Change: it’s both necessary and inevitable.
For some reason, change carries a great deal of resistance along with it. Nevertheless, in some cases, like winning the lottery, such an enormous change doesn’t generate the same resistance that other changes do. Lottery winners don’t question if they are ready for the change or if they need to adapt. They take the change all at once, no questions asked!
Businesses need to change in order to advance. But why is it that the implementations of changes that could propel a company to the next level somehow don’t manage to take root? Is there hope for a company that was originally a process-, engineering-, or product-centric organization to make the transition to become customer-centric?
Instead of resolving a transformation-stalemate via a top-down approach, changes need to take hold through a natural evolution beginning from the foundation, the customer.
In order for us to go forward, we have to go backwards. In other words, rather than a Change Management program, institute a plan for Cause Management. Cause Management is an approach that examines transformation from the standpoint of the customer. The customer is, after all, the cause for the business in the first place. There needs to be a cultural transformation around customers in order to become customer-centric.
To effectively apply cause management leaders must be:
- Quite literally “Be a Cause” by focusing on the customer, the cause.
- Immersive by understanding your customers in terms of what they want and what your employees think they want. Immerse your employees in the process by being collaborative and involving them from the beginning.
- Authentic about your organization and what is driving your employees.
- Collaborative by involving everyone within your organization as everyone can contribute something, whether it is the CEO or the person cleaning the toilets.
- Storytellers. Stories define your value. Utilizing the art of storytelling and empowering managers to tell the story builds a narrative that shows your company’s value.
- Fast because no one has time for multi-year projects. Accelerate and get faster results. Constantly look to “what’s next?”
- Meaningful in your program design so that your real impact can be measured. Employees should feel a sense of pride in the job they have done.
The bottom line is that in order to change effectively, employees need to make an emotional connection with the customers to understand their needs as customers. Employees need to have a personal commitment to the customer and a complete understanding of the customers’ needs. When an employee understands what the customer needs, he or she can then effectively utilize the power they have to transform a customer’s experience from run-of-the-mill to extraordinary.
Lior Arussy is the Founder and President of Strativity Group, a global customer experience research and consulting firm headquartered in Hackensack, NJ. Connect with Lior via Twitter @LiorStrativity or Strativity.com.