Three levels of culture

patagonia clothing unique culture

For many businesses the most important interactions are one-on-one. These are sales meetings, training, consulting, customer support, lectures, workshops, retail experiences. During one-on-one interactions your team members deliver the value directly to the customer. These interactions are also very risky. This is when customers can become most frustrated and decide against your offer.

The best method to improve these interactions is by improving the culture. Culture includes all the formal and informal rules shared by a team. There are three levels of culture:
1) Intuitive,
2) Generic,
3) Unique.

Intuitive culture has no rules designed by the company. Team members intuitively react to their environment by creating their own rules. Most of these rules are unknown to management and therefore the team performance can be unpredictable.

Generic culture is created by implementing generic standardized solutions created by third parties and used by many companies. These are mostly software and training. These solutions will offer a big improvement from intuitive culture because doing something is always better than doing nothing. However, these generic solutions will also be adopted by many competitors and will not make the company unique and competitive.

Most competitive culture is the unique culture. Unique culture consists of rules designed by the company which can not be shared by its competitors. These rules motivate the team members to deliver unique value to customers. Unique culture rules can be added on top of the generic culture.

A company that depends on the intuitive culture is at risk and not competitive. Upgrading to generic culture is a good move but not sufficient in the long term. Unique culture is most competitive and will deliver unique values in one-on-one interactions.

Written by: Nikola Tosic
Publishing date: 19 Oct 2018