How and When to Do Layoffs
How To Run An Offsite

How To Lose Customers & Alienate People

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Founders and CEOs are sometimes accused of being out of touch. If that’s your goal, here are seven tips on how to get there faster.

Don’t Listen, Just Talk

Talk to customers, talk to employees, talk to customers. The more you talk, the less you have to listen. Give them your vision, and heap it on with lots of diagrams and charts that explain the architecture and how powerful it will all be. You’ve thought it out and most of it is working and by golly customers are going to like it. That is, if you ever get around to shipping. Sorry, there’s no time for questions.

Shoot the Messenger

No one likes bad news, especially CEOs. So, why not just eliminate it? Next time someone raises bad news, unload on them in public. The more junior the employee, the bigger the thrashing. Tell them they’re part of the problem. You’ve got an executive offsite coming up in a few months, and it’s not for them to worry about customers or quality or whatever it is they’re complaining about. And when an employee makes a mistake, yell at them. That’s the best way to motivate people so they stop sharing bad news. Or any news.  

Obsess with the Competition

Let’s face it, the biggest idiots out there are your competitors. Sure they launch cool products, but so what? It’s all a bunch of marketing BS, right? Who cares about that? And that feature they implemented is just a copy of something you thought about years ago. Celebrate every outage they have as if it’s some grand accomplishment from your team. That way you don’t have to think too much about all the things you haven’t shipped.

Raise More Money

One way to make sure you’re out of touch is to spend more time with investors than customers. That way you can talk about strategy without having to worry about pesky issues like customer satisfaction, churn, employee engagement. And when those topics do come up, it’s just an abstraction like an NPS number or a survey score. Don’t get distracted by the people. Just think about numbers. Spreadsheets, right?

Hire Yes-Men

Yes-men don’t have to be men, but they have to be in agreement. All the time. You don’t have time for devil’s advocates. Or disagreement. Or discussion. If you need new ideas, you can always acquire another company.

Screw The Customer

Think of your customers as a captive audience. Sales missing the target? No problem, raise the prices. I mean, it’s not like they have a better option, right? If customers knew what they were doing, they wouldn’t have bought from you in the first place.

Focus on Optics

Perception is reality, amiright? So just focus on that. If you look good, maybe you don’t have to actually be good. Besides, how would it look if you changed now?

We all have our blindspots and occasional lapses of judgment. When in doubt, listen to your employees who listen to your customers.


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