May 26, 2006
News & Opinion: The Power Core
For customer zealots, its important to know what the company power core isAnd if the power core is committed to customers.
Common sense, right? Not so much. Because this is often the muck thats stepped in as brave zealots charge ahead into the corporate fray determined to make things right for customers. Im sure youll recognize this
Every company has a power core. It is usually the strongest skill set in the company, the strongest strength of senior executives. Information Technology (IT) for example; is a central base of power in many organizations now because of the pull they have in defining the corporate agenda due to budget and how dependant the corporate machine is on what they deliver. So the way that IT prioritizes things will have an impact on where the customer stuff falls on that list. Lets say you have a product power core company. This is where product development is the most important product resources and product leaders get the most play, the most glory, the most reco gnition and the most resources. Customerswell, sure they get the products. But are the products built from the customers point of view? Is the experience of receiving the product and the post-product experience the right one? A product power core may only be thinking of the product itselfnot the customer who buys it or uses it or the field force who has to service or explain it or the operator who must field calls about it. The insular nature of the company power core often gets in the way of building an experience for customers that is meaningful.
Knowing what the company Power Core is and engaging those whose finger is on the power button is critical to driving and transforming a company to have lasting customer focus. Why? Because customer focus will mean tampering with the normal flow of priorities from the Power Core. Those leading the customer effort MUST ask the Power Core to the transformation dance. Heck, the Power Core has to take a lead in actively redefining the priorities of the corporation for the corporation.
Most people leading the customer charge dont think this through. Often the customer effort begins when bad survey results came in, or the President decides its now (finally, at last, or once again) a major priority. This audible from leadership is assumed to be important enough to be the driving force to get people to line up and take action. But its not. Everyone will salute the flag all right. But real change wont happen until the impact of how company priorities need to shift, how resources need to be reallocated, and how success needs to be redefined is agreed to by those in the Power Core who are currently calling the shots. And THIS is one of the maj or reasons why many, many customer efforts crash and burn. The Power Core hasnt been asked to the dance.
In most companies the power core lies is one of these seven:
- Product Power Core
- IT information technology Power Core
- Sales Power Core
- Marketing Power Core
- Vertical discipline (such as doing the business of a bank, or health care, or insurance) Power Core
- Customer Power Core
Lets talk about your company Power Core and how it is impacting your companys ability to focus on customers and customer profitability.
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.