At the Fortune Growth Summit in Phoenix this past October, the speakers raised several interesting questions that I am reflecting on now that our executive team has cascaded our Company's Annual Plan to everyone.
I wanted to share them with you as you start to work on your annual plan and think about the direction your company will take in the next 3-5 years:
Anne Morriss, Uncommon Service asked us to think about our relationship to customers. Are there ways that you can improve your customer experience while also lowering cost of operations (a win-win, like check-in kiosks at the airport)? Are there trade-offs you are willing to make, aspects of the industry you are willing to be bad at, to focus more on the parts of the customer service experience that matter most to your Core Customer?
Vijay Govindarajan, Reverse Innovation asked us to think outside the box and consider making a global impact. Can your company throw out industry norms and find a way to make your product or service better, cheaper, faster, or more scalable to more people?
Ron McMillan, Crucial Conversations provided insight into the best ways to handle difficult interactions in a safe environment with mutual respect and mutual purpose. Are there issues in your team that need to be resolved before you can build a winning plan for 2013?
Several speakers emphasized the importance of building a unique and strong corporate culture. As Rich Moran, Sins & CEOs discussed, do you need to focus energy on fostering a culture that avoids fibbing, wasting time, and behaving like a jerk?
Chip Conley, Emotional Equations emphasized the following question: Does your corporate culture allow your employees to live their calling everyday? Or do you need to spend time on your purpose and culture so that enthusiastic employees will generate loyal customers and a more profitable business?
One of our core values is "keep smart." These speakers helped me with that at the Summit, and continue to keep me thinking months later.