What we find with so many consultants is they won’t spend the time to really learn our business enough to be truly effective. I think that’s his advantage.
Don Starke was a business development manager in the construction products group of a large chemical company that manufactures a variety of waterproofing, caulking, and concrete repair products.
Don spearheaded an innovation initiative to strengthen the organization’s ability to bring value added solutions to the construction marketplace. Don and his leadership team were looking for a proven process to understand how well the organization was responding (with relevant value added services and product innovations) to customer needs.
This was a project with two phases. First, Strategic Fuel ran a Climate (Culture) of Innovation audit using the SOQ survey tool also utilized by 3M, Intel, GE and other innovation leaders. During the review of the findings, the leadership team identified the need to bring the voice of the customer more actively into their development process. We introduced the Jobs-To-Get-Done framework for understanding the unmet needs of customers. We interviewed their key construction contractor clients, delivering a detailed summary of the ‘Job of Contracting’ including unmet or unsatisfied needs the organization could respond to.
The organization is utilizing the customer insight process and insights we introduced to develop value-added services and solutions.
In Don’s Own Words
“When we were talking about having Brent come in, our number one priority was to get a fresh perspective on our culture and customers. We knew Brent would bring an unbiased, neutral voice.
In our industry, things don’t change too much, so we’re never completely surprised about what our customers say. The goal was to clarify what was top-of-mind, what was currently the most important thing we could help our customers solve or improve.
We’re always moving in a direction and we were looking for reference points to make sure we were still on the right track. In that respect, the information reaffirmed what we knew about our customers.
Brent’s style, I think worked pretty well with us. He’s a humble guy, so he didn’t come in with this complete know-it-all type of attitude that we’ve experienced sometimes with other folks. He was great. He’s a good listener. When you’re around, he gives you the impression that he’s listening.
Brent has developed an understanding of our business. And I think for any consultant, probably one of the toughest things that they have to tackle, is having a deep enough understanding of the business to be able to really ask the right questions, and then to respond.
What we find with so many consultants is they won’t spend the time to really learn our business enough to be truly effective. I think that’s his advantage. Somehow Brent has this ability to learn your business, or will take the time to learn your business, enough to be effective.”