Friday, November 13, 2009

The FAC Attack! (4/12)

Last time ("Where Did All the Clarity Go?"), we bemoaned our Entrepreneurial Firm's (EF's) progress! Of course, progress is a GOOD thing, in general. But, the EF's progression from insightful, loaded-to-fire, gregarious instigator to unsure, slow-to-act, cautious hesitator can be dangerous. Stopping the world really WILL mean getting off, in today's technology arena!

The ideas to be followed, seized, acted upon with vigor are really not all that difficult to identify. That is, if the right input is considered. Now, even after the EF has grown up, the customer still holds the key. Follow the ideas that are really important to the customers' futures, and the EF's future will be assured.

So, where are these ideas? Still in the brains of the customers' staff and the EF's workers? Heavens no! The ideas to be followed -- should you choose to accept them -- have been documented and are nicely resident in whatever manual or automated filing system you desire. How did they get there? The Facilitator (FAC) put them there! And better yet, the FAC updated them each time a pertinent insight was added to the mix.

Necessarily, this composite of relevant knowledge is CUSTOMER knowledge. And it is not just the usual "fit for print" content that has been strained through so many layers of bureaucracy that it has become virtually meaningless. No, this composite of relevant knowledge is of the straight-from-the-horse's-mouth variety. Better yet, it is direct content that addresses cross-functional concerns because it was received in the customer's cross-functional setting.

Maybe the hardware engineering group DID say something that was diametrically opposed to something that the R&D group said. Perhaps the purchasing organization DID voice an opinion that seemed to astonish the product management group. But, this time, these thoughts were uttered in the same room, in the same context, in the same meeting -- not whispered as a better idea, the real scoop, of any given individual in an out-of-context setting.

This happened, quite simply, because the FAC attacked! He took the proverbial bull by the horns and set out to create a knowledge-sharing process, with predefined actions and output formats, that would benefit the customer's future advancement. The customer was the focal point. The big-picture world of the customer was the context.

The FAC created a specific process, with a well-ordered series of actions and reports, by means of which customer-supplier understanding would be improved. The improvement in ability to provide products and services to the customer leapt forward almost unconsciously. How did the supplier, the EF, benefit so much when the customer had been the singular focus?

Was there really something uniquely MUTUAL going on here? So important to both the customer's and the EF's future progress that it paid -- quite literally -- to collaborate?

Part 4 of 12, by Lyn Gosz, Gosz Group Technology Planners