- Five practices for sustained innovation through a customer focus.
- How Apple’s self-awareness and customer-awareness turned it around.
- Successful customer-centric leaders walk the talk, with authenticity.
Listen to your customers, understand what’s bothering them, solve their problems, fulfill their dreams, let them know you care, and put them at the center of your growth plan. According to Lara Lee, this intensive customer focus is the most effective means of achieving the rich pipeline of innovation that leads to continuous improvement and consistent growth. She shares examples of how she implemented this at Harley-Davidson, as well as the successes of Zipcar, Chipotle, the global Spanish bank BBVA, Interface FLOR, Zappos, and more.
Sustained customer-focused innovation takes a disciplined approach to five key practices: empathy, clarity, commitment, agility, and leadership. Walk in your customers’ shoes to intuitively understand their experience. Be fully aware of your organization’s strengths and weaknesses. Build a common sense of direction and purpose among your employees. Take strategic, calculated risks but cut losses early and often. And as a leader, connect with others through personal stories and always leading by example.
Named one of 25 “Masters of Innovation” by
Business Week in 2006, Lara Lee was a principal of Jump Associates prior to Continuum, and earlier was vice-president of Harley-Davidson’s Enthusiast Services Div. She earned a BA in Chinese Language from Brown University and MBA/MA degrees from The Lauder Institute and Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.