The Right Mindset: The Art of Balance

The Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang explains how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent.   The concept of Yin and Yang can apply to many topics, from the natural world to humanity and even to business.  Particularly so in the digital age where customer demands and competitive disruption are becoming increasingly intense, it’s imperative for businesses to remain in balance across their strategy, operations, and services in order to keep up.  But it might be surprising where it is most important for organizations to ensure Yin and Yang is unequivocally in sync.


While businesses are innovating new digital services, they must also innovate within their own organizational culture to be able to deliver the experience that consumers expect. When considering an evolved customer experience, the conversation focuses almost exclusively on customers themselves—delivering the products, programs and services they expect in the digital economy. While on the surface that makes sense, it is only half the equation.


The Right Mindset, one of The Four Pillars of Digital Excellence and Sustained Success in the Digital Economy, is not exclusive to customers (the Yin) — equally essential is  the digital culture (the Yang) of an organization itself.  Both customer and culture must be given equivalent importance and consideration.  If the scale tips too far in either direction, balance will be lost, and customers (and employees) will be soon to follow.


Innovating for the Yin – Your Customers

Delivering evolved experiences regardless of who your customers are—from consumers, to vendors, to partners, to the latter ‘B’ in B2B—is critical to any digital program. Businesses must understand their constituents at a truly individual level, such as their interests, how they consider offerings, how they like to purchase, how they prefer to interact with your company, for providing today’s expected levels of customization, personalization and real time insight.  This means having the right mixture of strategy, technology, and partners for tailored product offerings and services that stay out in front of customer demands.  Or risk losing them to the revolving door of loyalty.

But even a solid evolved customer program will only be as good as those that believe in and support it.  Where Yang comes in to provide balance.


Innovating for the Yang – Your Digital Business Culture

Organizations that also focus on cultural engagement, where employees are viewed as involved stakeholders of the company future, experience 21% greater profitability and are more attune to the needs of their customers according to a 2017 Gallup study.  Establishing digitally oriented departments and hiring young talent isn’t enough.  A digitally focused culture needs to be integrated throughout all levels of the organization and instill a mentality of agility and continuous learning the digital economy demands to keep pace.  According to the same Gallup study, only 13 percent of global workers are engaged in their jobs. Only by establishing, encouraging and rewarding digitally centric behavior, will it take collective hold.  As one Ancient Chinese Proverb states, “Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me I may remember. But involve me and I will understand.”


Yin and Yang Experience in the Real World

Google is a great example.  In addition to all of the ways that Google is creating an evolved customer experience for digital services consumers worldwide, the company is also innovating from within.  Googlegeist is an annual survey conducted each January across the entire organization to gain internal pulse on the core elements of its cultural DNA: innovation, autonomy, forward thinking and teamwork. Over the course of the rest of the year volunteer, employee-based teams design programs to tackle those areas requiring attention. Providing the ultimate forum of cultural engagement and involvement—employees themselves—to help maintain equipoise as the company evolves.


The digital world necessitates The Right Mindset warrant equal attention to Yin (customers) and Yang (digital culture).  Like The Four Pillars of Digital Excellence, together they provide a stable foundation, but one too far in front of the others creates imbalance that won’t escape being felt throughout the organization and likewise, by customers.  What will your organizational Yin Yang Mindset scale look like if drawn on a whiteboard?