Corporations struggle with the flavor of the month. This is not intended to be a cynical remark. Flavors come into focus because they represent a real problem. At times, the organization does not realize it has a problem until someone or something external delivers a reminder. An embarrassing event, a financial loss can trigger a fresh review. Alternatively, the focus may come from an awareness that builds from within. Regardless of the driver, the new mantra is embraced with enthusiasm. Programs emerge, articles are written, and accountability assigned.
We are in the middle of a new flavor, putting the customer at the center of everything we do and say. I believe in this flavor. It is one that I have been known to embrace throughout my professional career. Yet, even a few weeks in, I can see our attention beginning to waiver. The signs are there.
When one talks from the perspective of the client, the approach feels defensive. I know it sounds odd. One should never have to make an argument from a starting point that should be a given. It is a variation of Paul’s argument; “For the life of me, I can’t see why it’s a criminal offense to believe that God raises the dead.” (Acts 26.8) If we cannot start with a customer, why should a customer pay us for a product or service?
I easily forget the repeating lesson that emerges from my experience. Just because something is right, does not mean that something is easy. We live with competing ideas and values. We struggle with conflicting priorities and agendas. In this setting, doing what we know to be right is rarely automatic or natural. It is often challenging and problematic. It is challenging because we are fighting with our community. It is problematic because it is a path filled with obstacles and hurdles.
When I write about this, I am filled with hope. The challenges are still here. I am hopeful because I am reminded of how right the message is. It is a cause worth defending and fighting for.