What Sources Do Executives Listen To?

From Mark Hurst,

Decision makers need information before they make decisions, right? What sources do executives listen to when gathering information? Here are a few typical, if somewhat dubious, examples, and one that is always reliable but not always considered:

– The technology press, whose job is to report on the newest and flashiest trends, but not necessarily what will work in the long run.

– Bloggers, many of whom are technophiles who enjoy playing with and writing about Internet trends and gadgets.

– Investors, who often want quick results and look to the press and bloggers to point the way.

– Technology conferences, which tend to invite speakers who draw attendees from the three groups above.

Another voice is that of industry colleagues, which may be helpful, or may indulge in one-upmanship about whose business has gotten more exposure.

One voice not on the list, ironically, can point the way forward, both in the short-term and the long-term. Who is it?

The customers.

Most companies still don’t conduct meaningful research with the people they’re ostensibly working for. No customers, no business. Yet the customers are often nowhere to be found when making strategic decisions.

How does your organization chart its way forward? By following the herd or listening to customers?