My recent experience building IKEA furniture illustrates the importance of delivering on both the “what” and the “how” of any value proposition. Turns out, the “what” and “how” are equally important concepts to exercise in your leadership arsenal, and the value of each tends to shift as you take on increasingly more responsibility.
Beginning with IKEA…my first introduction to the brand was three years ago. I assisted my daughter in putting together a bed, coffee table and sofa when she furnished her first apartment in Philly. I helped interpret the instructions and held pieces in place while she demonstrated a real knack with the screwdriver and hammer. The furniture has withstood three moves since then, so my perception of IKEA has remained favorable.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I took receipt of a kitchen butcher-block cart (well, a box with all the pieces). We had an awkward space next to the oven that could only be filled by the dimensions of this cart. Trust me, our research was extensive.
During the assembly of said cart, however, I noticed that the front of the drawer was scratched. Then, not having the same flair with the tools as my daughter, I cut and smashed a finger along the way. While icing my finger, I declared to my husband, “never again!” (and may or may not have included a choice word or two about IKEA). I committed to calling IKEA in the morning about the drawer. After several hours, however, the cart was ready to wheel to the kitchen, and voila, it looked like it’d belonged there forever. I had to admit that what
IKEA delivers, it delivers both well and cost effectively (user errors notwithstanding).
The next morning, I called IKEA and told the courteous customer service representative about the scratched drawer. I confessed to her that I didn’t know if it came that way, or if it had been scratched inadvertently in the process of getting piece A into piece B. I told her I was willing to pay for a new drawer. Without taking a breath or putting me on hold for approval, she told me that IKEA would ship a new drawer to me immediately…no questions asked, no judgment proffered. Moments after hanging up, I had an email confirming that the drawer was on its way. Hence, the “how”
IKEA delivers its goods (and customer service) was exceptional.
to learn why the “what” and “how” are equally important leadership concepts to understand as you navigate throughout your career.
Chief Coaching Partner
IPEC Certified Professional Coach
Energy Leadership Master Practitioner
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