Imagine working on a product but never seeing people experiencing the benefits of that product. Imagine being so removed from a service, in the service chain, that you never see the impact of your work on the next person in the chain, much less the end user. An e-mail from a former student telling me about a course or idea that helped professionally can be the highlight of my week.
I am reminded of Know Your Customer by Woodruff and Gardial, in my opinion the most important book I have read on producing customer value. At the core is really knowing your customer. Not thinking you know your customer but really knowing your customer. That means interacting with your customers on their turf, seeing your products and services through their eyes. Woodruff and Gardial talk about a boat manufacturer who gained a competitive advantage after he went boating with a customer and got a new insight into how the boat was piloted.
Incorporating beneficiary contact into jobs and activities may be a key to enhanced productivity in your organization, or your part of an organization. Use the Crawford Slip Method (I have permission to share) and ask employees how contact with beneficiaries could be increased. Then use the results.
Grant, A. M. (2012). Leading with meaning: beneficiary contact, prosocial impact, and the performance effect of transformational leadership. Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 55, No. 2, 458-476.
Image:"Busy people maintaining boat" by Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Obtained from Google Advanced Image Search. Public domain.