Innovation, culture, purpose, values , mission and vision; it’s all important …more important than what your competition is doing right now…
The second commandment of the Value Innovators Creed is
“Thou shall not overly focus on thy competitors for fear thy might forget who thy is…or worse yet not ever become anything because of thy’s insatiable obsession with ‘beating the competition.’
Value innovation demands an awareness of the competitive benefits/elements provided by each competitor within one’s industry as well as, the knowing that competitors are not the benchmark nor is the goal of business to ‘beat the competition.’
Certainly, in our understanding of the competitive landscape; value curves, strategy canvases and competitive landscape matrixs come in handy, but today I want to talk about the heart and soul of value.
Value innovators understand the competition but they never succumb to the false belief that success is tied to one-upping the competition, they understand the heart and soul of value.
Value is all about providing the people you serve; your internal and external stakeholders; your tribe with life enhancing, transformational solutions at an exchange that is darn right unbelievable.
Value innovators do not view competitors as benchmarks to success, they do not spend idle moments in their car worrying about how to one –up the competition rather they focus on QUANTUM LEAPS IN VALUE TO ENHANCE LIVES!
So, if value innovators aren’t obsessing about their competitors what do they obsess about you ask?
Well let’s think about a recent value innovator; Barack Obama. Okay, I admit I am totally smitten with this man. A real leader, someone who believes in diplomacy, who get’s modern technology, understands tribes and how to galvanize them, who is not only brilliant but hard working? Oh my gosh; if only we could clone him! Now seriously Obama is an innovator and he ‘gets’ value. Think about what he did. He focused on his ideal, his vision, his tribe, it’s values and he galvanized a movement around something bigger than anything you and I have been involved with; a movement to change the world…NOW!
Innovators understand people want something to believe in and that life is all about connection and making a difference; adding value to each other’s earthly experience is the heart and soul of value.
Most of you don’t know, but I spent about 15 years of my business ownership career growing a tribe of 30,000 clients a week served by over 500 associates; yes it was a tad wild. I owned a chain of hair salons and a hair care line and no I am not a hairdresser; but I love the energy and vitality of the salon environment and I cherished the opportunity to lead a tribe of all out crazies in our movement to change lives; one by one!
Now over the years as a business owner I’ve made just about every mistake you can make in the department of value, innovation and culture; but guess what I learned a whole heck of a lot; and slowly but surely my tribe taught me alot about the heart and soul of adding value to others.
Who you are-matters more than who the competition is. Period, end of story.
What is your core idea- ideal ? (Obama’s was change) Why does your venture, team, company exist? What is the essence; the big picture; the future you are intent on creating and want us to help you achieve? What is your daily purpose; mission and by goodness what are the values you and your team commit to living as you rock our world?
At our company the team worked tirelessly for years to re-engineer the culture to one of high value. It began with clarity of purpose, passionately held values and the commitment to hiring and developing team players who were as passionate about making people look and feel their best, as I was. I wanted a team that sweated customer service, who lived the golden rule. Whose life values were to honor, respect and connect with every human being as if it was God herself showing up for a haircut.
The heart and soul of value; treat every opportunity, every client as if he or she was and is god; because really they are.
Once the team created our vision, mission and values our leaders were empowered to develop the action plans to make our company resonate true to what we stood for, who we wanted to be and where we were going.
Operations created decision making tools with the mission and values to teach our salon leaders, most of whom had not been to college, how to be empowered decision makers who aligned daily, moment by moment actions with the culture of the tribe. Our education department (I led this initiative for years) developed rocking customer service and personal development training materials to enhance the lives of all of our internal stakeholders. Marketing went to work listening to clients. I cannot say this enough; LISTEN TO clients; yours, others; people at large they will help you identify high value opportunities. They will tell you what’s working, what’s not and if you really connect you will intuitively see and know what people around you, need next to enhance their journey on this earth, even if they can’t tell you.
god's talking is anyone listening?
Finally, all departments came together and engaged the entire tribe in understanding what marketing had learned about our clients wants and needs. We identified 10 criteria that were key to salon loyalty and our tribe galvanized itself to integrate these criterion into everything we did. We then developed ongoing 24/7 client and tribe dialogue tools and asked everyone to give us feedback and interact with us daily.
Can I tell you what? It took months and to be honest years ,of work but prior to selling this $18M dollar company to an international competitor our 40 units were averaging daily customer service ratings of 8.5-9.3. We consistently rocked our clients worlds! We rocked value. Because we were crystal clear on who we were, the quantum value we wanted to provide and we did it we didn't sit around and obsess about the salon down the street!
You see; value is all about getting more than one expects.
Don’t make the competition your bench mark of success.
Do; keep your eyes on clients and your team.
Look for quantum leaps that will allow your team to WOW clients with a high value innovation that creates client loyalty.
Because the heart and soul of value is-clients are god.
Making a difference, wowing someone’s life is the greatest feeling in the world…