Many people including Richard Branson have been credited with the 'look after your team, they'll look after your customers, and your customers will look after your profit' mantra. But is this more than a superficial glib soundbite?

What happens if you don't?

Let's look at 3 examples of what happens if you change the order of priority for looking after your Team, Customers, and Profits.

Profit first, Customers second, Team third.

This leads to a focus on higher prices and lower costs. Customer satisfaction declines over time, and your team get the blame. Example businesses: Major corporations owned by distant shareholders. Hellish places to work with your team bullied by both customers and management.

Customers first, Profit second, Team third.

Your customers constantly suspect that you're always trying to find ways to sell to them. They may be satisfied with your service, but they are never likely to recommend you as there's little motivation for your team to create surprise and delight. Example businesses: Most retailers and a good proportion of the hospitality trade.

Team first, customers second, and profit third.

If your team are intrinsically motivated to help grow their company first, rather than financially motivated, then they will find the right ways to help your customers to meet their needs. Your customers will stick around longer, look for more things they can buy from you, and recommend you more. 

If you need any more subtle convincing of this, read the attached article about 'the precise moment people stopped caring about their jobs' and try to make sure that you'll never allow these things to happen on your watch.