Tom Peters: two good ways to disrupt your business

Do you merely sell products and services, or do you provide a sense of 'magic' and meaning for the people you do business with?
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

Is your company the kind of place that people look forward to going into on Monday mornings?  Do customers actually look forward to doing business with you?

I'm re-reading Tom Peters' 2002 work, Re-Imagine! Business Excellence in a Disruptive Age, and a couple of points leap out of the book as soon as you open it (He has many, but these really are compelling):

  • Successful companies aren't successful because they have good talent and sell great products. They're successful because they provide an experience to their customers and employees, something that makes people sit up and want to be a part of it all.
  • Every business unit, be it a small startup or a department of a large conglomerate, should be a professional service firm, dedicated to wowing clients -- be they inside or outside the company. And if it is the department of a large company, it should have some clients from outside the company. "We used to have 'departments' that were called 'overhead'/'cost centers.' Now we have exciting professional service firms that conduct only Work Worth Paying for."

Some thoughts on the first item. Great companies do more than simply sell products or services at decent prices, they provide a sense of "magic" for the people that do business with them.

And they stand for something meaningful -- they are a group of people dedicated to making the world a better place. My colleague Heather Clancy does a great job talking about these special organizations that are out to make a difference in the world. Consider the work Timberland is doing to achieve environmentally friendly apparel, or PepsiCo's efforts to replace all the water it uses in production, or GE's outreach to small specialized firms to launch cleantech, or how Delhaize America is insisting its supermarket chains sell only locally harvested seafood.

Companies that focus on visionary innovations are more than likely exciting places to work, which brings out even more innovation from employees and partners. Plus, they're more than likely exciting places to do business with, which creates an overwhelmingly positive customer experience.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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