In today’s hyper-competitive market, a burning question for most companies is: “How can we achieve a significant and sustainable competitive advantage in order to retain our customers?” After all, keeping existing customers is five times less expensive than finding new ones. That’s good business in anyone’s book.  

Traditional competitive factors like product design, technology, and distribution channels are harder to sustain in a super-fast, mega-networked world. In fact, the good old “Four P’s of Marketing” – product, price, promotion and placement – are having much less impact for companies competing in today’s marketplace.  A fifth “P” – people – has become an increasingly important competitive factor.

Consider this: About 70 percent of customers’ buying decisions are based on positive human interactions with sales staff. Add to this the fact that 83 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from services and information which are created and delivered by people.

The bottom line is that people buy from people, not companies. So, your people – and the performance they deliver – are a vital competitive advantage for your organization.

To fully engage the hearts and minds of your team, you must be attuned to the six basic needs every employee has. In case they haven’t told you yet, here is what your team wants you to know.

  1. I want to achieve. I cannot read your mind, so communicate clear and achievable goals so I can succeed. Do not be a barrier to getting things done by being a decision-making bottleneck. After all, I am getting them done for you.
  2. I want to master my work, so coach me often to help me get closer to doing so. I will take the good feedback with the bad, but I need all of it to improve.
  3. I need autonomy to do my work the best way I know how, so give me some space. I know you have done my job before, but let me use your experience and my fresh perspective to create even better ways to get things done.
  4. I need a sense of purpose. I want to work for a compelling cause, so help me see the connection between my daily work and how it makes a difference.
  5. I need to feel connected. I want our team to be special, and special teams start with special relationships. I don’t really care how much you know until I know how much you care.
  6. I crave appreciation. I do more for those who appreciate me, so pour it on! I know I make plenty of mistakes and we discuss those, but also try to catch me doing something right and let me know.  

So, listen up, engage and win!

Copyright © 2014 by Lee J. Colan and The L Group, Inc.