The Importance of the Customer – and Other Stakeholders: Clients
Never work – if you can – for a client of one.
Go for a broader group of stakeholders. Always.
I was leaving MTEC – Motorola’s Training & Education Center – and about to join Ray Svenson’s consulting business on November 1, 1982.
MTEC colleague John Coné remarked one day … that I was again a very cheerful fellow. He had forgotten that he said. That struck me as it had struck him.
That reinforced my earlier decision … to move on.
MTEC was a great organization, with great leadership – but it had changed for me for the last 9 of my 18 month stay. I had originally skip-level-reported to the new Director, the head of MTEC, but then after 9 months of pretty free reign, I in Chicago, was being micro-manged from afar – Phoenix is afar isn’t it? From Chicago?
I was signing contracts one day, and then breaking them the next day. A design was perfect one day….
It had grown more than weary. Even though I was still working with Geary Rummler on several projects, I knew it was time for me to move on.
And this reminder on my wall, is a most important “cause for occasional pause” – a pause for reflection that is. John Coné wrote the award – that I cherish to this very day – 34 years later.
Anyway – time flies.
My most coveted award from 1982 reads:
Let it be known to all who read that
Fm As Tyrant,
Encountering No Client, Has Incredibly, Loosely Approximated our Design Activities
and is hereby awarded this coveted
Let it be known that on this 22nd day of October, in the year of our Manufacturing
Functional Manager 1982, an eternal flame was lit in your name at the tomb of the
And if truth be told… I believe that this was mostly or completely written by John Coné, a fellow TPS – Training Project Supervisor at MTEC at the time – back in the day. Before MTEC became Motorola University. Back when we were a boutique Training and Performance Improvement organization. The place where eventually 6 Sigma came about. The place was always all about that … Performance thing. Ala Rummler … and others.
Because it’s more than just being about Training or Learning.
It’s about Enterprise Performance.
It’s all about THAT.
And when we were trying to change the topic/the request back in 1981 and 1982 – from Training to Performance Improvement – we sometimes found ourselves in the middle projects without a clear client.
And that became kind of an inside joke at MTEC – as we all believed in being responsive to our clients and addressing their CBIs – Critical Business Issues – but we often found ourselves at first leading them down that path. The path of Performance Impact and Improvement – and away from a Training path. A path that included an analysis of the current state beyond training needs. An analysis that looked at the system of performance, at the overall context.
I don’t know if there would have been a better way … than having to lead the client initially … on the way to being more responsive without being routinely ineffective … because Training on its own – is seldom effective … as efficient as it might seem at first.
Anyway – this is my award.
And a bit of the backstory behind it.
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