For us, identity is a new way of thinking business – a yet unknown force for driving business development, transformation and even talent attraction. The true benefit of identity is its quality to be a guiding compass for the entire organisation. Working with company identity enables business leaders to identify a path for the future that enhances the inherent unique strengths, secures internal buy-in, and ensures external differentiation. And with this, drives sustainable change.
Identity is an underestimated asset with the potential to drive sustainable business development
In uncertain times with numerous challenges, many businesses need to innovate and rethink themselves. When given the task of developing and transforming a company towards its next chapter of growth, most executives look outside the company for inspiration – expecting that megatrends, customer centricity, and future generations will provide the answer to the pressing question: How can we be more relevant in the future? However, the challenge with this approach is that the management will be presented with many data and opportunities of diverse validity. So how do you decide what way to go?
How do you rethink your company without losing what made you strong in the first place? How do you get the entire organisation behind your turn-around? How do you decide what to keep and change to balance continuity and progress?
We believe in starting the business transformation by looking inside first. All companies have an identity. Understanding this identity will help you make the necessary decisions on where to go from here. Identity can be the guiding star on your way to becoming a better version of the company that you are today.
Unleashing the driving force of identity
The concept of identity is widely known on a personal level. For example, managers understand that a key component for being a good leader is knowing who you are. Well, the same is true for companies. Identity in a business context means understanding “who you are as a company”. It is “your reason to exist”, a clear understanding of the elements that make the company unique in its markets and the value that it is offering.
Being forced to discuss, reflect, and align on these fundamental questions, managers gain a new level of clarity and understanding of the company’s origin, its present way of seeing the world, its current ways of acting as well as a clearer understanding of the company’s perspectives for the future. By reflecting on and challenging present DNA elements, managers get the unique opportunity to open new ways of understanding the company, its strengths, and its possibilities. And by selecting, strengthening, or re-activating key DNA elements, they gain a tool to drive change toward a new company identity that is in sync with the company’s inner strengths and history.
The business of living the company’s true purpose
A key element in a company’s identity is its reason to exist. What is the cause, the inner belief, or the purpose of a particular company? We cannot ask customers to give us an answer. We cannot ask any external stakeholder to find out what those, who form the company, believe in as a group. A true purpose can only be discovered by looking inside. On the plus side, such a purpose is never fake or superficial.
As most companies must deliver on commercial targets, having a clear purpose is not enough. We understand an ambitious business target as the counterpart to a company’s purpose. Why do you exist, and where do you want to be in, e.g., five years? By setting the purpose in relation to the business target, they become the ‘Ying and Yang’ in the company. They keep each other in check, so to speak, and open a powerful playing field in which to operate.
Putting purpose right into the centre of all future business development, directly related to the business target, enables the identification of new business potentials. Furthermore, it allows inside-out innovation that is authentic and credible, in line with the company’s beliefs and capabilities, providing better chances for success.
The Identity Compass – when identity becomes actionable
Through our work with identity for numerous companies and corporations for over 20 years, we have experienced the results and organisational effect it has for companies to know their identity and activate their key DNA. At IDna Group, we have developed an identity process and a tool that makes identity actionable. Our tool, the Identity Compass, answers all fundamental questions for a company – easily and memorably. In this way, the Compass becomes a tool to navigate for both management and all employees, empowering self-management in the entire organisation.
The Identity Compass is the red thread and the guiding star in terms of change. It can be used as a starting point for realigning and uniting the entire organisation behind one shared narrative. A narrative that can be used in various ways: whether to strengthen company culture and approach to people management; build an authentic and differentiated Employer Brand; or identify fitting investors and acquisition targets, increasing the chances of post-M&A success. For many of our clients, the Compass sharpens the commercial strategy and increases market relevance and differentiation. For others, it enhances the need to change the visual expression of who they are through a new name, a logo change, a new visual identity, and a revised presentation of the headquarter through office spaces. Leaving a first impression on stakeholders that is in sync with who you are.
The identity perspective adds a fresh, new layer to business discussions. A layer needed to rethink today’s companies for their future journey in a credible way. A layer that executives passionately appreciate once they have understood its force, simplicity, and applicability.
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