On Leadership: Keep It Super Simple



So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.

~ Peter Drucker

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.

~ General Colin Powell

I just finished the book The Ultimate Question 2.0: How Net Promoter Companies Thrive in a Customer-Driven World by Fred Reichheld.  The authors ended the book by pointing out that many academics, customer survey companies and business pundits argue their theories on the Net Promoter System (NPS) were too simple and, therefore, not rigorous enough to be considered a sound methodology for business measurement.

Simply put, NPS uses the following questions to understand how loyal a customer is to a company (read: repeat business!) and whether they have been successful in providing a great experience for them.

1. On a scale of 1 – 10, how likely is it you would recommend our product or service to a friend or colleague?  (10 is very likely)

2. What are the primary reasons for your score? (open text box for answer).

That’s it.

No long survey.  No lengthy interview.  Just two questions.  Any score from 1 – 6 generates an alert for a manager to call the customer to understand how they can improve their experience.  They then pick up the phone and talk to the customer to determine a way to resolve the poor experience.

NPS is simple, direct and easy to understand and to act upon.  That should be our objective as business leaders – to make the complex simple.  Can the complexity of understanding the customer’s true feelings and intent to purchase be reduced to a simple two-question survey?  You bet. That is the power of NPS.  That is the power of cutting through to simplicity.

Do you create order out of chaos?  Do you see the simple solution to challenges?  If not, how do you find it?  I recommend you seek additional counsel from those who have the battle scars.  I often say, “if you don’t know what to do next, seek more counsel.”

Experience is the best teacher of wisdom.  Wisdom usually provides the lens for simplicity.

Choose simplicity.



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