Here Is What Smart Companies Get That Others Don’t

by Jay Deragon on 10/28/2013

you don't get itThere is nothing more alarming to a man than when a woman says “you just don’t get it”. That phrase implies many things including you are not listening, you don’t understand or you are so arrogant you don’t care to try to either.  In others words the phrase or feelings of “you just don’t get it” implies a serious set of disconnects that are usually followed by trouble ahead.

When you hear “they just don’t get it”, either directly or indirectly, in today’s marketplace it is a reflection of your company’s inability to understand the marketplace which implies the same as above or worse. Worse is a stupid choice when you simply refuse to accept all the evidence around you to understand what it is you need to hear to understand what to do.

What Smart Companies Understand

When we look at companies that “get it” there are three things they get that others don’t. These are:

  1. Smart companies think differently. That isn’t just a marketing slogan coined by Apple, the ability of an organization to think differently drives everything they do and why they do it. Apple’s ability to think differently was inspired by Steve Jobs vision of creating experiences that enriched the mind and connected people in ways that were intuitive and meaningful. Apple’s culture attracted people who thought differently and believed they could create those experiences.  Apple didn’t follow anyone and the results followed their ability to think differently.  Thinking differently is an intangible asset that produces tangible results.
  2. Smart Companies sell their culture.  When you think of Zappo’s you may think of the company that sells shoes. But the fact is Zappo’s sells a culture of services that sells more shoes than most shoe companies. They do it by focusing on building a culture that people love to be part of and enjoy the experience. Customers are guaranteed literally everything, employees are empowered to do anything and everything for the customer. The work environment is “expression free” and daily happiness is the common goal.  Since it began in 1999 Zappo’s focused on selling a service experience that can only be created from a strong people focused culture.  Service and culture are Zappo’s intangibles that created over $1 billion in sales in its first ten years.  A common theme in smart companies is they will always tell you that much of their success comes from their culture and their ability to think differently.
  3. Smart Companies help others get smarter: In 15 short years Google has gone from nothing to the third most valuable company in the world. The core of what they do helps people and companies find information smarter and faster than anyone else. Information is at the core of the digital economy and having the information you want and need helps you get smarter over and over again. This also rings true for any company serving any of its customers. Fast service that helps them learn what they need or want to know make them a smarter informed customer.

Helping others get smarter is not a tangible asset rather it is an intangible attribute of smarter companies who think differently and have a culture that serves all stakeholders with more than expected.

You don’t have to be Apple to think differently, Zappo’s to sell a culture of service or Google to help others get smarter. You simply have to listen and understand the value of your intangible assets then share them freely with others.  Get it?


Ron McFarland October 28, 2013 at 5:45 am

I think you have to look into “you just don’t get it” a little more. If 90% of the people say “you just don’t get it”, but they are not the people you want to serve, there is a no problem. If the other 10% are saying it, there is a problem.

Therefore, the statement should start with “For the people you want to work with or serve, if they are saying ‘you just don’t get it’, there is a reason, and you should find out why”.

Ron in Tokyo

Jay Deragon October 28, 2013 at 7:55 am

Ron, Thanks for the comment.

Why won’t you want to serve 100% of the people whether or not they are paying customers or not? The people you don’t “serve today could be the people you serve tomorrow. Make sense?

Ronald McFarland October 28, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Good point if the time, resouces, people and future potential are there. Ron in Tokyo

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