Focus on the Customer

In his landmark 1973 book, Management, Peter Drucker, perhaps the most renowned management scholar of the 20th century, clearly and succinctly stated the purpose of a business:

There is only one valid definition of business purpose: to create a customer … What the customer thinks he is buying, what he considers value, is decisive—it determines what a business is, what it produces, and whether it will prosper.13

Ashkenas et al., in their principles for minimizing horizontal ­dysfunctions, like Drucker, recommend keeping the focus on the ­customer. They note, “The boundaryless horizontal organization is effective when all employees understand and feel the needs of the ­customer and all internal processes aim to form and ...

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