Should Companies Focus on Investors, Customers or Workers?

by Jeff Kagan for E-Commerce Times, December 23rd, 2010.

AT&T is currently focusing on the investor. The customers and the workers are out in the cold. The comments that have been shared with me regarding AT&T’s relationships with these groups are disturbing. One example is workers being told they get paid enough to work extra hours — so either work or quit. Another challenge is gelling different company cultures.

Which should companies focus on first — investors, customers or workers? This is a question we have asked and answered so many times, you would think the answer would be obvious. However, we always see companies either doing well or struggling because they just don’t get it. A look at a few of today’s winners and losers may reveal why this is so.

Sometimes a company has good results for several years, and its leaders think they are on the right path. Then they stumble. The problem was always there, but they didn’t see it. When it hit them in the face, it was too late. When companies start to slide, they usually continue to collapse over the next several years until, if they finally figure it out, they make changes and start a long-term recovery. Here are a few examples. (continue reading… )


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