These questions originated from another post about how answering these questions helps companies grow. I like to practice what I preach so here are my open and honest answers to these questions as well.
If you haven’t read the original post, just a quick definition:
Capability – something you/your company do exceptionally well which brings value to your customers.
Here we go…
- Are you clear about how you choose to create value in your marketplace?
- Are you investing in the capabilities that genuinely matter and align with your values?
- Can you articulate three to six capabilities that differentiate you from everyone else?
My values include helping other help others. I want to elevate and support my clients’ businesses. I truly believe (and have the data to back this up) that understanding a business’ target audience and then giving them what they need is the best and easiest way to succeed. But it doesn’t come with a battle. That’s why I heavily rely on my empathy. I invest in learning about human psychology to get a better understanding of people in general so that I can, in fact, provide better designs.
My capabilities include:
- Providing superior customer service
- I want my clients to feel taken care of.
- For instance, I will not work with a company that focuses on making money off people – their own mission has to come first.
- I will only take on a client if I know I can help them. I’m not here to waste anyone’s time. This way I can focus my own time helping the right people.
- This sounds stupid, to be honest. But it’s 100% true. Because I genuinely love my work, my energy and creativity levels are off the charts.
- Do these capabilities align together in an overall system based on your values?
- Does your current strategy reflect this?
It does now. It hasn’t always.
It took me a lot of time to figure out who I enjoyed working with the most. It’s hard to narrow it down, but you have to. When you’re trying to please everyone, you please no one, right? Right. I’m still learning, and it will evolve with time too, but now that I’ve picked a direction, I’m committed to seeing it through. Clarity was crucial in helping me bring back my positive energy.
- Does the company reinforce these values internally?
- Do all of your different businesses or products and business practices feed off these values?
- Does your business structure reflect the strategies and capabilities which are essential to you?
It’s hard to implement things in larger companies quickly because of the mass of people. It’s also hard to implement them when you’re tiny – like a one women show – because of the lack of people. However, I’ve begun the execution already.
I can easily show my values through the customer interactions. That was never the problem. The issue for me has been keeping organized internally. Over the next few months, I’m going to get my shit together so that I can deliver on my capabilities more seamlessly.
- Have you specified how your products or services can reflect your values and capabilities?
- Do you understand how to leverage these capabilities in unique ways in the market?
- Does each one of your products and services fit into your capabilities and values?
- Do you evaluate new product ideas based on your values and capabilities?
Yes, I have taken the time to ensure my services reflect my values by being selective about the type of organizations I will be working with. No, I don’t entirely know how to leverage my current capabilities because I’ve just committed to them but I am excited to see how they will pan out. I’ll learn over time. Yes, I will always decide on future services, projects and even contracts through the golden questionnaire: “Is this useful? Is this valuable? Does this help other?”
Lastly, yes, I recently evaluated my own values and capabilities and adjusted my services and messaging accordingly.
- Can the people who work in your company clearly see and understand your values and capabilities?
- Can your customers?
- Does your company leadership reinforce the values and capabilities?
Although I mostly work alone, my professional circle has given feedback that my new messaging is clear. 🙌 I am committed to making sure the newly established values and capabilities will always be at the core.
- Do decisions and action of your company bring you closer towards coherence or further away from it?
We’ll have to reevaluate this one after some time has passed.
- How can you implement these question into your company culture and keep accountability for them?
This one is easy since I’m a solo-contractor. I just have to make sure my decisions align with my values and capabilities. I am in the process of creating a habit of always checking my decisions against them, no matter how seemingly insignificant. It’s going to be hard but a worthwhile process.
And there you have it. I think these were a lot easier for me to answer than most for two reasons. First of all, I work alone. I don’t have a team of designers working alongside me, or I’m not part of a small organization either. At the same time, I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of months reevaluating myself, and my business so I did not have to spend a lot of time on these answers.
However, I I do plan on sticking to my newly found values and direction. Answering these 7 questions will be importuning in making sure I’m staying on track.
Thank you for reading. I know I don’t have comments enabled at this time, but you’ve welcome to spark a conversation about my or your business through email: firstname.lastname@example.org