New (or Ancient) Ways of Winning
Anita Sharpe on Culture
Over the years, I occasionally bought tires from a local company called DeKalb Tire. Prices were competitive, service was fine -- but the real draw was its convenience (near my home and across the street from a Starbucks.) A few weeks ago, when I woke up to a flat tire, I called DeKalb Tire to see if they could send someone out to change it and braced myself for the service charge. Within 30 minutes, an employee arrived at my house, added air to the tire and asked me to follow him to shop so he could patch it. Total bill: $15.
Hmm, this is strange, I thought. Since when does any company these days pass up an opportunity to soak a customer for as many fees as possible? They likely lost money on that transaction, but they gained a customer for life.
So yesterday, when I needed two new tires and an oil change, I took my car to DeKalb Tire and noticed something different to the left of the entrance -- a Feng Shui-looking waterfall. If you know anything about the ancient Chinese practice of Feng Shui, you know that cascading water is associated with wealth and good fortune; major Asian companies almost always bring in Feng Shui consultants when building or decorating their offices.
I asked a manager if the recent addition of the waterfall was at all related to Feng Shui. 'Well, yeah,' he said. Meanwhile, the waiting room was packed and I have never seen so many mechanics on duty there.
Coincidence? Or is it another indication that the companies most willing to venture beyond conventional Western wisdom (no matter how mainstream their basic businesses) are the companies that will flourish now and in the future?