A corporate culture value proposition articulates how your organization’s building blocks and your engaged employees create and drive value – not only through your own organization but also into your customers’ organizations.
There are multiple definitions of the term “corporate culture”, I always return to MIT Sloan School of Management Emeritus Professor Edgar Schein’s seminal definition: “a pattern of shared basic assumptions that the group learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.”
Corporate cultures are not static. They exist to define and perpetuate your organizations. In order to grow, expand and sustain your company, your corporate culture delivers value. Is it time to create your corporate culture value proposition?
I define a corporate culture value proposition as execution on the statement articulating the tangible and intangible benefits a customer receives throughout the process of deciding to, and engaging in, doing business with your company. This definition combines the standard “selling” value proposition with strong consideration of how the entire process impacts customer experience. ~ Babette Ten Haken
Customer touchpoints are building blocks for your corporate culture value proposition.
At the end of the day, how do your customers feel about working with your company?
Do customers develop a strong sense that every employee, including leaders, understands and delivers on those corporate culture “shared basic assumptions?” Do you retain customers because they appreciate that your own organization has taken the time to solve “its problems of external adaptation and internal integration?” (Edgar Schein quotation, above)
Your goal, in building a corporate culture of worth, is for each customer, post implementation, to be able to clearly articulate the value that your organization delivers to them. Your goal is for customers to clearly understand that each internal department of your company is keenly aware of their relationship to the processes, procedures, value creation and value delivery created by all other departments.
When customers develop a strong sense of your organization’s departmental empathy and cross-functional synergy, you create a compelling case to do business with you. When your internal customers, your employees, are engaged in continuously delivering cultural value at each customer touchpoint, your customers become evangelists for you in the marketplace.
Your Corporate Culture Value Proposition is not strictly transactional.
Focus your company on wall-to-wall engagement when creating and delivering value to customers. Understand and value the additive importance of each step in your value creation process. Move your organization beyond seeing customers as transactional endpoints.
When internal customers (employees) engage and deliver to external customers (clients), your relationships become refined and granular. As product and service delivery, in turn, become more customized to each customer, your organization and your customers start to “know” each other at a deeper level.
When your employees are engaged with each other throughout the entire project (instead of when it is “their turn to do their job”), your company creates innovative solutions and enduring business outcomes for your customers.
Your Corporate Culture Value Proposition reflects Your Corporate Culture.
Here’s the sticking point. You simply can’t create a sensational-sounding corporate culture value proposition if your organization is unable to walk that talk. Your customers will see right through that spiel after the first project.
Are your employees skeptical about how they can deliver value to customers because either they do not understand how their own job creates value or they lack the skills to do so? Then there is a chink in your corporate culture armor.
If your business model perpetuates in-fighting between departmental fiefdoms, value creation will be inconsistent from one department to the next.
The choice is yours. Consider the process, discipline and mindset involved in walking the talk of a corporate culture value proposition.
This project may be just what is needed to get you “unstuck” and move your business forward.
Babette N. Ten Haken is a strategist, analyst, author and blogger. Her focus: the interrelationship between teams, leadership and culture in technology and manufacturing. Her Workshops target excellence in the execution of strategy. Babette began her career in clinical research where she was asked to bring clarity to stalemated cross-functional conversations. Her Playbook of collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.