Since I started at NovaTec, titles – especially on our business cards – were considered quite important. The key arguments revolved around the customer associating the likelihood of positive future results with a specific status transported through this kind of information. Our counter argument is that the customer hires us for a job to do and only cares about relevant experience, which isn’t reflected in our titles at all. Take a look at my old business card:
Two academic degrees and two NovaTec titles, at least one of which the customer probably doesn’t understand (or do you know what a “Competence Area Manager” is?). In addition, we have something extremely useful printed on the card: our fax machine number. Quite old fashioned I would say. From my personal point of view, there are only two interesting pieces of information on the card: email address and mobile phone number.
A couple of years ago I requested to change the business card and received enormous push-back. This went all the way up to our old CEO who then decided that changing this was impossible. Luckily, things have changed…
We started an experiment. We took my business card and a pen, changed everything we wanted and handed it over to our central support departments. Our expectation was that this would cause a giant hustle, negotiations and ultimately a compromise. We were surprised to learn that our corporate culture had subsequently changed – and significantly. We just received the new business card:
As you can see, the titles are gone and are replaced by something that is much more meaningful for the customer. They at least now reminded that they were talking to somebody about Agile topics. Also, they get additional information by being redirected to this Blog with pre-filtered categories (http://agile.novatec-gmbh.de). Oh, and the fax machine number is gone.
We are now running the second experiment: How will our customers react to this change?
Let us know what you think.