The trenches are dirty. The trenches are tough. The trenches are where the action happens. And that’s why management needs to listen to the team in the trenches.
Management too often misses opportunities by not listening to those in the trenches. When the sales team says the product is getting stale, they just might be telling the truth. When the sales team says the solution is too expensive, it doesn’t always mean they aren’t able to create value. It just might be prices are coming down. If the sales team says customers want a new feature, it doesn’t mean they can’t sell. It often means the customers want more than what you currently offer. When those in the trenches speek, it’s often interpreted as complaining. Management sees those in trenches as making excuses for their lack of production. When this happens, it’s time for new leadership or new people in the trenches; trust has been lost. Information from trenches is critical to success. New products rely on it. Strategic decisions require it. Avoiding disaster is dependent on it. News from the trenches is the lifeblood of a company. Assuming it’s an excuse, overblown, inaccurate or a way to avoid ownership is a mistake.
Listen to the trenches. It’s not always going to be what you want to hear. It may not always be accurate. It will be however, valuable. Everything happens in the trenches. At least everything that matters.