Market Leadership

In order for your organization to achieve market leadership, a focused, first class strategy is required. Leadership within the organization must create a truly compelling and distinctive value proposition under this strategy that will cause customers to seek you out in an over-crowded, competitive field. Forming a really attractive value proposition is often the easy part. The harder part is creating a customer oriented culture to support the proposition. You can master the art of improving the value of your products and services and becoming a very tough competitor, but it is simply impossible to achieve market leadership without being effective in the discipline of customer intimacy. Let’s face it, most of us know those suppliers and vendors whom we refuse to work with because of the poor response we receive when problems develop.

Staying ahead of the competition requires you to not only exceed customer’s needs and expectations today, but anticipate their future problems and respond by developing solutions before they are needed. Being the champion or advocate for the customer must be the business of the entire organization.

Developing customer acumen, the heart of successful business, does not come without challenges. Often times, the challenge in creating the customer oriented culture is that it is not an exact science. To successfully achieve a customer centric oriented culture, we suggest leaders take action by doing the following:

1. Talk about it at every opportunity.

2. Let people repeatedly know that creating customer value is a clear goal.

3. Encourage people to take responsibility to deal with customer concerns.

4. Coach people when they succeed or come up short on customer performance measures and help them accept accountability

Team members of your organization must understand that creating customer value is the key to organizational success. It all begins with leaders who have received a call to coach others about customer service and share feedback whenever possible. Unless a leader can encourage the head, heart and hands of organization’s people around the customer disciplines the organization will never achieve market leadership.

Again, the cornerstone of customer relationships is helping team members see that playing a role in customer service is a clear priority. Leaders have to create a deep understanding of what the company stands for and what its value proposition is. In short, people have to understand what the company is doing and why. Individuals need to understand how they fit within the customer culture and why they matter to the organization.

A customer centric culture is a direct function of employee beliefs and behaviors. It requires a lot of interaction and coaching from leaders and team members. It has to be incorporated into the vocabulary of the organization. Simply put, customer service must be a part of the core fabric of the organization.


Dr. Steven J. Stowell is the Co-Founder of the Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness, Inc (CMOE). The Center was created in 1978 specializing in leadership development and team building, for the purpose of helping individuals and teams maximize their effectiveness and competitiveness. Steve’s special interests lie in strategic management, creati...

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