The Challenge

Many people often ask themselves the question… “If it is really worth all the trouble?” to accommodate all the strategies and management principles, styles and methodologies for dealing with change in modern times. The answer to this question is that it depends… it depends on the circumstances (i.e. environmental context) and whether a person tends to be dominantly reactive in his/her actions (i.e. attitude) or proactive.

Thus, does individuals merely fend for survival in the present or are they actually focused on the future, attempting to accommodate change as best they could. Those individuals that only focus on survival… for NOW, will eventually become extinct and merely a vague memory of yesteryear. WHY? Because change is the only certainty that we have today, and those that “ignore” this fact, will loose their claim to existence. Therefore, seriously consider the following…

The industrial economy focus was based on “make and sell“. Consider, for instance, the massive production of Henry Ford’s cars and his dictum… “You can have any colour you like as long as you like black“. Back in Henry Ford’s time there was little regard for the customer. The main focus was the production process and everybody from employees to customers were “slaves” to this process.

Then – during the 1950’s – came the information economy focus which was based on a “listen and serve” dictum. Nearly 80% of the world’s employees are now in some form of service industry. Microsoft developed into the equivalent of the Ford motor company, with the focus on quality and customer satisfaction… “the customer is always right“. Market research, segmentation models and distribution channels all contribute to making the customer king. In spite of this, customers are generally faceless; because they’re lumped together in demographic segments and hidden underneath a pile of statistics. Resulting in a “customer friendly service system” to meet all the needs of the customer, which are – on the whole – inflexible and only focused on the “statistical” needs of different demographic market segments.

At present a new economy focus is emerging. The emotions economy focus (also known as the super information, intimate, relationship, wisdom, transparent or connection economy) and recognize that organizations will have to take service a step further; when they want to attract clients – and staff – away from their competitors. Take banks for instance, and assess the significant points of difference between them…

Not much of a difference, is there?

Whether you are buying cars, cosmetics or hair care products – except for the very sophisticated and ridiculously expensive, or the really cheap products – there isn’t much of a distinction in today’s “price-wise” and “product-wise” markets. Supermarkets are no different. We’ll probably find that some are a little more upmarket than others, but on the whole we could shop at just about any of them, with much the same quality and service. Furthermore, people are increasingly shopping on the Internet. They will call up a “trolley of products” from one supermarket and compare it with another supermarket’s “trolley“; and based on the savings, make their decision as where to buy. The same principle applies for most service based organizations. People will “shop” around for information on the Internet and then select a service provider or bypass them all completely and make their own purchase.

Now for the “unexpected” crunch. Which bank, supermarket, car or service provider will the customer choose? Increasingly, customer decisions will be based on relationships, connections, trust, emotion and being treated as an individual with unique needs (i.e. as a living breathing human) and not a statistical demographic market share segment. Price, quality or speed of service will gradually become less and less directive in the final decision making process of a customer or clients.

People will tend to buy a car from – and get it serviced at – the garage that makes them feel special and looks after their particular needs. The book store with the coffee shop, where friendly and smiling staff find that special book for you… will probably tend to attract more attention than the “super saving” mega book store with bulk buying power and shelves stacked to the roof with thousands of “hard to find” almost cheap books.

The travel agent who delivers your airline tickets, knows your accommodation preferences and rings you when there is a special that s/he knows you will enjoy, will be – not surprisingly I might add – your first choice when you require travelling services. The restaurant maître d’hôtel who welcomes you by name and treats his staff well – so that they are pleasant and happy around you – will probably attract more customers. The estate agent who paints your house for you – at his/her expense – because s/he knows it will fetch a higher price for the both of you; will undoubtedly grab your attention and business. Why?… because, we were and still are emotionally based beings. What we feel is much more important than what we think.

It is a fact that emotions…

  • drive and steer all the decision that we make, each and every moment of everyday… yep, and that also includes the so called “good” business and scientific based decisions.
  • take place outside our rational and wilful level of awareness, and then – in the name of objectivity – we justify it by logic, reasoning and data as perceived.

Thus, emotional engagements increases the speed of learning, increases memory retention and evokes emotions in others, that substantially increase the likelihood of productive cooperation and co-creation. Therefore, organization that will attract attention and secure customers in future, are those that authentically and genuinely…

  • are trustworthy and honest.
  • listen to and make their clients feel special.
  • provide service tailored to individual preference and needs.
  • understand the principle of “mass customization” and “markets of one“.
  • networking with clients and essentially focus on word of mouth advertising and marketing principles (i.e. meeting expectations and perform accordingly).
  • take issues of micro, macro and natural environments, corporate social responsibilities and sustainability very seriously.
  • treat their employees as human beings and not just as biological computerized slave machines.

For an organization to remain in business is actually very simple: “Does the organization have customers?”… YES, then there is business. NO, then there is no business. And at the end of the day, no organization, company or institution can retain its right for existence when there is no business. Yip!… its really that simple!

You are best advised to start developing a personal attitude and contextual management strategy as soon as possible, or create a real looming possibility of first losing your job, potential customers and secondly your staff or partners to the competition. Or even worse, you get stuck with either employees/customers or working opportunities that nobody else wants to deal with or even care about.

When you want to at least sustain your present customers/clients/job visibility, it is vital to go into all the trouble to accommodate personal managerial principles, styles and methodologies to effectively managing change. It is a fact that we are confronted with change everyday, not only Nationally, but Internationally as well.

Presently there are but three options to choose from…

  1. Accept the challenge of change and apply the visibility principles of the emotions economy to your advantage.
  2. Reject change, and blame unemployment, crime, the ANC, lawlessness, …etc. for your present predicament.
  3. Regard change as something bad and oppressive and do your damnedest to restore what was before.

[wpdialog title=”More on the emerging Emotions Economȳ” style=”wpui-light” auto_open=”false” openlabel=”Additional Information”] Extended information regarding the emerging Emotions Economy can be obtained from the…

  • Emotions Economy research group on Zotero, an online research and resources library.
  • IdeaReef Emotions Economy forum discussion group.

Both groups are private groups (i.e. closed to the internet public) – and although membership are free – you have to be a member to participate and contribute to the Emotions Economy research and/or forum discussion groups. To avoid, or at least limited, spam and to improve the reliability/authenticity of participation and contributions.

What next?

When not yet a member… Complete a membership invitation request form and submit it to SASCEC, when received, it will be processed and you will be added as a member to the research and/or forum discussion group as requested. You will be informed accordingly by email.

When already a member… You can either visit the Emotions Economy research and resources group or the forum discussion group, by clicking on the group you wish to visit. [/wpdialog]