Our Culture: Real Wealth and the Value of Teaching

Written by Colin Martin 03/27/19


Our Culture Series explores the guiding principles reflected in our company.

Half my family is Jewish. I am not. But because I grew up loving, learning from, and working with that side of my family, their values became a part of me. 

Question: Ever wonder why so many Jews are doctors and attorneys?

Jews make up just 2% of the US population, and yet 20% of leading university professors are Jewish. Likewise 30% of American Nobel prize winners in science and 25% of all American Nobel winners are also Jewish. Why is that?

Answer: Jewish children are taught from an early age that the only true wealth is portable: knowledge. Jewish culture deeply understands the value of learning, and that the other side of the learning coin is teaching.

Teaching

Teaching clearly encapsulates three of our core values: Lead, Impact, and Respect. I’m sure you could argue to include Simplify as well, and I welcome your feedback, but for now I’m going with the first three values. 

I believe as we grow, teaching must become a more integral part of what we do every day. Both internally with each other, and externally with our customers. It’s no longer good enough for us to be great at what we do.

As we grow, teaching must become an integral part of what we do every day.

Relatively speaking, it’s expected that you are great at what you do. We are expected to develop great software, offer a great product, and perform an excellent service. In the mind of the customer, doesn’t everyone?

While we spend time emphasizing subtle differences, customers/prospects tend to focus on general similarities. In the B2B world, the investments we make in brand building, product development, and improved customer service are not the final step to winning customer loyalty; but simply the first.

Today these basics of business are the price of entry — not what wins business. 

So how do we win?

We win by teaching our customers something they don’t know. We share data, tactics, or processes we learned from taking care of other customers over the years. We teach our customers how we learned from mistakes. 

As an example, I’ll brag on one of our own: Jon Hester. I found out the other day Jon will often find a way to add at least one thing to a project to surprise the customer. Perhaps a feature that the customer didn’t expect, didn’t think was possible, or even a creative twist to the GUI that makes the customer smile.

That’s some straight up ninja action, and it is vintage commercial teaching. Jon is using his experience and creativity to show the customer something they didn’t know, didn’t see, or did not think was possible. Something that makes the customer say, “huh … I hadn’t thought of that.” Bravo!

Clients remember how we made their lives and businesses better through teaching.

Here’s a modern business fact: In the end (long after we win a customer’s business), they are not going to remember us fondly because of the great product we built for them or the great service we provided. They are going to remember how we made their lives and businesses better through teaching them something they didn’t already know.

Ideally, we continue teaching them even after the first sale, again and again. We continue showing them we respect them enough to impact their lives by proving our leadership over and over.

Proving our leadership by giving them the only wealth that’s portable; the only wealth that can never be taken away from them. Teaching something that makes them sit back in their chair and smile, immediately recognizing the value of the gift. That’s the real reason they will keep giving us their business.

Watching the Bulb Light Up

As always, I welcome your discussion of any posts I write. Have you had the pleasure of watching the bulb light up in someone’s eyes? Do you have stories of teaching our customers or witnessing someone else teach? Share them!

Talk to and encourage one another. You are such incredibly smart and gifted people! Let’s share with and teach each other so we can build our story together, taking one another and our business to new heights.

Colin Martin
General Manager, Vigilix

Continue Our Culture Series

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