thinking like a customer

thinking like a customer

Right-Brain Business Goals (II)

By on July 15, 2009

Right-brain thinking will not take you to the next level without distinct business goals. The right-brain approach has always been a metaphor for intuitive, innovative, big-picture decision-making. With specific goals, this underutilized perspective will accelerate your business growth and customer commitment.

Every successful organization needs specific customer-centered goals. These go far beyond narrowly thinking of customers in terms of sales revenue and internal metrics about handling their problems. Instead, they give employees a direction where the business is heading.

Among these goals, there should be:
• Tracking of the number of innovative ideas generated and the number implemented-and a process to select the best of these ideas for implementation. This element, of course, has to be grounded in a culture which encourages ideas that customers will value.
• Quantifying the number of product and service touch-points with customers that have received a thorough evaluation during the previous twelve months.
• Closely monitoring the perception scores of customers about how pro-active your organization is in developing ideas focused on customers. (If you are generating ideas, you want to make sure they are being noticed.)
• Developing restructured management education programs to raise awareness and to facilitate thinking like a customer.
• Counting the number of observations of actual customers using your product or service, with the purpose of identifying how your organization can better satisfy their needs.

Amazon embraces this new type of thought (Harvard Business Review, October 2007) because "it's so difficult for incumbent companies to pursue new initiatives." Change is everywhere and in answering the "What's going to change in the next five years?" question, Amazon always asks, "What is not going to change in the next five years?" One of the key answers to this question for Amazon is the category "customer insights" and the continuously growing need to satisfy and delight customers with high value and differentiated products. That is where right-brain thinking comes into play.

Amazon definitely understands that "the world is getting increasingly transparent." Because "information perfection is on the rise, it becomes strategically smart to align yourself with the customer." Regarding traditional approaches, "If in the old world you devoted 30% of your attention to building a great service and 70% of your attention to shouting about it, in the new world that inverts. It's important to have some kind of mechanism to figure out if you're wrong about a deeply held precept." Right-brain thinking is that mechanism.

Right-brain acceptance creates a climate of self-reliance in every organization. It used to be considered intuitive and having no applicability for business. Now it is no longer viewed as a distraction. On the contrary, it is recognized as a skill that can be developed and extremely necessary to business success.

It changes the way organizations function by blending with the left-brain approach of dominating markets by command and control. It transforms impersonal into personal because it is focused on common goals with your customers. Both sides of the brain have their strengths. But, integrated together, businesses can reach their full potential in capability to improve their productivity while satisfying their stakeholders. It is an investment in organizational energy that will pay high dividends for the future.

Alan Kay wrote that "Perspective is worth 80 IQ points." Right-brain thinking balances traditional business analytics with relevance for your customers. That leverage toward being customer-centered does, in fact, make your organization smarter and better enabled to serve its vision and purpose. It broadens your focus by challenging how changes will benefit the customer. But it will not happen without establishing creative goals. It must be systematic and measurable in order to compete effectively and build a stronger brand relationship in harmony with customers.
"Balance" Poster art by © 2007 Frederic Terral,


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