!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Jeff Bezos on Real Customer Focus

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jeff Bezos on Real Customer Focus

The April 28 issue of Business Week has an interview with Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, that is worth reading in its entirety. A passage that especially caught my eye was Bezos' answer to the question, "Every company claims to be customer-focused. Why do you think so few are able to pull it off?" Bezos says:
Companies get skills-focused, instead of customer-needs focused. When [companies] think about extending their business into some new area, the first question is "why should we do that — we don't have any skills in that area." That approach puts a finite lifetime on a company, because the world changes, and what used to be cutting-edge skills have turned into something your customers may not need anymore. A much more stable strategy is to start with "what do my customers need?" Then do an inventory of the gaps in your skills. Kindle is a great example. If we set our strategy by what our skills happen to be rather than by what our customers need, we never would have done it. We had to go out and hire people who know how to build hardware devices and create a whole new competency for the company. [hyperlink added]
If you subscribe to Bezos' view, the implications for your company's approach to skills training are straightforward, namely, a big part of strategic planning is deciding how best to build needed new skills.


Labels: , ,