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The Lean Process: Step One Specify Customer Desire

We are starting a new series where we will be covering the 5 Steps in the Lean Process. I am excited you are joining us, and I hope you can glean some nuggets of wisdom from the next five articles that you can apply to wherever you are. Remember Lean isn’t just for the work environment, there are some basic truths that transfer to home and relationships as well! Often in the context of work we focus on our processes and products and how to make them quicker cheaper and better than we did the day before. These are very noble pursuits and are the hallmark of every successful business. But this isn’t where the best companies begin. The best companies in the world start with understanding their customers desires. Customer desire drives market demand, it is the desire of the customer that creates sales for those that can hear. It doesn’t matter how cheaply we can make something if no one is willing to buy it. After all the customer is always right; they prove it to companies everyday who do not listen to their needs. I have been in settings where we had internal meetings to discuss quality issues. Returns from customers exposing gaps in our process. Rather than taking the time to understand the customers perspective we spent hours arguing why our customer was misinformed about what THEY should expect. Pretty crazy, right?!? Have you been in one of those meetings this week, it’s OK to be honest! Things began to change for me when I started down my Lean Six Sigma journey. Once I understood and embraced this concept, I became a more effective Leader. I was able to affect change that not only increased productivity and quality but drove additional sales because we listened to what the customer was asking for. There are many tools available to hear the Voice of the Customer. Feedback from returned merchandise, customer reviews, articles on social media about your company. The list goes on and on, our world is better connected today than at any time in history. Customers have all the information they need to make an informed decision at their fingertips. Take time today always ask yourself if you and your team are meeting a need. If you’re not sure, step back and start reaching out to your customers to see what their perceptions are. You must be willing to be vulnerable to get at what they need. You’ll be surprised by the nuggets of truth you are able to uncover when you make yourself vulnerable to your customers. The long term pay off is huge. Take some time today to start thinking about what your customer desires! At StonePath Business Solutions, we love helping companies be their absolute best! We partner with our clients to build Better Leaders, Better Teams & Better Process through Lean & Six Sigma tools & techniques along with Talent Strategy Solutions and Leadership Training and Coaching. Drop us a line at and let us know how we can meet your customer desire!

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