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Ian Dodds Consulting’s (IDC) Monthly Best Practice: July 2013

Driving high inclusion and performance through the behaviours embodied in your organisation’s brand

Regular readers of this blog will know that a key specialism of IDC is helping clients deliver the Power of Inclusion. This offering is in demand by our clients because it offers big business benefits: higher productivity; more creativity and excellence in problem solving; greater responsiveness to customers; improved Employer Brand; enhanced employee wellbeing. Moreover, IDC has the deep organisation development (OD) and behavioural change experience that is needed to make it happen. When discussing this with a client this week I was struck by the recognition that several of our most successful initiatives have been driven by the clients’ brand values.

For example, an international business I worked with was losing money and was persuaded that productivity and engagement would be enhanced by building an inclusive culture. The CEO was keen for the business to become much more customer focussed. A Fighting for the Customer (FFTC) Steering Group was set up and chaired by the Sales Director. To begin I helped it formulate a vision of success for the business for 3 years ahead. Normally I would have advised a 5 year vision; but the CEO felt that the situation of this business was so desperate that success had to be delivered in 3 years. This vision envisaged having in place in 3 years’ time a brand which was much more customer focussed than it had been. We identified the 80% of revenue that was currently being generated by 20% of the business’s customers, i.e. on a Pareto basis. The Steering group set up a task group to define the new customer focussed brand’s value and the key behaviours that would underpin them. Members of the task group then visited the key customers, identified in the Pareto analysis to identify what were the customer service priorities for each of them. A key one was right on time delivery, i.e. right order items with the correct labelling and delivered to the delivery time specification. Another key one was being able to turn round deliveries within 24 hours for particular products and customers. Another task group was responsible for delayering and reducing the organisation silos to increase collaboration and speed of response. A third task group was responsible for internally marketing the FFTC initiative. It identified the key driver as being the need for the senior managers to act as role model exemplars of the FFTC brand values’ behaviours. This was achieved through a workshop and the senior managers committing to regularly and openly reviewing their practise of these behaviours with each other. Finally, internal change agents were trained who understood the FFTC values and associated behaviours and were trained in interactive behaviour coaching. Terry Morgan and Neil Rackham have shown that any conversation can be categorised into around 15 different interactive behaviours. These fall into 2 types, which are concerned with ‘advocacy’, e.g. giving information, making suggestions, summarising, etc, and ‘enquiry’, e.g. seeking information, seeking suggestions, checking understanding, etc. It is the ‘enquiry’ behaviours which managers and teams almost always need to be coached in to interact more effectively and enhance their problem solving capability by: listening to each other; exploring differing points of view; checking understanding; building on suggestions; etc.

Successes of the FFTC programme were collected by another task group established for this purpose and to ensure that these were widely communicated and understood. At the end of the 3 year vision period the business was impressively profitable and achieving high levels of productivity and engagement. It was also much more inclusive. This always arises in initiatives of this kind because the brand values invariably include inclusive behaviours, e.g. listening and hearing opinions, feedback and ideas; putting effort into understanding differences between people; empowering people to act when they encounter a problem; developing people to achieve success for themselves now and in the future.

As ever we’d be delighted to discuss this highly profitable and successful means of delivering the Power of Inclusion. Please let me know if you would like to discuss this further. 

Dr Ian Dodds,

28 June 2013,


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