Employees First, Customers Second.

Why did I chose this resource?

As a growing company, we are increasing both the number of team members, as well as the number of customers. Traditional mindsets place the customer above all else. However, focusing on the empowerment our team to carry the mantle of responsibility Employees_Firstfor the long-term success of the company ensures both the continuance of the corporation and our customers’ satisfaction. This is because, ultimately, customer satisfaction is one of the main inputs for a successful company.

What did you learn from it?

Within a company, employees are the fundamental units of changes. In a sense, this book is saying that good leadership must allow its greatest assets, employees, to drive the improvements needed to make a good company great. Leadership can best do this by playing a supportive role in improvement, as opposed to a more interventionist approach.

Key Knowledge

  • Mirror Mirror” – a company looks at itself closely in the mirror to see what needs to change.
  • Trust Through Transparency” – creating a culture that leads to the changes needed to transform into something better.
  • Inverting the Organizational Pyramid” – leadership focuses on the “value zone,” where value is created for customers. Make managers and bosses accountable to the employees that create the most value. This makes the changes outlast the manager that initiated them.
  • Recasting the Role of the CEO” – transferring the responsibility for change from the top of the organization to the next generation of leaders who work in the value zone. This leads to an organization to become more self-governed and self-run.

How are you using what you learned?

Every day, I try to touch bases with each employee on a daily basis and ask them what tools, information, guidance and resources they need to be successful. This is a rudimentary form of putting employees first. We implement “Mirror Mirror” with the regular use of Kaizen feedback. Executives have a round-robin feedback at the end of the week to provide feedback on our own successes and challenges.

Key Changes and how we as a company can use this?

Institutionalizing the concept of “Employees First, Customers Second.” We are moving in that direction and I believe we have done a good job of taking care of our employees. However, formalizing this concept and creating a formal framework for executing this would help us achieve more.

Key Changes

  • Create formal framework to execute “Employees First, Customers Second.”
  • Continue to use Kaizen feedback
  • Apply the executive round-robin to all employees
  • Allow employees to contribute to the development of company priorities

Key Actions

  • Implement regular feedback at the employee level (round-robing)
  • Solicit official feedback from employees about corporate priorities
  • Reinforce the use of suggestion box with emphasis on what needs to change, and how those changes should be made
  • Push responsibility down to employees in a more formal manner


Name: Employees First, Customers Second.
Author: Vineet Nayar
Summary.com: Link to Summary.com Summary

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