Tag Archives: purpose

Customer Disloyalty and Business as We Shift Toward Subjectivity

I had three different people recommend a book to me last week.  The book, Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose by Rajendra S. Sisodia, David B. Wolfe, and Jagdish N. Sheth is about a lot of things, especially the power of passion and purpose in business.  But it is also about the seemingly ever-increasing changing world we now live in.  And those changes keep coming, keep accelerating…  Change will continue, and spread.  This seems an absolute certainty.

As I read, this jumped out at me:

French Philosopher Pierre Levy, (who has devoted his professional life to studying the cultural and cognitive impacts of digital technologies) believes that the shift toward subjectivity may prove to be one of the most important considerations in business in this century.  …feelings and intuition (will) rise in stature in the common mind.

The authors point to the search of many to find deeper meaning in work, and they point to companies trying to make the world a better place.  For example:  Timberland CEO Jeffrey Swartz unabashedly says his company’s primary mission is to “make the world a better place.”  Swartz, and other leaders like him,

are resolute and successful business professionals who augment their human-centered company visions with sound management skills and an unswerving commitment to do good buy all who are touched by their companies.”

But, back to the “shift toward subjectivity.”  Consider — “Subjectivity/subjective:  reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind; lacking in reality or substance.” 

So, is this era the era of “perceived reality?”  “Perceived value?”  If it is, then people will increasingly go to the companies that give them what they perceive as valuable at this moment.  And they will change companies as quickly as that perceived value dims.  In other words, loyalty of the customer is a thing of the past.  The customer’s loyalty is only loyalty to immediate perceived value.  And once that perception disappears, that customer will start looking around for an alternative.

I realize that many people have written many times about the loss of customer loyalty.  This “era of subjectivity” just helps me understand it a little better.  And since subjectivity is the opposite of objectivity, then this helps me understand how demonstrating “objective value” is not all that effective against the now more powerful subjective perception of value.

In a more-and-more data driven world, maybe the data we most need is the data telling us how to build emotional connections and deeper subjective value.  Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it?

What a challenging age we live in…

Passion – Energy and Purpose, in Business and in All of LIfe

When you start looking for something, it just seems to show up everywhere. And lately, I keep thinking about passion. I was watching just a snippet of one of my favorite movies, Field of Dreams, and saw the scene where this exchange occurred. Ray had dragged an unwilling Terence Mann to a baseball game, where they both saw and heard a message. But before Mann owns up to it, Ray drops him off at his apartment, and Mann says to him:  “I wish I had your passion.  Misdirected though it might be, it is still a passion.  I used to feel that way about things, but….”  {Terence Mann (James Earl Jones) to Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), Field of Dreams}.

In a work context, as in all of life, passion spills over and effects everything and everyone that it touches. This came from Bob Morris:  “The 4-E (and 1 P) Leadership Framework” according to Jack Welch: “Passion! By that I mean a heartfelt, deep, and authentic excitement about work. People with passion care — really care in their bones — about colleagues, employees, and friends winning. They love to learn and grow, and they get a huge kick when people around them do the same. The funny thing about people with passion, though, is they usually aren’t excited just about work. They tend to be passionate about everything!…they just have juice for life in their veins.”  (this is an excerpt from a book by Jeffrey Krames — see Bob’s “Q29 from Bob’s blog).

To be fully passionate, you have to be passionate about some thing – some one driving something than literally inspires you and envelops you. That is what the research says, and that is what our experience reveals. We know that people with a passion are people with passion. The driving force that drives such a person gives energy to keep going, to work the long hours, to overcome every setback and every attack and every enemy and every deficiency. Passion keeps a person going on and on…

And – it is never too late. As Ken Robinson, in his book The Element:  How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, put it, we may have to “take the time to step out of our routines, rethink our paths, and revisit the passions we left behind (or never pursued at all). We have the capacity to discover the Element at practically any age.”

And why is that passion so critical? Robinson again: “The Element is the meeting point between natural aptitude and personal passion… (People who find their Element) are doing the thing they love, and in doing it they feel like their most authentic selves. They find that time passes differently and that they are more alive, more centered , and more vibrant… They connect with something fundamental to their sense of identity, purpose, and well-being.”

If passion is the key to authenticity, to energy, to purpose, to fulfillment, to fecundity (the word used by Henri Nouwen in his book Lifesigns), then I would say finding your passion, and living out your passion, could be pretty important – in business and in life.