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Getting Naked Stories

By Patrick Lencioni - March 2010

Since Getting Naked was published last month, we’ve been surprised by one aspect of the response we’ve received.

Though we certainly knew that the principles of the book related to consultants and anyone else who works with clients, we did not expect such an immediate and strong reaction from people who work outside of consulting. Real estate agents to financial advisors to internal service providers within corporations have responded with their own stories of getting naked. Frankly, we thought it might take more time before other professions rallied around the naked concept.

But then again, we’ve always believed that the naked approach is a universal concept, one that has as much to do with transparency, sacrifice and humility in business as it does to the tactical mechanics of client service. Naked service can transform an organization’s culture from the inside out and provide a powerful means of competitive advantage and differentiation. It has a positive impact on the clients and a liberating relief for the people providing service which can’t be discounted. When employees are encouraged to be honest, be themselves, and say what they truly believe is in the best interest of their clients, they come to work with a radically different sense of purpose and freedom.

Another rewarding aspect of the response to Getting Naked for us is that clients love to tell stories about their vendors who provide naked service. We’ve received some really impressive stories that have inspired us to highlight and promote service providers who best do this.

So, we’re launching a contest of sorts, and asking you to submit your best stories about how you, or service providers you’ve worked with, embody the principles in our book. We’re going to select the top five and share those stories with the world.

Here are a few examples to get you started.

The Naked Real Estate Agent: We’ve heard about a real estate agent who was working with a client who had very clear criteria for the house and neighborhood they wanted. This was a guy who gets paid for closing deals and earning commissions. Well, his clients were ready to purchase various homes that he had shown them, and he talked them out of it. He reminded them that they wouldn’t be happy in those homes based on the criteria they had given him. Eventually, he referred them to another agent who specialized in a different community where he thought they would be happier. Essentially, he gave away the business, which is one of the principles outlined in Getting Naked, in order to serve the client. Not surprisingly, the clients eagerly went on to refer other home buyers to the agent.

The Naked Literary Agent: Another story we love to tell is about my literary agent, who I’ll call Jim, because that’s his name. Jim embodies the principle of honoring his clients’ work better than anyone we know. Though he is great at his “day job” of representing me and my books, he goes far beyond that by constantly thinking about and asking about every aspect of our firm and coming up with ideas about how he can help us improve. Those ideas often have little or nothing to do with books.

And he does this with all his authors. One of them wrote a book about golf, and so Jim took lessons and became something of a golf nut, immersing himself in that world. Another client, in addition to being an author, came up with a new product called “Little Miss Matched”, which are wildly colored and unmatched pairs of socks designed to mix ‘n match. Well, every time we see Jim he’s wearing those socks, proudly, and loves when people ask about them so he can tell them about his client. As you can imagine, Jim’s clients are remarkably loyal to him, and we love to passionately, enthusiastically recommend him to others.

Those are just two examples based on two of the principles in Getting Naked. We’d love to hear from you. After we do, we’re going to select the top five getting naked stories and post them on our website. If you submit a story, we’ll give you our genuine gratitude and if you submit one of the top five stories, we’ll send you a full set of our books.

Thanks for helping us spread the word about how getting naked can change the way service providers and clients experience business. We’re excited to hear your naked stories. Please email us at [email protected].