Broccoli, Not Chocolate

Blog Post created by Charlie_Wells Employee on Nov 3, 2016

If you have children, or if you ever were a child , you probably smiled or chuckled reading the title of this post. It's because instinctively we recognize the issue - separating what we want from what we know is good for us.


In our house, the rule is "growing food before treat food" and for the most part, I think we do a pretty good job (adults and kids alike) making good choices.


I've noticed however, in our professional lives we don't always make the same good choices. In working with customers for example, we often prioritize pleasing them over helping them (yes, sometimes those are one and the same). Customers might ask us "does your product do XYZ" (a yes or no question), to which we happily reply "Yes!", providing a pleasing response to the customer and patting ourselves on the back for doing a good job.


But lost sometimes in the simple back and forth of yes/no questions is a more important conversation, one around the customer's business problem, objective or desired outcome - beyond just a product capability and actually getting to a solution.


When we find ourselves consulting on a business problem, we are usually asked for our advice, in one form or another ("best practices", or "recommendations"). Because of our natural tendency (or job-role-specific set of motivations) we may offer what we think the customer wants to hear (chocolate) instead of what the customer needs to hear (broccoli).


For example, they may need to hear...


  • ask more questions - that we might better understand the context, nuance, and constraints of their problem
  • ...what activities we need them to complete - so that we might better be in a position to help them
  • their organization cooperating (or not) with ours - so that we might stay connected to a successful and mutually beneficial outcome


I encourage you to think about ways you can incorporate "Broccoli, Not Chocolate" into your professional interactions, noting the connections to CA's core values (specifically, Authentic, Customer-Centric, Collaborative, and Results Oriented).


As trusted advisors to our customers, partners, and colleagues, don't we have a responsibility to look out for each other?