“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.”
Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, spoke these words. As with so much of what Jobs gave to the world, these simple words are nothing short of groundbreaking. Why? They challenge us. They challenge us to think differently. And they challenge us to think ahead.
In today’s final Align with Nine blog post on our culture, we explore Core Behavior #9: Be Two Steps Ahead. We share what it means for us to stay ahead of the game. And we delve into why it matters – for our customers, ourselves, and each other.
Our approach is two-fold and strategic. We believe first and foremost in having a long-term mindset. For us, that means never making a short-term decision that has a longstanding, negative impact on our business.
Bill Holtzman, Strategic Market Development Manager, says that a key ingredient to staying two steps ahead is to refrain from making “short-term decisions that have a long-term impact.”
He goes on to note that how we react to a challenge ultimately informs our ability to stay forward-thinking. Just like we don’t rush any job or project we undertake, we don’t rush to conclusions. We take a big picture look at our actions, and consider how those actions will impact the future.
“We can’t just think about the challenge at hand,” says Holtzman. “We have to think about how it impacts our customer’s needs and devise a unique solution to solve their challenges.”
The second tenet to our approach to staying two steps ahead is that we look ahead and anticipate. We all agree that we are better prepared by anticipating future needs and addressing them today. Why? It allows us to avoid the mistakes that come with last-minute decision making. And having an eye toward the future also allows us to be proactive. It permits us to put the words of Steve Jobs into action when he advises us to anticipate the needs of our customers.
When sharing his thoughts on what it means to be two steps ahead, our President Dave Sweet reminds us that it’s about being intentional, engaged, and having a desired outcome. “We don’t simply ask ‘How can we help?’ We strive to provide solutions in a proactive, forward-thinking manner.”
Sweet also stresses that being two steps ahead is about having a game-plan for future successes. “As leaders and managers, we work on our strategic initiatives with an eye toward future goals. We cannot wing it. We have to know where we’re going, and create a road map that will get us there.”
For Sweet and the entire team at MECCO, staying two steps ahead is paramount to our company’s culture, one grounded in innovative relationships and innovative solutions.
At MECCO, we’re committed to keeping the conversation going about the work that we do, our unique culture, and how we deliver to our customers. Please continue to follow our blog for more insights and updates!