You get what you focus on. Focus on nothing, and you won’t get much.
The successful organization can be focused on any of these constituencies (a partial list):
- The sales force
- the stock market
- potential new customers
- existing customers
- employees or
- the regulators.
Many companies are sales-force driven. When the salesforce is happy, the CEO is happy.
Others organizations are driven by the daily (or hourly) stock price. The company is run to please Wall Street.
You can choose to focus your best work on attracting new customers. This evangelical growth model is going to change your pricing and your product development efforts too.
Contrast this with the organization that puts a priority on delighting existing customers. This will refocus a non-profit on doing work that gets existing donors to up their commitment, for example. It changes the way you talk (more depth) and what you make.
Pleasing employees, of course, might help with any of these constituencies, but also changes how you make difficult decisions.
And finally, if the lawyers have enough sway, you might make your hardest decisions around what you think a regulator will say.
There are also ego choices, like focusing on the media or your neighbors or the competition. And political choices, like focusing on what makes one department head happy… but those are much harder to turn into successful enterprises.
Every organization chooses its own audience, and that choice is based on the architecture of the industry, the mindset of the boss and the history of how you got here. But don’t doubt that it changes everything you do.