The Audience Takes Center Stage
The central character of a story or the prominent actor in a drama is known as the protagonist. It's a Greek word meaning principal actor. The plot and storyline are centered on this particular individual. They push the story forward, taking those engaged on a journey, leading them through an adventure towards the story's completion and its ultimate message.
The stage, which provides a platform for the story to take place, is also built to spotlight this main character. It is strategically crafted to ensure the protagonist is always seen, heard, and understood. Every structure and element is there to aid in developing and strengthening the viewers' or readers' connection with this leading person. The sets, decisions, directions, and the plot's twists and turns revolve around them.
With this being said, ponder a thought with us for a moment. If your organization is the stage, who then is the protagonist? Who would be central to the story displayed on this platform? When the spotlight turns on, what will it illuminate? Your organization should be able to know who or what holds this position. This answer is vital, and we should never lose sight of it.
Central is defined as forming the center. It is the place of greatest importance or highest concentration. It informs all things and is all things. If your protagonist is left undefined or hasn't been identified, the organization is forced to progress in a fragmented manner producing siloed results. The most important element belonging to our organization will be assumed by whoever is speaking to it at any given moment, creating ebbs and flows of misinformation and misdirection. This misalignment produces a schizophrenic appearance. There isn't one streamlined thought regarding what our organizations are all about.
With our main character scripted and cast, we can avoid the calamity of struggling with an identity crisis. Any good organization worth its soul knows this simple yet critical truth. The leading role always belongs to its audience. Since we are in business to serve a targeted group of individuals or other companies, all that we do should center (there goes that word again) on them. Every step we take and every move we make must be made through the lens of our audience. How we conduct business and implement decisions affects them significantly. There shouldn't be a single detail of our organization's narrative that negatively impacts our protagonist. Without them, there is no story. The drama is nonexistent.
We've shared this before, but we believe it's worth another mention. On an indelible visit to the corporate offices of Chick-fil-A, we had the opportunity to tour the facility. This voyage included stops to several meeting rooms and concluded our stay around the board table in one of them. At the head of the table was a red chair. It stood out as the remaining seats were charcoal gray. Our tour guide, a C-Suite executive, sat down with us, leaving the red chair empty. After a few minutes of chit-chat, he asked us if we knew why the chair was there. Clueless we were! He went on to explain that it belonged to their customers.
The seat which graces the head of Chick-fil-A's table represents every individual customer the quick-service chicken restaurant serves. One red chair resides in every meeting and boardroom. When it comes time for any decision, plan, or strategy to be formulated, those in the room stop, look at the chair, and reflect on this: Would our main character be happy?
Understanding the importance and magnitude of the role played by their customer, the answer they seek is always a yes. Last question for you.