Is Putting Customers First Disruptive Change?


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Based both on a macro view of today’s markets plus lots of ground-level observations, I’d estimate 95% of companies say they put customer interests first; 10% understand what that means; and perhaps 3% actually do so. With potential competitive gain in migrating from company interests first (inside-out) to customer interests first (Outside-In) dangling like a carrot in front of business, why is there so little movement?

Putting it plainly, migrating from I-O to O-I is much harder than it looks. It’s change. Lots of change. And to answer the title question, disruptive change, especially at the organizational level. Yes, line employees do struggle with having to learn new skills or working with different people in different roles. But when making the I-O to O-I migration, resistance at this level usually pales in comparison with the fights going on overhead?struggles to protect silos, gain new turf, rule over the largest number of employees and even have the largest office (or largest sunroof on the company car).

So we have irresistible force (customers) versus immovable object (corporate silos). And buyers are at worst in a punishing mood, or at best quick to leave when seller operations start going south. Just ask GM, Ford, Chrysler, the ghosts of Circuit City & CompUSA, Sprint, Nortel, Bearingpoint, etc.?all of which lost ground or went under because they ignored customer needs and preferences, not because of the recession.

Does anyone see any give on the corporate side? Or will fear of change and change avoidance create lots more casualties?

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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