I recently read a column in the Harvard Business Review, October 2013 titled “Don’t Spin a Better Story. Be a Better Company” authored by the former Executive Vice President of Walmart Corporate Affairs, Leslie Dach. Dach shares some background on Walmart’s strategic decisions toward change: an approach of listening to their critics and establishing goals of sustainability, women’s economic empowerment, and more healthful food. I’m sure you’ve heard negative press with regard to Walmart on all three of these areas.
Rather than just explaining the business perspective to the public, Dach explains it is essential to really be a better company. He blatantly suggests that a business needs to “get out of its defensive crouch and listen to its critics”. In customer listening exercises, we often look at what drives behaviors . . . . and often that includes the opportunity to hear some criticism.
Working in the field of Customer Experience, I am sure it comes as no surprise to you that I love Dach’s closing words “If a drumbeat of criticism starts up against your company, don’t rush to raise your voice above it. Stop to listen. And commit to getting better”. In his column, Dach does a great job of acknowledging criticism can be difficult to take, but the long range goal setting and attainment are worth the trouble.