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How Can You Make It a Joy to Provide New Offerings?

Jan 24, 2008
Suppliers, partners, and employees need to enjoy your new offerings as well, or their bad moods will spoil the experience for customers and beneficiaries. If you go to a restaurant where the host and servers are all having a ball, don't you have more fun too? After you check into a hotel late at night and the desk clerk looks at you like a enemy invader who is spoiling his nap, you probably don't sleep as well as you might wish.

Management texts often encourage those working on designing new offerings to involve those who will be critical players in providing the benefits. In that way, it is thought that employees, suppliers, and partners will pursue the opportunity with more enthusiasm. A better reason for such involvement is to be sure that the new roles are a delight to those who will play the key roles.

Little differences can be important. The people working at a Disney theme park often compete quite hard for acting roles in hot, uncomfortable costumes, even though many don't pay much more than the legal minimum wage rate. But the work feels like a step up from other jobs in the parks, and may be the only acting job available to that person.

Let's extrapolate that observation into a principle: People like to step up to bigger, more rewarding roles. For example, partners like being consulted about what they are normally required to accept. Suppliers like having a chance to design their piece of an offering rather than simply being asked to come up with a low price for their part of the task. Employees like to learn new skills, entertain people, and feel appreciated.

Naturally, it doesn't do anyone any good if those who design the offering are gone and create something that no one wants to provide. So you also want to think ahead for future generations of those who will be asked to help.

I recently saw a fascinating example of this principle at work in a new type of high school. At The Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center in Providence, Rhode Island, a high school only has 100 students in it. Because of the smaller size, every student is treated as an individual. Students take responsibility for their own educations by finding internships involving work the students think they might want to do as adults.

Interns are mentored by adults who do that sort of work in the community, and teachers serve more as advisors in helping the students design their studies. Reading, writing, math, and the other typical high school subjects are pursued solely in terms of the internship the student has chosen.

Two days a week the students are away working on the internships, returning to the school in between to develop skills in what they are learning. One teacher works with the same 15 students for four years. Students and their teacher get to know one another quite well and develop more trust than you observe in most high schools.

Principals, teachers, and staff look excited and happy as they go about their appointed rounds. When I compare that observed enthusiasm to how many teachers and staff members describe their work in high schools now, it's not hard to see the benefits of this new concept. The new approach blossoms because it works for all stakeholders . . . not just the students. Of course, the students look purposeful, focused, and happy. When we visited, we could hardly believe that we were in a high school.

Here are questions to help you add more joy for stakeholders other than customers and beneficiaries:

Who are the stakeholders who will be affected by the new offerings?

How will new roles compare to existing roles?

How can the new roles be redesigned to make them more attractive than existing roles?

What other stakeholders can be added who will prefer the new roles?

How can these stakeholders redesign the roles to make those roles even more attractive as well as better for beneficiaries and customers?
About the Author
Donald Mitchell is an author of seven books including Adventures of an Optimist, The 2,000 Percent Squared Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution, The 2,000 Percent Solution Workbook, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise, and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage. Read about creating breakthroughs through 2,000 percent solutions and receive tips by e-mail by registering for free at

http://www.2000percentsolution.com .
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