As a business leader, where should you focus your attention? Who are you really working for? Who is most important?
Times up. Got your answer?
The correct answer is investors, right? Ultimately the purpose of a business is to throw off cash. CEO’s report to Boards who are accountable to shareholders (investors). In other words, CEOs can be fired by investors. So ultimately C-level execs need to focus on the things investors care about, like driving sales, controlling costs, and making a profit. And hey, that’s what this blog is all about!
Or is the answer, customers? After all, without customers there would be no business. If your customers are happy and paying up then the rest of the business should fall into place (and investors will no doubt be happy). And of course, “The customer is always right.” Customer service, or in modern mumbo jumbo, the customer experience should be your primary concern.
Any votes for lowly employees? Sure! After all, McKinsey warned us a decade ago about the “War for Talent” and there’s that book by Rosenbluth, The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and look at these quotes from GE’s Jack Welch:
- “Getting great talent, giving them all the support in the world, and letting them run is the whole management philosophy of GE.”
- “My main job was developing talent”
So which is it? (my real answer in the next post)