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Rules to break and laws to follow

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I know I am not reading all of the business books a well-rounded user experience professional is supposed to read these days (in topics like business and design, change management, business of experience), but I have kept up with the "1 to 1" series by Martha Rogers and Don Peppers. The next installment is due out in February: Rules to Break and Laws to Follow.

This one looks like it will be right up my alley, knitting in many things I have learned while focused on web user experiences the last decade or so.

An excerpt from a recent 1to1 magazine article (you need an account to read the article online). Added emphasis is by me.

To succeed with your business today, you might need to start breaking some rules -- rules that for the past century or so have underpinned most businesses' efforts to grow, meet financial goals, and make shareholders happy.

As we scanned the business landscape researching our next book, it became apparent to us that new interactive and information technologies have created a dramatically different business environment -- an environment in which customers share information with other customers easily and efficiently, the pace of technological change is not just rapid but accelerating, and organizational structures are becoming less important as the lowliest employees can leap tall hierarchies in a single click.

They list three "rules to break" in the article:

  • The best measure of success for your business is current sales and profit. Short-term optimization leads to long-term problems. Give tools to your employees so they can provide a quality customer experience. And then trust them to do a good job. That will give you the customer trust you need for long-term success.
  • With the right sales and marketing effort, you can always get more customers. Customers are the scarce resource and now that they are all connected, you cannot focus on only the one-to-one relationship with a single customer. You need to address the social network around each customer.
  • Company value is created by offering differentiated products and services. Products and services are important, of course, but they mean nothing without customers. When you measure the value of your company based on your customers (instead of your inventory or revenue or costs), the customer experience becomes a key factor. A bad experience by a single customer: the value of your company goes down just a little bit. Good experience: value rises a little. The touch points all add up. We can track these small changes better now with technology. And because customers are so well connected to each other, a small pebble dropped in the customer experience pond can ripple out to a large wave.

I am looking forward to reading the other rules to break and which laws are still worth following. Some of the topics listed in the table of contents that sound interesting to me:

  • A "Perfect Storm" of New Technologies
  • Which Do You Choose? Customers or Money?
  • Treat Employees the Way You Want Them to Treat Customers
  • Galloping Decentralization Means Culture is More Important
  • Reputations Go Online
  • Technology Seen Through the Wrong End of the Telescope
  • Customer-Inspired Innovation
  • Technology, Progress, and Change
  • The Power of the Network

I notice that this book is published by Wiley, part of their "Microsoft Executive Leadership Series". This may be the first book in the series.

Finally, with a new book comes the book tour. I might get to attend the first stop, January 22, sponsored by the University of Toledo Center for Family Business. The talk will be at The Pinnacle, which is 1.8 miles away. It is nice that Martha starts her tour in her "hometown".