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Practice Management > Building Your Business > Leadership

Customers set the business agenda

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In his new book, Customer Driven Change, author Bud Taylor says “We’re coming out of a recession that has been largely caused by short-term profits. We lost sight of why we’re in business, and that’s to serve customers. Business has to rebuild public confidence, and the fastest way to do that is to transform with customers as the number one goal.”

According to Taylor, customer driven change begins with understanding the changes, values and business strategies that impact companies. However, those may vary from situation to situation: “I must point out that I’m not saying, ‘Do what your customers are asking for.’ What I am saying is to know the value proposition that you need to deliver to your customers; and then make sure that everything is aligned to that end.”

However, Taylor admits there can be obstacles on the road to making long-term change within a company. He cites ineffective leadership as being among the top challenges for companies looking to make the change to being customer-driven: “…The success of change will be directly related to the commitment and capabilities of the leadership team. If you don’t have the right leadership, then the legacy culture will win.”

In terms of getting the best out of leaders, Taylor has specific advice to take management to the next level: “Don’t start until you know you’re working on the right thing with the right leaders! Then develop the coalition among customers, employees, and managers that will make the change successful. The risk is too high not to do this. Failed change breeds cynicism that prevents change.”

In the end, Taylor indicates that customer-driven change is a win-win strategy for all types of companies. He stresses the importance of helping employees come together for a common purpose: “Customer-driven change gives managers an answer, a way out. It depersonalizes change by letting them use the customer as a common goal. They don’t have to deal with staff conflict or development–they can simply point people outward toward improving the business for its customers. Everyone wins.”

As a professional speaker and change consultant, Bud Taylor has put his principles of customer driven change in motion with companies like Whirlpool Corporation, Microsoft Europe and Sony Electronics. For more information about Bud Taylor and Customer Driven Change, visit


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