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No excuses for failing to act – Part II: Be the change in your world you want to see.

My colleagues and I got engaged in a discussion about how we might define the constructs of a customer-focused organization.  We were just throwing out some ideas and trying to figure out how to quantify them.  This is actually what we do—what we are good at—taking something that has not been measured scientifically and figuring out how to do it.  It was a very thought-provoking and stimulating discussion and I thought it was worthy of sharing with you here.

I have written multiple times about how customer advocates need to behave in certain ways if they are to drive the kind of change customer-focused change that we envision.  It’s like any other change you try to make to your business, your family or your personal life.  First you have to change your attitude and then you begin the harder work of changing your habits.  

As customer advocates, we spend considerable time analyzing and understanding what it is that our companies should be doing to become more customer-focused.   We also spend time commenting about what others in the company (salespeople, functional and business unit leaders, and senior management) ought to be doing to drive the business based on the customer feedback.  But how much are we driving our activities as advocates?  Are we doing the right things to make it happen?  Here’s a quick inventory for you to use to challenge yourself to see if you are engaged in the right behaviors.


1.  How much of your work time do you spend alone analyzing, preparing, and organizing vs. spending time talking with others about customer focus?
2.  Of that time spent with others, how much is internal vs. external? 
3.  Of the time spent with others internally, how much is focused on the process of understanding the customer vs. the outcomes the customers are seeking or demanding?
4.  How often is the word “customer” used in the communications you personally issue to your company?
5.  If I looked at your company’s org chart and pointed to the major units, in how many of them could you identify someone in that organization that “gets it”?

Mahatma Gandhi is credited with the quote -“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  There is nothing that could be more appropriate for how customer advocates should behave.  It is an aspiration and can help keep you focused on doing the right things right!

Originally posted in Customer Connection May 13, 2009

About the Author

Steve Walker

Steve Walker

As the third generation of Walkers to lead the privately-held research and consulting firm, Steve is focused on creating shareholder value for Walker’s clients through customer intelligence and customer strategies. Steve was named president of Walker in 1994 and added the CEO title in 1996. Then, in 2006, Steve was named chairman of the board.

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