Company CEO’s love to say, “People are our most important asset!” Uh, except when it comes to investors. Then the CEO proclaims, “Customers are our most important asset!”
So, which is it? Rob Preston asks in InformationWeek, Should Your People Come Before Your Customers? He lends his own logic and analysis, and his article is well worth reading, but I’ll tell you how I look at it.
- What’s your company’s product?
- Who builds/creates it?
- Who improves it and adds value to it as the market becomes more competitive?
- Who pushes it through the sales-and-distribution pipeline to generate revenue?
- Who picks your company back up when it falls down?
Employees, of course.
Now, we must also ask, who forks over money (aka, revenue) to your company? Customers, of course.
Ah, but who finds, gets, brings, keeps customers?
Obviously, we need both to run a successful business. Since companies have limited resources, they must decide where to deploy those resources. They must decide whether to be more employee-centric, or more customer-centric.
Now, how many employees is one customer worth? And, which would you rather have tomorrow — a great employee, or a great customer?
My vote is easy. I go with the employee, because one employee can bring me many customers. Customers don’t bring me good employees, and good employees are hard to find. Am I nuts?