In his recent HBR blog post, Graham Kenny tells managers a hard truth – customers are better at strategy than you. His point is that managers view their organizations from the inside out; they are consumed with the day-to-day operational decisions. Managers are experts on what happens within the organization. Customers, on the other hand, see things from the outside-in, and that makes them good strategists.
To illustrate this contrast, Vennli allows clients to survey both the customer segment of interest AND the internal team – creating an “internal�? and “external�? reporting view. Any gaps between the two give you valuable information about the extent of which the internal team may need to adapt their thinking during strategy discussion. It can also prevent “we already knew that�? thinking, which can be detrimental to creating urgency for change.
OK, so how do we work around our internal bias? Kenny suggests tapping your stakeholders – especially current and prospective customers. “Effective leaders listen. They observe. And then translate what they learn into strategy,�? he says. Your customers are more than willing to share their ideas about how to improve your company – you just have to give them the opportunity and listen to their feedback.
To read more about the importance of asking your customers, click here to read the full article on HBR.org.