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How clear customer focus can prevent a crash landing

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #15  Have a clear, customer-focused approach to your business that drives important business decisions.

“Six Alpha Romeo, clear to land.”F16_Refueling from cockpit

An F-16 fighter pilot recently told me that they are routinely trained and warned to keep their head up and eyes outside the cockpit.  Without that orientation and clear focus on the world outside, bad things can happen very quickly at Mach 1.

When things are going fast, leaders can get caught in the daily internal pressures that bring vision inside, rather than staying focused on the real world.

Like a pilot, for a business leader to be successful, you need to have a clear view of where you are, and where you hope to land.

A few weeks ago in a conversation with a CEO of a $100 million organization, the leader confessed that he had no idea what his customers believed about his company, and how they valued its products. Competitors were innovating new products, developing new customer-focused services and building momentum with his customers.  His customers were moving and he was disoriented.

The company had been distracted, focused on internal matters and cost cutting for years.  They had placed customer-focus on autopilot and relied on the strength of legacy brands and product placement to power profitability.   But it was turning into a crash landing.

To his credit, he was aware that he was lost, flying blind, and that if he didn’t get reoriented quickly, it was going to be disastrous. Fortunately, this client has engaged us to help him pull out of the dive and reorient the business. Today, we’re well on the way to helping lift the organization to soaring new profits.

A great business has a clear and constant outside focus: of the market, on their customers—their needs, frustrations, attitudes and preferences. Leaders can then make key business decisions based on that knowledge and insight, not assumptions and distractions.

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The Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth. Over many years and hundreds of client relationships and strategic marketing opportunities, we have established the Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth, best practices that build trust, align values with products and practices, and create organic growth. We are exploring these 35 practices, one at a time, on these pages. Find them all, as they’re introduced, here.

 

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