April 3, 2008

Are you one step in front of your competition?

Community

Got HAL? I was reminded this week of an old story that once surfaced about the Heuristically programmed Algorithmic Computer (HAL) in the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

The story suggests that HAL was so-named to indicate that he was one step ahead of IBM. Alphabetically "H" "A" "L" precede "I" "B" "M" by one letter. The author of 2001, Arthur C. Clarke denies this legend in his book "Lost Worlds of 2001."

All the same; doesn’t it feel good to be one step ahead? Many organizations look for high powered analytics to provide that extra step; but that may not always work because in the customers’ algorithm, quality is often the most important matter.

If your product - or service reflects poor quality, no amount of spin, marketing or branding will fix it. If your goal is to build a high-performance brand through a differentiated customer experience you may need a new way of thinking, and a new discipline for getting things done.

In the book “Execution” by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan the authors point out that a business’ culture defines what gets appreciated, respected, and ultimately rewarded. And the culture of an organization is the sum of its shared values, beliefs, and norms of behavior.

In short, to deliver a differentiated customer experience you may need to start with your organization’s ingrained beliefs concerning the customer experience and how to perfect the execution of your customer strategy through quality improvement initiatives.