I met with a client who, like most organizations, has a large sign in the lobby of HQ that states their priorities along with a picture of the CEO beside it. The first priority listed is about listening and responding to the customer needs. Naturally, this message made me feel as if I had just read a Robert Frost poem or heard some classic Dave Matthews music.
Later that day, we were planning for an upcoming Customer Advisory Board meeting to be held at HQ. This meeting includes many of their biggest and most important customers. While wrapping up the day, our client mentioned that the CEO wasn’t planning on attending the meeting. Crazy, you say??? This is more typical than not. It’s easy to communicate “we are customer focused”…it’s another to lead and live it.
The CEO could just simply stroll down the hallway to the meeting room and directly listen, engage and interact with the biggest customers. So why doesn’t she demonstrate to the 1,000 other employees the values and priorities listed in the lobby, Annual Report and company town hall speeches…?? Well, copy writing is much easier than changing old habits.
But then again, she’s always loved the standby “Roses are Red” poems and Richard Marx music.