MUSINGS ON EXPERIENCE, TRANSFORMATION, STRATEGY AND MORE
Over the years, I’ve worked on quite a few ‘corporate transformation’ programmes. Some were highly successful. Others we don’t talk about.
Typically, success and failure depended on the behaviour of the people in charge. Including my own.
Though looking at each experience as a learning opportunity, I have identified a few behaviours of which I remind myself every time I work on a new project or with a new team. They typically live as a reminder in my (digital) drawer. So I cleaned them up a bit, to share in this article.
These days, every leadership team wants to see a mindset change in their people. They need to be more customer-centric. More digital. More agile. More innovative. More sustainable. More lean. More in love with the colour blue.
To make this happen, companies unleash so many transformation programmes that merely mentioning the T-word makes employees roll their eyes in despair. Only this year, I’ve had multiple executives tell me “what ever the content, let’s not call what we are doing a transformation.”
Leaders regularly say that they want to ‘change the mindset’ of their people. But can that really be done? And if you were to persist, what are the implications?
In another element to the transformation algorithm I’m building, I explore the concept of mindset change. The post isn’t as clearly written as I would like, but I’m told that ‘done is better than perfect’. So, if you see opportunities to improve, ask, comment, complement or (constructively) disagree. I'm sure we'll both learn from it!
This Summer is turning out to be hot in more ways than one.
In the past 7 days I’ve been to Milan, Vienna and Stockholm while having a dozen digital and in-person meetings in-between. After 2 years of Covid-induced digital scrambling, corporate mind-space is returning to get real about customer experience.
What if I told you that - as a leader - you were delusional, prejudiced and unable to make any kind of objective decision? You would probably take offence.
And yet, these adjectives apply to me on an almost daily basis.
Is this where you worry about me?
What is a good customer experience? And how do you make it great? Delightful? Fantastic? Supercalifragilisticexpialodocious?
Do you do it by adding more experiential components?
As my hunt for a (corporate) transformation algorithm goes on, I continue to put together my thoughts as they crystallise.
In this article, I look at three transformational truths too often ignored by leadership teams.
You’ve done the customer journey maps. You’ve built your Net Promoter programme. You’ve got more personas than you can handle.
But somehow the Holy Grail of customer centricity remains out of reach. Leaders aren’t fully on board. Employees stay in their silos. Budgets don’t show genuine commitment. And somehow that digital transformation is more about technology than about the customer.
It’s not that anyone means bad. Or that they don’t care. It’s just that despite everyone’s best efforts and intentions, the pieces of the puzzle don’t match.
Whenever I encounter these situations, I challenge myself to look beyond the tools of the customer experience trade and consider the bigger picture. Typically, I do this with three questions which don’t provide magical answers, but usually progress the conversation.
I’m sharing them here, as they may also have some value for you.
There’s a dirty little secret in the land of corporate transformation.
While all of us in the trade talk a good game about mindset change, behavioural design and psychological safety, reality is that many change programmes aren’t really about transformation. As narrative design rockstar Christy Dena pointed out the other day, they’re about compliance.
... and what to focus on instead
You may know that I'm hunting for a Transformation Algorithm
Its goal is to help us move beyond the >70% failure rate of corporate transformations and create transformative experiences for employees, customers and society. Ambitious? Moi?
To get there, I’m walking around the problem.
Looking at it from all perspectives (Japan style). So without claiming expertise in any domain, I’m blending systems thinking with neuroscience, behavioural psychology, philosophy and my background in experience design. There’s even a little math (I couldn't resist 🥸.
It's a work in progress, but I'm getting there.
Meanwhile, here are some more thoughts as I put together the puzzle. The article starts a bit gloomy, but it ends more upbeat… I promise.
It's all work in progress, so don’t hold back on comments, compliments or corrections 🙂.
Alain Thys is an experience architect who helps organisations drive profit and transformation through experience.