Changing perspective to innovate well. Is the traditional thinking about the “back-end” and the “front-end” of an organization still relevant?
As we go about our daily professional lives, do we think about how our business functions or do we assume that everything is fine unless we find out differently? Do we carry out our regular routines and if no one says anything, assume that everything is great? Do we think innovatively only to concentrate on growing our business and then expect our processes, our colleagues or employees to catch up with us at a later time?
There is no doubt that innovative thinking is opening up more possibilities for businesses in our ever changing global market place. In fact, it is often the only way that businesses can stay relevant and sustainable.
However, unless we truly understand how our businesses work on the inside, we are not able to understand all of the ways that we might innovate well to achieve our mission and vision. If there is not an on-going, meaningful conversation with all those who affect the way that we do business and if we are so focused on the “me” that there is little thought about the “we”, important details could be missing which will ultimately affect our relationships with clients.
As an example, if a quota is the primary motivation for sales professionals to make as many sales as possible, and sales are so outstanding that the company cannot possibly produce or deliver the products on time, or the rate of shipping errors increases, what are the consequences for the company? How does this affect the customer and their perception of us? In the age of social media and instant communication, are dissatisfied customers/clients likely to keep this information to themselves?
Traditionally, the shipping, billing & accounts receivable, production, and similar departments were referred to “the back end.” Sales and marketing departments were thought of as “the front end.” Sometimes companies which are focused on scaling up can also fall into this mindset of disconnection.
What if we thought about this differently? What if we left the terms “back end” and “front end” in the annals of history? What if all of the people whose roles ultimately impact clients were invited to the “strategic planning table” and the “innovation table?” What if the way that we think about our business involves a strategic team approach with a focus on the end-user (customer)? What if relevant conversations and deep listening skills were the new way of doing business inside our companies as well as with our clients?
What might we learn that will ensure that we not only innovate, but that we innovate well?