“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology.”
A number of years ago, I facilitated a multiday strategy workshop at the company I was working for. During dinner the director of sales explained his perspective on the workshop’s purpose: “We have to figure out how to get customers for all they are worth.” He gestured as if wringing a towel. “If the towels gets dry, you have to squeeze harder. A good leader knows how to do that, and a good strategy makes it easier.”
He was serious. I was horrified. Our markets are not people “out there” we shake down for loose change. Customers are our most valuable assets, I thought. We should strive to learn from them so that we can provide better products and services.
The director’s perspective was shortsighted. He believed the business of our business was more sales. That may be fine in the short term, but ultimately this narrow perspective leads to failure. Organizations looking for sustained success need to break this mold.
Companies frequently don’t realize that as the business grows, it must also widen its strategic field of vision. I call this misstep strategy myopia. It happens time and time again: organizations ultimately don’t know what business they are really in.