A walk in the co-innovation woods

How we see people is how we treat them. How we treat them is what they become. –Goethe

My grandfather shared that with me when I was young. That is one of the reasons why Goethe is one of my favorite poets.

We have the privilege of serving people, their teams, and the overall organization. We talk about how they serve their customers, their clients, and their employees. We have sessions how we more effectively work with our most profitable customers, the MPCs. How do help their customers to become more powerful than what they are now and how they play a role in making that happen.

During time with a customer, we were looking through their tools and their resources. As I read through the titles of their highly revered tools, I saw a commonality. See if you see it? Warboard, Hit List, Attack Accounts, Deployment plan, task force, on and on. The titles are common to all of us. Could be innocuous, but are they? In my time I have used this same vernacular without thought. In this situation we were looking at how their customers show up as customer-centric, customer-driven. Yet, we are using this terminology of war to help drive our teams to partner and co-innovate.

Later I flipped on a show were a strong female executive, who business is to “Fix” things. Yep, I can identify! She is smart, confident, and can, at least on this show, run a business. In this episode she says to a very profitable client, “This is my game, My Town, My Rules”. Makes for good TV. Sadly, the same intention is played out with much softer language with customers today.

In today’s economy very few people will partner with another who sees them as something to be conquered or won, but rather how do we make the customer better / stronger / faster.

My grandfather also said to leave the forest better than you found it. Hopefully as you are able to take a walk in the woods with your clients to find that sweet spot of co-innovation you will see them how they want to be treated and leave it better than it was.