Personal congruence with business goals

I’ve been thinking lately about personal congruence as a success factor.

I had a client last night reporting that he couldn’t see some ads on a page of his site.  More specifically, it was a “link to us” page and the sample banners weren’t showing up in Chrome.  And of course, they worked fine for me, because why make it easy?

After too much research in what turned out to be the wrong direction, I discovered that there is some kind of weird bug for some Chrome users where images don’t show up, but that wasn’t what this problem was – he was using an ad blocker plugin, so yeah, he couldn’t see his own ads.  I don’t mean that with any disrespect, it was just one of those head slappers that should have been identified a lot quicker than it was.

In this case, there wasn’t a compelling reason to have the sample banners be actual links, so I advised removing them, turning the banners into simple images, which would probably resolve the problem, but it brings to mind a different rule of thumb.

Are you asking your current and potential customers to do things you wouldn’t do?  In other words, do you have personal congruence with your work?

Another example, going back a few years to when I worked in telephony.  I was building a front end for a predictive dialler for a large company.  This is one of those machines that calls a bunch of phone numbers in advance, figures out if there’s a real human on the other end, and then routes the call to a rep to complete the transaction.  The plus side of a system like that is reps spend way less time dialling the phone and way more time doing actual business, but the down side is that the person being called has that annoying few seconds of silence that tells them they’re being called by a machine.

(Incidentally, I had no problems implementing this system, at least from a personal congruence perspective – it was for existing customers and delivered a valuable service in a cost-effective manner.  I was hardly ever home anyway, so it wasn’t going to affect me, but believe it or not I actually like talking to outbound sales reps from time to time.)

Anyway, the system got deployed, and reports of high abandon rates were starting to come in, which of course had to be a technical problem.  The conversation with the business sponsor went kind of like this:

“People are hanging up on our system before we can route the calls to a rep.  Fix it.”

“OK, you know when you’re at home and you get a phone call from a number you don’t recognize, and you say ‘hello’ and then there’s just silence?”

“Oh yeah, I hate those, I always hang up.”


“Do you realize that’s what you built?”

“Yeah, but why are people hanging up?  There must be something wrong with the transfer.”

It’s easy to laugh at the silly pointy haired business sponsor, but she wasn’t pointy-haired, she just had a blind spot in her thinking, which was possibly enhanced due to the lack of personal congruence with what she’d been tasked to do.

People say that the most successful businesses are the ones where everyone’s 100% passionate about the product or service.  I don’t know if that’s absolutely necessary – maybe you just have to be really passionate about what you do in that company – but if you’re working towards a goal that you 100% do not believe in and would never recommend to your mom (assuming it’s in a market that your mom would like, but you get the idea,) you’re going to have a lot tougher time getting out of bed in the morning.


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