Running a successful company requires embracing the essential few and ignoring the trivial many. Focusing on what matters, investing in what matters, and building capability to serve the customers you have today and want tomorrow flows out of this sense of what is really important. Hence we talk about mission and vision, and the primacy of these above strategy and tactics. Only once the mission is clear can any strategy and tactics make sense. Without absolute clarity on the mission, strategy and tactics are like driving blind / wandering aimlessly / going around in circles. Intent is everything.
In the early 2000s, Effy Shkuri, now the Managing Partner at Silverside, took a sales position at a staffing company in the Netherlands. There he worked alongside Roland Driesen, and together they introduced a new line of business – building and creating Lotus Notes applications for clients. A year and a bit later Roland and Effy had the opportunity to spin the Lotus Notes company into a new business, and together (and with others) they built this into a larger and more successful entity. And for the next 7-8 years, the combined team built a reputation in the Netherlands for helping clients on their collaboration journey.
But there came a time in the Silverside story – a midpoint “once upon a time” if you will – where the question of mission became a much higher priority. A lack of clarity and focus meant the firm was investing in too many areas; there was nothing that brought it together. Effy remembers meeting the team at Harmon.ie (now one of our partners) and starting a dialogue on their focus and intent (which was all around user adoption). “When is the customer really happy?” became the burning question during those days.
It’s not when you take them out for coffee during the pre-sales meeting.
It’s not when you show them the capabilities of modern collaboration tools.
It’s not during the contract negotiations.
It’s not when they pay the licensing cheque.
It’s not when the software is installed and ready to be used.
It’s not when people are attending training courses.
It’s only when the software is being used in the right way and new value is being created.
Everything else is but necessary preliminaries, but effective aligned usage is the gold standard.
And while it wasn’t necessarily a lightbulb moment – more a growing awareness and a greater viewpoint – this became the focal mission for Silverside.
User adoption. Effective use. Happy (delighted!) customers.