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Far too many discussions in large organizations occur with no mention of the customer. Many meetings I attend focus on the organization itself, and participants usually¬†look through the lens of their business area (e.g., product line, function, geography, etc.) rather than considering a decision from a customer’s perspective. It seems that as a business grows, the focus becomes more about sustaining – and sometimes improving – the internal infrastructure of the organization. Or in some cases, the focus is pleasing a customer proxy. Customer benefits become only tangentially related to daily activities.

A slight exception in my experience occurs when office locations are physically connected to tangible places of business (e.g., production plants, distribution centers, sales locations, etc.). Seeing products moving through a warehouse, delivery trucks in the yard, clients waiting in reception or attendees in a gallery provides a tangible reminder of why and how a business operates. It also provides a stark reminder as to what is revenue-generating and what is overhead. Recognizing internal drivers of customer satisfaction and keeping these at the forefront of the organization may be more important than letting your employees have a stress-free meeting.

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