Andrew Kakabadse, Professor of Governance and Leadership at Henley Business School, UK, carried out in-depth interviews with leaders in more than 100 private and public organizations around the world to identify what is required for organizations and leaders to be successful. He came to the conclusion that the starting point for any successful organization or individual must be ‘value’.
He says; “The insights from my research have a deceptive but refreshing air of simplicity: success is about delivering value and this is best and most reliably achieved through engaging with people, markets and data and then gathering evidence on that reality and making decisions accordingly.”
This research supports the notion that being customer-centric requires the creation and delivery of superior value to our customers. This ‘value’ mindset must prevail throughout the entire organization. Kakabadse found that ‘diversity of thinking’ is a key element in the creation of value. This enables, through teamwork and collaboration, a blending of ideas and viewpoints that results in innovative new products, services and processes that add value for customers. This should be supported by evidence – that is, feedback from and contributions by customers.
The Virgin Group has a mantra that says; “there is always another way.” This cultural norm encourages new ideas, differences of viewpoint.
IDEO’s core business is based on building new products using a diversity of viewpoints during their design thinking process. At IDEO they suggest there are three elements: inspiration, ideation and implementation. In their words: “Inspiration is the problem or opportunity that motivates the search for solutions. Ideation is the process of generating, developing, and testing ideas. Implementation is the path that leads from the project stage into people’s lives.”
When this approach to value is applied to building a customer-centric organization it galvanizes the change required to sustainably create and deliver superior value for customers. But it must become part of the customer culture.
You can find out more in The Customer Culture Imperative: A Leader’s Guide to Driving Superior performance.
We worked with Andrew in Abu Dhabi Is there s definition of value you use. Lots of people struggle with its meaning. I have stories I use eg ritz mending my broken glasses when I was there for cuppa. Xx
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Debi thanks for your comment and question! Value is defined by the customer, so the way to understand it is by putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and asking “What would be valuable to me in this moment?” The Ritz example is great, someone observed you had some broken glasses and thought I can do something about that! That is value creating!!
I like the example from Zappos where the goal of the call center staff is to be helpful, Tony likes to call into the center and ask for the directions to the best pizza joint in town. This has nothing to do with selling shoes but everything to do with creating value and providing great service to customers no matter the question!
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