Knowing Your Limits…Part 2

Posted on September 1, 2016 · Posted in Uncategorized

In Part I of “Knowing Your Limits” we talked about the problems that can arise when we depend only on our internal partners, or ourselves to come up with good ideas.

What were my colleagues and I really trying to figure out in all those meetings?  Who were we trying to help?  Who were we trying to pretend to be?  That’s right….our customers—cash managers and corporate treasurers.  We were all certified, had experience in software design, and some of us had decades of experience in the subject.  The one problem?  None of us were actually cash managers.  We were bankers.  We’d always been bankers (or in my case, something else entirely).  Even with our years of experience could we effectively impersonate our customers?  Why do we even try?

I have a term for this….professional conceit.  We honestly believe that we CAN be someone, or at least impersonate someone, that we are not.  In retrospect, I’m a little embarrassed at having even tried.  I was a health care consultant!  Yet don’t we try to impersonate our customers every single day of our careers?  We’re professionals, paid to be experts in our field.  Experts must know their customers, right?  We’re paid to know, and we are conditioned to think that we can.  How many times a year do we say, or at least hear someone else say, “I put myself in the customer’s shoes…”?

Is it really necessary to impersonate customers?  As one of the top banking services providers in the industry, we had over 100,000 corporate customers.  Why waste time pretending to be someone who we might just trip over walking out the door of our own building?

Consider for yourself whether or not you have let professional conceit seep into your daily work.  If so, the house you’re building for your customers might just be C+ work…and every day they live in it, they will likely shake their heads and wonder “how in the world did they think this was quality?”