As a leader you are orchestrating the moves and sounds of your organization’s daily symphony. To ensure your team in performing in harmony, you have to start with the same sheet music.  If some team members are playing Beethoven’s 5th and others are playing Disney’s Fantasia, the result will not likely be pleasing to the ear.

The business leader’s “sheet music” in your unique value proposition (UVP).  It guides all decisions and activities, and if followed, delivers good performance.

There are three types of UVPs:

  1. Operational Efficiency (think Walmart and FedEx)
  2. Customer Intimacy (think Starbucks and Nordstrom)
  3. Product Innovation (think Apple and Google)

Winning businesses deliver adequately on all three propositions, but they differentiate around only one proposition.

You can imagine how Walmart’s employee training, rewards, decision making authority, goals, communications and organization structure are different than Apple’s.  Each of these companies has designed their systems and processes to ensure they align with their UVP – operational efficiency for Walmart vs. product innovation for Apple.

Leaders tend to overestimate the degree of alignment around their UVP.  Our clients typically ask us to reduce a two hour block to 30 minutes for an executive discussion on this topic because they think the entire team is in synch.  Predictably, two hours later we are still trying to agree on the UVP. So, dedicate the necessary time to ensure all ideas are vetted and your team is fully aligned on your UVP since it will dictate future decisions, priorities and investments.

Even though your value proposition might feel clear to you, the real test is your front line worker alignment because they are the point of interface with your product or customer.  Communicating your UVP is not enough.  In other words, don’t measure only your communication inputs (Did I communicate our UVP to my team?).   Instead, of checking this communication task off you list, also measure the outputs of your communication (Are my team’s behaviors aligned with our UVP?).