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The Purpose of Business is to Create a Customer - GrowinBytes Ed. 102

Written by Linda Rolf on 3/22/2018 and updated 3/22/2018

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GrowinBytes Ed.102

One of my favorite phrases is "we've always done it this way." Why? Because it simply begs for "why?" With that single word, the doors to unimagined growth and innovation opportunities fly open.

Satya Nadella

I recently read Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO since 2014. Microsoft has been as much a part of our day-to-day modern lives as PB&J were in our childhood lunch boxes. Granted, we have at times appreciated Microsoft's ever-present helpfulness about as much as ants on our PB&J..

As technologies have matured and innovative new companies have risen to the top of the most valued and admired heap, it is only natural to look at Microsoft as a benevolent aging fixture.

What so inspired my respect for Microsoft and its leadership were some of the deeply human thoughts Nadella shared. These are two that immediately resonated with me.

Nadella Insight :: 1

"It might be easy to be motivated to change through envy. We could envy what Apple had built with its iPhone and its iPad franchise, or what Google had created with its low-cost Android phones and tablets. But envy is negative and outer-directed, not driven from within, and so I knew that it wouldn't carry us very far down the path to true renewal."

Those are some powerfully introspective words and reveal the depth of commitment Microsoft has made to continued meaningful relevance.

Nadella Insight :: 2

Nadella's rise to CEO of Microsoft equipped the company with a fresh, questioning leader and an engineering mindset. As he looked back analytically on where it all began, Nadella wondered what had inspired them to create the PC in the first place. What he methodically uncovered was the very essence of Microsoft.

"We make things that help other people make things and make things happen."

"We are an empowerment company."

Arriving at the sacred "we are" is the momentum for charting a new course toward "we don't have to keep doing it this way."

GrowinByte 3

What profoundly motivates your company's growth initiatives?

Are they based on a strategy clouded by envy or a mission-focused commitment to sustainable customer and company value?

Peter Drucker

Throughout my college businesses courses and later in the corporate world, Drucker's teachings were foundational. The inventor of modern management believed in business as a human-driven enterprise that could be both profitable and ethically responsible.

Many years ago Drucker said --

"Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two – and only two –basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business."

Change is hard, and the hard part isn't always in the act of making the change happen. Very often the real roadblock is in knowing what – and more importantly, why --- to change at all.

We can all agree with the conventional wisdom that change for the sake of shaking things up is a fool's errand. But we must also accept the reality that a company that is not changing in today's dynamic world is slowing and surely withering away.

GrowinByte 4

Start with a large whiteboard or blank wall, a supply of Post-Its and Sharpies. Challenge yourself and your team to list every sacred "we've always done it this way" belief.

Now organize them into categories:

  • these are still true and we can factually support our answer
  • we're not so sure if these still make sense
  • who on earth ever thought these made sense
  • we haven't done these in ages
  • tell me we really aren't doing these

  • You've begun to see the opportunities.

    Drucker said "If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old."

    I hope you enjoyed your snack!

    GrowinBytes snack

    Tags: growth strategy, innovation, Peter Drucker, Microsoft, Satya Nadella

    Linda Rolf has traveled the technology landscape for more than three decades. She has designed and developed enterprise applications for a wide range of industries including insurance, healthcare and private member communities. Linda sees unexpected connections among everyday business and the ever-evolving technologies, propelling Quest Technology Group's clients to new growth successes.

    Linda is a passionate entrepreneur, avid learner, creator and connector of ideas and people.

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