Are Internal Monopolies Hurting Your Customer?

Are Internal Monopolies Hurting Your Customer?

Whatever your role, it is always good to ask yourself, “Who is my customer?”

Corporate monopolies in shared services
Is the customer forgotten by your shared services teams?

By definition, a monopoly is “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.” That is the kind of relationship many corporate functions enjoy. When the monopoly goes unchecked, costs increase, it is difficult to compete, and soon “corporate” becomes the center of the business universe–much to the dismay of the end user or customer.

University of Toronto professor Roger Martin raises some solid questions about improving the monopolies held by shared services in companies in Harvard Business Review.

“Competition is business’s great trainer . . . When a customer chooses an alternative provider, that provides an important signal of how the monopolist needs to get better to get that customer back . . . Hence, my belief is that the only way to have efficient, effective corporate functions is to take away their monopoly right to serve.” (RLM)

His brief opinion is worth a read–and some reflective consideration by leaders in IT, finance, HR, etc.

Developing Strengths, Not Weaknesses

Are your training investments focused on developing strengths or overcoming weaknesses?

Peter Drucker said, “[Someone] should never be appointed to a managerial position if his vision focuses on people’s weaknesses rather than on their strengths. The [person] who always knows exactly what people cannot do, but never sees anything they can do, will undermine the spirit of his organization.”

Drucker’s thoughts are underscored and expanded in a recent Harvard Business Review article by the talented team at Gallup. They conclude that, “there’s significant potential in developing what is innately right with people versus trying to fix what’s wrong with them.” At a time when employee engagement is a pressing concern for many global organizations, this Gallup study found employees are six times more likely to be engaged at work when they get to do what they are good at–rather than focusing on those skills in which they will never excel.

Hiring strengths and teaming to account for weaknesses is more than a popular HR mantra. Gallup’s research found it makes good business sense with solid growth in sales, profits, and customer engagement.

Investing training dollars in trying to get people better at things they will never be good at is a misplaced use of time and resources.