We seem to have invented a new concept – arse time. This occurs quite regularly in small firms, but is even more prevalent in large ones.As the firm grows more processes and procedures are necessary to run it.  That involves more discussion internally between colleagues.  Which is fine; the firm needs to operate efficiently, but as time passes silos can emerge which lead to more inward looking objectives.Even in small firms a lack of clarity can manifest itself quite easily.  We have a series of strategy planning tools, one of which has as one of its questions to list 3 adjectives to describe their business to the outside world.  Later on, within about five minutes, the same people are asked to list 3 adjectives they would want satisfied customers to use about buying from the firm.Whilst the answers don’t often differ wildly, they are seldom the same 3 words, thus showing that the internal view is different from the external view – even from the same people!Obviously the external customer view is the most important, but how to get this? More particularly, how to avoid too much internalising.Colleague facing time is not customer facing time. In fact, what part of you is your customer seeing if you are facing your colleagues? That’s right, you understand the concept.Perhaps your meeting agendas should have as Point 1 – Is this Arse Time? In other words, are we truly doing anything here that will help our interaction and service of customer needs.  If the answer is no, should, we be doing it?

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