“What Will You Do?”
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“What Will You Do?”

“What Will You Do?”

“What Will You Do?”

For those of you not quite old enough to remember the late great Karl Malden commercials for American Express, here’s a rerun:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTtdVoF5I2Y

What’ll ya do?  What WILL you do?”  Great stuff!

I think back to those commercials when I consider the dilemma of Revelation X.  Here we’ve been doing a great job for our client – working hard and solving the problems they hired us to solve.  At the same time, we’re doing an equally great job for our company – bringing operating efficiencies and fee increases that enhance our income and margins.  We’re blissfully anticipating “Manager of the Year” awards while our client is struggling to remember just what they’re paying for and exactly what we’ve done for them lately. The “Value Gap” is staring us squarely in the face and we don’t even see it.  But our contract is now at risk. “What will you do?

Well, Job #1 is to narrow that Value Gap and a quick glance at the diagram above makes it clear that we only have these two lines to work with.  Let’s focus for this week with the red Problem line.  “What will you do?”  OK, I know you are reluctant to say it out loud, so I’ll give you a moment…

That’s right – in order to narrow the Value Gap, we have to raise the red line… we need to give the client more problems!  Well, OK, there’s definitely a better way to say it.  Here are the three primary strategies though:

1. Use our knowledge of the operation to take on more responsibilities, i.e., solve more problems for the client.  This may take the form of expanding our own responsibilities or cross-selling other services we have the      capability to provide.

2. Educate the client on problems that we have been solving all along that they don’t even know about.  Generally there are plenty of these to draw on if we’re intentional about documenting them.

3. Innovate, i.e. bring sustainable benefits to the client that is well beyond their own internal capability.  Document the successes and once again, educate the client.

Here’s how the diagram looks as the Value Gap begins to narrow:

 

These are important strategies to help us realign with our client and continue to create long-term value.  As Karl Malden would say, “Don’t leave home without them!

Steve & John