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Keith E Rice's Integrated SocioPsychology Blog & Pages

Aligning, integrating and applying the behavioural sciences

A Company by Neurological Levels

April 2004

Identity – what is it?
Distribution and service company

Values – what’s important to us?
Customers ~ purchasing price (suppliers) ~ profitability ~ workforc
Beliefs – what do we believe about what’s important?
Need customers to survive and prosper ~ need to know customers’ requirements (close relationship) ~ need customer loyalty ~ need good suppliers – competitive price and availability (close relationship) ~ need efficiency to produce profitability – control costs ~ need loyal workforce – to be fair and honest with them ~ competent ~ need to utilise their values to get commitment ~ flexibility

Capabilities – what skills and knowledge do we need?
Technical knowledge ~ management skills ~ company knowledge ~ knowledge of customer needs ~ market (price) knowledge

Behaviour – what is it we do/should be doing?
Supply products and knowledge for customer requirements ~ should have customer focusresearch needed into customer needs ~ resource to meet customer needsprofitability impact?

How is our environment?
Internal: relaxed and comfortable
External: highly competitive ~ increasing disloyalty ~ price (not quality) driven ~ decline in OEMs ~ customers want more service and supplier flexibility

This was the result of a Neurological Levels-based analysis I facilitated some years ago for the managing director and marketing manager of a small distributor of parts for industrial machinery in the Leeds area of the United Kingdom.

The colour coding is:-

  • black for purely factual descriptions
  • red for things seen as problematic
  • blue for things they felt they were very good at
  • purple for something that seemed OK but almost certainly had hidden implications

Although they seemed secure enough in their Identity – they refused several requests to reconsider their Identity statement! – clearly their Identity and the Values & Beliefs that came from the Identity were not producing the Behaviour needed to adapt to a changing world. Primarily the company had an important Value in customer loyalty at a time when Environmental feedback told them customer disloyalty was a major increasing factor. To hold onto the Value of customer loyalty when the trend was the opposite either required a major intervention (to alter the Environment) or a change in Values (and possibly Identity) to adapt to the changed Environment.

Although I had a relatively productive relationship with this client for 2-3 years, in the end I withdrew my services because they would not tackle the Identity-Environment issue. The last I heard of them, their regional market share was plummeting and survival-as-an-issue was beginning to beckon. I sometimes wonder if the very secure internal Environment they enjoyed made them complacent about the dangers inherent in their rapidly-changing external Environment…?

A client which did respond to my appeal to tackle and reappraise the Identity issue is now one of the foremost private-public sector organisations in the Humber sub-region and is increasingly likely to influence many key decisions.

Sometimes, though, Identity and Values & Beliefs can be aligned with the Environment but it’s other levels which are out of kilter.

A couple of years ago, I facilitated a Neuroligical Levels-based exercise with one of the consultancy organisations I sometimes work through. Our Identity was appropriate to our Environment and Values & Beliefs were strong; but, in analysis, we lacked some Skills & Knowledge necessary to accommodate imminent changes in our Environment. As a result, we invested in the training & development which enabled this consultancy to remain a serious contender in that field.

While it can often seem strange to the uninitiated to be introduced to the model in a organisation’s boardroom, it really is one of the most potent analytical tools available to key decision-makers!

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