Where's the WOW?

Remember that television commercial that asked “Where’s the Beef?” Last week, I read a great article from the Gallup Management Journal about Toyota Financial Services and their transformation. One question that came to me was “Where’s the WOW?”

In the midst of change, at the very core, is a little thing called “talent.” Leaders can have great ideas and great visions, but the only way that change is effected is through people. Toyota Financial Services had a grand idea of moving beyond car loans for its Lexus and Toyota dealerships. Why not offer branded credit cards, and other loans? Toyota was looking to increase their brand loyalty. They understood that it would require transformation in many areas of the organization.

When we think about change, we have to start with talent. But we must look at the architecture (systems and structures), and what’s our goal (ambition). This is the area that Toyota had to reassess: What was the ambition of the company and how could they connect that to the talent.

Toyota had to discover how to get energy and momentum going in this transformation and, most importantly, how to engage the talent. They asked the question that I have asked many of my clients, “Where is the WOW?” What was going to get the attention of the talent, and what was in it for them? How was this initiative for Toyota going to be different from others, and how would their financial services be unique and special amidst the services from others?

WOW happens when you ask the question, put “fresh eyes” on the project, get closer to your stakeholders, and do not accept excuses that lead to mediocrity. How many times have organizations missed this important question, “Where is the WOW?” In other words, why should anyone, the talent, the customer, and other key stakeholders care about this initiative?

Val Willis posted this on February 20, 2008, in Strategies.
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