Does your strategy protect the office or the field?

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We can divide organizational strategies into two, broad categories. I’ll call one the Office Strategy, which makes work easier for the people in the office and harder for the people in the field. The other, Field Strategy, makes it easier on the people in the field and harder on the office.

All strategies have trade-offs between the needs of the field and the needs of the office. There is, typically, one big difference. The people in the field interact with your customers most often.

Most of the time, the people in the offices create strategies, and the people in the field live with them. Most people build a strategy to make life easier for themselves—this is normal. It takes a special kind of leader to demand that that planners consider the needs of the employees who are not in the strategy room—the ones out in the field with customers.

You can see the conflict, can’t you?

If an organizational strategy makes it harder for the people who work closely with your customers, your customers will suffer. We’d rather nobody suffer, but when it comes to planning, make it easier on the people in the field. They’re the ones creating loyal customers, raving fans, referrals, and revenue.