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OK, Got the “Here to There”: Now What?

You’ll recall the story of Jean and Rivet and the “Here to There” goal of 14 hours to site.

We were ready to talk about taking that down to his execution level – the senior “team”. It’s in quotes for a reason.

The first thing we discover is that some who are on the “team” will never be aligned with getting the 14 hours to happen. We may also discover that the set-up of the team doesn’t allow a substantial charge to take hold and may, in fact, defeat it.

These are not trivial realizations. I worked with a distribution firm that was mired in mediocre customer service performance. Once we knew what the company had to be, it distilled down to two very simple behaviors we needed at the front lines. We needed the onsite, customer facing service folks to say two things:

– “Thanks for the business.”

– “Can we get anything else for you?”

Now, in your wisdom, you may be dismissive of the impact. But those are the tip of an iceberg. But hold on. Have you ever seen the surly burly guys who bring in the stock? Do you think if they began doing this, they would stand out to the customer? More important, Karl had the data. It mattered – hugely – to the customer. And that was where the marginal orders came from – surprisingly that level.

Such interest would reflect a focus on the customer. And when it began to happen, it would indicate that the company could reach all the way from head office out to the field and change what is going on – at a distance; for the better.

But, more importantly, Karl, the President, was absolutely convinced the program needed to happen. When we got that clear, everything flowed. It was my role to help him bring about that result.

However, what flowed was not – again – trivial. This would force Karl, right off the blocks, to face 2 issues in his hierarchy. His COO and his US VP Ops. They would never, as he termed it, “Go to the pulpit” to espouse such a change. He could imagine them sniggering when this initiative was announced – even though it was cloaked in larger garb – that of “Customer Impact”. He was not prepared to take that chance.

So he didn’t. With a little backbone stiffening, supplied in part by yours truly, he dealt with them. He moved them on. Released them to industry.

“Gee, that’s a little extreme, isn’t it? For the sake of a statement and a question?”

Well, the truth we helped to bring clear was, it was either them or his convictions. And, after harboring this intention for a few years, his convictions won out. The doubters had to go.

DId it work? Was it worth it?

The program has been pushed for 4 years. They just sold for $282m to a large industry player. Cited in the press release on acquisition? “Customer Impact”!

By the way, names and all that have been disguised to protect confidentiality. But references are available – and gladly provided by clients!


Doug Bouey
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

What’s Our Business?

Bringing out the best in you, your company and your people.

Doug Bouey, President
Catalyst Strategic Consultants Ltd.

Calgary, AB // Phone: 403.777.1144


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