Shut up and get out of your own way

No doubt plenty is written daily about how you should listen to your customers because they pay your bills, etc. In the last few weeks, I’ve gleaned more concentrated knowledge nuggets than I have in a long time, by listening to my customers.  I’ve been able to add a couple simple features (minutes of programming) that have a massive perceived value to my customer (ability to track errors with a check box or pick list).  My customers were telling me "if we could only do XYX then we could redeploy 3 people to more productive work".  I spent over 2 hours going through the what ifs and turning them into deliverables.  By the end of the meeting, I had a clear pathway to a ton more revenue and 6 figure savings for my client.  "You had me at what if," one of the team members said jokingly afterward. 

Listen, and someone may tell you how to make a fortune and become revered company wide (or industry wide).  Forget your features.  Forget what YOU think is cool.  Shut up and ask open ended questions because people WANT to have you solve things for them.  Putting yourself in the box of what exists today is failure.  Look at what businesses are faced with today .  Literally, there’s almost no business that’s safe from obsolescence within 18 months.  Bleed with your customers and shift their minds to what can exist and the likelihood that even their best ideas will likely be worthless in a short period of time.  How many solutions solve 100% of the problem?  None in case you’re wondering, but demonstrate a path that shows how today’s problems may become tomorrow’s solutions if you can adapt.

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