CONTEXT and BELIEFS
It is our firm belief that customer-facing engineers have a pivotal and immensely interesting role in business. Not only are they, by virtue of their exposure to customers, obliged to stay at a high peak of technical competence, they are also pushed to understand the commercial context in which they work and cope with complex, often intercultural, communication problems. While the role has considerable challenges (or, perhaps, because it has considerable challenges) the intellectual, professional and personal rewards are hard to match.
The ICON9TM system sets out to help engineers working in a commercial context to excel in inter-personal communications – a topic that is rarely found on engineering curriculums.
But why should it be necessary to develop communication tools specifically for customer-facing engineers? If the human species has a speciality and a strength, then it is surely communication. Engineers, who are no less human than anyone else, are therefore hard-wired for it.
The first reason is the fundamental principle of communication that a message must be adapted to its audience. We have therefore endeavoured to select from the vast body of work on human psychology the concepts that are the most relevant to customer-facing engineers, to organise them appropriately and present them in our tribal language.
The second reason is that customers are a company’s most precious assets, and so the engineers dealing with them need to base their actions on more than simple instinct.
Consider the strict procedures that companies adopt in order to protect themselves from errors in product releases. Hardware and software sign-off checks are onerous, since it is crucial to deliver near perfection to the customer. Similarly, the closer we get to the customer, the greater the need for communication excellence!