No model is a perfect representation of reality, but this simple model is a great place to start to ensure everybody in the company is on the same page. Without this foundational clarity, people in the organization do not know how best to contribute, interact, and make decisions.
Market: Who do we serve?
- Ultimate market: Who is the ultimate market you want to serve. For example, at We Inc. our ultimate market is humanity.
- Current Market: Who is your current market? Our current market is COOs and other organizational integrators in CA, OR and WA organizations with 2-2000 employees.
- Next Market: Who is in your next market? Our next market is COOs and other organizational integrators in organizations of 2-2000 employees who consume business books and online learning.
Value: The value you seek to create in the world
- Ultimate Value: What is the ultimate value you want to bring to the world? Others might call this purpose or mission. Our ultimate value is “collective human potential” – note that it doesn’t really describe our business – it is way too big for one business. (It can be interesting to imagine the ultimate value of some iconic brands. Twinkies might be “ignorant bliss.” PayPal might be “frictionless commerce.”)
- Current Value: What value do you deliver now? Our current value is “teaching Culture in Action: the seven vital skills” through consulting and media assets.
- Next Value: What value will you deliver next? By the end of the next quarter we will deliver two new online courses and a complete book.
Culture: Who you are and how you sense, think, and act
- Ultimate Culture: What captures your ultimate cultural attribute? For us it is “walking our talk.”
- Current Culture: What are the major elements of your current culture in action? For us they are: walking our talk (most of the time), saying yes: serving everybody, creativity.
- Next Culture: What cultural attributes do you want to bring to the forefront next? For us they are: Walking our talk even more of the time, business fundamentals and saying no: focusing on our market.
Completing the MVC at the team level will specify who the team delivers value to, what value they deliver, and the team culture best suited to high performance. Every team will have a unique MVC that should support the company MVC. A sales team might conduct much of its work out in the world of its prospects and a software development team might do most of its work as a far-flung virtual team or onsite in a dimly lit room. Each team can exhibit a very different sub-culture that can still be completely aligned and supportive of the company MVC. Note that the executive team MVC will be different than the company MVC, too. For example, the market for the executive team is not only customers, but also employees and investors.
Finally, complete the MVC for yourself at the individual level. The language may seem odd to you for this level of examination, but go with it. Who is your market? What value do you deliver? And what is the culture surrounding you that allows you to perform best?
If you have done a good job with vision, values, strategy and planning work recently, completing the MVC tool should be a simple and confirming exercise. Pay particular attention to the Next state for each aspect of MVC. Clarity about what’s next should be driving the investment of people, time and money in your current plans. By focusing on what’s next, you will always find opportunities to move toward integrity and higher levels of performance. This should guide daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annual and longer-term plans for everybody on the team. Every tension that we address through the Culture in Action approach is grounded in our client’s unique MVC.
A rule of thumb is to clarify/confirm your MVC every quarter. Some companies might need to do this every month and others might be on a longer time horizon. What is the right time horizon you your business? If you are not sure, start with a quarterly check-up and then adjust this after you gain some experience with it. The goal is for every employee to understand how they contribute to the integrity of the MVC.
The MVC tool generates organizational awareness and uncovers the obstacles and opportunities to move your company toward integrity. What you do with this awareness is the art and practice of building a thriving company.
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