The Zen Of Success: Where to Start?

Posted on Jul 25, 2012 in Strategy | 1 comment

This article is the first in a series titled “The Zen Of Success”.

By Laurie Jacobson Jones

Before aspiring cabbies in London can get behind the wheel of one of those famous black taxis, they have to spend almost three years on average learning every street, lane and alley of that vast city.  It is only after a grueling oral exam of the most efficient routes between two points and how best to navigate the maddening crush of traffic that success is earned.  I like to remind myself of this each time I step into a new company to either build a customer success operation from scratch or implement enhancements to a system that is ready to move to the next level.  I call this time “Doing the Learning.”  As someone who craves order and progress, it is important for me to know everything I possibly can about the situation I am walking in to so I can immediately set solutions in motion.  To use the taxi driver analogy, I need to understand not just where all roads are, but how they connect and most importantly how to most effectively navigate them before I even get in the cab.

Much like learning every single road in London, it is important to understand each issue, nuance and wrinkle within an organization.  Once I know the roads, it is time to understand how they connect with one another.  This is when I synthesize everything I have learned from my conversations and meetings over the first few days with the key players in the organization who have an investment in this project. I boil down all of the frantic hand waving and hair pulling into an easily understood, solvable set of problems that I can bring back to the stakeholders, ensuring I fully understand their needs while allowing people’s voices to be heard and valued. At this point, I can share my findings with the group either through a large meeting or one-on-one.  This is when I present a kind of “State Of The Union,” or what I have found to be the unique set of conditions creating obstacles to the company’s success.

Using my knowledge of the intersecting roadways, I can now develop routes to navigate them efficiently.  In essence, if the maddening tangle of roads, lanes and alleys is the issue a company is facing, I must create clear paths through the traffic from origin to destination.  I do this by developing a charter that gives scope and shape to the actions we will take.  Essentially, I detail the solution the organization wants to achieve, the tools we will use to achieve it, and how I will get them there. Much like becoming a cab driver in London, success depends on your ability to synthesize what you know and focus only on the route that will get you to your destination.  Once you innately understand the best way to navigate a situation and have the right tools for the job, customer satisfaction will shine as the effort given to product delivery harmonizes with the value the customer receives.

One Comment

  1. This is great. Loved the cab analogy, and the photos made my blood pressure go down.

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