Enterprise DNA Traits

Key DNA Traits of a High Value Enterprise

High value enterprises are not created by chance. They have a common DNA structure or features that are critical to success. They grow from a set of conscious decisions to do things in a particular way. The common nodes in the enterprise DNA that are important for shifting value are:

  1. Pivotal Leaders
  2. Ambition and attitude
  3. Strategic anchor
  4. Investment and resource allocation
  5. Customer intimacy
  6. Capable people
  7. Deployment discipline
  8. Connection and collaboration

1. Pivotal Leaders

CEO, Board and Executive

Pivotal leaders on board from day one or introduced to regain momentum (building on a strong foundation)... they are there for the long term.

There’s a combination of leaders e.g. a balance of the vision / passion / industry expert with the commercial focus and financial resources.

Pivotal leaders bring a rhythm to the enterprise... a constant intensity, restlessness and relentless focus.

Pivotal leaders are able to lean on their board for guidance... they are the central figure that creates, maintains and nurtures the culture of a lead team (that flows through the organisation).

Who in your organization excels at leading change and why are they effective?

What can you do now to encourage your team to "build it better?"


2. Ambition and attitude

Not arrogant but a clear confidence in the ability to be globally competitive.

Desire to be rated alongside the greats of the world (and to get there fast). Will be globally relevant, must be the world’s best.
 Will be number one or number two where ever we compete.
 Will supply the world’s best (customers).

There is a relentless desire to be better in everything.

They are humble.

They are very careful with the attitude –confident but not arrogant.

The ambition is much bigger than the bottom line today (long term prosperity of New Zealand).

Ambition is long term... to do something extraordinary for future generations.

Why are you leading this company?


3. Strategic anchor

A very clear strategic focus or idea that is central to the enterprise over the long term... it does not change but can evolve.

There’s a single idea that’s been there from day 1 – everything in the DNA connects to this.

The strategic anchor is never compromised.


The strategic anchor is very distinctive – it's not a 'me too' position.

The strategic anchor allows the organisation to systematically narrowed its focus (eg from 100 to 5 brands).

Who in your team can clearly articulate the business core purpose?

How can you remain committed to the core while exploring new opportunities?


4. Investment and resource allocation

A combination of much higher levels of investment (in innovation, products, capital, assets, acquisitions and capability) and they quality and success of the investment activity.

Allocates resources strategically – focus enables shifting resources across the enterprise (M&A, People, R&D, Innovation, Brands, Assets).

Key part of the success is action to stop doing things (strategic anchor drives focus).

Takes an organisation from loose to ruthless.

Takes the hit and miss out (invest more and confident that our success rate is much higher – still make some mistakes but learn from this – fail fast).

Deliver the best process to get winners.

Invests in capacity from day 1 (taken a long term view – ability to grow for 20 years).

Do your current projects:

Do your current projects…Help meet strategic objectives?

Do your current projects… Provide high enough returns to justify the effort and risk?

Do your current projects… Have sufficient internal resourcesallocated to ensure rapid execution?

If not which projects will you “park” and re-allocate resources today?


5. Customer Intimacy

An extremely deep understanding of the customer and an ability to engage with the customer through all stages of the relationship including product development, order execution and service.

Investment in intense representation.

Has very deep understanding (the product and its use, the brand, the purchasing process, the whole experience).

Really get into the customer's shoes – experience what the customers experience.

Connects everything(all other activities) to the customer.

Takes this to the next level which is challenging – Massive investment of resources (financial, technology, people) and it takes time (years) to see the result.

What can you start or stop to build trust amongst your customers?

How can you ensure your customers' voice is hear throughout your organization?


6. Capable people

Development and recruitment of people with an exceptionally close alignment to the enterprise DNA.

Culture is set from day one – culture is hard to change.

Everyone knows where we are going (connects to the purpose).

People are held to account for culture (if they don’t fit the culture then make hard decisions).

They protect the culture – the culture protects the enterprise (as people move in and out).

World class engagement.
Continuously develop the core capability required in five years.

Behaviours demonstrate culture

Behaviours demonstrate culture

What three behaviours most represent the culture you want displayed in your organization?

Who will model the way and mentor others?


7. Deployment Discipline

Targeted capability aligned to the strategic anchor and customer –takes specific operations and activities to a very high level of maturity.

Need ability to execute perfectly (across all activity operations, customer and investment).

Have become very sophisticated… enables us to manage the extreme complexity (across the chain).

Improve constantly.

Demands high levels of reliability.

Have real visibility across the value chain (very detailed –get the signals to act).

Really able to check and adjust (move from responding

How effective is your framework for project execution?

If you don’t have a consistent framework, how might you implement one?


8. Connection and collaboration

High levels of proactive investment in developing and maintaining connections and working with partners and enterprises across the value chain and across industries to increase the pace and effectiveness of adding value.

Connection and collaboration are recognised as a high-value activities and require management.

Processes are systematic and disciplined.

Connected and collaborated in all directions (across the value chain or into other industries for specific capabilities).

Recognise that collaboration is critical to maintain pace in a completive environment.

Share a slice of a very big pie rather than maintain a small pie.

Which individual or organisation can help solve my most complex problems?

Who can I help with what I have learnt?


About the author: Simon Hunter

Principal, KPMG

Simon lead’s KPMG’s Performance Consulting practice in Auckland and has 25 years’ experience in boosting organisations’ growth, productivity and profitability to build value for clients. His extensive agri-business experience includes leading Performance Consulting initiatives in the Dairy, Meat, Horticulture, Seafood and Food processing sectors. He has been trusted as an advisor to respond to the critical and complex challenges that constrain organisation performance. Simon and his team have studied the characteristics of high performing enterprises and leveraged this insight to develop KPMG’s Enterprise DNA framework.

KPMGFueling Prosperity

KPMG is committed to fuelling New Zealand’s prosperity, and believe high performing Māori and agri sectors will significantly contribute to this purpose. KPMG understands the characteristics and corporate DNA of high performing companies, and can utilise this experience to help companies build, protect and realise value.