There are many types of products, services and customers. Anything that you create and offer to others is a product. In this profound sense, there is no distinction between a product and a service. Your service to your superiors is a product; your service to your fellow professionals-workers is a product. You have external and internal customers; you have immediate and distant customers. Whatever you offer to them, from education, advice, beverages, health, food, pills, computers, to publishing a newspaper or providing financial information, that is your product. We are all into the product-service delivery business.
Even as an independent human being, whether you work for a large organization or are a private entrepreneur, a retired professional or a student embarking on a college career, you will benefit by conceptualizing yourself as a business. Business is the language of effectiveness. Its categories help you tune up your mind for the race toward success, no matter what your enterprise is. Ask yourself four core questions, What is my business? What is my product? Who are my customers? What do they perceive as value? These questions force you to reflect what, in a larger sense, you are doing? System thinking (a sense of the whole) and strategic intelligence (a long-term perspective) are required to answer them. The only reason for the existence of business is creating delighted customers.
The aggressive management of markets and customers calls for originality. By thinking of yourself as a business, you formulate your thoughts and focus your mind, with the best chance of achieving results. That is the generic meaning of being a product advocate; you have something to create, market, sell, explain or educate, because you are something. You stand for something. You have a theory and you dare to promote it.
Markets must be integrated and managed, no merely accepted passively for what they are. The aggressive management of markets is a matter of vision (having faith as the evidence for what you can`t see) and also of courage, which is taking the risk of acting with sustained initiative. You market your product by putting yourself in your customer`s shoes. Your job is to teach your customer leadership. Help your customer find ways to use your products and services. Do it, you can.
Innovations, change and transformation in organizations often meet bureaucratic resistance. Organizations may claim that they want innovation and that they promote creativity, but when you propose it, you meet denial, hostility, rigidity, neutrality, indifference, acceptance and execution as part of a complex organizational transition process. It is on such moments that product advocates are needed. Do not give up. Persist, be flexible, have faith, make decisions, learn and take corrective action. These are all sources of inner power.
Copyright 1998 QBS, Inc.