Are you mature enough for your customers? You may find the question to be absurd. Of course, professionals in software and FinTech companies are almost certainly fully functioning adults. Nonetheless, the businesses they work for and run are often woefully immature. It’s a challenge faced by a surprising number of companies.
Allow me to explain what I mean by levels of maturity in business, as described by David Anderson in his blog post, “Accountability – The magic ingredient for business agility and resilience.”
0 – Every customer has the pet
1 – Never the same way twice
2 – Never the same result twice
3 – Consistent, trusted delivery
4 – Balanced risk, every stakeholder’s needs & expectations met
5 – Simply the best
6 – A remarkable history of surprising reinvention
Customers generally demand that suppliers operate at Level 3 at a minimum. Think about it. Would you order a product if you weren’t sure what you would get? Would you go to a restaurant if the food came out differently every time?
Businesses with a tangible market or service (for example, a plumber or a cabinet maker) often operate at least at that level, or even at Level 4. However, much of the market in intangible products (like software) is stuck at Level 1 or even Level 0.
To be fair, it can be challenging to obtain a higher level of maturity when a company’s offerings are complex or difficult to define. However, there is a way to achieve leadership maturity: accountability. According to Anderson, accountability differs from responsibility. Responsibility is associated with accepting an order and performing the work. By contrast, “the accountable person ensured it was delivered within the customer’s expectations and that the customer is happy with the outcome.”
Accountability can be stressful, which is actually good.
When someone has promised a specific outcome that has not come about, that person feels uncomfortable, and they are motivated to make a change in order to fulfill that promise. The Kanban method employs regular meetings to determine whether the workflow is productive, whether policies are being followed, and if anyone is overburdened or the work product is falling below expectations.
To be truly successful, a business needs to be operating at Level 3 or higher. Kanban is an efficient way to move up a notch on the scale and help your company meet your customers’ expectations.
In all honesty, where is your business?
For more concrete, actionable steps on achieving organizational maturity, check out my article, 8 Steps to Increase Productivity and Reduce Overburdening of Your Team.