Texas Instruments (TI), a high-tech semiconductor giant, gunning for the technology boom, went up like a rocket, and proceeding in the wake of the technology bust, came down like the stick. The business free fall jolted TI. Its giant feet, it figuratively reduced, to fit in their customers’ shoes. Fitting in their shoes is renewing customer awareness, and walking in them is focusing on their happiness. BTS USA, a global supplier, trained the TI’s executives and managers in learning how to walk toward the customer-centric direction. Ironically, the quickest walk from TI to its customers is on that road that threads through the heart of the front-line employees - the ones that should have walked first in the customers’ shoes.
Review/Analysis of the Case
The nostalgic expression “customers waited in line” conjures up a unique image of a cross of Pied Piper and Lady Luck, both legendary personifications of power and fortune - the twin business goodies coming out of the technology boom. At its height, TI had its hands full of such goodies. The Pied Piper’s power was in his magic pipe that lured rats to follow him in a long line. TI needed a jolt to wake up to the call of those customers that waited in line who, unlike Pied Piper’s rats, were people with human wants and needs to satisfy. TI needed a jolt to wake up to the call of its Lady Luck who, in the wake of the technology bust, was running out of luck.
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Then, BTS USA, a global supplier of computer-based simulations of learning, came in and played the role of a hero. The Training and Development play was a typical example of a book-line theory put on a real-life practice. That is, an external change (technology bust), stirred an organization (TI), that egged on a problem (dissatisfied customers), which required a consultant (BTS USA), in carrying out the following basic process (training and development): Diagnosing needs, gathering data, planning actions, building teams, developing groups, and conducting evaluations (Davis, 1981, p. 261).
Analysis of Findings
In real world, TI would need all pair of hands to give its customers a lift, and all pairs of feet to walk in their shoes. To satisfy customers, product quality and price should meet their expectations, and services should match their perceptions. Product quality and price is performance-driven while customer service, on the other hand, is behavior-driven. Training and Development seems to emphasize behavioral processes rather than job performance (Davis, 1981, p.271). The pairs of hands and feet – that produce products with quality and price the customers expect - belong to the front-line employees. Therefore, their level of training priority must be stamped: High.
TI would achieve competitive advantage in real world by totally satisfying its customers. It would require organization-wide changes that would transcend major traditional turfs with diverse conflicting goals: Marketing aims at increasing volume, Production, minimizing cost, and Finance, maximizing profit. Amid the radical change, Training and Development, according to Davis (1981, p.257), plays a vital role as a “change agent” that breaks through, if not breaks down, the organization’s turfs, stimulates sweeping changes across-the-board, at the same time, rolls those turfs together into one harmonious work force.
Summary and Conclusions
TI’s ultimate climb to the top must be steered with durable ROI at the bottom. What awaits TI at the summit is a highly coveted business trophy – customers-waiting-in-line reality. To earn such trophy needs no magic from Pied Piper and Lady Luck. TI must only enlist all pairs of corporate hands in a “Total Customer Satisfaction Boot Camp.” After fitting up to great shape, all the pairs of corporate feet would be let loose to walk in their customers’ shoes. Walking together hand-in-hand while commanding a view of the top, TI’s climbers and their customers alike, would loudly cheer, “We’re Number One!”
- Davis, K. (1981). Human behavior at work: Organizational behavior. Arizona. McGraw-Hill, Inc.
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