Words Of Wisdom: Gandhi On Sustainability

Management insights aren’t just the perview of business execs and management gurus. Key lessons about customer experience can come from many different places. In this post, I’ll turn to a quote that’s been attributed to Mohatma Gandhi:

All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.

So what can we learn about customer experience from these words of wisdom?

Firms need clearly articulated customer experience “fundamentals.”

I think that Gandhi’s quote means that organizations start to fall apart when they compromise their fundamental beliefs. Over time, these compromises can undermine, or even eliminate, the core value of the organization.

Increasing profits represents a very clear mission for firms — everyone can understand the concept and most companies have an army of accountants tracking performance against this mission. But customer experience visions are often much less formed and not nearly as well tracked.

Without a clear vision about customer experience, firms will constantly feel the pressure to make decisions that optimize the well-defined goal (profits) at the expense of less-defined goals (like customer experience). It’s not that profitability is bad (I am a big believer in higher profits), but firms need to think of profits more as an outcome than as a goal. That’s why companies need to more clearly articulate their beliefs about how they create value — which more often than not involves interacting with customers.

The bottom line: Understanding your customer experience “fundamental” beliefs is critical to sustainability. 

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

2 Responses to Words Of Wisdom: Gandhi On Sustainability

  1. Dale Wolf says:

    Your admonition fitted in with something I had to get off my chest this morning. I had just posted on the concept (Drucker’s) that we are in business to create value for customers and that profit is the reward. Then I saw your article and it caused me to post another diatribe (rant) on why can’t we get the fundamentals right? Thanks for the inspiration.

    Dale Wolf, http://www.perfectCEM.com

  2. Pingback: My Closing Thoughts On Net Promoter « Customer Experience Matters

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