As we travel through the stakeholders, your customers end up being one of the most powerful categories. And the length of this list might surprise you!
Depending on your job, the end customer might seem very distant. My first career out of college was as an engineer, and there were many stages between my work and the people who actually purchased the products I worked on. But as I became more experienced, I recognized that the people who spend money are the most important ones to understand, because that money paid my paycheck. If they didn’t want to spend money, there was no reason for me to have a job.
If you’re doing work deep inside a company, the end customers can be very distant. But there’s going to be people who use the work you do, who build upon it to do THEIR work. Do you make decisions that others care about? Do you deliver information that others need?
If you’re in a service organization, the customers may be people you interact with every day. They could be inside your company or organization, they might be the public at large, or they could be paying customers who need what you do.
“I’m in a government job supporting our constituents — you expect me to list millions of people here?” Not by name, of course, but maybe you can put them into groups. When you interact with people, do you have different experiences for men, women, or children? For individuals versus companies?
What kinds of groupings will help you to figure out how to deliver better work for these people?
Once you know what your customers need from you, you’ll be able to deliver something which is more useful, and avoid some of the things they don’t really care about. And when you develop relationships with them, they’ll start seeing you as an important person to care about.
And it gives you new directions in which to expand your career!
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Series on Workplace Dynamics
- Part 1: Understand All Your Stakeholders
- Part 2: Understand Your Suppliers
- Part 3: Understand Your Management
- Part 4: Understand Your Customers
- Part 5: Understand Your Partners
- Part 6: Understand Your Own Needs
by Carl Dierschow