I recently purchased a new carbon monoxide detector and the same day that it arrived I received an email from Amazon offering carbon monoxide detector installation services. While I laughed at the absurdity of needing to hire out such a mundane task, I was impressed with the business model that anticipated the next step after my purchase.

Why don’t more businesses or organizations think that way?

If you register for a conference, the next day you could get a checklist of things to do or ways to prepare for the event. When you buy a car, the dealer could send you a video on how to use all the non-intuitive electronics that are equipped in a vehicle. On the last day of classes, children could receive their supply list for the next term.

In my case, Amazon was both the seller and delivered the follow up, but opportunities for partnerships abound – like a relay race where one organization hands the baton to another for the next step in the purchasing journey. The day your new computer arrives, a partnership with a local firm could initiate a contact to offer software installation and a tutorial. A new puppy could come with a next-day delivery of training tools and cleanup materials from the pet store. A church could partner with a realtor to welcome new families to the neighborhood.

Don’t let the initial transaction be the last one. You can add value to your customers and to your organization by anticipating the next step and making it easy to occur.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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