What do GE, MRIs, and ROIs Have in Common?
In a recent article in Kornferry Briefings, an interview with Clara Gaymard, President and CEO GE France, Ms. Gaymard reveals how walking a mile in someone else’s shoes can benefit customers and give new life to a failing ROI.
Having a desire to sell their magnetic resonance imaging machines or MRIs and wanting both a good ROI and the machines to have the largest impact; GE began researching countries with the greatest need for the machines. This research revealed that the wait for an MRI in France was 45 days. This is much longer than the waits in Germany, the UK, and so on.
Business Lesson #1: Find the need for your product or service. As the old saying goes, you may be able to sell a bikini to an Eskimo, but does the customer really want one?
Logically, GE offers the MRIs to the health ministers in France. One might reason that the government of France would be all too happy to upgrade its health care system and provide its citizens with quick access to such an important health benefit. Not so fast, Dr. No. The health ministers, on the other hand, reason that their obligation is how to cut health care costs and give their ROI a shot in the arm.
Business Lesson #2: Find where the customer is really hurting. Eskimos have no need for bikinis and therefore, in all likelihood will not purchase them. Not only does the weather not allow for such garments, wearing a bikini may not be the Eskimo’s criteria for sex appeal. The need is simply not there.
GE goes back to the drawing board and reasons that they need to have experts come in such as “people from medical schools and people with deeper experience in the health care sector to explain to us how to address the needs of the [health officials].” The prescription is that these folks can lend a hand to helping the health ministers in France heal their chronic ROI disease.
Business Lesson #3: Hire people who have the skills you lack. This holds true for all facets of business acumen. Examples might include industry knowledge, management expertise, acquiring and managing talent, budgeting, and customer satisfaction. Hiring those who have better skills and knowledge does not make you look weak. On the contrary, it makes you look strong, and smart, and can provide the antibiotic for your ROI. Put your ego in the hazardous waste bin where it belongs.
GE began to find ways for France’s health ministers to cut costs and save money while still providing its citizens with good health care. Again, through research, GE discovered that many MRIs were being used only six hours per day. GE reasoned that if machines could be used for 12 to 18 hours per day, costs would be spread among more people, procedures, and time, thereby reducing health care costs. This would do more than just put a band aid on France’s diseased ROI.
Business Lesson #4: Learn to think like your customer. Uncover your customer’s pain, but then dig deeper and diagnose why they are having this pain. Then ask how your product or service can help alleviate or better yet cure their pain.
GE took the time to see the world through the customer’s perspective and walked in their customer’s shoes and the shoes of the citizens of France. By experiencing the source of the health minister’s pain, Ms. Gaymard and her team were then able to provide the antidote hitting the target the health ministers were seeking. Moreover, walking in the shoes of the citizens of France, GE was able to help numerous people with important healthcare concerns that can now be addressed in a timelier manner, no doubt saving lives. During this exercise, GE changed itself and its processes. Diagnose what processes or systems your organization may need to change. Then prep for the change, do the surgery required, cutting out what isn’t functioning, replacing it with better procedures, take two aspirin, and call me in the morning.