A New Order of Things – Outside-In

There is no easy way to introduce a new order of things however there are some principles that can be followed based on this type of mind shift.

1, Objective and immediate.
The results we achieve with Outside-In are significant and substantive e.g. Triple Crown*. Accordingly any effort should first of all identify the clear tangible benefits.

2. Talk is cheap.
Fine words and phrases will not win hearts and minds without substance. Delivery is key, hence the ‘start where you are’ sentiment. In current projects (where support may be lacking) introduce the techniques within the CEMMethod(tm) by stealth.
Lift the heads of those around you to think of Moments of Truth, Break Points and Business Rules for instance. “Nothing new mate, just some stuff other guys have used within… Six Sigma../..Lean../..EA../..complaince etc. (delete as appropriate)”

3. Build support.
With (2) underway you will build support. That is the point to shift focus and begin the more practical discussion of where and how.

4. Go for broke.
If you are extremely lucky/persuasive and have the top team already onboard go for broke. Discover the worst most problematic issues and set to righting em. By fixing the Cause you will remove the Effect.

5. Move on.
It is a 4-500 year shift in mindset (Dee Hock, VISA founder).
It will ultimately transform the planet. The jury is in fact back and the results speak for themselves. So when all looks desolate and casting your pearls before swine is depressing, remind them that they are part of the problem and move on.

6. Make it so.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE it just feels that way when surrounded by flat-landers (doh). Learn, exchange and do.

As an aside Charles Bennetts links to the cartoons are thought provoking. We have links to them in the respective Alumin’s in the subgroup areas 🙂

Join the worlds first and largest Outside-In community at: http://www.oibpm.com

Once on-board review the subgroups and join the specialist communities – you will
find friends and support as we transform the planet one person,one process, one organisation at a time!

*Triple Crown: Jim Sinur (Gartner) coined this phrase. Through the delivery of advanced BPM you will simultaneously reduce costs, enhance service and grow revenues. In public sector/not for profits replace revenue growth with delievry of strategic objectives.

Don’t give customers what they think they want

It is pretty much accepted wisdom these days that companies should be customer focused. It is however unfortunate that most companies go the wrong way about this by asking their customers what they want. Customers describe their requirements in terms of products and services and then when the company builds and delivers they are not desired or bought. Henry Ford put it very well “if we ask customers what they want they’ll ask for faster horses”.

And yet at the end of the first decade of the 21st century a surprising and somewhat alarming majority of companies do precisely that. Why does this fail?

Fundamentally when the customer is asked the question “what do you want from us” the answer comes in terms of product and service. Customers when faced with this question extrapolate from their own experiences and what they know of your products and service. Hence it shouldn’t be any great surprise when the requirements are bounded by current ‘inside out’ thinking. Our organizations then construct complex systems and processes to meet the requirements, develop ‘customer focused’ strategies and seek to demonstrate with measurement systems, scorecards and the like that what they are doing is what the customer asked for. Meanwhile competitors are beating us at our own game.

So how can we resolve this apparent conundrum? The answer is delightfully simple, as are most things involving Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s). We should be asking the more relevant question “what is the customers desired outcome?”. This subtlety takes us to a new place of understanding and opens the potential for innovation and the opportunity to challenge our existing business thinking.

Making customers life’s simpler, easier and more successful is a cornerstone of SCO’s. Once we have understood the SCO we should then align everything in our organization to achieve that endeavor – without exception. We can design measurement systems which understand the SCO and the various steps to achieving it. Measuring becomes a simpler task. We should create systems which contribute directly to achieving the SCO. In fact no development should be taking place if there isn’t a demonstrable direct linkage to getting the SCO. In fact everything the company does should be progressively aligned to achieving SCO’s, and not as we often see in delivering faster horses.

How do we create this new order? Again the answer is a simple one and not bounded by the inside-out complexity which befuddles so many companies. Your improvement approaches should also be aligned to creating, understanding, and implementing approaches that, yes, contribute to the SCO.

That’s where Customer Expectation Management (CEM) comes in. As an Advanced form of business process and performance management it goes the extra mile and applies our focus to SCO’s. As a consequence these ‘outside-in’ companies are able to progressively and continually innovate and create clear water between themselves and rivals and in many instances becoming market leaders. That’s what US based Best Buy did with their customer centricity strategy. That’s what FedEx Kinko are doing with their massively simplified idea to delivery process. This is what Virgin Group do across their network of more than 100 companies.

It isn’t always about market leadership though. Simply getting better against a backdrop of increasing competition, technology innovation, tightening regulation and customer promiscuity would be great for most. Going the CEMMethod(tm) route gets you where you want and need to be.

In our 2006 book “Customer Expectation Management – Success without Exception” we reviewed the theory and several case studies which is now accessible as a complete method, with supporting toolkits, resources and techniques. The CEMMethod(tm) can be taught, customized and developed to suit different environments and commercial challenges. In the last 5 years more than 8000 people have qualified as Certified Process Professionals and incorporated this approach into their thinking at all levels – from the board room to the lunch room.

In summary then we should be asking customers what is their successful outcome and once we understand that progressively move to align everything we do to achieving that through our people, process, technology and ultimately strategy.

Good hunting for your Successful Customer Outcomes.