Are you aligned with your customer’s business and how do you know?

Last month we took an internal view of business alignment using the Pittsburgh Steelers and a celebrity chef as examples of how everything within our business must be in sync, or aligned to produce superior results. In this month’s issue we will take an external view of business alignment. This view uses the same principles of the Business Alignment Model and applies it to your customers, suppliers, distributors and anyone else outside your business you depend on for your success.

For the moment, let’s focus on your customers. Every customer you have, whether business or consumer has a purpose and/or strategy behind their buying decisions. They look to achieve their own results by way of goals establish to succeed in whatever circumstances brought them to you. A business customer may have a more deliberate and pronounced Strategy, Structure and Goals whereas for the consumer customer these may be more implied, but still there. In other words they are looking for alignment on some level when they become your customer.

So where do you fit in their alignment process? Are you directly helping them solve their Goals or are you directly helping them achieve their Strategy and Vision? For the readers who do business with other businesses, look at your 5 largest customers and place your services and products in their business alignment process. Were you working on a project to achieve a tactical objective or was it tied to a strategic goal? Think of it as the difference between being a vendor or a strategic partner. In the consumer business, think of it as the difference between a single order and repeat business.

This idea is also valuable to you in your relationships with your own vendors and/or partners. I recall a first time meeting with a supplier to discuss a new application. The first question the CEO asked me was “What is your Vision?” I knew immediately I was speaking with a company who understood business alignment and where she wanted her company to participate in it. As I’ve outsourced parts of my business operations, I discussed my Vision with each supplier to ensure I am working with people who want my business and not just my order!

This idea of external business alignment is the basic foundation to building loyal relationships with customers, suppliers, distributors and all those who are instrumental in your success in today’s business environment.

Lead Well.

Rick Lochner

Well Done Is better than Well Said
Leaders At All Levels
 

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Saturday, 27 November 2021