What is Hewlett-Packard missing in creating its future? Only the most important ingredient!

the missing piece - customer culture

Almost all organizations develop annual plans and budgets. Many have strategic plans that are designed to chart their way through the next 3 to 5 years. A few use scenario planning to identify possible future environments and plot strategies and contingencies to deal with different scenarios as they occur.

In Chaotics, authors Philip Kotler and John Caslione demonstrate that it’s a simple and profoundly important fact that the practice of management needs retooling. They go on to provide business leaders with a system for navigating the turbulent times we are facing.

The tool that most companies have missed in working to create their futures is the adaptive, future oriented, customer-centric culture that enables them to prosper in an environment of continuous change and turbulence.

Hewlett-Packard is one of many examples of missed opportunities and lack of attention to cultural fit – both in terms of the absorption of their acquisitions such as its latest debacle with Autonomy and through losing its customer-centric culture led by a succession of CEOs that lost focus on what has made HP great – its people and their relationships with customers (supported by quality products).

HP cannot re-create its former greatness unless it revisits the fundamentals of developing an adaptive, future-oriented customer culture. To do this it must start by measuring its current level of customer-centricity in all its businesses – in all functions and in all groups. This will tell it where its strengths and weaknesses lie and what it needs to do to create the culture it needs for the future. These measurement benchmarks will tell HP which parts of the business are most at risk to current and future turbulence and what it must do to mitigate those risks. They will also tell HP what they can expect in trends in business results (revenue, profit, customer retention, new product success) in different parts of their business.

If HP does not use the right diagnostic tools to measure and benchmark its level of customer culture which includes its adaptability and future orientation it will be missing its most important element for creating its future. It will be making decisions in part blindfolded and it will be relying on luck, rather than well founded judgment to secure its future.

Does your business have a culture that can secure its future? Do you systematically measure it in a way that ties relevant cultural attributes to future business performance?

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