Limiting mindsets. A scourge of modern times and a limit on human performance keeping us in thought straight jackets.
If you want something new you have to stop doing something old
So what are modern day thinkers and Innovators doing to break out of preconditioned constraining beliefs? Well if you google ‘innovation’ you get 1,650,000,000 (one billion, six hundred and fifty million) responses which would be a bit of light reading for the weekend 😉
So I tried another tack and thought about the best online videos and books featuring innovation, and yes there is a fast track way to watch and hear the thoughts of today’s greats, in action doing their innovative things.
Who are the best and what are their secrets?
I revisited my lists of sources, contacts and influencers, brought them up to date (the last two years or so) and collated the best across the domains I operate in. I included the recent Award winners acknowledged for their contributions to business. The result you can access below which contains the people, their LinkedIn connections, their best videos and in some cases additional resources.
So the next time someone asks me a question about TipTop Innovators and influencers I am going to point them here!
4 Minute overview of the content of the 6 sessions over 6 weeks at 3 hours per week
Hi Steve here, as an aside I first ran these sessions in December last year and they were very well received, despite being on a Sunday, so ignore my comment in the first few seconds about Sunday because they are through the week as well.
You will join for 3 hours per week in a live interactive video call and put to work the techniques I review in the video. Immediately usable with colleagues (near or far) you will innovate new approaches to work as we all grapple with our new normals.
Available across the planet in time zone friendly sessions – watch the overview and click the links below to review the detail and register.
See you on the inside! (I mention Sunday training but that is up to you)
The online ACX Masters program gives Customer Experience and Business Transformation leaders the opportunity to go beyond surface-level presentation and get hands-on, practical takeaways to enable their own successful, business-wide transformations.
Attracting 100,000+ global professionals for those handling seismic business change, this Masterclass provides a Fast track look into customer experience management, change, leadership, BPM and CX space, and the challenges that leading industry professionals are overcoming, both on a macro and micro level.
Gain the insights from the 2020 Amazon Number One bestseller, ‘Dare! Behind The Scenes Of The Best Business Transformation Project In The World.’ And how large and small organizations can transform their people, processes and performance rapidly with an inclusive approach that delivers successful business and customer outcomes.
It seems that the only consistent thing today is change. With that in mind, how are you keeping up with the seismic shifts in doing business?
We upgrade our homes, our cars and our lifestyles as a matter of course. When was the last time you upgraded YOU? No, I don’t mean a fancy new pair of shoes or those nice looking jeans what I am talking about is the way you think and do. At a fundamental level, we need to be able to lead change and enable those around us to embrace and welcome all aspects of this volatile world, which as I have already suggested isn’t going away anytime soon.
All things considered, that is what our coaching, mentoring and training programs are all about. Not only incorporating the latest innovations in business change but reframing the way you think.
The Experience Manager
In this last twelve months, the approaches we use have upgraded to include a new platform that redefines process and customer experience deployment and includes the capture, analysis, ideation and implementation of experiences from the front-line to the board room.
Now some may think they have done all the growth they need to do and rely on those traditional tools for the daily work. That is, however, the way of the dinosaur, almost waiting for the asteroid to strike and wishing they would survive its impact. We know what happened there.
So is time to refresh and retool?
If so there’s a series of courses from one-dayers to a week across the planet led by been there and done it mentors who spend the majority of their time helping organisations embrace this brave new world. Come and get the benefits of their latest learnings as we codify together, hands-on, the means for you to upgrade and retool.
Case studies are great, but…
I will be blunt (nothing new there then) I abhor the talking heads know it all theoretical claptrap courses where learning is stifled and it is a listen and do as I say dirge. Hence anyone who has experienced our programs will tell you how exciting, invigorating and enabling the hands-on learning is. Even to the extent of using your own challenges and working them through the sessions in association with teammates and colleagues. Yes, case studies help but how much better is fixing your own stuff and learning how to integrate the tools and techniques directly?
That underpins our programs, learning by doing.
In fact, the relationships you forge in the fires of embracing the CEMMethod will become a part of the new you on your return to the office.
Find out more…
We are running open courses across the planet in 116 countries with over 100,000 professionals now qualified. Our inhouse courses, where we customise the material to your industry and current dramas, are also popular and we are proud to talk of the thousands of companies who have embraced the learnings. Either way, open or inhouse, you will have a fantastic time so have a look, delve a bit, and sign-up soon. Your upgrade is waiting!
What significantly differentiates the top dogs in terms of business results? How can Amazon, Zara, Zappos and Emirates consistently outperform their competitors?
You and I as consumers connect better with those companies who have a focus on delivering Successful Customer Outcomes, however, that doesn’t immediately come about through wishful thinking, re-engineering processes or investing in the latest bright shiny technologies. No, these successful organizations have a different strategy…. And that strategy understands a fundamental truth across every part of the enterprise. Without the employee ‘getting it’ you waste your time banging the drum about improving the Customer Experience and at best you will achieve a Hawthorne effect, where results are fleetingly better then reverting back to sometimes even worse than before.
And so, enter stage left the Employee Experience.
Great, got it! We invest in employee’s emotional well-being and we can then deliver great CX. Wrong again. Emotions are an effect created by the circumstances the employee finds themselves in. Imagine a draconian boss, poor lighting and awful colleagues.
Not too much of a surprise that employees will then have low morale, high absence rates, and short tenures before finding something better. Making them feel better by changing the boss, improving work conditions and encouraging teaminess may produce a short-term fleeting benefit however we are soon back to square one. Why is this?
Amazingly the answer to this catch 22 has been there all along. It is so obvious calling it common sense way understates its importance. The elegant simplicity confuses those who believe we should just improve what we already do, or invest heavily in digital, or run team building motivational workshops.
And this isn’t a secret sauce – three simple steps will get you there…
Understand what success looks like for the customer
Create measures of those Needs and Expectations
Align and Reward employees to deliver those Needs and Expectations – without exception
And as if by magic, morale improves, employees become adept at dealing with any situation (without the need to go ‘upstairs’), customers are delighted and results, measured through costs, service and revenue dramatically improve. Sure, you can go measure the emotional employee impact (we are all happier!) but also remember that is a consequence of doing the right things first. And if you have to measure the employee emotions to tell you things aren’t working you are not understanding your customers well enough.
Outside-In is a regular theme during most of my keynotes, not least this last week here in Florida. A question asked from the floor related to the 30-second elevator test “can you explain to the CEO what this stuff is, why it is different, and how it reframes the work we do?”. I guess I was about to fudge and say this needs more than 30 seconds, and then remembered my two-slide explanation!
So, for those guys looking for a simple explanation, these two slides will do the job. I have put a bit of narrative in there also.
120+ in Florida at the keynote, 16 January 2018
The old, industrial-age traditional way of doing business. We make products (and services). We look for the market to sell them in. We segment customers by circumstance and pitch our products to those segments. We add variations to the products to better fit certain niche segments. We build back-end systems and digital capabilities in this increasingly complex world. We are rigid, functionally oriented and abhor change.
The new Outside-In customer-centric way. We identify the customers we would like to do business with. We understand their needs (even when they may not know them themselves) and specific Successful Customer Outcomes (SCO’s). We categorise customers by need. We then create the capability to deliver to these categories the SCO’s (both products, people and digital). Progressively we manage new and existing customer expectations to deliver success without exception. We are agile, innovative and attuned to 21st century needs.
Let me know if this works for you.
For the curious, the original slides came from a deck presented as a keynote in Sydney, Australia 3 years ago.
You can access that here: http://bit.ly/SydneyPEX
The once favorite topic for improving business performance was Lean Six Sigma, however, the last two years have seen the ascendancy of Customer Experience (CX) as a focus for top teams. ‘Google trends’ is a good barometer of emerging interests and this graph demonstrates increasing interest in CX (blue) compared with LSS (red).
Curiously the largest interest in industrial age improvement techniques like Lean and Six Sigma is in non-English speaking countries, whereas Customer Experience is strongly represented in North America, UK, Australia and South Africa.
For those using the search term ‘Customer Experience,’ the associated topic list provides additional insight into searchers interests. The % trend reflects the growth year on year with ‘Omnichannel’ and ‘Digital data’ seeing explosive growth.
By way of additional information, a search with Epictions focused on Articles produces these top three pieces in the last three months on the theme of ‘Customer Experience – Omnichannel’.
1. The Future of Car Sales Is Omnichannel (Bain & Co)
The single biggest piece of advice I give to senior executives setting out on the Customer Experience journey is to STOP. Yes seriously, the vast majority of CX efforts are completely misaligned.
CX Efforts Misaligned
Don’t get me wrong the intentions are good. Unfortunately, it goes something like this:
Top Team are listening and decide they need to get with this customer centricity/Outside-In/working backwards thinking.
Senior Management makes noises that the customer is THE thing the business must focus on.
The Executive engage the marketing and sales guys to get with it and start pushing the message.
Functional leaders hear the noise and bluster. They start using the language, whilst thinking this is just more fluff and nonsense. They make the right noises for now but keep their heads down, because they know this will go the same way as so many other ‘strategic initiatives’.
Fundamentally functional heads carry on working with the out of date reward system that promotes sub-optimal industrial age thinking and practice.
The Executive see the usual inertia, results not coming through, apathy and indifference and decide their business isn’t really an Amazon.
Top Team then reverts to just getting better at what we are doing, then when someone in ‘our industry’ proves it we will follow.
Functional leaders breathe a sigh of relief and invest even more in industrial age systems and training. The illusion of doing something, in this case, is actually worse than doing nothing.
The businesses failure is noted by customers who move to those who do understand and deliver Customer Experience success.
The company becomes another footnote in the history books. Talked about at business schools and picked apart because of the failure to get the new Outside-In customer-centric mindset.
Making Customer Experience Successful everywhere all the time
This isn’t rocket science (unless you are NASA of course). Understanding that the structures and ways of working from the industrial age were NEVER designed to be customer-centric. They were established to make things faster by optimizing production lines.
And oh, don’t think because you are not in manufacturing you are OK. It is likely your complete ways of working will be making everything look like production management systems, with talk of leaning out, waste reduction, standardization, efficiency, productivity. Sound familiar?
Understanding this Customer Experience misalignment is fundamental.
I encourage doing three things before re-joining the CX road-march:
Understand how big the gap is between what you are doing and what Successful Customer Outcomes you need to be delivering.
Audit the current key performance indicators.
Are they mostly about outputs?
Usually, the balance will be 80% output metrics (like calls answered, Average Handle Times, Abandoned Rates, Projects completed on time to budget etc.).
Meanwhile, the really important measures that tell you a Successful Customer Outcome is being achieved will only be a small proportion.
What you measure is what you get and no amount of Customer Experience drum banging will work unless those measures of Outcomes become the most important.
Create an awareness of what real CX success is all about.
This isn’t just the stories. It is about the actual things on the ground that need to change. The WHY and the HOW go hand in hand. Often times upskilling a group of key players at all levels to make them Ambassadors for the Customer achieves way more than massive corporate investment in branding and image.
In conclusion, Customer Experience cannot be treated just like another corporate initiative. To achieve success requires a significant shift in mindsets, and when that is achieved the realignment of the Enterprise to Outside-In can really begin.