Saturday, April 10, 2010

First: "Consider the good of the Universal Church"

For us marketers, the attitude of the Roman Catholic hierarchy reveals a bitter truth: Ignore customers at your peril.

Most marketers eagerly seek to understand what customers need. Yet the Catholic Church – in the case of child molesting priests – turned its back on customer needs and thought first of its own.

Cardinal Ratzinger (today Pope) once responded to a bishop’s plea to defrock a child molester with these revealing words: We have to take our time and “consider the good of the Universal Church.”

Here in a nutshell is the attitude of leaders who put their organizations' interests first – above the interests of the people they serve. The trait may show up as an impulse to “cover your ass” or “protect your turf” or “build it and they will come." Whatever the manifestation, whatever the words, the attitude leads down the path to isolation from customers and a decline in relevance.

The lesson is clear: If you first "consider the good" of your organization, you will next be wondering why the public doubts whether your organization is good.