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. 

Written by 

I am a customer experience transformist, helping large organizations improve business results by changing how they deal with customers. As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. I am also a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Simply put, I am passionate about spotting emerging best practices and helping companies master them. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. My “title” is Managing Partner of the Temkin Group, a customer experience research and consulting firm that helps organizations become more customer-centric. Our goal is simple: accelerate the path to delighting customers. I am also the co-founder and Emeritus Chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to the success of CX professionals.

2 thoughts on “Words Of Wisdom: Gandhi On Sustainability”

  1. 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

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