In Your Eigentone I wrote about the relationships between acoustics, relationships, and business.
If you have ever experienced the eigentone of a room you know it is a bit of magic. One part of the magic is the effortlessness of it. You don't have to do anything extra. You don't have speak louder or in a different language. You say something at a frequency (the musical "tone" of your voice) that triggers the eigentone in the room. The room simply resonates with you. That's it; no extra effort, no digital effects.
Why Does the Eigentone Matter To Your Business?
Why should we seek resonance in the management of our businesses?
The answer is straightforward: profit is a measure of resonance.
When you do the right things for the right reasons for the right people in the right way, a consequence is profitability. Put another way, consider the opposite of the words I used above: inelegant, inefficient, ineffective, and costly (since cost and effort are exchangeable terms). Sound like a conversation about profitability (or the lack of it)?
Can you feel what it would mean to "have the market resonate with your business"? Or "Your employees resonate with your culture and objectives?"
Profit is a measure and consequence of effectiveness and efficiency. An eigentone is evidence of effectiveness and efficiency. You achieve maximum profitability when your product, service, or brand resonates effortlessly with the market, and your operations deliver those products and services with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
Everyone rowing in the same direction is the business equivalent of an eigentone: it is evidence of resonance, harmony, and positive feedback.
How to Find the Eigentone in Your Business
How do we do this in business terms?
1. Listen. The eigentone is feedback you have hit the natural resonance (technically the standing wave) of the space. You know it when you hear it. When your customers provide exactly the feedback you are looking for, when your employees use discretionary effort to advance the enterprise, these are feedback you have 'hit the right note.'
2. Verify and validate. There are two ways of confirming impact: verification and validation. Verification is an internal and objective process of measuring quality and value. Validation is external (i.e. validated by your customers or your employees) and subjective. You verify by measuring; you validate by asking. Ask those you are impacting for their honest feedback. Feedback communicates messages that resonate because not only will you receive valuable information, those whom you ask will feel validated because you asked them.
3. Don't force your market to sing your tunes. If they don't sing with you, you are dead in the water. If you feel like you are endlessly educating, persuading, and pointing out your value propositions like a broken record, it is time to totally remake your message. What you have to offer isn't resonating, or something about your culture and the culture of the people you want to do business with just isn't clicking. Stop forcing, and start listening and retuning.
4. Build a consistent customer experience. Customer experience is the sum of the products, services, customer service, and all the points of contact between you and your customers. It includes pricing, the music playing in your stores, and the fonts you use on your website. You introduce disharmony when one part of your business conflicts with another. When the promises you make aren't delivered on; when the decor of your store clashes with the tone set by your products; when your brand promises ease and your website is frustrating to navigate. When you have designed the experience, validate it.
5. Focus on employee experience. Especially if you are scaling your business up, your employees are the most important part of finding that eigentone. They are the conductor, the sounding board, of everything you are doing. You don't talk to your customers, they do. You don't create the 10,000 tiny vibrations that together make up the sound of your organization, they do. Hire for talent and nature (stuff that resonates) before technical skills, train and communicate like crazy, and move the dead wood out as fast as you can.
6. Get alignment. This is one area where smaller businesses have a true advantage: it is easier to get internal consistency when you are not operating across silos. To establish an eigentone, there has to be a perfect match in pitch between your voice and the room. Here is a brief list of the pieces that need to line up:
- Your marketing objectives and your recruiting objectives. Find messages that resonate in both spaces.
- Your policies and procedures and your Mission and Values statements. Do your policies and procedures resonate with your values?
- Management objectives and organizational culture. What kind of organization are you, and what do your managers measure to nurture that culture? What you measure shapes behaviour.
- Budgets and strategic plans. Are you putting money where your mouth is?
- Schedules and budgets. Time and money are your two most precious non-people resources. Are they harnessed together to move the enterprise in the same direction at the same time?
Want to learn more? Download our roadmap to Positive Feedback Management!