What is the sustainable value of your organization? Where does creating a sustainable corporate culture of quality fit into your financial goals?
There may be a disconnect. There doesn’t need to be.
When I asked about sustainable value, you probably think of your bottom line. You equate sustainable value with the success of your business development and sales folks. Discussion about creating sustainable value, incorporating a culture which empowers your staff to focus on quality, gets you thinking about your IT and engineering staff.
When it comes to driving revenue and creating sustainable value throughout for your organization, the sales-engineering disconnect is over, or at least it can be. That mantra is driven home by an excellent case study of how a legacy company, Dow Corning, incorporates innovation, quality and efficiency into its sustainable value proposition of continuously improving on delivery of world-class products and services.
Your company may not be anywhere close to becoming a legacy company. However, there is no reason not to incorporate a culture of sustainable value to yourself, your colleagues and your customers. I like to think that there is an element of entrepreneurship in any company, large or small. Even divisions or departments of large legacy companies can function with nimbleness and flexibility, becoming innovative and entrepreneurial in the process. Quality must have a place in your output and revenue outcomes. Otherwise there is no sustainable value, or sustainable value proposition.
Carly Fiorina, in a recent interview with the WSJ, talked about various levels of “success” in entrepreneurship. She mentioned that many entrepreneurs define success as getting funded, getting acquired, and flipping the company. Ms. Fiorina talks about a higher level of success: getting the product and company going and selling something to someone. She calls this a “sustainable value proposition.”
The sustainable value proposition sounds a lot like how any small business was founded. It takes guts, assumption of risk, a lot of bootstrapping, and finding those customers who believe in you. Sustainable value propositions mean your customers sustain you, and the economy, by continuing to buy your products, services, and platforms. That’s the kind of business model that impacts economic recovery.
In order to create a corporate culture of sustainable value and quality, the first order of business may be to poke holes in some of those departmental silos so that workflow runs horizontally. So does collaboration. Sustainable value and quality isn’t created or maintained in a vacuum. The last time I checked, a steady stream of cross-functional collaboration was required.
In order to create a corporate culture of sustainable value, quality must be part of your customer discovery and product development process from day one. Your quality folks require a place at your business table to maintain your business’s sustainability.
Think what happens when everyone seated around the table works collaboratively towards sustainable value. That’s a business model worth exploring.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers, LLC, traverses the sales-engineering interface®, bringing entrepreneurial mojo to small and mid-sized businesses in the manufacturing and service sectors. She builds revenue-producing business strategies for technical startups. She provides you and your colleagues with an arsenal of collaboration tools and communication skills required for today’s globally competitive marketplace. This post was created as part of the ASQ Influential Voices series. Her book on collaboration, Do YOU Mean Business?, is now available in eReader format. Download her newest White Paper at her Free Resources Page.