Many of you know that my wife owns a bridal shop and that I am not allowed to get too involved:). However, she does occasionally run things by me for advice, which she can totally disregard when I am being too much of a “business guy”. Of course I think she is the smartest, prettiest, and most wonderful woman I know, and something I observed her doing in her business gave me the inspiration for this message. It reminded me how important it is to focus on how things fit. So here is the example:
When a woman is searching for her wedding dress there are many things that are important in the process, and Kristen and her team focus on the customer and the experience more than anything else. Her business hit the 5 year mark not too long ago and just last year she realized there was a problem and started working on fixing it. The problem was that she had all of these dresses in the store and typically only had them in one size. Therefore, it was rare that a customer would fit into the style they liked. The problem with is that when a woman is buying her wedding dress, the entire process is expected be perfect and have them feel more beautiful than they ever have before. So how can that happen if the dress cannot zip up, or if the dress is way too large? The short answer is that when it does not fit, the customer does not feel beautiful, and that is what is required for them to buy the dress, rave about their experience, and feel totally confident about themselves and their decision. So what did Kristen and her team do? Against the recommendation of her partners (wedding dress designers) who recommend only one medium size of each dress, she focused on getting more sample inventory in a variety of sizes so that the likely hood of the style and size of a dress fitting the customer was much higher. And the result…… A significant increase in first appointment closings, customer satisfaction, and increased revenue. In short summary, this was an example of making sure there is the right fit (both literally and figuratively in this example) for customers and the positive outcome that is experienced by both the customer and the business when a leadership team is focused on how things fit together.
As leaders, one of our primary (if not THE primary) roles is to ensure that everything fits together. People, teams, roles, products, services, culture, customers, vertical markets, etc. must all fit together. To become highly effective, things simply have to fit together and once we reach that nirvana where everything fits, we must have a realistic awareness that maintaining the fit will then be a continuous effort. The best leaders know and accept this as a core concept for exceptional leadership.