If we ask people what is the purpose of business, most will say “to generate profits” and some may add “to do it in a socially responsible way”. Hardly anyone would say things like “to create value” – let alone saying the purpose is “to create joy”.
Recently during a conversation over lunch one of my colleagues said – “business is not about emotions” and I could not help but disagree vehemently. It seems like the industrial age has disconnected us more and more from the real purpose of any relation – specifically between the product and service provider and the end customer. The result is we have become mechanical and narrowly focused on our tasks and totally disconnected from the “end result” we expect to create.
Joy is foundation of success
Apple – its turnaround and growth to higher market cap than Microsoft was lead by a laser beam focus on “creating amazing personal computing / or “i” ing experience”. It was all about the joy of how we interact with out technology today.
Facebook – had an over $100 billion in market cap and made Mark Zuckerberg who just turned 28, worth $19.1 billion. What is the foundation of that? The human experience he could create of connecting online with each other and alot more. All of it though related to creating joy in people’s lives. And in a related story, Facebook bought a startup called Instagram for a billion dollars – all to make the experience of taking pictures, tweaking them and sharing them fun and easy!
Harley Davidson – If the above companies seem like a fad, consider the iconic Harley Davidson. The company understands that it does not just build motorcycles but it actually builds communities and creates joy!
By now most of us must be thinking – “so all these are great stories and I am neither Steve Jobs nor Mark Zuckerberg – so what do I do with this understanding in my job or small entrepreneurial setup?”
Connect to the human behind
Many of us are working in areas where are separated from the end consumer by multiple degrees of separation. Say, you are developing software for a client who will eventually sell it to law firms for their lawyers to use these users are 10,000 miles (thanks to the outsourcing boom). The best thing you can do is “feel and understand the lawyer as a human being and make his life easier and more joyful”. In this you could:
- understand their daily routine
- understand how they work and what matters to them
- what are they worried about?
- their priorities
- technology they already use
- the risks they carry if things go wrong
- their productivity levers and more…
If we start developing the habit of visualizing the end customer.. understanding their humanness and what will make them joyous we are on path to creating a great career or business. Strategy, tactics, management practices and all other things are either ancillary and in some cases a roadblock. After the stories of college dropouts like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and more do we still need proof that education and management theories don’t bring success.
Success is a result of deep customer understanding and laser beam focus on delivering value to the customer — all in all creating joy for your end customer.