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The Firefighting Arsonist

Have you ever noticed how some people are just really good at putting out fires? Even certain companies excel at problem solving under the duress of tight time frames. It’s a real talent, a valuable skill to be able to effectively fight fires and make good decisions when apparent disaster is all around you.

That talent is less impressive when problem solvers are fighting fires that they set. As crazy as it sounds, I have seen this so often that I think there is frequently a relationship in the business world between the firefighters and the arsonists. Take a look at problems that create this type of frenzied activity and try to identify the root cause—I’ll bet you will find more often than not that these are self-ignited fires.

Think about this from an account management perspective. Often we have to react quickly and decisively to clean up a mess that—if we are totally honest with ourselves—we either created or let happen.

If we really listen to our customers, analyze all the information that we have about them, and fully understand what they are communicating to us, we not only understand the root cause of the fires, but we also place some critical smoke alarms to alert us to problems before they become fires.

About the Author

Phil Bounsall

Phil Bounsall

As president at Walker, Bounsall is focused on the development and execution of strategies and operating plans designed to enhance Walker’s position as a global leader in customer intelligence. Bounsall also works with Walker’s client service teams to help meet the needs of Walker’s clients.

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