Three essential principles to a customer-way-of-thinking

Are there any essential principles to a customer-way-of-thinking that even go beyond the customer? I was in a conversation a few weeks back with a colleague trying to describe that the customer is just an element of a customer-way-of-thinking. The mindset and principles run much deeper. So what are these core principles? I tried to suggest three (I think these are personal? So please ad your own):

1. Stay humble. We can’t control the environment we are in, but we can try to understand it, keep up with it and hopefully be able to influence some of it. A customer way-of-thinking trains you on understanding the influence the environment and culture has on the organization and the influence the organization has back — as one of many forces of influence (a simple system map can easily identify 30-50 forces of influence on any environment). It keeps you humble to what you can achieve — and because of this also get better at finding where to operate, what to prioritize and how to influence.

2. It’s the outcomes. A customer way-of-thinking doesn’t see the world through the lens of what the company outputs, but the influence and impact it creates. This doesn’t mean it only sees outcomes. It sees the whole organization as an organism optimized for better outcomes. It can even be enabler agnostic taking a broad perspective in exploring and suggesting how to reach the desired outcomes, even as these keep changing.

3. Be curios. In a complex environment there is always more than one answer and it keeps changing all the time. Keep learning and don’t fall in love with an idea if that means you won’t be able to keep challenging and changing it.

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