At first glance, big picture thinking and customer focus would seem to be mutually exclusive terms. After all, the first phrase connotes a farsighted, panoramic view of business, while the second implies an intense, laser-beam-like concentration on the customer. Yet as revealed in Magnifying Customer Focus: A Study of Current Trends and Future Possibilities 2006-2016, a global study commissioned by American Management Association and conducted by The Human Resource Institute, the terms are not only compatible, they are inseparable.
The study finds that customer focus is a top strategic concern for many businesses today and is ranked as one of the most important needs concerning issues ranging from leadership challenges to ethical behavior and innovation. Yet it also reveals that there is a wide disparity between what activities companies practice when it comes to customer focus and what they should be practicing.