There has been a gap of nearly three weeks since I wrote an article. I have now firmed up the frequency of this article- first and third Friday every month. I begin where I had ended in the last article. Human motivation (will) is the key for any business to emerge winner in this current or for that matter any future crisis. History is testimony to this age-old phenomenon. Employees are definitely one of the vertices of the triangle of human beings which organisations need to motivate and keep motivated- customers and business associates in the business ecosystem of the organization are the other two vertices who need to remain motivated. Amongst employees I have noticed that the team members in frontline sale are the most under scrutiny by everyone in the organization. I remember as a Business Head in my last corporate assignment review meetings were inevitably led by the people from accounts who would have 100 solutions to better sales performance. I had once offered the finance head of that organization to replace me as the business head to implement those 100 ideas and achieve the sales targets! Needless to mention that was the last meeting when the finance head ever suggested ideas to achieve targets. Even sales team supervisors are no different. They order their team members to achieve targets at ‘any cost’ without much discussion or guidance or demonstration of how to achieve the same. Please do not get me wrong. There are exceptions who are respected as leaders. Currently, we are marketing partners for an AI based tool which becomes the personal coach of the ‘lonely’ salesperson in the field and guides the person to do what will help the person to achieve superior sales results. Data proves increase in salesforce productivity more than 15%. This tool picks up data from field force automation software and analyses the same in context to the sales KPI stipulated by the organisation and uses AI along with machine learning to push personalised ‘nudges’ to the field salesperson. We have witnessed this tool deliver results across industries- BFSI, FMCG, Pharmaceuticals, Automobiles, and several others. This tool corroborates my hypothesis about human motivation being the prime driver for performance. Discussions on sales are incomplete without discussing customers. My experience suggests that majority of brands connect with customers more when they want to sell. CRM has been a part of marketing strategy for few brands. However, the use of CRM is basic and rather ‘impersonal’. I have not come across any brand doing anything significant during the pandemic. If I were the marketing person of any bank, for example, I would have called the high-net worth customers and sent them a safety kit for the period of pandemic. I believe the customer would have been motivated to talk about it. May be also post in social media. Social media brings me to Facebook. Number of current users of Facebook are estimated to be larger than the population of India. How did Facebook create this user base? By simply motivating the users in variety of ways. Self-propaganda and appreciation by users create content and more users. I often wonder what would have been the plight of Facebook if there was a ‘dislike’ button option. In the current scenario, I think customers are looking for proactive behaviour and fair treatment from brands. Let me illustrate this through two real life examples and incidents. Once I was travelling with the Chairman of one of the client organisations and both of us were booked on a flight departing at 6 PM to return to our base location. Since we were booked on the same PNR and he was the lead passenger, he received an SMS alert at 1:30 PM stating that our flight was delayed by 90 minutes and will depart at 7:30 PM. Promptly, he shared the message with me and said “DP we can work for another 90 minutes. Good that the airline has intimated us well in time.” Is this customer motivation? On a separate occasion when I was travelling alone, I received a similar SMS from another airline stating that my flight was delayed by two hours at 5 PM when my flight was scheduled to depart at 6:30 PM. I was already entering the airport when the message was delivered. This is the classic gap between intention and execution. The entire purpose is defeated, and the brand is ridiculed. Let me narrate the other incident which is about treating customers in a fair manner. I walked into the exclusive store of the mobile service provider whose services I use. There were too many people inside the store already. The security person at the entrance asked me what my purpose of visit was and punched in a few details into a queuing machine and handed a chit with a token number to me. He looked at the display on the counter and advised me to come back within 30 minutes if I had any other work. I felt that I have been treated in a fair manner. Several hospital OPD functioning need to learn from this example. Many hospitals during OPD hours present a chaotic picture and whoever can bully his/her way forward to the registration desk emerges victorious. As life returns towards normal, the biggest expectation from customers will be reduced human touch while transacting business with any brand. Organizations must strategize on this aspect and the shift in customer expectation to plan and execute the digital transformation of their customers’ path to purchase. This will have long term impact on the business and profitability of the brand. Have you read this book written by Adam Grant titled- Give and take: why helping others drives our success? The client-vendor relationship must follow this guideline to reinvent their motivation. We are all aware about the Just in Time (JIT) inventory concept which was popularized by the Toyota Motor Company in late 60s/early 70s. What is the core philosophy of JIT? The manufacturer will reduce cost of holding and storing inventory and the supplier will assure quality of supply so that it can be taken on the production line as soon as it reaches the manufacturing facility of the manufacturer. Would this have worked if the manufacturer would not commit to a prompt payment cycle? Both need to give to get. I am aware of a unique case study where a highly reputed blue-chip company in India had a specialised business unit which used to manufacture machines for the tyre industry. These machines were assembled by this machine manufacturer from supplies received from different vendors. The timely delivery of the new machine to the tyre manufacturer was dependent on the timely supplies by their vendor partners. Often, these vendors would delay in supply and the machine manufacturer would falter in delivering on time and the late delivery penalty clause would be enforced by the tyre manufacturers. The problem was solved when the manufacturer created a transparent system of how the invoice of the vendor was getting processed in lieu of the vendors sticking to their committed delivery schedules. JIT also works on transparent access to the manufacturers data which is relevant to the supplier. Essentially, trust leads to collaboration which leads to motivation. In the present scenario organisations need to think on these lines to motivate their business associates and emerge winners. In the last article I had mentioned about a new framework for business strategy which I wanted to discuss in this week. However, to restrict the length of this article, I am postponing the same to my next article which I will write on the third Friday of this month which is 19th. Till then, remain motivated and motivate those who matter whether at work or home or society. There is no substitute to human motivation to get things done.

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