PM Quote of the Day — Esther Dyson

A worker’s paradise is a consumers’ hell.

While Dyson was referring to life in communist states, I instantly thought of so many of the industries we have (or are about to) bail out.  The management and workers of these firms seem to have lived in worlds divorced from reality.  As a consequence, being a customer of a bank, auto maker, or airline is a legendarily bad experience.  Too many times the attitude has been: “We do what we do, we make what we make, take it or leave it.”

How easy it is to think about strategy inside->out.  I can understand the temptation to look within to see what we are doing or can do, and simply keep doing it.  We may be able to keep our customers and stakeholders hooked for a while.  But as their dissatisfaction and resentments grow, we can’t be surprised when one day we’re thrown out in favor of a younger, nimbler, and more attentive suitor.

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3 Responses

  1. Paul-

    I find that most people — even strategy consultants — don’t understand what it means to develop objectives from an outside-in perspective. One common example is when organization choose the objective “Be a trusted advisor” to support a customer-intimate strategy.

    The customer perspective is supposed to be an external point of view but the objective is actually describing what the company wants, not necessarily what the customer wants. Changing the objective to “Be considered the trusted advisor” improves the situation but a true outside-in objective is something like “Consider the company as a trusted source for information”.

    It may seem like semantics, but customers can tell the difference.

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  3. Hi Jonathan,
    Agreed, it definitely isn’t a semantic difference. Your example is profoundly on point, in fact.

    This challenge is one of the reasons I emphasize — some say harp on — certain aspects of personal development. In particular, I’ve found that being able to identify and feel empathy with others is an essential “viewing point” for outside->in.

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