For those of you in the purpose-driven space, the word “customer” can be a turnoff. You might say it’s overly commercial. That it ignores how much you care about people and the work you do. 

It’s an unfortunate – and costly – turnoff. When we think about customer from the perspective of mission delivery, we do have them. Since I began using “customer” in the development of Differentiation Zone, I’ve found that it causes leaders to ask an essential question, “Who are my customers?” 

“A customer is the person whose life you promise to impact through mission delivery.”

Choosing who you serve through mission delivery helps you say “no” to spending hard-won resources on audiences, ideas or influencers that aren’t central to adopting your customer’s mindset. Focusing on choices that further strengthen your attunement with the customer is a more sustainable leg to stand on than landing on bended knee with your hand outstretched. Customers are agnostic to your tax status. They don’t expect any less of you. 

Simply put: establishing clarity about who you promise to impact makes strategic choices much easier.