Let’s face it. It’s always all about us. The world we see is a world where we see ourselves, often only ourselves, what we want and what we do. And our self-centeredness is fine and probably necessary as some darwinian self-selected survival instinct.
But there are limitations. When we focus only on ourselves, we sometimes make the mistake that others are also focused on ourselves. We forget that they have needs and wants and may be focused on themselves. This creates problems for relationships, certainly, and also in business.
As a business grows and becomes successful, it creates an organization that initially is built to enhance and ensure future success. After a time, however, many organizations lose themselves in self-adoration; internal discussions focus on what the company does and the products it makes as opposed to the people or businesses it serves. It’s a well-worn tale. Business starts out extremely customer-focused, becomes successful because of that focus and grow processes and bureaucracies which detach strategies from the customer. Business then crumbles to more nimble-footed competition that is as focused on the customer as the original business once was.
I’ve been engaged in too many conversations recently which has been focused more on what is sold than who actually buys it. Sure, there’s talk about market segments, such as lawyers versus doctors or baby boomers versus millennials, but there’s no dimensionality to that part of the discussion; the talk about products is real and tangible — the talk about customers is vague and almost an afterthought.
Technology has provided us with tremendous and low-cost tools to engage customers and prospects as unique individuals (or businesses) with unique interests, needs and desires. But all those tools will be useless if the organization retains a culture that is more inward focused than outward, that talks about the features of its products rather than the benefits to the customer.
If you listen to, and think more about the who, the what will take care of itself.