“A few years ago, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos wrote a letter to shareholders explaining how being “obsessed over customers” would protect them from the ravages of a turbulent economy and, in turn, force them to pursue some very difficult goals…
If we can identify a customer need and if we can further develop conviction that that need is meaningful and durable, our approach permits us to work patiently for multiple years to deliver a solution. “Working backwards” from customer needs can be contrasted with a “skills-forward” approach where existing skills and competencies are used to drive business opportunities. The skills-forward approach says, “We are really good at X. What else can we do with X?” That’s a useful and rewarding business approach. However, if used exclusively, the company employing it will never be driven to develop fresh skills. Eventually the existing skills will become outmoded. Working backwards from customer needs often demands that we acquire new competencies and exercise new muscles, never mind how uncomfortable and awkward-feeling those first steps might be.
Jeff Bezos isn’t saying ‘pursue goals that you’re already equipped to handle,’ instead he’s saying “exercise new muscles, never mind how uncomfortable and awkward-feeling those first steps might be.”
Visionary CEOs, like Jeff Bezos and the late Steve Jobs, use goal-setting processes that are radically different than the SMART goals process most companies force on their employees.”
How might this change your focus as a leader? Will you reimagine your organization’s goals? How does this apply to your personal relationships?