The Customer Is King. Really?

He turned slightly in his seat, and made sure that he caught my tired eyes.
There was that frown and irritated look again.
And an almost imperceptible shake of his head.

He didn’t need to say anything.
We’ve known each other for that many years…
…that I could hear his mind forming the words, as clear as day.

“Wholly underwhelmed” was the message I was receiving.
”Let me outta here!”

Travelling to the conference together had seemed a good idea.
But we had been a tad naive about the amount of talking and planning we could achieve on the four hour journey.

The two seats we’d booked together… were eventually two-seats-definitely-apart.
Don’t ask!

But we did manage a couple of hours of surprising creativity, while lounging in our hotel.
(Before we stuffed our faces, and splashed our shirt-fronts, with hearty bowls of Ramen at Wagamamas)

We planned the outline of a full-day Summer MasterClass in less than an hour.
And the result - held in the glorious setting of Ashdown Park - proved to be a ‘stonker’!

But, coming back to the conference… we had to face it.
There are some messages which succeed in rubbing us up the wrong way.
And this was definitely that kind of message.

Innocent (and common) enough it would seem:
”The Customer Is King”

You’ve heard it a gazillion times. Right?

But our heart-rending experience shows us what happens when this simplistic mantra drives the strategy and actions of far-too-many leaders.

Over and over again.
We see employees, teams, bright, wonderful, loving folk…
…crawling home from their cubicles and desks and buildings…
…driven into the ground by meeting the narrow philosophy of “The Customer Is King”.

They phone us in tears, sometimes hardly able to speak (and that’s just the seemingly-tough men)
They plead with us to coach their directors, so that they can face the prospect of being mangled again on Monday morning.

And we’ve come to realise that such leadership is staggeringly, achingly blind to the truth.
And the truth is this…

Your Team Is Your Primary Customer/Client.
Your Team is the one.
Your Team.

First.
Last.
Always.

When your team realises that their welfare - their fulfilment, their joy, their well-being, their nurturing and strengthening - is your primary concern…
Well then, your bottom line is covered with greater passion and energetic engagement.

What flows out from a team like this…
Well, it’s magnetic to the outside world.

They stop watching the clock.
Instead, they watch out for each other. And for the goodness of your firm.

The world of business has changed.
What employees tolerated - even 10 years ago - is no longer the norm.

And it’s about time!

When you make sure that Your Team Is King… (Your Team!)
Then you’ll deserve the magnificent, client-enriching influence that they’ll help you to build.

David Scarlett