Welcome to the January 2009 issue of Alignment Solutions! With several exciting projects underway, we expect 2009 to be an exhilarating year! To keep you up to date with what Business Alignment Strategies is doing, we will use this newly re-named section of the newsletter to announce changes or additions to our business. Check here each month to see how we can help contribute to your success!
We are pleased to announce the launch a new article series called Research News You Can Use. Each month in this section you will find the name of the topic, a brief comment about it, and a link to the article on the Business Alignment Strategies web site. While researchers study topics that have important implications for organizational success, their work often is overlooked because of the theoretical or academic language in which they report their findings. Drawing on our unique experience in both the corporate world and in academia, we select timely topics and show you how to apply relevant research findings in practical ways to create immediate results in your organization.
January Topic: The High Cost of Laissez-faire Leadership
Premise: Organizations whose leaders refuse to engage in important
This month's theme is "the big picture." A major mistake I continue to see executives and business owners make is not identifying and communicating clearly the organization's "big picture" - i.e., the value it provides to its customers. Without knowing what the intended outcome is, employees cannot successfully support it. When customers do not see the value of your products or services, you cannot optimize business results.
The Feature Article, "What's YOUR Business?," highlights the significant disparities between a customer-focused (value-based) approach and an organization-focused (activity-based) approach by providing examples of each perspective. Your answers to the questions we pose may cause you to re-think the way you define your business.
In "How to Ensure Customers and Employees Recognize Your Organization's Value," the Business Solutions section offers specific suggestions about how to obtain valuable information about whether your customers and employees recognize the value your organization provides. The results can be eye-opening.
In the Personal Solutions section, "What's Your Personal 'Big Picture'?" makes the case for the importance of knowing your own big picture and suggests a resource that will help you create or re-visit one.
I invite you to visit my web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com to find other articles and resources that may be of value to you and your colleagues. I welcome your feedback!
What's YOUR Business?
What do you say when asked what your organization does? Do you respond by telling people what products or services you provide, or by describing the organization? Or do you tell them what you can do for them? How do your employees reply to inquiries about your organization?
Before they can optimize business results, executives and employees need to recognize the significance of the value that their organization provides its customers. This requires them to see the "big picture" - i.e., the organization's ultimate purpose. My observation, however, is that many executives and business owners either have not clearly defined the value they provide to customers, or they have failed to communicate that value to their employees. Instead, people at every level focus on what the organization does or is rather than what value it provides. The difference is more than semantics: how an organization defines itself communicates its value to potential customers. Further, this definition shapes the way employees approach their jobs, and ultimately, it affects the company's potential for success.
To illustrate the significant disparities that result from viewing an organization in terms of what it is or what its employees do, versus the value it provides, consider the following examples. First, assume someone asks you or your employees the question, "What is your business?" Then consider the following possible responses, which are based on information found on each organization's website:
A major international airline:
A hair salon education consulting company:
The fundraising division of a charitable organization
Now answer these questions:
As the answers to these questions indicate, defining and communicating clearly the value your organization provides are critical success factors to optimizing business results. Are those factors present in your organization?
For tips on how to determine whether your customers and employees fully understand the value your organization provides, please see the Business Solutions section of this newsletter.