Whoever came up with the statement "the customer is always right" was wrong. The reality is that this statement was designed for people who couldn't be trusted to effectively connect with a customer in order to create a win win environment.
But the customer is not always right. The customer doesn't always know what they NEED. They might know what they WANT. But the two are entirely different.
Henry Ford once said, regarding the first car he ever built, "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse."
Effective leadership listens and observes trends. They do talk with customers and look to the future. They might not base their decisions on what the customer says they want however. They look for trends that reveal what the customer really needs or at least will want in the future.
I recommend that we do this intentionally. Take some time and simply ask the question, 'what trends and opportunities seem to be emerging that our clients and industry will be interested in the future?'
Here are a couple trends I have observed.
I see an ultimate decrease in the demand for commercial office space. Why? Technology is going to enable us to be able to telecommute more effectively. It's already happening.
There will be an increased demand in resources, training, materials and equipment designed for people to successfully work independently at home.
More outlets will emerge for socialization. It is already happening. Look at on-line social media. People will need to connect to others. If that isn't happening at work its going to happen somewhere. Starbucks like places will continue to grow as long as they can cater to the home-based work crowd. Wifi and Internet access, a quiet place to sit for long stretches of time will become common place in our neighborhoods.
I believe the next major break in technology since the desktop computer will be high functioning voice recognition programs. Think Star Trek and how the crew would interact with the computer. Key pads, mouses, touchscreens would become obsolete.
I would love to hear your feedback on trends in the world you see emerging too.
Please post your comments below.