Scott Bristol's 'Values at Hand'.

Customer Alignment

Summary. In the context of business, the desired customer relationship determines the values and behavior necessary for success. For the employee, organizations are an “opportunity to practice” personal values that are meaningful and significant. The leadership challenge involves aligning the values of the workforce, culture, and metrics in service of the desired customer relationship.

Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles

The intentional use of ‘values’ to align leadership, the workforce, and the strategic plan, with the desired customer relationship is the challenge of chief executive officer.

Individuals and groups are motivated to practice the values that are personally most meaningful.

Measuring and Mapping the Potential to Change

‘Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles’ as strategic guides demand a measurement methodology that provides both 'state descriptors and 'process descriptors'. 'State' and 'process' descriptors are the necessary building blocks of any means-ends methodology used for planning and effecting meaningful change (Simon, 1996, p.210).

The Life Journey Map® methodology measures 130 different values.

Direct Measurement involves individuals completing an online values ranking:

Indirect Measurement involves document analysis of :

Customer Relationship Orientation

Value scores, including all 130 values, for and individual, group, or document when mapped onto the Customer Relationship Orientation create a distribution graph. Where the graph peaks represents the primary values orientation of the individual, group, or document.

Customer Relationship Orientation (Copyright 2000 by Scott Bristol)


“If not”- Working relationships are stressed.

Profitable At Market Transactions

“Excellence in Every Product and Service”

“Anticipating Customer’s Needs”

“Partnering, Risking and Creating for a Better Future”

“Innovative New Synergy”

“Stewardship, Transformation, Sustainability
Measurable Values ( Partial list from 130 different values)

The seven steps are organized in a developmental sequence or path that provide a 'process description'. Inherent in a developmental sequence is the logic that  'lower' order values and behaviors need to be accessible before 'higher' order values and behaviors can be realized. 

Mapping and comparing different direct and indirect measures will indicate areas of alignment and gaps or differences. Effecting meaningful change usually involves addressing a 'meaning gap'. This change process involves 1) identifying desired value paths (Guiding Principles), and 2) making sure all lower order values are accessible and in place so that that desired higher order values may be realized. 

Meaning Gaps exists when the developmental mapping of the values from different

peak at different Customer Relationship Orientations (CRO) by one or more steps. We experience and observe Meaning Gaps when:

Shared meaning, or alignment exists when developmental values mapping is at the same or adjacent CRO. We experience and observe Shared Meaning when:

In business, aligned interactions need to included the desired customer, otherwise 'shared meaning' can become very centered on the teams needs and values and may have nothing to do with the needs of the customer.

Whose Values Prevail?  

What are the right values? In an organizational context this is an ethical question that relates directly to the authority and responsibility of the legal directors. The Life Journey Map® methodology supports the following process:

Different customer relationships demand different values and behaviors. Different customer relationships also equate to different revenue models. Higher levels of customer relationship complexity often equate with higher economic margins. 

Kotter and Heskett (1992, p. 142-44) in their research summarize that when leaders at all levels emulate value systems that stress meeting the legitimate needs of all the key constituencies whose cooperation is essential to business performance- especially customers, employees, and stockholders, considerable higher margins of performance are achieved. 

From a business-customer point of view no one Customer Relationship Orientation is inherently better than another. It all depends on the desired customer relationship and its corresponding business model.

Leadership Alignment - Case Study 

Below is a values mapping of the leadership of ABC TelCo, a small telephone company (n=2400) recently purchased by P-TelCo (n=28,000). The parent company after completing a strategic Vision, Mission and Guiding Principle process identified the desired customer relationship as “Service”. 

This mapping shows that ABC’s CEO is a ‘meaning gap’-a CRO step difference- ahead of his executive team and two steps ahead of middle management. He is leading the organization’s change from “Quality” to “Service” and is most motivated by “Cocreation”. 


This mapping also helped the CEO understand some of his frustration at not being able to convey the type of changes he expects, especially with some members on his executive team. This mapping was used to help the CEO and executive team improve team problem solving in the context of “Service”. This mapping facilitated a number of other actions aimed helping the ABC TelCo align with its new parent. (ABC is French speaking; P-TelCo is English Speaking)

Steps To Values Alignment

After Vision, Mission, and Guiding Principles…

  1. Individual Value Awareness of personal priority values is the first step. Commitment to an organization's Guiding Principles involves choosing the organization as an “opportunity to practice” personal values that are meaningful and significant.

  2. Value Based Teaming from the board down is next. All teams need to learn to address business problems from the desired strategic Customer Relationship Orientation. 

  3. The Metrics used to measure results and reward behavior need to be congruent with the value framework that best supports the desired Customer Relationship Orientation.

  4. Humility. Once an Executive Team declares the Guiding Principles and its intention to live by them, members of the culture are immediately aware of the gap between intent and behavior. Tempering awareness and expectation with humility involves recognizing our limits, and communicating that we strive for these values but we are well aware that we don’t always live them 100%.

Copyright 2002 by Scott Bristol