The difficult act of helping people achieve their goals
March 14, 2013 in Company Culture
Too many companies view their workers as a means to an end without regard for what’s best for them. Too many customers are resented if they don’t use the product a company wanted them to. Here at UserVoice we’re interested in helping people achieve their goals, not creating new ones for them that only benefit us. In the same vein of really solving real problems, we know that we’re not the right product for everyone or the right company for everyone to work at. Understanding this not only helps us understand our strengths but also helps us foster a strong company culture and customer community.
As a relatively new hire myself coming up on my one year, I was shocked to learn that we will sometimes refer a customer to a competitor. “Why!? They’re money! Shouldn’t we try to convince them we’re the best?” Turns out, no. We weren’t the best for them. So we listened, evaluated their needs, and sent them off. When we say ‘customer first’ we’re not kiddng around. The same goes for our employees. If they’re not getting enough out of their role we understand and encourage them to pursue whatever their goals may be – and we’ll help them along the way.
Our Head of UI Joshua Rudd sums it all up perfectly: “Helping people achieve their goals is not about convincing them that your own goals outweigh the importance of theirs but, rather, taking the time to listen and understand what they are trying to achieve. Shared goals have a pleasant way of helping us do more, together. Having different goals is not a failure—but ignoring them can lead to unnecessary frustration and disappointment. When we help others achieve their goals, whether it be a customer or coworker, we build each other up instead of tearing each other down.”
This is admittedly one of the hardest values for any company to follow. It requires a heavy hand of humility, a dash of empathy, and a sprinkle of introspection. But once you realize that helping your customers is your primary goal, even the tough decisions will be some of the best you’ve ever made.