Relationships: Sawubona, we see you

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There is a problem with how performance is measured by both ourselves and in our businesses.

So typically you have a budget and targets to achieve. The purpose of the budget is to make sales go up, or maybe to make waiting times go down.

Our systems are designed to judge and reward us on results. Are sales going up, are waiting times going down?

If the campaign you authorised sold more t-shirts last quarter then that’s a win.

But if the only way you can get sales to go up is to spend money on a campaign to make sales go up, then you are going to have to keep spending money on campaigns to make sales go up.

There has to be better ways to connect with customers than making more campaigns.

It is a lot harder to justify building little by little for the long term, because we are constantly measuring and measured by short term results.

If you apply for a promotion or a new post your employer wants to see the sales figures, she needs metrics as proof that you have done your job.

And so we work hardest of all to give others [and ourselves] something to measure.

We look for quick wins and easy targets which reinforce the notion that we are doing our job.

Sometimes we just end up measuring the wrong things and in doing so we subconsciously demonstrate to the people we should be serving that we are not in it for the long haul.

What if we optimised our businesses, our organisations and our cultures for relationships first and results second?

What if we focused less on creating awareness and more on generating trust.

What if we traded quick wins for loyalty?

What if we stopped trying to be seen and learned how to see instead?

What if instead of seeing your customers as targets to increase your numbers, you truly see them as human beings?

What if we see our customers as people who have problems to solve, as people who are working towards certain aspirations?

What we really yearn for as human beings is to be visible, to be seen.

When you say sawubona [we see you], you truly see and acknowledge each other.

What might the real gains be then?

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