A Culture of Progressive Learning Is Good for Your Organization – and Your Customers
In this fast-paced 2015, speed is our modus operandi. Immediate response times to customer requests and sales leads are a given. Next-day (or even same-day) delivery seems to be that brass ring we businesses tend to strive for on this carousel of commerce.
While every company gallops along at such a hectic pace, there’s a need for ways to differentiate your company. This is especially significant if you’re in an industry like ours, where so many businesses operate on a transactional basis, not a consultative one. And when you’re just selling goods at the lowest possible price as opposed to offering strategic advice, where’s the value in a customer choosing you over another? There is none.
It’s one reason why we strive to be an organization of keen observers, or lifelong students, if you will. Our core philosophy of purposeful education has served us well and helped us build a culture that sets Cooley apart. You can achieve the same distinction in your field.
Not being able to articulate how you differ from your competition is a drawback. Worse, it slams doors. Prospects will sense no qualitative benefit to choosing you over other firms. There’s no viable value to working with you.
Yet by fostering an organization that encourages ongoing professional development and a natural drive to stay on the edge of innovation, you elevate your company above your peers. You become thought leaders. Your strategic advice is sought.
One way to do this is by active participation in your industry’s leading trade groups. For us at The Cooley Group, this means the PSDA. The Print Services & Distribution Association is the largest community of distributors and resellers of print, marketing and related services. They’re one of the best educational and networking groups in our field, and we recognized 69 years ago as a founding member the immeasurable value they bring to Cooley. We are actively involved in their educational and networking events nationwide and learn new concepts and ideas that we apply when consulting with customers.
Thinking innovatively is part of our corporate process. It’s collaborative and ongoing, and it’s based on a deep-seated belief in always acquiring knowledge.
This 2013 article by Oracle on HR practices is meaningful to business development in general. It shares statistics about organizations that develop what’s called a high-impact learning culture. A learning culture is “a set of organizational values, conventions, processes, and practices that encourage individuals – and the organization as a whole – to increase knowledge, competence, and performance.”
This article cites a study conducted by Bersin & Associates, which showed that high-impact learning organizations tend to outperform their competitors in many ways, including these:
- They are 32% more likely to be first to market.
- They have a 34% better response to customer needs.
- They have a 26% greater ability to deliver quality products.
- They are 58% more likely to have skills to meet future demand.
- They are 17% more likely to be market share leaders.*
Those are pretty powerful results, highlighting multiple benefits to you and to your customers.
If you encourage purposeful education within your organization, your customers will benefit. They’ll work with and learn from people who are critical thinkers. And your company, characterized as a culture of innovators, will break away from the pack and thrive.
*”High-Impact Learning Culture: The 40 Best Practices for Creating an Empowered Enterprise” (June 10, 2010)