Posts Tagged ‘status’

Two factors comprise the market potential for any product or service – demand and attachment.  Demand is about quantity – how many people want what you sell.  Attachment is about quality, how much do people want what you sell.

There are some products and services for which there is obvious demand.  For example, almost everyone needs a grocery store, a cell phone and the occasional cup of coffee. Universal demand creates extraordinary opportunity.  But universal demand also spawns burgeoning supply and intense competition.  The harsh reality is, in virtually every sector, supply exceeds demand in a way that isn’t cyclical.  We’ve crashed full speed, head first into a world where we have more stuff to sell than people want to buy.  And yet, a number of companies in highly contested categories are growing dramatically, even exponentially.  How do they do that? What’s their secret?

Attachment

Their secret is attachment.  Attachment is about how much your prospects and customers value the product or service you provide.  It’s about the extent to which you improve their lives.  And at the highest level, it’s about how your product or service defines or supports your customer’s aspiration and self-image.

There are five fundamental value platforms – what you might think of as the five basic reasons that any customer is motivated to make any purchase.  They are:

  • Price/Value
  • Location/Convenience
  • Quality/Functionality
  • Style/Status
  • Experience/Lifestyle

The platforms of Price/Value and Location/Convenience are rational platforms and very seldom create much attachment.  If a Walmart customer discovers that Target has a lower price on laundry detergent this week, that Walmart customer will probably hot-foot it over to Target and load up.  She’s not attached to Walmart, she’s attached to the low price, which is relatively easy to replicate.

At the other end of the spectrum, a Nordstrom’s shopper who is motivated by Style/Status or Experience/Lifestyle is unlikely to darken the door of JC Penney, even if JC Penney has the same item at a lower price.  Style/Status and Experience/Lifestyle are emotional platforms.  They have the potential to invoke powerful feelings and create strong attachment which are almost impossible to replicate.

Effect of Attachment

Let’s think about the effect of attachment in one of the categories with universal demand, grocery stores.  Have you ever met a customer of Trader Joe’s?  They are borderline rabid.  Given half a chance, they’ll regale you (endlessly) of their Trader Joe’s favorites:  Two Buck Chuck, Green Papaya Salad, Mango Butter or Chili Feta.  To say these folks are attached to Trader Joe’s might be the understatement of the century.  And that attachment translates directly into revenue.  Think about this:  According to Fortune Magazine, Trader Joe’s averages $1,750.00 per square foot in sales.  That’s more than double the sales per square foot of competitor, Whole Foods Market.

Now let’s turn our attention ro cell phones.  Ever try to pry an iPhone out of the hands of an Apple fanatic?  That’s attachment in every sense of the word, attachment that has led to astonishing growth for Apple.  Since being released in 2007, well over 100 million iPhones have been sold and Apple has become the most valuable tech company on the planet.

Attachment means your product has become an essential, even indispensable, part of your customer’s life.  When that happens, you have a shot at exponential growth that few can match with, let alone surpass!

Business, as a context, can look and act as if it could be at the furthest possible reach from spirituality. When I began exploring a career in business coaching I was initially turned off by all of the thoughts, interpretations and judgments I’d been carrying regarding business. Eventually I realized that what’s true about business is based on one’s interpretation – Business is in the eye of the beholder. By shifting my interpretations I was able to allow a greater potentiality for change – well, I’ll go out on a limb and say transformation.

Initially, business meant ruthless, unethical, immoral practices. It meant power hungry individuals sucking the life-blood out of anyone and everything for profit and gain; it meant status, money, dominance; it meant people don’t matter except for what they can do, compensated with the lowest salary possible. Not a pretty picture.

Not every organization looked like this to me but my projections of the worst of the worst were thrusted upon all businesses, which quite often included governments and political organizations.

My original interpretation has shifted from: if it weren’t for Big Businesses our world would be a much better place to live in, to, Big Businesses contribute in incredible ways to social causes and humanitarian efforts. They’ve created miraculous technologies and innovation, which contribute to a much better world. Business is not bad; it’s the practice of bad business that’s challenging all of us today.

There’s Beauty in the Breakdown

Things are not looking up for the world economy and business in general. We, the people, are demanding more of our businesses, whether local, corporate or global, requiring them to be accountable for the practices that on the one hand are literally killing us, while on the other they provide monies that fund projects that generate so much good on the planet. We value the good they are doing but are no longer turning a blind eye to the bad. The old paradigm can no longer sustain the pressure, and to paraphrase Einstein, we won’t be able to fix it with the same thinking that created it.

Inevitably there will be a breakdown, and it won’t be pretty. Heck, we are in the breakdown now, with few brave souls competent enough to take us through this turbulent course, understanding the currents, the rifts and perils of what’s unfolding before us.

Breakdowns are required in the process of all growth and development. Ask anyone who has lost their job, their health, their families, their business or livelihood. They will tell you that tremendous good came out of it. They didn’t ask for it but inevitably were glad it came. These are brave individuals who willingly faced the dismantling of their reality, not knowing if a breakthrough would occur; they only hoped it would occur in their favor.

Breakdowns are messy, full of angst, agony, horror, loss, humiliation, anger and resentment – humanities toughest be-withs. A be-with is something – an event, a circumstance or situation that you can’t control or change; you can only be-with it. A Big Fat Be-With occurs when facing what we’ve been avoiding, denying or distracting ourselves from far too long; there’s nowhere to go and nowhere to hide.

Breakdowns allow for a release of what no longer serves, is completed and finished. What follows is a void of activity, something that drives most of us humans, bonkers. Much like Winter, when things are dark, bleak and cold, we’re powerless to make things be different. We feel helpless and powerless, and often begin to lose hope. All we can do is take leaps of faith, which may mean just staying in this moment until the next moment arrives.

Bleakness is inevitable in any paradigm shift. Even thinking outside the box doesn’t get us out far enough to gain the perspective we need. Sometimes, awareness alone of the Big Fat Be-with is enough, and again the F word – Faith that something will shift.

One very interesting facet of the breakdown process is that blame begins to take center stage. Individuals begin taking inventory for their part in the breakdown – whether personal or organizational. They begin to see how their personal choices impact on the company, the family or community. Blame is a fascinating strategy, which serves our desire to avoid condemnation, rejection, and humiliation. It’s not my fault allows us to ignore my own responsibility and allows me to supposedly get off scot free from any accountability. Over time though, all of us will have to meet ourselves, take inventory and willingly acknowledge our responsibility for things being the way they are. Not one of us is blameless.

Breakthrough

I planted some wisteria seeds a couple of months ago. They’ve undergone a hard transition. I did the best I could to give them an environment rich with nutrients, plenty of water and sunshine. I watch with anticipation for signs of a breakthrough. Little by little their essential nature to burst beyond the hard protection of the seed pod unfolds. Tiny little shoots show themselves. They have endured incredible hazards, not of their own choosing. We rejoice in the breakthrough!

For individuals curious about spirituality in business this inevitable paradigm shift will require of them and their organization to bravely go into these breakdowns in service to what they know to be in service to something greater – a greater good for all.

Each business or business practice has emerged because of a calling a knowing, a vision, a dream: innovation comes out of these dark nights of the soul. Few of us are brave enough to follow our dreams and visions; few are bold enough be a stand for what they believe in.

Being a stand is a phrase used in personal and leadership forums. It means that who you be and how you be is in alignment with what you say is important to you. Though the phrasing sounds incorrect it’s important to understand that who you be and how you be is at the core of every choice you make; it is at the core of every choice your organization makes.

The major dilemma facing every business is the recognition of the humanity running the business. It’s balancing the elements of the people and the bottom line. Are the individuals just a resource, treated as such in service to the product, service and investors, or are people valued for their humanity, for their gifts, for their unique talents and perspective. How does an organization shift the balance? How do they allow a breakdown in service to the breakthrough?

Those of us in support of healthier business models and business practices; what’s our role? How do we empower people to empower themselves and others to facilitate this paradigm shift? It isn’t a maybe; it isn’t a perhaps. As the paradigm shifts we are readying ourselves for a global meltdown. Don’t panic, for it will be an amazing opportunity of greatest magnitude in cultivating awareness and actualization of a more spiritual orientation to every aspect of life.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosie Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of “Spiritual Wounding in the Workplace” at the San Francisco New Living Expo, Concourse Exhibition Center, Room #7, San Francisco, April 29th, 2011 at 7:00PM