Moving from “Versus” to “And”

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Creates Customers for Life!

I recently attended the Canadian Sport for Life Summit (CS4L) in Gatineau, Quebec as a representative of Football Nova Scotia where I have a volunteer role responsible for Sport Development.  This Summit brought together educators, health professionals, coaches, officials, administrators, community recreation people and volunteers from across Canada to discuss the current state of sport in Canada and ways that it can improved to provide the participants with a better overall experience so that they will stay active in their respective sport in the long term.

I enjoy attending and participating in sport conferences as you get to hear from great leaders that provide valuable insights geared toward sports but that also are applicable to business.  At this recent conference there were a number of themes but one which hit a cord with me was moving from the “versus” to the “and” environment.  Not surprising, in many sports it is quite common to find the “versus” environment. It could be a Local Club versus the Provincial Sports Organization, Coaches versus Officials, one sport versus another, etc.  Everyone is fighting it out to prove they are right. I listened to the former coach of the Canadian National Diving Team who told how his “versused” himself right out of job, twice!  He finally realized that he had to take a different approach if he was going to be successful. If you are active in sports I am sure you have experienced similar situations.  What is missing is the “versus” environment is the focus on the customer, in this case primarily the athletes who just want to compete and have fun.

Don’t we also experience this in businesses. Silos are often created internally in functional areas, sales, service, admin, finance, operations and from inside those silos the focus is on who is at fault, who is to blame, or who is getting or not getting the credit. Again what is missing is the focus on the customer who only wants and deserves a great experience from participating. The lesson is that when you can move from the “versus” to the “and” the focus changes. In the “and” environment, the focus is entirely on the customer. It no longer matters who gets the credit. Instead you seek out opportunities to work together to create a better overall experience. When you move to the “And” environment in your business, both you and your customers win and which significantly improves the odds that they will stay active with your business in the long term! If you want  Customers for Life, try moving from the “Versus” to the “And” environment!

Keith Skiffington
Chief Operating Officer
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