Monthly Archives: December 2018

Building a business culture: Why it matters

Culture is not soft talk. It is a strategic tool. Beyond good climate and relationships, it should be made to promote the business and its goals.

Culture directs in some unobtrusive and continuous way the company’s people as to how they should think, behave, and act.

Because of that, it is of major importance to any company. It follows then that a company should not leave, by lack of proper action, its culture to develop randomly and multiply at the hands of the informal power groups in it. In building a culture, a company should find it more practical to think of it as having two distinct natures:

a)      The relationship nature – This helps to hold the company people together in the best possible harmony and it has as building elements universal principles like honesty, humanity, ethics, good manners etc.. When successful, it promotes trust, understanding, and cooperation and becomes the foundation stone on which to build the next level, the business nature of culture, that follows.

b)      The business nature – This promotes the company’s strategic intent and serves to direct the business emphasis on particular business issues like on efficiency or on customer relations or on innovation and new products. When successful, it directs and aligns people towards the company’s goals.

Each of the two parts by itself cannot give a whole meaning to business culture. To have (a) alone, it would be like operating a societal club which requires its members to respect some principles that hold the members together. Without implying that such bonding is of secondary importance, it alone doesn’t sufficiently serve the purpose for which business exists.

Equally important for the company, it is that its people share the same direction in the [...]

By |December 20th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

Ten tips on how to listen to customers

Listening to the customer is a critical part in making a company’s strategic marketing. Companies exist because of their customers whom they must keep satisfied by translating their wants and needs into designs of products and services.

But, knowing the customer wants is not an easy matter. Customer likes and wishes are always changing by what they see and hear in their immediate environment, or from what they see and hear in other industries, or even in markets in other countries. Their expectations are constantly being set higher and higher, and what pleased them before, is perceived of less value today.

Furthermore, the inertia factor comes in for some companies that seem uwilling to make the necessary effort; they hear the customer concerns once when they start the business, and not enough later. Their emphasis is on production, costs, and efficiency ignoring the customer changing wants. But the customers, when their turn comes, will ignore them too.

To get closer to customers, to know and understand their needs and expectations, companies have to listen to them and do so attentively in a structured way. Here below, we offer 10 tips with a brief explanatory note for each.

1.      Salespeople

Should be trained to understand the business and act as the company’s eyes and ears so as to sense the market field and bring back in the company useful feedback

2.      Frontline staff (Points of sales) or complaints handling staff

Should similarly be trained to observe customer behavior during transactions remaining open to receive customer feedback, and serve as collectors of ideas of what the company should be redoing better, and more effectively and innovatively

3.      Management field visits

Managers themselves should, when necessary, go out for firsthand feedback and new ideas, visit key [...]

By |December 10th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|

A utility-based approach to behavior

People’s behavior can be categorized according to the utility factor that represents them.

The utility factor is the extent to which their behavior is governed by what they give or take and varies between two extremes:

The external utility focus which is the value they seek to obtain from other people and
The internal utility focus which is the reverse and is the value they themselves are eager and willing to give to others

These two poles create between them a continuum of behaviors, the interexternal utility focus space where people seek to find for themselves an optimum combination between what they seek to take from others and what at the same time they are willing to give to others; the varying combination of the two puts people on different points on the continuum line closer to one pole or the other.

Some examples to make the points clearer:

a)      External utility focus people: They tend to approach, communicate, and associate only with people that have a meaning for them and that can serve and enhance their purpose, while they show a tendency to ignore the rest.

People in this group act very selfishly and may, in the end, find themselves being characterised as egoists.

b)      Internal utility focus people: They tend to make themselves available to be approached by other people that may need them and are open to offering freely their knowledge and advice to help others become better.

These people are altruistic idealists mostly endowed with great knowledge like gurus that have reached a climax in their field and who are kindly disposed to helping others.

c)      Interexternal utility focus people: This group covers the space in between the two poles. The people here are spread along the continuum line [...]

By |December 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|0 Comments|