Contributor: Mike O’Brien, Harness Projects

In today’s business climate of constant change – new technologies, new economies & new competition, we’ve identified the top 3 key differentiators of successful sustainable organisations today.


The first and perhaps most critical of these is Customer Centricity.  In a world where companies that have been around for decades are disappearing overnight, newer and smarter companies understand that a laser sharp focus on the customer needs must be core to their business strategy.  They spend a huge amount of time and money in understanding who their customer is in order to provide a service or product experience that builds trust and loyalty. Arguably, it’s Product Managers, not traditional Marketers who are spending more time in the world of the customer – particularly as the experience of a brand is increasingly digitally led. The analysis of these interactions is now scientific! A growing trend in customer centricity now sees more companies not just spending more time with their customers but actually co-creating with them. Hearing the customer’s ideas and working with them to resolve brand or product related issues.


The second of these key indicators is Innovation.  But not just BAU, Internal innovation, as this is fast expanding to include new, more dynamic ways to create exciting change – in particular innovation that comes from outside the business.

This external activity can occur in a number of ways – through strategic partnerships, with their customers as already noted and through any activities that build a more robust and broader learning mindset within the organisation.


This leads to the third and last key success differentiator our research points to which is the focus on a companies’ talent – its people! There is a lot of evidence to suggest that many people actually want to belong and stay with organisations with a purpose they can personally connect with. Yet, they are also learning that they need to be in control of their future, so look to understand how a potential employer will support their career development. The cost of bad hires and high attrition of staff is crippling to organisations, so for those that want to survive, they need to think progressively and ensure learning is embedded in their DNA, to attract and retain great talent. The skills developed increasingly need to compliment technical and knowledge skills with behavioral skills – like collaboration, critical thinking, presentation and creativity. Agile Learning experiences that can develop technical, knowledge and behavioral skills concurrently will provide organisations with a stronger talent pool from which to recruit and give them greater confidence in their ability to retain talent for longer periods of time.

The future of work and what drives business success is of course uncertain but what we do know with confidence is that initiatives that focus these 3 key indicators will enable companies to navigate the terrain with greater confidence.


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