In a recent Lexington Herald Leader newspaper article, a professional PR executive wrote an article titled “In the New Year, Small Business Should Focus on the Customer.” This executive proposes that “…focusing on the customer is the top trend for 2016.”
Focusing on one’s customers is not a “trend.” Without customers, your enterprise does not exist. The same is true for leaders and employees. Every non-profit and for-profit enterprise is a living people system – comprised of customers, leaders, and employees. All three are the three living elements to your enterprise. They are inextricably connected to one another. They are interdependent. Each depends upon the others.
When we treat them as if they were separate from one another or when we (unconsciously) mechanize and/or commoditize one or more of these three elements, we create distortions, misconceptions and contradictions. The major distortion is that we start treating one another as objects. We label our customers as “ratepayers” or “consumers.” We call employees “laborers” or “jobholders.” We call leaders “officers” or “controllers.” We call people "human capital." Or, we view customer focus as a “trend.”
At its essence, your enterprise is biological, not mechanical.