There is a powerful relationship between culture and growth. David Altounian, the Associate Dean of Academic Programs and the MBA director at the Bill Monday School of Business at Saint Edwards and Linda Ginac, CEO of TalentGuard, share their perspective on culture, a fundamental part of the axle component within the Circle of Traction, the framework presented in Fast-Track Your Business. Listen in as they give their thoughts on the impact of a customer-centric culture on growth.
“One of the things that I’m very concerned about is: as the digital transformation has taken off, people have focused more on the downstream marketing of digital marketing – the messaging, Google ad words, social media marketing, really good on the metrics of how you do ad placement,” said David. “And they’ve lost some of the fundamental basics of market segmentation, product market fit, some of the really important meat and potatoes that if you don’t get them right, how good you are at understanding the metrics doesn’t matter. Fast-Track Your Business explores how you do the baseline work to make sure that your market strategy upstream is strong enough to support the downstream, and that the messages and pieces you put together are going to be critical for the customers you’re targeting.”
“The better you are at identifying the customers, and the needs of those customers, and delivering them, and then doing the downstream to target them in the right place, the more profit you deliver while you also delight the customer. The Circle of Traction framework in the book provides really, really specific direction and guidance of how to do that. And I think it’s probably one of the best tools right now.”
As David continued to present his remarks, he highlighted that, “growth has a huge impact on culture. People like working for growing, successful teams and they have a hard time dealing with decline. And so, you know, culture and growth are very close together. One of the benefits of growth is it helps attract talent, funds, investment and you know, clearly drives increased profits.
“For all this to work, the most important thing in trying to start on the value equation is understanding the customer, the customer is the beginning of everything. Of what, you know, what is going to drive demand, what’s going to drive you know, lower marketing costs because you have word of mouth. What can drive higher marketing costs because of word of mouth. I mean I think you really have to pay attention to that.
“Customer-centric companies do really, really well. Customer-centricity means knowing who they are, knowing what they want, knowing where they get the information, knowing what they value, knowing what they’re willing to pay. And that doesn’t happen just by talking to people or by osmosis. It takes process. And I think Fast-Track Your Business lays out a really easy to follow guidebook of how to do that.
“There’s two pieces that [Laura Patterson, President of VisionEdge Marketing,] has in the book that I think are super powerful. One is this concept of a circle of traction and all the pieces around that. But most important is this hub. And in the hub is organization and culture. People in skills, infrastructure and tools. And then the actual data. And I think having all those pieces, and then knowing how to use them is critical to driving a successful, growing business and having it in a way that you can easily follow – it is really powerful. Her book sets out a structure and a set of frameworks to create customer-friendly, customer-desired products, and to do it in a profitable way. To have a tool that is easy to use, easy to read, easy to follow, and actually have action-oriented things in there is, is rare today.”
Linda Ginac joined the conversation with these key ideas. “When I actually got the early copy of the book, I was really excited because in the book, even though it says be customer-centric, when I read that book, I thought, “Oh my God, every CEO, every HR person needs to read it because she’s not really talking about customer-centricity, even though it really is. But it’s really about how do you focus on data to drive transformation in your own organization, to drive transformation with your employees, to help the employees understand transformation within the customer environment. And I mean, I really took that to heart.
“So how do we engage our employees around the customer’s mission? There are two things that go hand in hand and they’re really inseparable. So I always say, well, I put talent first and if I put talent first and the customers first, but really it’s about who are the customers that you’re serving? What is that real pain point? What does that need that it’s going to help you grow your company in and keep it growing and keep customers coming back. You want your employees to be as passionate about the customer solution as you are. And that is a culture thing. And when that happens, when they believe that they’re winning and they’re contributing and that they’re, you know, they’re a part of the customer solution, other people want to be part of that too.”