When Henry Ford introduced the assembly line to produce cars as efficiently as possible, he turned his back to personalized but slow and expensive craft production and shifted into mass production. Little did we know that the same shift could later be applied to the creation of customers.
If there were to be ONE SYSTEM that would help you to select the best value strategy, the best business model and the best way to communicate your purpose and promise to the market, and offer the best proposition, would you recognize such a system?
From what I’ve learned over the past 3–4 years, while constructing the ROUNDMAP™, is that the answer has to be negative. NOT because you are not smart enough – most of you are. It is because of how we got to organize the creation, or should I say the production, of a customer.
We divided the labor to create a customer into multiple units (or silos): research teams, copywriters, designers, search and social experts, sales, shopping agents, service agents, customer success agents, etc. To divide things even further we added hierarchies: juniors, mediors, seniors, supervisors, managers, VP’s, etc.
All with the purpose to create customers just as we produce cars, golf sets, and popcorn — in sequence, as if it were an industrial assembly line — in an effort to ensure that we get the same kind of customers, over and over, and over again.
But efficiency has a downside: there is very little engagement with the end product, i.e., the customer — not from the silos, and not from the individual ‘workers’. And few, if no one, holds a complete oversight of the customer lifecycle, at least none that are in direct contact with the customer.
And now we ask of them to be creative, engaged, and empathic. Really? No wonder 70% of the change projects fail or fail to meet their targets.
I believe it is time for a Semco-style intervention to break down the utterly disengaged customer assembly line. Do you dare to challenge the machine?
It is the contention of Semco’s CEO, Ricardo Semler, that at most large corporations “everyone is part of a gigantic, impersonal machine, and it is impossible to feel motivated when you feel you are just another cog. Human nature demands recognition. Without it, people lose their sense of purpose and become dissatisfied, restless, and unproductive” (Semler, 1993, p. 109)
I know I did. That’s one of the reasons I created the ROUNDMAP™