One of the discussions we had today was about the sales strategy about selling. We discussed many important topics such as category leadership, positioning ourselves correctly and defining that ideal customer.
All of these are a current work in progress and as we roll out to customers in the future for whichever product, we will get more clarity as have crisp answers for all three of those topics is critical to the success of any business.
The most interesting point in the discussion was about the sort of culture that our ideal customer has within their company. During the discussion, I was reminded of an organizational culture design model by Edgar Schein. The model has three components:
- Artifacts: These are the visible aspects of the business. Their logos, the office design and how people dress etc. Assuming if a company adopts an open office design and a casual dress code with them being creative would be a mistake in the majority of cases.
- Values & Beliefs: The next component is all about the words and beliefs that the company declares to be core to who they are. Many businesses have very articulated values on their websites, yet when you were to interact with them you would have a very different experience.
- Basic Assumptions: The final component is the most important in the model. These include the behavioural traits of the people within the business. The unwritten rules that determine how things get done. If you have a value of providing on-time delivery and the norm at the business is to go home at 5 pm regardless of delivery timelines, we have a major disconnect.
I am sharing the above model as one of the values that we were discussing our prospective customers was ‘openness’. Many business owners will strongly defend that they have an open culture that fosters creativity and innovation. However, when you take a look at their communication patterns you will find something very different.
Armed with this insight when we run our customer interviews and work with beta customers it will be essential to map basic cultural assumptions when building an ideal customer persona.
Edgar Schein is one of the pioneers in the field of organizational culture design. This book breaks down the model above in much granular detail and gives you a good understanding of the inter-relationship of organizational culture dynamics and leadership. Great for anyone who wants to get an overview of the topic.
If you are short on time and want to get a good idea about the model and a practical example of how to use it, this video is a good primer on the topic.
The way Atlassian has scaled its business has been awesome to watch. Hopefully, once you have read the post above and understand Schein’s model, give this video a watch and listen to how the founder speaks about the three components seamlessly.