Productive Leaders

Ph.D., CSP, CDR, US Navy Ret.,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame

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I had enough. After trying for nearly a month to get my new Motorola smart phone to work properly, I finally returned it. Ten different people had been unable to resolve the various problems I had been experiencing, although the consensus was the root cause was most likely Motorola’s Motoblur feature. Motoblur is a tool that’s supposed to coordinate all your communication elements: contact list, social media, e-mail, etc. It’s built in to every new Motorola handset and you must set up a Motoblur account to use the phone. Ironically, a Motorola sales rep had been at the store during one of my previous visits. Upon hearing my problems, he seemed puzzled, but assured me Motoblur couldn’t be at fault. He then proceeded to rave about how wonderful Motoblur was and how much he loved it. Decorum demanded that I not slap the grin off his face and set him straight. However, here’s what I was dying to say to him: “Of course you love Motoblur! It’s your product! It’s like your child! You love it for the sole reason it’s yours. You love it even if nobody else does. And as it happens, nobody else does love it. If you look online, you won’t see users posting comments about how terrific Motoblur is. In fact, you’ll find just the opposite. Nobody wants Motoblur. The only reason people use it is because Motorola requires them to.” A lot of companies fall into this trap. They think their products and services are great for the simple reason they created them. Just as too many parents are blind to their children’s failings, too many companies are blind to their products’ flaws. You are not the arbiter of whether or not your product or service is great. The marketplace is. Your opinion of your own offerings is irrelevant. The opinions of your prospects and customers are all that matter. So my question to you is this: Do you (consciously or not) feel about your products and services the same way you feel about your children? Because if so, that’s a recipe for disaster. If your child fails at something you can (and should) still be proud of them and support them. If your product fails, that means it sucked and it needs to be overhauled or eliminated. Emotional attachments to your children are vital. Emotional attachments to your products are deadly. If you want your products and services to succeed, you need to think about them objectively at every stage of their development. You have to look at them through your customers’ eyes. You must subject them to harsh scrutiny and potential criticism. You’re not creating something you will like—you’re creating something your customers will like. (Check out You Are Not Your Prospect for more insights into this critical distinction.) After your product or service is launched, measure its greatness by its sales figures. Once it’s successful, then you can be proud of it. You should love your kids because they’re yours and because they deserve to be loved by you. Your products, however, are not your kids. Don Cooper helps business teams enhance sales and can be reached at 303-832-4248 or at


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