“Enchanting” is a different way to look at business. But Guy Kawasaki, entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and former “chief evangelist” of Apple, thrives on difference.
The author of nine business, personal and professional guide books (launched with his bestselling The Art of the Start), Kawasaki sums up “the art of changing hearts, minds and actions” in his 2011 book, Enchantment, as a route to converting skeptics and cynics into believers.
That sort of conversion, of course, is a business proposition that involves leadership communication.
He recalls Apple’s failure in the 1980s to sell Macintoshes to the business market. “The fundamental flaw of our approach,” Kawasaki writes, “was that we did not understand what potential customers were thinking… We were so enchanted by our own product that we could not understand why everyone else did not feel the same way.”
That learning—to attract (or enchant) followers, you need to know what they are thinking, feeling and believing—was a driver in Apple’s take-off success in business applications, and inspiration for Kawasaki as he left to start his own businesses, capitalize others and write all about it.
We like especially Enchantment’s chapter on achieving trustworthiness, which opens with a quote from one of our favorite (if old-time) sales enthusiasts, Zig Ziglar: “Every sale has five basic obstacles: no need, no money, no hurry, no desire, no trust.”
Kawasaki says that Zappos’ CEO bet his online-order shoe business on trust—and enchantment.
CEO Tony Hsieh understood that women love shoes but they need to see, feel and try them on before they buy them. The trust deal is two way: Enchanted women lusting for shoes trust Zappos to take them back if they don’t want to keep them, with free shipping in both directions. And Zappos trusts women not to return shoes if they wear them.
Here’s the lesson for us, as experts in corporate engagement with stakeholders:
We believe that the deal with each follower/stakeholder is engineered and kept alive through two-way leadership communication.
We understand that there is a progression of benefit, as the leader’s vision is translated into missions, executed to deliver value both to the company and to the deal participants.
Kawasaki helps us to see that the first test for a business leader is to have a vision that is based on trusting others, and that the leader is willing to communicate that as a principle of doing business.
As with the principle of seeking first to understand if you wish to be understood, the company must initiate trust if it wishes to be trusted.