The late 1970’s and early 1980’s were not the best years for F. Porsche AG. The motor car company had rested on laurels earned in prior years and company culture had slipped. This family owned business needed to bring in help from the outside to turn things around and the man they hired for that difficult assignment was Peter Schutz.
Schutz got a fast and intense schooling on how companies in Germany operate, as well as how that segment of the international automobile industry works. That means that he did a lot of listening. He listened to company leaders, to the workers and most of all to the automobile buying public. And here, in his own words, is a piece of what he learned:
If you listen closely enough, your customers will explain your business to you.
I’ll bet Schutz’s words rang clear and true when you read that quote. Our customers really do understand our businesses in ways that we often do not. To get their perspective requires that you listen to them. After all, we rarely learn anything by talking. That leaves listening as our primary tool for learning.
I know you’re smart, but what if you’re not the expert and your customers are? What do you think you might learn by listening to them?
I know you have great ideas, but what do you think you might learn if you listen to those who look to you for leadership? Note that they’re your customers, too.
I know you may have been the smartest boy or girl in class (click here to read more about that), but what if everybody is sometimes the smartest boy or girl in class?
Today is a good day to find out.
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