What’s Your First Priority?

“The number one priority of our company is to make money.”  Thus spoke a middle manager while speaking to a group of his direct reports.  I was in attendance and bit my tongue.  This is just misguided thinking.  Making money should never be the number one priority, if it is, you should buy a printing press.

Now, if money isn’t it, what is it?  Well, we need to go back to some fundamental thinking in order to come to some conclusions.

First, what is the primary function of business?  It’s simply to help people accomplish something, whether that something is getting a product they want or need or a service they need because they can’t do or don’t want to do some task.  That’s it.  Helping people is the only reason businesses exist.

Second, getting paid for helping is how a business stays alive.  And, the better you do it, the more you can charge and the more people come to you and pay for what you do so well.

With all of this in mind, what do you now think should be the number one priority?  It should be making how you help people the best it can possibly be.  It should be making the process of working with you incredibly easy.  It should be making the experience with your people an enjoyable one.  And most of all, it should be about ensuring your customers are successful in getting the solution they need.  If you can make all of this happen consistently and at the highest level, you will make money, and if you can keep improving it, you will outlast any competition you have.

If making money is your first priority, do an about face and change your thinking by making helping your customers to the best of your ability the number one thing on the list.

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