It’s amazing how little we actually focus on ‘people’ in business in spite of the fact that its people who make everything happen. An organisation exists because of its staff, partners, customers and other stakeholders i.e. people. The value proposition of any organisation, and any industry, is totally dependent on the people involved.
Yet organisations do not put enough emphasis on understanding the people involved in their business eco-system. Business strategy development still appears to be using the classical approach having a ‘USP’—unique selling proposition—from a product perspective. Not that this is wrong. But given the massive behavioral changes that has occurred in the last decade, not acknowledging the impact of those changes, in business strategy is akin to ignoring reality.
Globally behaviour of people, across countries and across socio-economic strata, has changed vastly. Impacted by the global financial crises and the rapid proliferation and use of social media people are now interacting more and more as interest-based communities.
How does this affect organisations?
With business growth opportunities shifting towards Asia & Africa, organisations are now faced with understanding what the new consumer behaviours is like in these new markets. Within such vast markets the end consumers’ behavioral patterns differ across and within countries. Simultaneously, organisations have had to look at on-boarding knowledge workers and millenials in their work-force in order to manage this growth. Knowledge workers and millenials have different behaviours based on age, experience and environmental background.
So today the need of the hour for organisations is to take on board how these diverse behaviours from the people connected to their business, are affecting their performance and acceptance of their brands. Internally these behaviours impact the work culture within an organisation. This culture, in turn, manifests externally, and focuses on the way relationships are built with the external stakeholders.
- Leadership & Engagement:
The people or staff of an organisation is the physical manifestation of that organisation. The behaviours the staff displays are, in essence, a representation of the organisation’s culture and values. This brings to fore an emphasis, for the organisation, on its leadership & employee-engagement.
Increasingly the demand on leadership is becoming one of creating influence and social buy-in. or in other words, developing engagement based on aligning personal values and mission (of an employee) with that of the organisation.
Leading to having, as far as possible, engaged and happy employees in order to ensure the organisational brand is seen as delivering authentic value.
Engagement leads to having the employees at the center of the overall brand experience. This focus involves understanding the organisational culture prevailing, discussing change areas if needed, fine-tuning desired behaviour and communicating it to the employees in a manner that brings about acceptance. Active involvement of employees becomes critical as without this the brand vision and brand delivery cannot be achieved.
So what can organisations do?
Focusing on people means re-calibrating how business strategy is approached.
Instead of a product-centric approach, one has to move into a people-centric or behaviour oriented approach that fits the environment. This is best summed up in the diagram below taken from Dr. Jonathan Wilson’s talk—
‘The Quest for Transformational Leadership & Brand Singularity’.
In my humble opinion this is among the best and simplistic explanations of how an organisation can be successful when their strategies fit the environment i.e. taken into account the entire behavioral patterns of their eco-system.