Secrets to building a customer-centric organization - #4

When it comes to building a team in an organization that thinks and breathes customers & selling best-in-class offerings, the process of recruiting the right 'fit' people rather than just the right people is important. What does this mean? It means that you might have identified the most qualified and the most experienced person for the job but they might not fit the culture, values, motivation, passion and environment that you may have in your company. The right fit is as much important as the right people. NY Times has an interesting article on 3 ingredients of success which provides more insights when you want to evaluate people and understand why they do what they do:

  • After interviewing 200 people worldwide “who have made a difference in their fields,” three authors conclude that “success in the long run has less to do with finding the best idea or business model than it does with discovering what matters to us as individuals.”

  • “When success just means wealth, fame and power it doesn’t last and it isn’t satisfying.”

  • find lasting success when three essential elements come into alignment in their lives and work.
  1. The first element is meaning. “What you do must matter deeply to you,”
  2. The second is a “highly developed sense of accountability, audacity, passion and responsible optimism.”
  3. Successful people “find effective ways to take action.”

Check the people who you want to recruit against this backdrop because you want to have in your team winners and not losers. Believe me, the difference will show and your customers will see it.

Secrets to building a customer-centric organization - # 3

Every customer-centric organization has to create a culture of organizational authenticity.

There is an interesting discussion around this topic in Fast Company. I have taken a few of the discussion points and posted them here.

What is organizational authenticity? Organizational authenticity means what is felt and thought concerning the mission and purpose aligns with what is said and done on a regular basis. - Paul S Markle

Transformational leadership transcends the one or few individuals and instills a sense of purpose and vision in the entire organization. The power play role of leadership is more focused with their position in their 'world' than organizational authenticity / integrity . - Donna  Karlin

How does a company ensure they attract authentic leaders for sustainability and growth and to promote a culture that is based on integrity?

"I believe there has to be a two way accountability pact or structure where both staff and leadership can ask and answer the question (in the affirmative) "Am I where I need to be to reach my level of excellence?" and "I am inspiring all those around me to reach for their level of excellence?" And can all include "...and live in alignment with my personal values and ethics?" If the people care about each other enough to ask, then they'll care enough to be authentic." - Donn Karlin

Here, you can take a organizational authenticity quiz. Go on and take the test!

Leadership scarcity

It's easy for organizations to be wanting to be customer-centric but the challenge is the need for a leader who can set the agenda, pursue the agenda relentlessly, be steadfast about the results, be ruthless about execution across various departments in the organization etc.. But, according to Jeffrey Phillips that's the area where there is a huge gap. Company boards need to find such leaders and there seems to be scarcity for such souls:

....there are few true leaders in most businesses, since it is impossible to pursue more than a handful of "visions" or strategies in any business without complete chaos.  Most senior executives in businesses are "managers" - that is, they understand the vision and attempt to implement it to the best of their understanding.  They don't create the vision, and in most cases don't fully back it or understand it, but are doing their best to implement the vision.  In any context, in any organization, there can be a maximum of one leader in this regard, however, in most firms there aren't any real leaders.  Most CEOs are pragmatists, guided by Wall Street and expected earning and returns.  Some leaders, like Jack Welch for instance, became recognized because he had a vision and pleased the street.  Some leaders, like Steve Jobs, have been recognized for their vision but have had up and down experiences - most likely because they could not communicate their vision effectively to a solid management team below them.  In many other firms, however, it is difficult to identify who is responsible for creating a vision and encouraging people to follow his or her vision.

....The best place today to find true leaders in businesses is in smaller, private firms.