The crisis surrounding football’s ruling body FIFA is a classic example of when a business leader becomes disenfranchised from his customers. The alleged malpractice at FIFA has created reverberations around the world and one person’s name has been synonymous with the stories, its President; Sepp Blatter.
Mr Blatter has been in a senior role at FIFA for almost 40 years and has been the target of significant criticism from many national footballing bodies in recent years. His current position as at today is that he does not need to resign and indeed wants to be elected for another four years of presidency which appears to demonstrate at the very least a lack of humility and empathy with his members. What lessons can we learn from this that impact our wider business? The well-publicised demise of Ratners jewellers is another example of a business leader’s lack of respect when Gerald Ratner made disparaging remarks about the quality of his product and the gullibility of his customers. It is very easy to lose sight of both your staff and your customers when you have complete power in your job. It is easy to think that you are unassailable and risks with your company and customers can be taken.
In smaller businesses that are customer driven there are many examples where the owner has upset so many customers that he has no business left. It is very hard to attract customers, but can be very easy to lose them in the social media world in which we all now live. Reputations can be brought down overnight, whilst they can also be established equally quickly. The values of our company are very important and it is crucial that we are seen to demonstrate them at every level within our business, from the most junior member of staff to the MD.
This is where the value of both a corporate strategy and even more crucially, regular reviews comes in. Many companies have no clearly articulated purpose or values, with staff that are ill informed and unaligned to the direction your business wishes to go. An objective assessment of where you are and importantly where you need to be can really make the difference between long term success and failure. At Strategy Boxed we specialise in taking a ‘temperature check’ and working with you to understand whether you are actually where you think you are in the hearts and minds of both customers and staff. It is very easy to be so engaged in your business that you can only see what your eyes show you, and often your staff won’t tell you what they really think. By the time you do fully understand it is often too late. I am sure that there is a lot more to come out in the sorry tale of FIFA and whilst they have a monopoly, most of us don’t. In the competitive marketplace in which most of us operate our competitors will take advantage of a weakness only too quickly, so maybe it is worth doing that business health check?