Your Company's DNA Test

The following twelve-question survey will help you identify your company's DNA. Based on what you’ve read so far, you may already have a sense of what that DNA is. If so, do your best to push that conviction aside for as long as it takes you to complete the test. Remember, it isn’t unusual for a company to be convinced of its DNA only to discover after a closer look that how it sees itself and what it truly is are two very different things.

Keep in mind that this is not a survey about what you wish were true about your company. It’s about what you believe is true now about your company. Without overthinking it, choose for each question the one response that best fits your company as it exists today.


1. Which of these best describes what your company does?

(a) We solve a valuable customer need, and we do it better than anyone else.
(b) We build a truly differentiated product with a great value proposition.
(c) We shake things up; our goal is to change the world.

2. Think about the achievements your company values. Which of these three important achievements do you perceive your company values the most? 

(a) The quality and value of our relationships with customers.
(b) Growth in revenue, sales, and adoption of our product.
(c) Sparking a movement that changes people's minds or behavior.

3. Which of these three styles of innovation do you believe occurs most naturally at your company? 

(a) Outside-in: What improves the experiences or better solves the need of a customer or group of customers?
(b)  Inside-out: How can we do something better, faster, cheaper?
(c) Outside-in: What lies beyond the horizon? What bold idea is next?

4. Which of these best describes your typical pricing strategy?

(a) Based on usage or service.
(b) Value or cost-plus.
(c) Freemium or aspirational.

5. You've just been given a dollar to spend on marketing. On which of the following three projects would your company most likely spend that dollar?

(a) Insight into customer needs and desires.
(b) R&D on a truly amazing new product design or feature concept.
(c) Awareness of a thought leadership concept.

6. Which of these three types of people would naturally fit in best with your company culture today? 

(a) Empathetic servant-leaders who intimately know and understand the customer point of view.
(b) Brilliant developers, engineers, and leaders who get things done.
(c)  Big thinkers who make a “lifestyle choice” by joining our company.

7. Which of these best describes where Product Marketing resides within your organization today? (If you don't have a formal product marketing organization, check the option for where it would most likely reside if it did exist.)  

(a) Reporting to our CMO—aligned with sales, marketing, operations, and product                               management.
(b) Reporting to our CTO—aligned with product management, IT, and R&D.
(c) In the C-Suite, reporting to our CEO.

8. For which of the following things is your company's CEO most likely to be lauded in the marketplace?

(a) Reputation building—for service, relationships, communications, and/or customer experience.
(b) Product evolution—for business performance, technical skills, patents, and IP and/or sales achievements.
(c) Vision—for gregariousness, personality, inventiveness, pioneering, and/or giant thinking.

9. Which of the following three project proposals would most likely be funded by your executive team at its next meeting?

(a) An end-to-end target customer experience assessment and redesign canvassing all touchpoints.
(b) An R&D project to develop a near- to mid-term solution to a present or emerging technical problem.
(c) A feasibility study on an exciting but theoretical concept.

10. How would your company's leadership team most likely confirm that a value proposition for your company is “correct”?

(a) We tested it at our latest round of customer advisory groups and they loved it.
(b) Sales are up and brand reputation is high. The metrics show it’s working. 
(c) We simply “feel” it; customers don’t know what they want until we invent it.

11. Which of the following three statements best describes how your company defines the word “brand”?

(a) The sum of all the experiences a customer has with our company across every touchpoint.
(b) The look and feel of our company—our logo, product names, taglines, product packaging, design style, tone of voice, etc.
(c) The way our spirit is embodied—a challenge to the world to think differently.

Okay, that’s it for the DNA assessment. Just one final question:


12. Which statement below feels most true?

(a) Answering the questions was easy.
(b) Answering the questions was difficult.
(c)  Our management team answered them all differently.

DNA Results

You might have detected a theme here:

  • If your answers to the first eleven questions came up predominantly “a,” you’re a Mother.
  • If your answers came up predominantly “b,” you’re a Mechanic.
  • If your answers came up predominantly “c,” you’re a Missionary.

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