Where Is Your Focus?

I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is a professional salesman.  He has worked for startups and large multi-national corporations.  He recently joined a medium-sized public company.  I asked him how things were going.  He said, “I’ve never worked for a company that is so internally focused.  It feels like we have meetings about the meetings we’re going to have with ourselves.”  As our conversation wrapped up, he said, “I know I’m biased because I’m a sales person but the most successful companies I’ve ever worked for have an external focus.” 

After we hung up, I thought about his statement.  It’s the beginning of the year.  Everyone is busy with goals and thinking about what they’re going to do to improve this year.  Usually, those conversations are internally focused.  Executives set lofty goals.  Managers meet with employees and set performance objectives.  Rarely do people outside the organization have a voice in these conversations.  Maybe it’s time to change that. 

Amazon is famous for having an empty seat at meetings to represent a customer.  Maybe they’re on to something. 

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