The availability of countless tools, software and management systems, customized training programs, and strategic planning applications, makes it easy to forget the reason we have them in the first place. The reason is the customer.
A hallmark of change transformation is the implementation of new tools and systems. Currently, droves of organizations embrace comprehensive management systems to improve operational efficiency, performance analysis, organization alignment and more. In fact, all come with bells and whistles that address specific problem areas and provide solutions for optimizing performance in every conceivable aspect of an organization’s operation.
The impetus in the design and creation of these systems is the customer. They address how best to meet customers’ and stakeholders’ needs and enhance their experience. However, when the focus is on learning the details and capabilities of a new program, customers and stakeholders sometimes fade from the radar screen. “It’s all about the customer” becomes “It’s about the new program.”
Staying on Track
These programs are attractive for their promise and potential, but can be time- and labor-intensive to install and implement. The training and implementation of some systems can take several months, even years. As a result, teams are sidetracked – learning how best to operate and apply programs, train users, and integrate new techniques into operations.
The primary challenge when leading teams in a change transformation is maintaining the original intent behind the effort. Align the intent with the organization’s goal of understanding customers’ and stakeholders’ requirements at a fundamental level. Meaning, fully grasp the work you are endeavoring to do, and offer solutions to the problems you are trying to solve. To stay on track, be sure the service of a new process, system, or organization design adheres to that fundamental tenet.
That understanding should remain present throughout the process of implementing any new organizational program or system.
Keeping Customer Satisfaction in the Conversation
However, employees integrating these systems into the processes and structures of the business often shift focus to the system itself. Over time, focus drifts from fulfilling customer and stakeholder needs to getting the system implemented.
During change transformation efforts, it’s easy to lose focus on the customer. It’s tempting to abbreviate the change transformation’s mission statement as, “We’re installing Workday” or “We are doing a Salesforce rollout.” Regularly reinforce the broader, customer-centric concept and carefully choose language to reflect it. For example, “We’re adopting Salesforce so that sales people can understand and anticipate customer needs.” Or, “We’re implementing Workday so that managers can focus on leading and employees can focus on customer needs.”
During any large change transformation effort, leaders must steadily navigate discourse around the needs of customers and stakeholders.
From the Beginning
Setting the right tone begins on or even before Day One of a change transformation. Begin implementation team meetings with clear, precise language. Explain how the new system serves the needs of customers and stakeholders. Additionally, reiterate the clarity around customer satisfaction throughout the transformation journey.
In the end, improving organizational performance should always focus on satisfying the customer. Maintaining that perspective will keep you moving in the right direction.