Customer-centered is a way of life. My approach to business is rooted in teenage experiences with my afternoon newspaper route. Serving a circular neighborhood a mile from home provided daily conversations as I sat against a big rock folding my papers.
Little actions create big impacts. I learned how seemingly simple actions—picking up ad circulars when my customers were away or greeting their dog by name—built meaningful relationships (and well remembered at Christmas time!). These days I help clients discover those little things that deliver big results and set them apart.
Relationships create lasting impressions. Those daily conversations while folding newspapers created relationships which remain memorable to this day. Periodically my relatives get asked if they are related to “Bruce La Fetra, our old paperboy?” Most recently, a customer I hadn’t seen in 35 years saw my name and immediately told all those around us how I’d created a lasting impression. I continue to use these lessons.
Embrace the self-interest of others. I learned early that intent doesn’t equal action. Companies buy, partner, or refer you for their benefit, not yours. This wisdom was my guide when building channel and developer programs for several market-leading companies.
Nothing compares to your customer’s own voice. I’ve interviewed hundreds of customers for dozens of companies to uncover the real and often unexpressed reasons customers select my client over other options. These are highly actionable insights you simply can’t get with surveys or data alone.
I’m still coming to grips with being a “consultant.” Although many of my Ivy League MBA classmates signed on with McKinsey, Bain, and A-list consulting firms, I opted for the real world. I know how hard it is thinking and acting strategically while holding down a “day job” managing tactical priorities. The best way I’ve found to create lasting change is to make it the other person’s idea. I’m OK with that. Check out my full background on LinkedIn.
Community Leadership. I work to create the kind of community I want to live in. Some ways I do that are via the Rotary Club of San Jose, as a Co-Founder of Silicon Valley Rotary Means Business, volunteering as a team leader with Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley, founding a program for blind Veterans at the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation, as a pro bono project manager for the Taproot Foundation, and managing a 50-tree apricot orchard at my church.