Centricity – a belief that anchors your company and its potential

The issue of perception has never been more important socially, politically, and even in terms of your business. How you see the world is probably more important than what you see. The fragmentation of beliefs, coupled with increased competition and global pressures make everyone susceptible to their spoken and unspoken perception.

By perception, I mean the tendency to view something in favor of one way or against another thing.  Perception is grounded what we see and believe is central to ourselves, society, organizations ect.

In a business context, exploring a company’s perception can be done through looking at their centricity.  Four examples of company centricity are:

  • Customer Centricity – the perception uses customers as the point of reference and comparison. A customer centric company sees itself in terms of its alignment with customer needs, priorities, and values. Firms that are closer or driven more by customer issues than internal issues see themselves as more customer centric.
  • Product Centricity – the perception that compares a company based on the performance and capabilities of what they sell – their products and services. A product centric company sees itself in terms of the sum of its products compared against other products in the marketplace.
  • Competitive Centricity – the perception of one company or idea relative to others that vie for the same revenue, customers, resources, priorities etc. A competitive centric company uses competitors as the benchmark and terms of reference when thinking about themselves, their priorities, and their decisions.  What would the competitors do? Or how this differs from our competitors are embedded into language and perception.
  • Internal Centricity – the perception and language based on the relative importance, power of influence an internal group or leader has relative to other internal groups or leads. When winning the argument inside your company, getting more budget, a bigger team etc. becomes more important than winning in the market – you are in an internally centric company.

The centricity of leader and organizational perception shapes company culture, decision frameworks, collaboration, just about everything. Most of us do not think about our or the organization’s perception, it’s just too deep inside of our culture, values, and systems to be at the front of mind.

Perception carries normative value. Perceiving A as better than B on moral or cultural grounds divides people into us and them with the division carrying social, cultural, or other superiority. When this happens, perception becomes bias.  When this happens without our concious recognition bias becomes blindness and at worse bigotry.

Take Customer Centricity for example.  Customer centricity is a highly normatively charged perception.  What company isn’t centered around their customers?  Most companies therefore say they are customer centric in outlook, but really some other centricity in their operations.  The inconsistency between perception and action injects cynicism, destroys culture, and divides an organization.

Here is an example, company A says they are customer centric.  They have customer success teams, they talk to customers when building products and services, etc.  When customers ask for things that contradict the product roadmap, or slowly adopt a new product or service and the truth comes out.  In this case, the company is probably more product centric than customer centric.  See the next post on how to identify your centricity for more examples and details.

Perception and Centricity in Company Culture and Operations

Perception can bring an organization together, mobilize and align it and provide a shared and powerful language for action.  Perception becomes bias when it is used to imply and support value judgements that divide and blind people to reality, distort reality, overly simplify situation, or have us lose sight of ourselves and other.

Perceptions are stable when the world forming them is stable.  Perception comes into question when there is a change the pace of change, the amplitude of challenges and the scarcity of resources.  The fact that perceptions are deeply and often widely held makes this difficult leading to company difficulty.

The impact of changing perception can be dramatic.  Microsoft’s business turn around is due in part to a change in the company’s perception.  The failure of another well-known company was a failure to change perception brushed off in the terms of one leader as “it worked, until it didn’t.”

It is a leader and everyone’s job to recognize perception and the company’s own centricities. Such perception about the company’s perception is one way to successfully navigate a dynamic world.

Centricity – a belief that anchors your company and its potential

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