“You work for the customer. I don’t pay you. They do.”
—Jean-François Zobrist, CEO of FAVI

customersI came across this thought-provoking quote today, which referenced a 2012 article in Fast Company Magazine.

The article itself is how FAVI has created an extremely flat organization, and it’s well worth reading.  But what got me thinking was the concept of:  Management doesn’t pay you.  Customers do.

I find that to be a startlingly clear way of communicating why we’re in business.

I’ve talked before about what pay represents in businesses (like here and here and here).  But the danger is that we make the connection so esoteric that our employees don’t really internalize it.

Instead, customer revenue remains a vague concept on a chart.

So how about if we explore phrases like this?

“Customers pay us.  That’s the money that pays you.”

“When customers like what we do, they give us money in return.  That’s precisely what pays for your job and mine.”

Our people really do want overall success for the organization, especially when it relates to their personal productivity and job security.  So let’s help them make the connection!