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Shifting Context: Illuminating the Key Driver of Enterprise Business Value

As business leaders, we’re constantly looking for new ways to deliver better business performance. We can decipher the health of the business by looking at traditional KPIs and other enterprise data, such as

  1. P&L
  2. Balance Sheet
  3. Revenue
  5. Cash Flow 

While these metrics are important indicators for most businesses, the challenge is that they provide a one-sided view and are typically a point in time or a look back, versus being predictive and a look ahead. And, what happens when there’s a problem or obstacle standing in the way of business performance? These more traditional indicators cannot provide specific insight into where the problems might be or how to fix them. Increasing enterprise business value requires a shift in context.

Why shift context?

To understand why shifting context is important, we need to spend a few minutes to understand how the brain works. Our brains are like super-efficient filing systems. We file information contextually. For example, if someone says: “first base, outfield, home run,” your brain knows the context is baseball. If someone says: “trees, streams, meadows, mountain,” your brain knows the context is nature or geography. The brain is a massive filing system and stores information contextually. People respond to what they hear and see by placing context around it – we put things in context so we can file and remember them.

What does shifting the context have to do with business performance?

Imagine you’re a member of the sales team and sitting in on sales review meeting. The head of Sales says: “So for this quarter, our goal is $2M in revenue from the New England sales team. And, we need revenue recorded four days prior to month-end in order for it to count toward our goal. We’ll be measuring it on a daily basis, so each of you have a daily bogie of $25k in order to reach our goal. Go get ‘em.”

Someone with a traditional filing system might leave this meeting either confused or in complete panic. They just won’t understand the context for the information being communicated. They would need to add a new folder - a performance folder – that contains metrics, goals, timelines, and other data. Someone like this is not used to being measured, so they need to shift their context and add new information to their brain. On the other hand, someone performance-related will totally get it and leave the meeting ready to start ringing the bell. 

We’re all programmed a certain way and the information in our heads that’s filed away is based on culture and experiences. Positive experience = positive context. Negative experiences = negative context. Shifting context is key to innovation and performance.

Examples of shifts in context

  • Software: Think about the software industry. Software was a shift in context. Over time, software replaced hardware. Lots of smart people changed the context of how we think about computing and looked for a better, more distributed way to do it. 
  • Shipping: Consider how we send and receive packages. The context around the US Postal Service was that they were always late and losing things and not reliable. FedEx shifted the context and now you can send a package from Boise to Boston next day guaranteed.
  • Advertising: All day every day we are bombarded by advertising. Messages we see and hear from brands are, in their purest form, an attempt to penetrate our thinking and shift the context. 

Shifting the context opens businesses and people to innovation and a new way of thinking. It’s paramount to being able to see things in a new light and to learning, exploring and trying new things.

Context is a new way of thinking 

When you see something new or something that gives you an idea, it becomes new context that you carry around. Ideas open up a new folder or a new file – you want to research it, learn more about it. It’s much of the reason education is repetitive – it’s teaching new context and filing it away in your brain.

Over a period of time, people who work together, start to think together. When people work together on a project, for example, you might have functional subject matter experts - someone from finance, marketing, product, technology - and they have an overlap in thinking. They know that, in order to operate as a team, they need that overlap. So, they come from different context or diff functional areas and begin to share ideas and create new context, which is where innovation and out-of-the-box thinking can really happen. On the flipside, if everyone comes to the table and only represents their function and is not willing to overlap, innovation is next to impossible. 

Contextual shifts drive enterprise business value

Here at Leaderscape, we help businesses shift context. We put the power of data science and technology to work to provide a way to see your business in a new light. Our platform paints a holistic picture of how an organization is operating by measuring “the soft stuff,” which is typically subjective and difficult to quantify with any certainty. Changing the context is like a bright set of headlights on a dark road. Suddenly, you can see things differently, and you can look ahead, which delivers the power to pinpoint solutions, optimize the business, make more informed decisions and drive enterprise value.

The soft stuff – aka the linchpin of any organization:

  1. People
  2. Leadership
  3. Culture
  4. Communications

While these areas of a business are the linchpin of any organization, they are often considered “the soft stuff.” They’re the things that are hidden behind the numbers yet they are what truly drive performance and greater enterprise business value.

We created Leaderscape to give businesses a new, easier way to measure what’s hiding behind better performance. 

The bottom line with Leaderscape

  1. New, innovative thinking is possible with a shift in context.
  2. Greater enterprise business value is more easily achieved. 
  3. New, illuminating data & analytics deliver a more holistic view.
  4. More confident decision making is possible.
  5. Breakthrough performance or transformation is tangible.

We’re thrilled to bring the power of Leaderscape to businesses ready to shift the context and realize greater enterprise business value.

Reach out to learn more about Leaderscape and how it could benefit your business. Onward!

To learn more reach out to Gunnar Nilsson here.