As mentioned previously, a large majority of organisations who seek transformation create detailed strategies and introduce expensive initiatives, only for the project to fade away with no significant difference seen. That’s why Philip Watts, an expert in transformational change strategy, suggests it all comes down to reinforcing the right behaviour.
Watts claimed behaviours are so often overlooked when it comes to initiating a change within the workplace. The majority of companies spend time thinking about the structure and many of those go on to consider what processes are needed to make the structure work. Few go on to think about what behaviours are required. In this case, the most important behaviour is a customer focus and he believes that it is vital for leaders to go about reinforcing the right behaviour in detail to ensure everyone is on the right track.
Commit to modelling and reinforcing the right behaviour
Establishing and communicating these behaviours is not enough to ensure the change is successful. After the behaviours are communicated through to each member of staff, more often than not the leaders think their job is done and the initiative will be successful. However, this is not the case and the vast majority of the work is still to be done through role modelling and reinforcing behaviours.
One of the biggest blockers Watts expresses within any business is when messages are delivered to the workforce, yet not matched by the leaders who are introducing them. It is a simple case of practice what you preach. Both role modelling and reinforcing need to be headed by senior leaders who need to clearly mark when an employee has stood out and behaved in the desired manor.
During my interview with Watts, it became clear that introducing a new initiate for a business to become customer-centric is more complicated than one might first think. It requires a deep level of commitment and continued reinforcement of idealised behaviours. From our discussions, I can confidently highlight eight clear steps for a successful journey towards placing customers at the centre of a business:
1) Ensure you have clarity on your organisation’s vision. What type of organisation are you? Where do you want to go? How well do you know your customers?
2) Know exactly why you want to be customer-centric. Why is there a need for change?
3) Make the commitment. Transforming an organisation’s culture requires clear focus. Are there any other focusses that will get in the way?
4) Develop a trusting relationship with the customers. They are not the enemy!
5) Seek out customer insights. And then commit to take action on them.
6) Know what customer-centricity looks like and what it means. It does not necessarily mean doing everything the customer wants.
7) Identify and communicate the behaviours that you are looking for. New structure and processes will not have any long term impact unless employees understand how you want them to act.
8) Role model and reinforce the right behaviours. If someone is displaying idealised behaviours, reward them.
Stephen Fortune is principal consultant at The Oxford Group
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