Growing Great Companies


The Competitive Advantage

Economists may continue to forecast highs and lows in the chemical industry, but one thing is for certain: continued globalization means intense competition in all aspects of the market. In a hyper-competitive industry where strict regulations and commodity pricing dictate so much of how a business is run, organizations need to go the extra mile to differentiate themselves. One way to stand apart from the competition and to bring new value to the customer is to focus on something that you can influence—the actions of your employees.

A Winning Combination

Of all the techniques for winning a lead over rivals, the first and last rule is “think customer.” But, it’s about more than just being customer focused. The key is to get every member of your organization, from chemical engineers all the way down to production, focused on what drives the customer and how your organization can positively impact the customer’s life.

It’s about creating an attitude—and behaviors—that permeate the whole business, reaching every employee and attending to every detail. It’s about building an internal culture of continuously analyzing and consistently delivering on the customer’s needs, expectations, and aspirations.

Your Culture is Your Brand

To dominate at the competitive edge, your employees must function within a carefully crafted corporate culture—a culture that creates an obsession for delivering value to the customer. You must also provide a compelling vision, a grand mission that gives your people a clear sense of direction and a belief that you can be the #1 player in your industry.

When every person in your business shares common beliefs, values and goals, it creates a powerful force…an organization that will not tolerate anything less than exceptional performance. The beauty of this type of culture is that it becomes self-regulating, turning your business into one that consistently does the right things. Positive beliefs become positive actions. And these positive actions build your reputation for excellence, both inside and outside the organization. Ultimately, the culture becomes who you are, your brand, and your competitive edge.

So how do you create your carefully crafted culture?

  1. Clearly define your core values, making “customer obsession” a key component of who you are and what you do.
  2. Articulate a compelling corporate mission, a true sense of purpose that tells others the value you bring to the world.
  3. Set grand goals, significant objectives that you will have to stretch to achieve.
  4. Forge mutually beneficial alliances. By joining forces and becoming involved in industry-related partnerships and networks you are better equipped to gather relevant information about your customers.
  5. Hire for fit. You can teach people new skills, but changing their values is significantly more difficult, if not impossible.
  6. Manage to your values. Never tolerate anything less than 100% commitment (in words and actions) to your beliefs and goals.
  7. Support your culture through your compensation plans and reward systems.

Reinforce your culture with regular celebrations of your successes and public reminders of your vision, mission, and core values.

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