let the workers do their job!

Working for the Customer not ‘The Man’

let the workers do their job!Recently I collaborated with 6 co-authors to produce Working for the Customer, Not The Man


Bosses aka ‘the man’ frequently blur the line of sight to the customer forcing people to choose between meeting the needs of the boss or the customer. The fact that the boss doles out reward [raises, good evaluation, promotion etc] and punishment [poor assignments, no raise or even firing] based mostly on their ‘subjective’ evaluation sets up a power dynamic that all too often focuses on the boss’ needs rather than the needs of the customer.

The focus on the needs of the manager shifts the energy away from the customer in subtle but powerful way.  The job, as defined by the manager, is written with the ‘real’ customer in mind and usually describes tasks and duties that deliver ‘something’ [product or service] to the customer.  The employee is told their job is to serve and meet the needs of the customer.  However in practice, the employee is frequently tasked with work (or working conditions) that obscure the goal making it difficult to meet customer expectation or even worse conflict with delivering quality product to the customer.

This dynamic is reinforced by the way we define jobs and measure performance where the manager is at the center.  Developing customer-focused job description moves the customer to the center, increases role clarity and shifts the power from the boss to the customer.