How simple it is to say, but yet so many failures depend on the lack of customer focus. Let’s begin with some questions: Who is in your customer experience development team? The best engineers or the best sellers? Or just the management group? Or none of these? How do you involve clients in planning and implementing changes? How do you react on customer feedback and changes in buying behaviour?
Even if you have followed the steps for a successful transformation and have clever answers for the questions above, something may still go sour. The ability to quickly react to negative responses to change will ultimately decide the winners. Companies are full of leaders trying to find excuses and motivations why the change they implemented was and is the right one but some external factors caused it to fail. Stop explaining and revert! If something doesn’t work it most often symbolizes that it simply sucks. Many of the successful companies have realized this and have abandoned major parts of the long-term strategic planning. Instead the strategic focus is on the response time - Reaction speed to evolving customer needs and technological breakthroughs has to be lightning fast, otherwise you are out.
Lean projects may give you a great insight of possible cost savings and overlapping processes. Wonderful tools and tracking analytics can provide you with detailed information of employees’ results, efficiency rates and median duration of their visit to the washroom during working hours. If you use this data for command & control type of management, the younger generations will likely opt to leave the company in no time. Why would you even need people to do predefined processes and tasks which are described to the detail? Human beings generally do not like to be treated like machines. So don’t do it.
The new era leadership must be built on individual concentration, intellectual stimulation, inspirational motivation and idealized influence. All of us can perform beyond expectations if we are trusted and respected. We can overcome challenges if we are allowed to innovate and create new ways to react to the rapid changes at the customer interface. We can succeed if our failures are seen as learning experiences and finally, if we feel that our input has a purpose. So many are afraid, desperate and demotivated. And why? The purpose is lost. Trust is gone. Replaced by the machines maybe. Perhaps overran by bad management. Creating a culture of trust will define the champions.
Have an idea? That’s great. There are 7.8 billion of us so the probability of your idea being just a stellar innovation that nobody has thought of before is quite minimal. Going global in the quest for best and next practices is essential for future survival. Long passed are the times when you would look at the benchmarks within your own industry and market. Want it or not, you must burst the bubble and reach unprecedented level of social flexibility to understand the market dynamics. A limited network of somewhat like-minded people living in the somewhat same social environment will not get you anywhere. The world is sizzling with new ideas and opportunities. The greatest innovations will more probably come from the smallest village in Uttar Pradesh than your inner circle. But when will you hear about it? Who will tell you about it? What is the value of your network in bringing you the latest success formulas from different industries and markets?
Networking and lifelong learning may sound like buzzwords. Yet, building an operational environment where these aspects are truly valued at least as much as short term results will eventually differentiate the global leaders from the rest of the pack.
Respond, Trust and Connect. And be human, not a machine.