Know Yourself and Show Yourself

2009 November 10

A Zapposphere
Creative Commons License photo credit: Lars Plougmann

It’s a common understanding of how to run a company that you must be market-driven, and be responsive to customer feedback. And as a customer advocate, I would certainly never be one to deny that customer input and market validation are important. But the other side of that coin is that you’re in business not only to make money, but to develop yourself, enjoy the rewards of a job well done, and hopefully leave this world having enjoyed yourself and given enjoyment to others.

To fully live that ideal might mean turning some work down. It might mean making tough decisions about when to leave your current job and start your own company. It might mean passing on certain investors who don’t share your views on how business should be conducted.

But in order to make those tough decisions, you have to really know yourself and your values. Not just personally, although that of course is important too, but as a company. What does your company stand for?

I recently ran across an article at Both Sides of the Table that dealt with this very idea on the way to becoming a more customer-centric organization:

So I started thinking about the ‘Inside Out’ organization. This is the company that lets outsiders have a glimpse of what is going on in the sausage factory. Being transparent about our workload, our struggles, our fund raising, whatever. Letting our customers and the market know that we were a real organization with real people rather than a pre-packaged, pre-processed marketing machine.

It may be scary, but there’s a lot to be said for letting your insides show. You may end up attracting more appropriate customers in the long run.

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