output of a stunning pair of shoes repaired or made from scratch, but on his quest for exceptional delivery, this particular cobbler has neglected to use his great talent to help his family.
Let’s bring this back into the world of your business for a moment. If you’re leading a company that provides a service to your customers, such as Marketing, Accounting, PR and IT (there are MANY more), then you will probably recognise this fact.
You have undoubtedly focussed so much effort on pleasing your clients and delivering great results for them, that you have somehow lost sight of the fact that you should be treating your own organisation as a client and applying your expertise to it. And this is an all too common scenario.
Here are a few examples of when it can go wrong
- Marketing agencies that you’ve never heard of.
- Web Developers that have broken links on their website.
- Accountancy firms that file their tax returns late.
When Second Voice was launched, it was focussed on Sales Training and go-to-market planning. But the focus was on making sure it delivered this so well for our clients, that we neglected to build our own plan before getting started.
That’s not to say that we weren’t taking our own advice, it was just that attention was focussed on our client’s companies.
The behaviour was recognised very quickly and adjusted accordingly, but many companies do not, and while you can have many years of great client feedback and successful traction, please believe us when we say that it will come back and bite you.
Servicing your clients to a high standard is paramount, but if you’re not looking after your own engine, it will seize up.
Now that this is front of mind, you might want to start thinking about if this is actually happening to your organisation. Ask yourself some of these questions below:
- Why do we do, what we do?
- What are my values, and am I being true to them?
- What is our five-year plan?
- Can I clearly see the path to deliver that plan?
- Are my team happy?
- What do I do to ensure they remain happy?
- Do I have regular discussions with the team to make sure they are on the same path as me?
- Do my team know the Goals and Strategy of the business?
- Am I present in meetings?
- Do I reflect on a daily basis in order to make small adjustments?
If you’ve answered all of these clearly and in the positive, then it is likely that things are on the right path and your attention split between yourself and your clients is well balanced. But…
If you can’t answer these questions, then what can you do about your situation?
- Take time. Very few of us will actually stop to give ourselves the headspace to understand a situation and act accordingly. Check your situation and establish if your concerns are justified.
- Reflect. What were you doing when things were going well, and equally, what were you not doing that caused a shift in the status quo. Analyse the good, bad and ugly of the past months/years.
- Plan. This does not mean you pull resource away from clients to make sure you get a quick fix. Sometimes just talking through your situation with a third party will help you formulate a plan and help you find your groove again.
- Document. Don’t be afraid to put ‘pen to paper’. When something is written or even verbalised it makes it more real, and you are more likely to act upon it, instead of storing a thought. Build a strategy.
- Execute. Whatever the plan, however bold or simple the strategy, make sure you take action. Prioritise the health of your business (and yourself) and take action.
There is no right or wrong way, and some companies have very long and successful lifespans, but try not to neglect yourselves too much, and certainly don’t end up being the cobbler we spoke about.
Contact us and talk through your own organisational needs (and wants!).