Every year at this time, you hear all of the hoopla around one of Pennsylvania's most recognized residents - Punxsutawney Phil. I always end up laughing as my mind then shifts to Bill Murray's classic performance in the movie Ground hog's Day. We all know the premise: a guy gets to "re-do" the same day over and over and over again, but discovering little nuances and trying new things along the way, in order to get to the outcome he really desires (to get the girl).
In business, wouldn't it be great if we had that ability? Not to 'get the girl', but to be able to see every possible angle before we execute. Every strategy, every sales call, every marketing campaign, all fully vetted through numerous attempts of trial and error. Well, of course we can't really do that. Not exactly anyway. But, we do have some terrific 'guidance' tools at our disposal: personal experience and the collective experience of our customers.
When setting strategy, designing a marketing program or campaign, or virtually anything else, our own personal experience can be a directional guide - allowing us to move generally in the right direction. By leveraging the collective experience of others - our peers and most importantly, our customers, we can fine-tune our direction, exacting a path to success. The experience of the collective is akin to the trial and error in Ground hog's Day, only we didn't have to experience it ourselves. Customers will (in one form or another) tell us everything we need to know. We just need to provide a forum to enable us to listen.
Sometimes in business it feels like many companies are caught in the same loop - making similar mistakes over and over again. Progress and growth have slowed, and there can be a sense of frustration. Organizations that actively engage and listen to their customers (or collective) are breaking out of these never-ending loops and are thriving. What path is your company on? Start your journey by answering this question: "Are you actively listening or are you living in your own Ground hog's Day???"