Many fans of the TV show Survivor were shocked when Natalie was selected as the winner of Season 19.
Her tribe mate, Russell, had dominated the game like no one had before. He masterminded votes at tribal council, eliminated key competitors, found crucial immunity idols without even a clue, and even won the final immunity challenge.
In Russell’s mind he had won the game. In fact he bragged about it. Once the game narrowed down to its final threesome, the bigger question seemed to be who would finish second rather than who would win.
However the jury had other ideas. The panel of nine recently voted out competitors held the fate of the game in their hands. Over time Russell’s braggadocio style had alienated many of them. They grew tired of his Rambo method of game play. In fact many were upset he had strong-armed them out of the game and their chance to win $1 million.
The jury decided to teach Russell a lesson and awarded the top prize to Natalie, a former pharmaceutical sales rep.
Truth be told Russell said he didn’t need the money. He told some of the players that he owned a successful oil company and earned over $1 million the previous year.
However he was clearly the best player, and despite it all, was more qualified than anyone to be named “Sole Survivor”.
The lesson here is never to take your customers or stakeholders for granted.
In your mind you may think you have a concrete idea of how your clients perceive you and your firm, but that perception may be way off base.
It is important to connect early and often with your customers. Whether you conduct ongoing focus groups, surveys or just one-on-one meetings, the need to ascertain their thoughts about your products and services is paramount to your success.
Failing to gain an accurate reading about your company, your sales people and your customer service may be very costly in the long run. In fact it could cost you $1 million, or even more.