Your employees are your customers

A friend of mine said this recently:

ICs (independent contributors, aka non-managers) serve the customers, and the rest of the organization serves the ICs.

It boils down to good old fashioned servant leadership of course, but I love this way of thinking about it. ICs are the customers of management.

Another friend of mine says that he doesn’t manage, he “provides management.” It’s a product, and the direct reports are the customers.

So what would you do differently as a manager if your employees were actually your customers?

Wherever you have customers and products, you have marketing and R&D. This is where it gets interesting. What are the Jobs To Be Done of your direct reports? What can you give them that they desperately need? Do you even know what they need? Have you done your customer research? And how can you sell them on that solution without forcing it on them? How can you make them want it?

Treat your employees like your customers and servant leadership happens by default.

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