Sustainable change of teams and cultures

Since Peters & Waterman published the bestseller “A search of excellence” in 1982, optimizing corporate cultures—with the goal of generating a maximum of productivity and added value—has become an integral part of the leadership’s agenda. Many companies have set themselves ambitious targets and are constantly introducing and assessing new KPIs. Oftentimes, leaders are still obliged to fully dedicate themselves to the measurable targets in order to achieve the desired goal. 

Other companies try to face the challenges of changing technologies and customer needs by means of new agile methods and new organizational structures. Traditional and longstanding hierarchical structures shall be replaced and free up space for a corporate culture where employees can participate in and have their say. After long times dominated by command and control, these are ambitious change requests in terms of attitude and behavior for leaders and their employees. 

In any case, the challenge for leaders always stays the same: they have to demand their employees’ commitment, ensure their willingness to use new tools and technologies and reinforce their awareness for customer needs. Some tend to just ignore the necessity to pro-actively call for their employees’ commitment and willingness to change. Others try to make up for income losses and customer churn with the help of structural changes and cost savings. Some hope that employees will become less important in the future due to increasingly web-based access channels. These attitudes all neglect the aspect of pro-active customer centricity as a value creation maxim. Knowing customer needs and a trustful customer relationship are key for success and still a competitive edge. But this competitive advantage is jeopardized by competitors who systematically collect and evaluate know-how about customers online. Banks and insurance companies should become aware of and enhance the precious value of active and passive customers. In addition, they shall strengthen the existing relationship between consultants and customers in order to remain key players on the market. Their sales and service staff is currently the quickest, most cost-efficient and effective way to establish longstanding and profitable customer relations.

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Elke Benning-Rohnke

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Dietmar Volter

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