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AS I WAS DRIVING DOWN THE STREET YESTERDAY, I saw a business proudly displaying a sign out front:

“We care about our customers and what’s best for them”

This kind of thing just drives me crazy. Seriously, somebody thought this would be an effective marketing strategy?

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IWAS READING a powerful article recently about building a conscious company from a systems perspective. It got me thinking about the idea of how we tend to create success measures.

It matters because those measures drive all behavior in your company.

The question is: What if we would adopt our customers’ measures of success as our own? What would happen?

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YOU’RE VERY PASSIONATE about your mission. I get that. I wish everyone had that level of engagement with their business and job.

The dark side of that passion is that it can easily disconnect you from your customers.

How so?

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SEVERAL LEADERS I’VE WORKED WITH on business planning exercises recently have had a recurring theme pops up:  Where do we start?

Many experts would start first with customers and their needs.  If you have a wonderful idea, great, but quickly get to why anybody in the world would want to pay you for it.

And that’s a powerful starting point, but there’s an assumption hidden within it.

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RECENTLY I HAD THE CHANCE to speak with several people who are struggling with direction in their business.  They’re each working hard to deliver great products and services, but at the end of the day … it’s a lot of work with no forward movement.

Many can relate to this.  And if you’re feeling lost, how do you think those around you feel?

Employees are just turning the crank.

Partners are uninspired and not feelin’ the love.

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COMPASSION Compassionis an interesting topic, so I was fascinated by a challenging article by Jeff Mowatt entitled Is compassion the fourth bottom line?

He makes a powerful argument that improving peoples’ lives can be just as important as any other business objective.  In fact, one could even state that it’s more important than any other objective, because it’s what makes a business sustainable.

Unfortunately, I think the evidence would show us that successful companies could rarely be described as compassionate – to customers, employees, or society.

At least the way we currently define success.

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