Customer engagement

Tear up your strategy – if your customers are tearing their hair out

Think about this. Its simple, and true.

Based on the kind of experience that consumers have with a company selling products/ services to them, these consumers will categorise that company as one of: 

Category 1 – A company they love. They willingly visit and purchase from the company’s product mix, over and over.

Category 2 – A company they are fairly indifferent about. They purchase from these kind of companies without much inner emotive rumblings, whether positive or negative..

Category 3 – A company they detest. At every opportunity, customers will deliberately avoid the offerings of these companies. Customers pull their hair out over these companies’ failures.

Can your company answer two related questions here, and would your leadership understand the dangers of the answers it may unearth?

  1. “In which category do your customers see your company?”, and
  2. “Does your company know what its customers would answer here?”

Do your customers experience your company like this?Listen up, companies in category 3. Your customers are not real customers. They are not even close to being customers. Real customers want to support your business. Instead, people who detest your company are your detractors, AND they are highly efficient broadcasters of your slack company and its failings. For one thing, the age of social media makes that broadcast possible, making both customers and detractors powerful.

Whether intended or not, all companies – of all sizes – are owners of brand. Some companies become big well-known brands because they get their business alignment right, and with heavy primary focus on a great relationship with their target market consumers.

However, other companies fade away and never became brand-of-choice because they fail somewhere, and sometimes miserably, in the roll-out of their strategy. Their churn of clients is high, and that is a very expensive way of maintaining a client base. These companies have poor brand.

There is an irony here. Detractors who are pulling their hair out over a company’s failures are simultaneously a hidden gift to that company. Acknowledged speedily, these people are early warning indicators. They are fundamental opportunities to pull things right in the company, but that window of opportunity to improve is narrow and can be fleeting. Complaining customers and detractors are letting the company know that it is not aligned. They are telling the business that its strategy is wrong, and that the distributions to, and engagement of, its clients are also wrong. It is also highly likely that the processes and agility of this kind of business are poor.

Further listen up … category 2 companies who are potentially shifting towards becoming category 3. Companies that start getting it wrong for a protracted time will ultimately face a growing army of detractors (unhappy ex-clients). These companies require a new strategy. Unfortunately, this can require brand re-development to shift away from the failed brand. Hand-in-hand comes product re-development, process re-engineering and very often new staff. Employees don’t often stick around waiting for happy days to return when all they have for job-satisfaction is the constant wrath of clients. Cost escalation in a business correcting its failing business model is way better than potential profit obliteration in a company refusing to improve.

The simple truth here is: if your company is not in category 1 above, your company has issues with its business alignment. In some companies a growth or shrinkage phase can drive unforeseen misalignment, in others it could be symptoms arising out of merger activities, and in other companies it could dangerously be the result of apathy.

Shifting to become a category 1 company listed above will require a strategy underpinned by alignment in culture, operations, processes, supply & demand chains management, marketing and customer engagement.

Is it time to review how your company meets these business alignment criteria?

Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can  assist your company to accurate business alignment and better profitability

Invite us to an open discussion with your executive and management team.
In under one hour we’ll provide insights that your company will find extremely valuable.

Contact us  

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Telephone: +27 (0)11 792 5394

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The business alignment that drives profit-focussed culture into companies

Do you know of, or has your company, become a business that has entered into a cost-cutting culture to survive and impress shareholders? This cost-cutting culture manifestation is an alarming trend. Its beyond the health of cost-awareness – that’s something that every business needs in its skills base and is important. However, cost-cutting, is the quintessential graveyard for companies. This is where the following vitals come to die:  innovation that drives new market positioning, additional market penetration, company sustainability, workforce engagement, lateral leadership thinking, and profitability.

Whats the spark in your company?

The modern economic playing fields are being successfully inhabited by companies driving a razor- sharp edge in technology, innovation, engagement and ground-breaking product and service delivery. They possess predator vision, lethal strategy and ignited execution of that strategy with highly engaged staff. Their honed processes which deliver their strategies cease to amaze.

Yet there are other companies insistent on sticking to their status-quo (being so archaic that they even lose the status part). Sure, cost-cutting drives a sense of profitability in the short-term, there is no denying that. However, companies stuck in observing the “now”, and who aren’t aware of what is happening across the horizon, head down the road of cost-cutting as a means of survival.

The reality is that visionary businesses are instead looking way beyond the next income statement and lists of costs to cut. They behave like our wildlife migrations here in Africa. They know that long-term survival is about heading to where the rains are, not drinking less water where the rains are not.

So how do leaders head their companies to where the rains are? They embrace innovation and alignment. This is the discipline of creating a profit-focussed culture in your company that meets the demands of a great strategy.

Companies who need more bottom-line profit, need more sales. Sales with higher margin. Not just the same-old-same-old sales….but driving new sales, new ways of getting to market, new products, and new service levels. Sales people who have any value to your organisation are the ones that drive this process relentlessly, backed up by a marketing effort that makes your company and its offerings like honey to bees. Marketing, in turn, is backed up by the operations units who systematically drive exceptional quality and delivery turnaround that sets a standard for competitors to chase. They literally impose the brand value.

Behind all this, it is fundamental to nurture, and acknowledge the value of those staff who are relentlessly dedicated to the company; those staff who have hungered to be with you, even when times were tough and organisational happiness may have been in short supply.

In a nutshell, an aligned profit-focussed culture business looks like this:

  • Leaders with an organisational vision that is articulated, common-to-the-group, and achievable.
  • An embedded, communicated, and aligned strategy that supports the vision.
  • A trained, skilled and tooled workforce backed up by seamless processes and “success-no-matter-what” dynamics
  • Leaders who hold their dedicated staff close, but hold their slackers to account. Without exception.
  • Leaders who provide dedicated staff a freedom. Freedom that stimulates innovative ideas to drive sales, efficiencies and mind-blowing great service. And the slackers get freedom as well. For them it is called “The Exit”.

Creating an aligned culture with a predatory eye on profit is actually really good fun to be immersed in. It frees leadership and management of the pain of nay-sayers and slackers; provides the company with the healthy focussed nucleus of a self-motivated, self-believing, achieving team who by their nature will take the company to where the rains are. Where the grazing is good, and where the culture looks out for the organisation and its people’s wellbeing.

The amazing end result is that this alignment in your culture drives the capability to sell your products or services at higher margins. Now, isn’t that a good way off from the alternative of crocodiles lurking in the danger waters of cost-cutting?

How clear is your company’s vision? Has it been properly adjusted, focussed and backed up with impressive strategy?

Contact us if you would like to know more about organisational vision and how business alignment can assist your company to better profitability.

Business alignment

Invite us to an open discussion with your executive and management team.
In under one hour we’ll provide insights that your company will find extremely valuable.

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Issues that make companies fail their earnings & growth potential, and make leaders collapse

There is a destructive phenomenon in this new reality of “permanent” recessionary times.
Its called collapse.

Business collapse symptoms look like this:click here to read more about these symptoms

  • Businesses are less in control of themselves, losing market share, and shedding brand value.
  • Executives wilting under stress – functionally, medically and financially.
  • Companies not seeing the light of day under a certain strategy.
  • Employees disengaging at an accelerating rate, and even moving on.
  • Shareholders demanding more returns out of a stretched organisation and don’t get them.

Beyond the business environment, the tentacles of this collapse reach into socio-personal lives contributing to fragmented personal relationships, parents spending less time with family, children in therapy, breadwinners medicated to cope. The list goes on, and doesn’t get any better.

So what options exist other than the business carrots dangled out there churning “the next big thing”? Is it the expansive growth being seen in Africa, China, and India, or is it the bigger C-suite remuneration package that supposedly compensates ludicrous work-stress.

Take notice of the word “work-stress”. This is not the word “workload”. The stress from work is because C-suite and other management are in a sandwich being crushed vertically trying to cope with:

Upward pressure from:

  • workforces demonstrating lower appetite for productivity, and
  • higher demands from clients for price competitiveness, expedient supply, and quality of both product and engagement;

and downward pressure from:

  • boards wanting higher earnings, and
  • management battling to articulate strategy and relevant organisational culture.

The underlying cause is the lack of business alignment.

Business alignment is lost when setbacks away from strategy distract the time and minds of leaders. This lack of direction filters rapidly down into the workforce who then indulgently escape measurement and accountability in the midst of the misalignment chaos.

The sad outcome is these misaligned businesses fail to deliver on high profitability and high potential.

This failure is a result of cause-driven and/ or effect-driven misalignment.

A cause-driven misalignment is the failure to create strategy correctly and then veering from the company vision. Direction is lost, driving an eternal catch-up like a dog chasing its tail. The evidence of cause-driven misalignment is the business energy is now focussed into this whirling and putting out of “fires” – instead of being applied into higher sales initiatives, better engagement innovations, seamless process developments, and better quality followed up with stronger market penetration and reaping a better profitability.

An effect-driven misalignment is a failure to relentlessly stick to good strategy. Here energy is simply not applied in high doses. In fact, energy is unwittingly drained from the business by a vampire-like culture.

Effect-driven misalignment is caused by a mix of :

  • Poor training levels.
  • Communication failures internally to staff.
  • Ineffective management of brand.
  • Organisational culture mismatched to the strategy.
  • Poor measurement of staff and low accountability.
  • Slack in C-suite buy-in to strategy and organisational culture.
  • Workforce surrendering productivity under micro-management styles.

Find out more how business alignment can assist your company.

Business alignment

Invite us to an open discussion with your executive and management team.
In under one hour we’ll provide insights that your company will find extremely valuable.

Contact us  

click here for contact details


Telephone: +27 (0)11 792 5394

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