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Tag Archives: Customer-centric Design

Customer Experience (CX) Pyramid

28 Apr

Most organizations aren’t ready to deliver great Customer Experiences across all channels.  Many of them have invested heavily in conventional methods of doing business, backed by in person or over-the-phone customer experience.  This has led to creation of siloed operational structures within companies, where each silo operates individually.

With the advent of digital channels, these organizations set out to use and proffer their services via digital channels.  They did this by creating discrete digital-product groups in their existing operational infrastructure.  However, their siloed infrastructure falls short of meeting customers’ requirements in terms of seamless communication and interaction across all channels.  The reason being:

  • Customers’ utilization of multiple channels and touchpoints across Customer Journeys.
  • Requirements of personalized services / products by the customers.
  • Anticipation of impeccable coordination and communication by the customers no matter how they interact with the business.

This necessitates the businesses to not only provide great Customer Experiences at each channel, but also make the transitions across these channels simple to improve the overall Customer Experience (CX). However, improving the overall Customer Experience isn’t that simple a feat, especially with silo-based operational infrastructures.  Providing consistent amazing Customer Experience warrants:

  • Creation of a robust operational ecosystem through Transformation of internal operations, to respond quickly to customers’ expectations.
  • Meticulous design and delivery of Customer Experiences.

Most organizations understand the significance of Transforming their Customer Experience—however, they lack the direction and support required to realize this goal. Organizational leadership can make use of the Customer Experience Pyramid to guide their CX Transformation.

The Customer Experience Pyramid is an empirical research based framework, which is quite effective in not only improving individual touchpoints but streamlining the entire Customer Journeys.  The CX Pyramid entails 2 core dimensions:

  • Focus Areas – the organizational spheres that must change to enable provision of amazing digital Customer Experiences.
  • Strategic Building Blocks – the strategies that define how this change can take place and made part of the organizational processes to deliver exceptional Customer Experiences.

The 4 Focus Areas crucial in a business to change in order to deliver top-quality Digital Customer Experiences at scale are:

  1. Vision and Strategy
  2. Talent Management
  3. Operations
  4. Technology

Let’s discuss the first 2 individual Focus Areas of the CX Pyramid in detail for now.

Vision and Strategy

Redirecting focus on making Customer Experience a part of the Organizational DNA necessitates creating a Vision statement and Strategy to depict, clarify, and plan out the purpose and objectives of serving the customers.  The senior leadership needs to come up with a short and crisp Vision statement.  The Vision sets out the foundation that reflects the leadership’s focus, importance the organization gives to Customer Experience, and the high-level objectives associated with the provision of quality Customer Experiences.

Next, the leadership should work on developing strategies to build fundamental competencies within the 4 CX Building Blocks—i.e., CX operations, metrics, CX-centric culture, systems and governance protocols.

Talent Management

Once the Vision statement has been agreed upon, it’s time to work towards carrying out the required actions to produce customer-centric outcomes.  The first step in that direction involves linking all employees who work in discrete silos (in conventional structures).  To align all employees, there is a need to create a Transformation team and define new roles / CX groups.  The Transformation team should train and direct teams responsible for the different stages of the Customer Journey, instill new ideas, and foster desired behaviors in them.

Senior Leadership need to also assign a CX Team to run the CX program.  The CX Team has to lay out processes and yardsticks to foster cross-functional collaboration and coach functional units to adopt customer-centric design practices in their operations.

Interested in learning more about the other focus areas of the CX Pyramid Framework?  You can download an editable PowerPoint presentation on Customer Experience Pyramid here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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From Economies of Scale to Economies of Unscale

21 Apr

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Futuristic, technology-driven business models are weakening the conventional advantages of Economies of Scale.  Large corporations, founded on Scale, nevertheless have areas that they can exploit if they reposition rapidly.

For the best part of over a century, Economies of Scale—Cost Advantages that businesses achieve owing to their scale of operation—fashioned the corporation into a perfect engine of business.  The economic concept of Economies of Scale was first floated in the Adam Smith era where the idea of obtaining larger production returns through the use of division of labor was introduced.

A technological rush, distinct in history, was observed near the beginning of the 20th century.  These new technologies were accompanied by scale i.e., bulk production and access to huge markets.  The Economies of Scale guided business success—the strong inverse relationship connecting fixed costs and output grew into a basis of Competitive Advantage.

Back then, investments in scale was the most sensible proposition.  Not only did it lower fixed costs but also created a formidable barrier for competitors, denying them entry in the market.  Every type of business spent the 20th century in the quest for scale.

The advent of game-changing new technologies such as mobile devices, social media, and cloud computing, augmented by Artificial Intelligence (AI), is whirling Economies of Scale into Economies of Unscale.

Specifically, rise of Software as a Service (SaaS) and emergence of Product to Platform Transformations—coupled with AI’s ability to customize—overthrows bulk production and mass marketing as a basis of Competitive Advantage.  These progressions have battered the powerful inverse correlation between fixed costs and output that delineated Economies of Scale.

Today, minor, unscaled businesses, leveraging Platform Scaling Strategies while renting SaaS, can hunt in niche markets, effectively contesting big companies that are strained by decades of investment in scale, i.e., in large-scale production, distribution, and marketing.

The triumphant companies in the current tech rush—enabled by Platforms and SaaS—are the ones led by Customer-centric Design, providing each customer precisely what they want, that too while making a profit, and not companies offering everyone uniform products.

Large corporations can remain relevant in this era of niche marketing by taking leverage of their existing infrastructure through astute modifications in their use.  They can deploy 3 key tactics to accomplish this:

  1. Product to Platform Transformation
  2. Absolute Product Focus
  3. Dynamic Rebundling

Let us delve a little deeper into the details of the 3 tactics for leveraging Economies of Unscale.

Product to Platform Transformation

Dynamic corporations have expended decades building scale which is extremely specialized for their industry.  Efficient factories, distribution channels, retail outlets, supply chains, marketing expertise, and global partnerships have been painstakingly developed.  It is time for these corporations to take a decision on whether it is more viable to rent out this capability to other companies or not.

An example of such an approach is that of P&G’s Connect + Develop program that has been running for more than a decade. 

Absolute Product Focus

As corporations become bigger, emphasis on control becomes more pronounced—processes, regulations, stock prices, and a variety of non-core issues take precedence over great product offering.  Niche market focus blurs and attempts are made to make a product that may appeal to the masses in an effort to create Economies of Scale.

In this age of Unscale, the product/customer-focused competitor preys on such weakness.  Large corporations can mitigate the repercussion of such weakness by organizing as a network of small businesses focusing on core function while outsourcing non-core functions.  Each business, completely dedicated to creating a product perfect for its part of the market.

Apple Inc. contracts out manufacturing to Chinese companies while keeping the R&D and innovation—its core function—in the U.S.

Dynamic Rebundling

Successful companies in this day and age of Unscale are the ones that make every customer feel like a market of one.  A corporation—a compendium of products—can match this by initially understanding its customer, then bundling its products as per each customer’s needs.

A great example is The Honest Co., which in 2012, began selling specialized line of diapers and wipes by subscription.  First year, the company raked in $10 million in revenue by supplying a niche customer, a niche product, dissimilar to mass-market brands.  By 2016 it was making sales exceeding $300 million.

Interested in learning more about the 3 tactics for leveraging Economies of Unscale and how corporations have, in their own way, taken advantage?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Economies of Unscale here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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“Strategy without Tactics is the slowest route to victory.  Tactics without Strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu 

For effective Strategy Development and Strategic Planning, we must master both Strategy and Tactics.  Our frameworks cover all phases of Strategy, from Strategy Design and Formulation to Strategy Deployment and Execution; as well as all levels of Strategy, from Corporate Strategy to Business Strategy to “Tactical” Strategy.  Many of these methodologies are authored by global strategy consulting firms and have been successfully implemented at their Fortune 100 client organizations. 

These frameworks include Porter’s Five Forces, BCG Growth-Share Matrix, Greiner’s Growth Model, Capabilities-driven Strategy (CDS), Business Model Innovation (BMI), Value Chain Analysis (VCA), Endgame Niche Strategies, Value Patterns, Integrated Strategy Model for Value Creation, Scenario Planning, to name a few.

Learn about our Strategy Development Best Practice Frameworks here.

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You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

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– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Decision Matrix for Platform Scaling Strategy

19 Apr

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The phenomenal success of tech innovators using Platforms has spurred a desire in companies, from a greater variety of sectors and markets, to gain advantage of Product to Platform Transformation.

This Transformation is based on the need to model businesses on a Customer-Centric Design approach.  The need has arisen because the concept of Economies of Scale has become archaic and has been taken over by Economies of Unscale.  Each customer is now being offered customized products and solutions.

The phenomenal success, by the trailblazing tech innovators, was achieved partly by deploying Platform Scaling that enabled Business Transformation and monopolization of the market.  Though, this monopolization and questionable use of the Platform, especially data generated therefrom, saw attempts to regulate these tech companies—making the decision to scale a complex one.  Understanding the intricacies of Platform Scaling is thus critical to the development and deployment of any Platform Strategy.

When considering Platform Scaling Strategy, there are 2 key aspects that are of utmost significance:

Regulatory Complexity

Regulatory Complexity means present level of legal and regulatory impediments that govern Platform entry and operation in a sector.

Regulatory Risk

Regulatory Risk refers to the probability of an upsurge in Legal and Regulatory Costs and Complexity in the future.

Some equitable and measurable metrics for calculating Regulatory Risks do exist but generally it is extremely challenging to predict policy outcomes or even ascribe odds to various outcomes.

A straightforward approach for Platform owners and operators to understand and evaluate the prospective combinations of Regulatory Complexity and Risk is to create a 2×2 matrix of high vs. low for the 2 factors.

Regulatory Complexity and Risk are turning out to be the determining factors in the strategic decision between Fast and Slow Scaling.

Fast Scaling, which has also been referred to as Blitzscaling, requires choosing speed over efficiency.  Fast Scaling has the strategic objective of growing briskly, experimenting swiftly to tweak product-market fit, and taking advantage of robust network effects to achieve and maintain a leading market share.

Fast Scaling is required to activate 3 interconnected positive feedback loops:

  1. Network Loop
  2. Data Loop
  3. Capital Loop.

Slow Scaling is the most sensible strategy in areas with both High Regulatory Complexity and High Regulatory Risk.  Slow Scaling does not disregard the quest for network effects, which are a requirement for success of platform businesses, but it gives preference to analysis, constant growth, and risk curtailment instead of speed.

Platform businesses functioning in High-Risk, High Complexity situations may evade pitfalls by employing 4 key components of Slow-Scaling strategy:

  1. Analysis of the Macro Environment
  2. Careful Risk Management
  3. Investment in Stakeholder Trust
  4. Incremental Geographic Expansion.

Let us now delve a little deeper into the various permutations of Regulatory Complexity and Risk, quadrant-wise, in the matrix.

QUADRANT 1

Regulatory Risk              Regulatory Complexity

Low                                        Low

Compliance costs are comparatively low in such situations and there are no serious deliberations among regulators and policy makers concerning restrictions on business models or operations.

The Strategy in this case is to Scale Fast.

QUADRANT 2

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

Low                                        High

Sectors in such scenarios are highly regulated e.g., financial services sector.  Significant workforce is employed in governance, risk management, and compliance activities.  Entering such markets necessitates careful consideration of Regulatory Complexity.

The strategy in such scenarios is to Scale Fast.

QUADRANT 3

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

High                                       Low

Operations are generally in a Regulatory void—i.e., no established and powerful regulatory authority, tight net of rules, or strict barriers to entry.  There is a great degree of ambiguity regarding how regulators may react.  Environment in such markets makes it difficult for businesses to mature discrete policy scenarios, allocate probabilities, and make strong assumptions on timing.

Strategy is to Scale Fast in such environments.

QUADRANT 4

Regulatory Risk             Regulatory Complexity

High                                       High

There is high Regulatory Complexity, such as unclear approach by various regulators in the various markets.  There are strong chances of sudden change in regulator and policy maker’s approach due to a particular incident.  Precipitous increase in entire sector’s Regulatory Risk triggered by events is highly likely.

The most sensible strategy in such cases is to Scale Slow.

Interested in learning more about the permutations of these 2 Scaling Strategies, areas of strategic focus, and the 4 components of Slow Scaling Strategy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on Platform Scaling Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives.  Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market.  They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions.  I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power.  For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over!  The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

How Do Porter, Mintzberg, And More Define Strategy?

23 Feb

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Strategy is about the methods used to attain goals.  It’s the “how” of achieving goals—desired future conditions and circumstances towards which effort and resources are spent until their achievement.

If Strategy has any meaning at all, it is in relation to some aim or end in view.

Strategy is 1 of the 4 dimensions of an enterprise structure:

  1. Goals of the organization.
  2. Resources at our disposal.
  3. Strategies for achieving above-mentioned goals –i.e., the methods used to deploy the resources.
  4. Tactics—i.e., the ways in which the deployed resources are used.

Strategy and tactics – integral part of Strategy Development – bridge the gap between goals and the methods used to achieve those goals.  These 4 dimensions of enterprise structure relate to one or both of the 2 domains; Policy and Management.  Policies determine the goals of an enterprise, whereas attaining goals is typically a matter of Management.  Tactics belong to the managers; strategy is the combined realm of the governors and managers; whereas resources are controlled jointly.

The employed resources through use of Strategies and Tactics give us “certain” conditions.  Inspecting them in light of the “desired” conditions enables us to determine future employment of the resources and thus emerges a pattern of actions and decisions which makes Strategy an adaptive and evolving view of what is required, to achieve goals.

We take a look at various perspectives on and definitions of Strategy, as explained by 8 of the most impactful and renowned Strategists in modern times.  Familiarity with the perspectives of these strategists enables us to develop a more holistic and thorough understanding of the topic, helping us improve our strategic thinking, decision making, and analytical skills.All of these experts agree on the fact that Strategy is a means to implement a policy or a view envisioned by those who matter.  Let’s see how the following strategists define Strategy:

  1. Michael Porter
  2. Henry Mintzberg
  3. Treacy and Wiersema
  4. H. Liddell Hart
  5. George Steiner
  6. Kenneth Andrews
  7. Kepner-Tregoe
  8. Michel Robert

Let’s break down how a few of these renown strategists define “Strategy.”

Michael Porter

Michael Porter, the father of modern Business Strategy, views Competitive Strategy as “intentionally opting a collection of activities that are dissimilar to the competitors in order to provide a unique mix of value”– i.e. Competitive Advantage.  Porter states that Strategy is about:

  • A competitive position.
  • Differentiating yourself in the eyes of the customer.
  • Adding value through a collection of activities different from competitors.

Henry Mintzberg

Mintzberg is credited with co-creating the Organigraph.  He has written extensively on management and business Strategy.  His contribution to Organizational Theory in the form of “The Organizational Configurations Framework” is a model that describes 6 valid organizational configurations or Organizational Design.

Mintzberg argues that the contrast of changing realities with intentions necessitates accommodation, generating Strategy.  According to him Strategy is a combination of:

  • The Perspective – Vision and Direction.
  • The Position – Decisions to offer particular products or services in particular markets.
  • The Plan – a means of getting from here to there.
  • A Pattern in actions over time – for example, a company that regularly markets very expensive products is using a “high end” Strategy.

Treacy and Wiersema

Treacy and Wiersema’s Value Discipline Model talks about 3 different value disciplines: Customer IntimacyProduct Leadership, and Operational Excellence.  Their research on market leading organizations reveals that they outdid their competitors through mastering 1 of these 3 disciplines.

Treacy and Wiersema assert that companies achieve leadership positions by narrowing, not broadening, their business focus on any one of the following:

  • Operational Excellence – lead the industry in terms of price and convenience and is based on the Strategy of production and delivery of products or services. It implies world-class marketing, manufacturing, and distribution processes.
  • Customer Intimacy – Long-term customer loyalty and customer profitability is based on the Strategy of tailoring and shaping products to the increasingly fine definitions of Customer-centric Design.
  • Product Leadership – concentrates on quick commercialization of new ideas. It hinges on market-focused R&D as well as organizational nimbleness and agility.

Interested in learning more about the 8 definitions of Strategy?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 8 Perspectives on Strategy here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Want to Achieve Excellence in Strategy Development?

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“Strategy without Tactics is the slowest route to victory.  Tactics without Strategy is the noise before defeat.” – Sun Tzu 

For effective Strategy Development and Strategic Planning, we must master both Strategy and Tactics.  Our frameworks cover all phases of Strategy, from Strategy Design and Formulation to Strategy Deployment and Execution; as well as all levels of Strategy, from Corporate Strategy to Business Strategy to “Tactical” Strategy.  Many of these methodologies are authored by global strategy consulting firms and have been successfully implemented at their Fortune 100 client organizations. 

These frameworks include Porter’s Five Forces, BCG Growth-Share Matrix, Greiner’s Growth Model, Capabilities-driven Strategy (CDS), Business Model Innovation (BMI), Value Chain Analysis (VCA), Endgame Niche Strategies, Value Patterns, Integrated Strategy Model for Value Creation, Scenario Planning, to name a few.

Learn about our Strategy Development Best Practice Frameworks here.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro Library.  FlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over! The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

5 Focus Areas of Purpose

16 Jan

Most of us have experienced a uniqueness in some organizations. These organizations stand out, exude fervor and zeal.  Their customers are pleased with the Customer Centric Design of the company, Employee Engagement is high, and investors and shareholders take pride in being part of it.  It is not their exceptional product or service that is the base of Value Creation rather the Purpose that makes organizations unique—their reason for existence and the resulting impact it makes on the world.

Stakeholders identify with organizations that genuinely follow their Purpose.  Leadership allocates resources in-line with the Purpose.  Employees keep the Purpose front and center while making decisions for the company.  On the other hand, in-genuine Purpose may harm the reputation of the company by turning away the stakeholders.

In order to be genuine, Purpose has to be embedded in the company’s DNA, which is no mean task.  The “5 Ps of Purpose Framework” shows how this can be successfully achieved.  The 5 Ps Framework identifies 5 areas of focus:

  1. Product Portfolio Strategy
  2. People & Culture
  3. Processes & Systems
  4. Performance Metrics
  5. Positions & Engagement

There are numerous benefits to transforming into a Purpose-driven Organization.  The 5 Ps Framework contributes to unlocking the sources of value for the company and detect points of weakness.  Purpose can pay lots of dividends, but it has to be authentic and imbued in the organization’s business model.

Let us delve a little deeper into the first P of the 5 Ps of Purpose.

Product Portfolio Strategy

An organization’s Product / Service offerings and the associated modalities of market and position planning that best cater to the target market ought to imbibe the Purpose of the company in order to appeal to the stakeholders.

The 1st step for achieving this objective has to be the alignment of business portfolio with the company’s Purpose–i.e. we need to integrate Purpose with our Portfolio Strategy.  Companies already in existence may not be able to start afresh but they can surely reshape their business mix in a dynamic and resolute manner.

In step 2, the business portfolios are filled out with Products or Services that match the Purpose, and the ones that do not are rooted out.  Certain key actions are needed to embed Purpose into the Product or Service offering, they include:

  • Rethinking product portfolio — for example pulling out certain products, launching new products.
  • Modifying pricing in line with Purpose.
  • Re-evaluating portfolio and testing rationale of individual assets in light of common criteria.

A case example is an energy company in the extractive industries, founded 85 years ago, which has proved successfully that Purpose can be reinvented.  Being in the extractive business for such a long time has not restricted the company from reexploring what an energy company may look like in the transforming environment of the future.

The company has significantly transformed its Purpose — “reimagining energy for people and planet.”  In line with its Purpose, the company has divested from its petrochemicals businesses and plans to reduce its legacy oil and gas business by 40% by the year 2030.  The company will instead augment its low-carbon energy businesses such as bioenergy, hydrogen, electric vehicle charging businesses, and aims to be a net-zero carbon emitter by the year 2050.

Interested in learning more about 5 Ps of Purpose Framework?  You can download an editable PowerPoint on 5 Ps of Purpose here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

Do You Find Value in This Framework?

You can download in-depth presentations on this and hundreds of similar business frameworks from the FlevyPro LibraryFlevyPro is trusted and utilized by 1000s of management consultants and corporate executives. Here’s what some have to say:

“My FlevyPro subscription provides me with the most popular frameworks and decks in demand in today’s market. They not only augment my existing consulting and coaching offerings and delivery, but also keep me abreast of the latest trends, inspire new products and service offerings for my practice, and educate me in a fraction of the time and money of other solutions. I strongly recommend FlevyPro to any consultant serious about success.”

– Bill Branson, Founder at Strategic Business Architects

“As a niche strategic consulting firm, Flevy and FlevyPro frameworks and documents are an on-going reference to help us structure our findings and recommendations to our clients as well as improve their clarity, strength, and visual power. For us, it is an invaluable resource to increase our impact and value.”

– David Coloma, Consulting Area Manager at Cynertia Consulting

“FlevyPro has been a brilliant resource for me, as an independent growth consultant, to access a vast knowledge bank of presentations to support my work with clients. In terms of RoI, the value I received from the very first presentation I downloaded paid for my subscription many times over! The quality of the decks available allows me to punch way above my weight – it’s like having the resources of a Big 4 consultancy at your fingertips at a microscopic fraction of the overhead.”

– Roderick Cameron, Founding Partner at SGFE Ltd

Transforming Employee Engagement into a Competitive Advantage? Here’s How

22 Oct

Organizations typically focus on Customer-centric Design in their Strategic Planning and overlook the critical driver of PerformanceGrowth, and Operational Excellence—their employees.  With cut-throat competition now the norm the realization has become clearer that employees are:

  • The face of the business and create lasting—or perishing—brand impression.
  • Sources of innovation and organizational knowledge.
  • Representation of the company’s service philosophy.
  • Expected to live by its Organizational Culture and values.

Employee Engagement has emerged as one of the significant pillars on which the Competitive Advantage, Productivity, and Growth of an organization rests.  What, exactly, does it mean when an employee is engaged?  Employee Engagement, over the years, has been thought of in terms of:

  • Personal engagement with the organization.
  • Focus on performance of assigned work.
  • Worker burnout.
  • Basic needs (meaningful work, safe workplace, abundant resources).
  • Attention on Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioral components related to an individual’s performance.

Although Employee Engagement is widely seen as an important concept, there has been little consensus on its definition or its components either in business or in the academic literature.

Kumar and Pansari’s 2015 study define Employee Engagement as:

“a multidimensional construct that comprises all of the different facets of the attitudes and behaviors of employees towards the organization”.

The multidimensional construct of Employee Engagement has been synthesized into the following 5 components (or dimensions).

  1. Employee Satisfaction
  2. Employee Identification
  3. Employee Commitment
  4. Employee Loyalty
  5. Employee Performance

The 5 dimensions of Employee Engagement have been found to have a direct correlation with high profitability, as substantiated by a number of research studies:

For instance, a study of 30 companies in the airline, telecom and hotel industries shows a close relationship between Employee Engagement and growth in profits.  After controlling other relevant factors—i.e., GDP level, marketing costs, nature of business, and type of goods, the study found:

  • Highest profitability growth—10% to 15%—in companies with highly engaged employees.
  • Lowest level of profitability growth—0% to 1%—in companies with disengaged employees.

Research reveals that Employee Engagement affects 9 performance outcomes; including Customer Ratings, Profitability, Productivity, Safety Incidents, Shrinkage (theft), Absenteeism, Patient Safety Incidents, Quality (Defects), and Turnover.

The differences in performance between engaged and actively disengaged work units revealed:

  • Top half Employee Engagement scores nearly doubled the odds of success compared with those in the bottom half.
  • Companies with engaged workforces have higher earnings per share (EPS).

These 5 dimensions become the base for measuring Employee Engagement in a meaningful manner that permits managers to identify areas of improvement.  To assess an organization’s current status of Employee Engagement, a measurement system is needed that includes:

  • Metrics for each component of Employee Engagement.
  • A scale for scoring metrics in each component.
  • A comprehensive scorecard that pulls everything together.

Let us delve a little deeper into the first 2 dimensions of Employee Engagement.

Employee Satisfaction

Definition

Employee Satisfaction is the positive reaction employees have to their overall job circumstances, including their supervisors, pay and coworkers.

Details

When employees are satisfied, they tend to be:

  • Committed to their work.
  • Less absent and more productive in terms of quality of goods and services.
  • Connected with the organization’s values and goals.
  • Perceptive about being a part of the organization.

Metrics

The 5 metrics that gauge Employee Engagement in terms of Employee Satisfaction include:

  1. Receiving recognition for a job.
  2. Feeling close to people at work.
  3. Feeling good about working at the organization.
  4. Feeling secure about the job.
  5. Believing that the management is concerned about employees.

We take a look at another dimension central in significance.

Employee Commitment

Definition

Signifies what motivates the employees to do more than what’s in their job descriptions.

Details

Employee Commitment is much higher for the employees who identify with the organization.  This element:

  • Develops over time and is an outcome of shared experiences.
  • Is often an antecedent of loyalty.
  • Induces employees to guard the organization’s secrets.
  • Pushes employees to work for organization’s best interests.

Research has found that employees with the highest levels of commitment:

  • Perform 20% better.
  • Are 87% less likely to leave the organization.

Metrics

The 3 metrics that gauge the Employee Commitment dimension of Employee Engagement include:

  1. Commitment to deliver the brand promise along with knowledge of the brand.
  2. Very committed to delivering the brand promise.
  3. Feels like the organization has a great deal of personal meaning.

Interested in learning more about these foundational pillars to Employee Engagement? You can download an editable PowerPoint on 5 Dimensions of Employee Engagement here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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The 6 Pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) Thinking: A New and Revolutionary Way of Looking at Supply Chain Management

7 Aug

Supply chain thinking used to be limited to the managers of a few global companies—companies that were struggling to coordinate internal information and materials. This, however, led to an exciting boom in cross-business coordination based on Supply Chain Management concepts.

Today, the field has broadened and shifted over time. Current supply chain trends—differentiation, outsourcing, compression, and collaboration—are being used to restructure supply networks and improve coordination. As more companies integrate their networks, capabilities are improving. The levels of product customization and business complexity are also increasing. As this continues, Supply Chain Management is being used in new ways to create uniquely defined customer relationships anchored on appropriate Customer-centric Design.

The field of Supply Chain Management will continue to influence companies. The best way to understand the impact of a long-term trend is to examine how the trend has changed the way executives view their businesses and what issues they choose to focus on.

Rationale Behind Supply Chain Management

Supply Chain Management is the design, planning, execution, control, and monitoring of supply chain activities. It is the management of the flow of goods and services. Essentially, Supply Chain Management addresses the fundamental business problems of supplying products to meet demand in a complex and uncertain world.

Conceptually, Supply Chain Management draws on the value chain concept of business strategist, Michael E. Porter. It conveys the idea of looking at the supply chain issue at the multi-company level.

As the global business environment becomes more complex and competitive, there have been shorter product life cycles and greater product variety. Due to this, it has increased supply chain costs and complexity. The birth and growth of outsourcing, globalization, and business fragmentation has resulted in a crucial need for supply chain integration. Coupled with advances in information technology, this has led to the creation of greater opportunity for Supply Chain Management.

Why is Supply Chain Management essential at this time? There is now an increasing need to create net value, build a competitive infrastructure, leverage worldwide logistics, synchronizing supply with demand, and measure performance globally. Only Supply Chain Management has a systematic process to satisfy these increasing demands.

With the increasing application of Supply Chain Management, there have been shifts in the view of management and influencing Strategy Development.

The 6 Core Pillars of Supply Chain Management Thinking

The 6 Core Pillars of Supply Chain Management Thinking are the major shifts that have redefined management’s view which is far different from traditional Supply Chain thinking.

The first Core Pillar is Multi-company Collaboration. This is the shift from cross-functional integration to multi-company collaboration. Traditionally, Supply Chain thinking was focused on integrating within their companies. But with the new Supply Chain Management perspective, the focus now is on integrating across companies to coordinate and improve supply.

With the shift in thinking, what is asked now is how do we coordinate activities across companies, as well as across internal functions, to supply products to the markets. This is a great deviation from the traditional thinking which ask how do we get the various functional areas of the company to work together to supply product to our immediate customers.

With the first Core Pillar, we get to achieve significant breakthroughs. There are lower supply chain-related costs and improved responsiveness within a chain of companies.

The very essence of Multi-company Collaboration is rethinking how organizations align goals and make decisions.

The other Core Pillars are Market Mediation, Demand Focus, Product Design Influence, Business Model Innovation, and Customized Offerings. Each core pillar is considered an enabler that has a vast impact on Supply Chains.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the 6 pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) thinking? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about the 6 Pillars of Supply Chain Management (SCM) Thinking here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Cannot Close that Sale? Check-out Problem-centric Selling!

10 Jul

Nowadays, sales reps who get to close the sale are those sales reps who get to discover the customer’s real problems. With life getting more hectic and people always on the rush, customers only prefer to spend more on the phone with sales teams who “gets it.” These are the sales reps who do not only get to discover the customer’s real problem but also get to help them problem-solve in new ways.

Yet, a great number of salespersons miss closing the sale and reaching their quotas. In fact, in 2018, Salesforce found that more than 57% of sales representatives are expected to miss quotas for the year. This can be a challenge more so with organizations developing resolutions that revolve around increasing sales metrics and implementing new technologies.

The traditional method of selling is not enough anymore today. The first thing a client needs or wants does not necessarily solve the core problem. A new method is now necessary that will require salespeople to first diagnose the real problem before coming up with the solution. This comes with a new Customer-centric Design.

The Future of Sales: The Upcoming Trends Salespeople Must Watch Out For

A survey was conducted on more than 2,900 sales professionals worldwide. As a result of the survey, 5 Top Trends were revealed that are shaping up the world of sales. Two of these Top 5 Trends are changing sales mandate and the emergence of a Data-driven Sales Playbook.

  • Trend 1: As sales mandate change, teams are falling short of rising customer expectations. Technology is changing expectations on how companies should interact with consumers. It is now the salespeople who are on the frontline who are carrying the onus to deliver when customers demand more personalized consultative engagement. As a result, customer satisfaction has become the most-tracked sales Key Performance Indicator.
  • Trend 2: A Data-driven Sales Playbook is emerging. The ingenuity of salespeople with data-driven insights have been amplified. With the richness of data available, this has led to more effective methods of lead prioritization and forecasting.  There is now an increasing need for sales reps to prioritize leads based on data analysis rather than on intuition.

The effect of these Top 5 Trends has further been amplified with the increasing number of missed sales. Today, the traditional method of selling just does not work anymore.

A New Approach  to Selling: A Problem-centric Selling

The traditional method of selling is focused on determining the prospects’ needs. This does not work anymore as the first thing a client needs or wants does not necessarily solve their core problems. There is now the need to shift to Problem-centric Selling.

Problem-centric Selling is an approach that diagnoses problems with as much specificity as possible. Often, the real problem is not well articulated by the potential buyer. With Problem-centric Selling, the specific customer needs are well identified thus enabling salespeople to better offer the right product or service.  It is thus important to integrating the philosophy of Problem-centric Selling into your Sales Management approach.

The Problem-centric Selling is anchored on 5 core elements.

Problem diagnosis starts with knowing and understanding your customer and their problems. This is where the first core element is centered on: Know the key facts about the customer.

Salespeople must be able to get a description of the environment of which the buyer works, the processes they use, the structure of the organization, the tools they have, the current goals of the business, and other information about the buyer and the business. The facts gathered must go beyond the basic name, size of the company, and the industry the business is in. This way, the salesperson can get to establish the context for where the customers’ problems lie.

The other 4 Core Elements are essentially important in guiding every salesperson to master the Problem-centric Approach and hit that sale with a successful deal.

Interested in gaining more understanding of Problem-centric Selling? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Problem-centric Selling here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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Developing an Innovation Mindset: Investing on Technology is Never Enough

13 Apr

Organizations today are spending money on the latest technologies and working hard to solve problems as they arise. Yet, sad to say, this is simply not enough.

Today, to get on top of today’s fiercely competitive business environment, organizations need to take a strategic move: Develop an Innovation Mindset. What is an Innovation Mindset? What does it take to develop an Innovation Mindset? Often, this can be mindboggling as we get confused as to understanding what is an Innovation Mindset. Developing an Innovation Mindset is never the mere act or intent of investing in technology. It goes beyond spending money on the latest technology.

Developing an Innovation Mindset is to undergo the transformation from an innovation-averse to a forward-thinking organization.

Understanding an Innovation Mindset: What It Takes to Develop One

Developing an Innovation Mindset requires scaling innovations repeatedly and making it grow as fast as others. Companies need to depart from adopting technologies as point solutions to evolving future systems. This can be achieved by cultivating the mindset and methods of the top 10%.

The top 10% are the Leaders in Innovation Management that are already enjoying a considerable head start and are not standing still. The systems they have put in place are specifically designed to not only accommodate innovations but also scale them across the enterprise.

Developing an Innovation Mindset Starts with the Right Tools

To foster than Innovation Mindset, we need to put in place 5 key principles.

These 5 principles can provide organizations the foundation on developing Innovation Mindsets.  There first 2 are defined as:

  1. Adopt technologies that make the organization fast and flexible. Consumers now demand that companies are fast and flexible. The market is getting impatient when there are delays and so structured that it ceases to be an organization with a Customer-centric Design. Principle 1 focuses on making organizations fast and flexible. Achieving this call for efficient use of decoupling data, infrastructure, and applications to achieve greater flexibility and a faster-moving IT culture.
  2. Get grounded in cloud computing. This principle is focused on catalyzing innovation. Adopting this principle will enable organizations to maximize the use of the cloud to successfully utilize other technologies, including Artificial Intelligence and analytics.

There are 3 other principles that organizations must take notice of and focus on. The other 3 principles are recognizing data as being both an asset and a liability, managing technology investments well across the enterprise, and finding creative ways to nurture talent.
Integrating these principles in the organization’s journey towards Digital Transformation will promote the development of an Innovation Mindset. When this happens, we can expect our organization to keep up with the pace and catch up.

What Does It Take to Have an Innovation Mindset

Developing an Innovation Mindset has led leaders to take command and be in-charge of market demands. Leaders are adopting DevOps, automation, and continuous integration/continuous deployment at a faster rate than Laggards. Let us take a look at a Travel Industry disruptor. The company migrated its platform to microservice as part of decoupling initiatives.

As a result of taking this initiative, rapid response to change was achieved. This also enhanced its capability to add new features as the company experiences explosive growth.

Let us take a look at a more internationally recognized company: Ant Financial (formerly known as Alipay), the Alibaba Group’s financial arm. The organization embedded cloud services and AI across multiple processes and product lines. Furthermore, AI capabilities were offered to external ecosystem partners.

Today, Ant Financial can instantly assess the credit risks of underserved people who may not have bank accounts and even target them with loan offers. The overall cost was reduced by 50% and the company experienced a 10-fold increase in daily visitors.

Developing an Innovation Mindset is key.

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Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Best Practices: Your Guide to Driving Performance Improvements

18 Mar

More sophisticated managers explicitly use Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to promote cross-functional–not just vertical–alignment. For them, KPIs are the means and methods for rigorously defining and measuring the fundamentals that matter.

Why are KPIs important? If used effectively, KPIs can clearly track value creation and deliver value for its stakeholders – customers, employees, and investors.

KPIs are being used by organizations in different ways. Yet, there are clear and measurable differences that exist in terms of how it is being used. There are organizations that use KPIs to monitor and assess performance while there are those that use KPIs to guide and drive performance improvements. Data-driven and customer-oriented leaders use KPIs in practicing Customer-centric Design, while those more concerned with hitting their numbers remain focused on efficiencies.

There are 4 primary best practices for Key Performance Indicators that organizations should follow. These best practices are every organization’s guide to using KPIs to drive performance improvements.

The 4 KPIs Best Practices

The 4 KPI Best Practices can demonstrate the effective use of KPIs to reflect and illuminate the strategic priority of organizations.

  1. Focus on Customer Experience (CX). The first KPI Best Practice, Focus on Customer Experience is focused on an increased understanding of customers’ wants and needs. There is a renewed emphasis on learning more about users of products. The main objective of focusing on customer experience is turning customers into brand advocates and evangelists. When KPIs are focused on customers beyond the sales funnel, this encourages an organization to realign itself around sharing, coordination, and collaboration.
  2. Identify Top KPIs. When top KPIs are identified, it is basically identifying the priority KPIs. Doing this requires identifying the appropriate number of KPIs to prioritize. There are guide questions than can help organizations in the prioritization of the KPIs. One of the questions can be “Is there a consensus on how KPIs affirm and support strategy? Another significant question can be one that points to how directly the functional KPIs contribute to enterprise success. When going through this process, it is important that leaders understand how KPIs interrelate and align.
  3. Foster Enterprise-wide Discussion of KPIs. A very critical Best Practice, the third KPI Best Practice is focused on reinforcing the company’s culture. In fostering enterprise-wide discussion of KPIs, KPIs must be central to leadership conversations around driving organizational behavior and change. It is not merely an assessment tool. If KPIs are not front and center at a management meeting, there is something wrong with the meeting, the management, or the KPIs.
  4. Treat KPIs as Special Class Data. Treat KPIs as Special Class Data is the fourth KPI Best practice that is essential in process transformation and automation. Organizations must understand that data and analytics are the raw ingredients of KPIs. KPIs special class as a data asset will become even more important as they become an input to ML algorithm and process automation. In the years to come, organizations can expect that data capability that supports more complex KPIs will become a source of competitive advantage.

What Matters Most

It is very clear that KPIs play a vital role in directing the priorities of organizations. With the changing global economy, organizations have been recognizing the importance of Customer Focus. In fact, it has taken a priority seat and identified as the top KPI by executives.

But does this hold true to all organizations? Identifying top KPIs is important but organizations must know the right way to identify the appropriate number of KPIs and prioritize them. It is important to note that KPIs must align well with the organization’s internal processes with its external customer behaviors.

Customer Focus is a priority, but is it also your priority KPI?

Interested in gaining more understanding of the KPI best practices? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) Best Practices here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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