Implicit in that definition is that you need a "customer", but we already talked about "The First Customer" in an earlier post, so we can assume their existence for now. However, it might be noted that many products were developed by their inventor simply because they wanted to use them - and only had a "customer" when others noticed and wanted one too.
As noted in an earlier post, the modern business world is results-oriented and as a result it is very common for some organizations to be overly focused on "Execution", sometimes at the expense of good strategy (and many other things).
I had the good fortune this week to facilitate a Business Leader Roundtable at the offices of our own local Puget Sound Business Journal here in Seattle (event details here). This is one of my favorite ways to hear about the challenges that businesses have today. This one reinforced a lot of what we already knew about what it takes to be "Customer-First". There are a few "Universal Truths" about this topic that always come up in these discussions:
"Looks like great experience, but can she execute?"
This week we're taking the easy road to writing - by re-publishing a piece I provided as a guest blogger two weeks ago for Earl Bell of Island Crest Financial (with an original section added for today). Like me, Earl is a business strategist but with a great deal of experience in the financial side of things. You'll find Earl to be a great resource and someone I find very easy to work with. Now, for today's post, let's get back to planning:
Technology has evolved to not only allow the world to create, manage and observe billions of transactions online, but to provide unlimited new business metrics to track them all. With the mantra of "ROI" being the main driver of investment and decision making in many companies, there is a danger that comes with all forms of "management by buzzword" that the holistic perspective gets lost and the ball gets dropped on other things that matter more to your success.
"Be yourself, everyone else is already taken..."
This is a favorite quote (and book title by Mike Robbins) I have heard frequently in 2011 at one of the networking groups I belong to, quoted by our moderator at the start of most of our meetings. While I have always had a personal philosophy loosely organized along those lines, this quote sums it all up very neatly and reflects where I intend to dedicate more time and effort to in 2012.
Clarity of Purpose
A couple of weeks ago a reader commented on how their team suddenly gelled and had a new-found clarity to their team's mission once they worked through who their real customer was. In their case, it turned out that their customer was an internal group - someone we might normally define as a "colleague". This is sometimes hard to manage, in part because everyone wants to feel like they are close to "the" customer and in part because in some business cultures it is just difficult to treat a "colleague" that way for a number of reasons - you might have been trained to think of them as a competitor, or there just might be a sense of "territory" around your relationship.