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Managing Change Must Be a Core Competency

April 3rd, 2013 1 comment

President Woodrow Wilson

From American history we can learn about driving and managing change. Between the key milestones of the Civil War and the New Deal, Woodrow Wilson’s Progressive Movement provides an interesting study. Wilson, President from ’13 to ’21, formed the Federal Reserve and FTC. He lead efforts to reform anti-trust, workers rights and women’s suffrage. And, he controlled America’s entry into World War I as well as leading the formation of the League of Nations that preceded the United Nations. All in all, it’s fair to say he dealt with change.

And when all was said and done, his lesson to us was “if you want to make enemies, try to change something”. At every level, from American society and global politics to our everyday lives, his warning should ring in our ears.

In business, the question becomes how then do you navigate change to minimize Wilson’s warning of creating enemies? One thing is for sure…currently, it isn’t done well. In 1995 popular change management author John Kotter released a study claiming only 30% of initiatives were successful. Over ten years later in 2008, McKinsey’s follow up study claimed the success rate hadn’t changed one bit. Change fails when you’ve created so many enemies that they kill the change. In other words, the responsibility for success and for failure is with those initiating the change. And it’s clear that while change is constant, we aren’t good at managing it.

What is sad is that we keep recognizing we need to be good at this, we keep recognizing we aren’t and we keep trying to solve it the same way. The “answers” to which we keep looking say we should (i) create a compelling story, (ii) establish role models for successful change, (iii) build systems to reinforce the change and, finally, (iv) establish the skills required for change. It all seems so rational. The only problem is that people aren’t very rational so when the effort meets employees and managers, their respective attitude and behavior don’t change.

These basic assumptions don’t work for a host of reasons. As an example, what seems compelling to managers isn’t always compelling to a workforce. And who we choose as role models isn’t as influential as broad peer to peer (i.e. social) networking. In addition, we to often rely on money as a motivator when it really isn’t that impactful. Finally, we can teach tools more effectively than attitudes toward change.

We’ve certainly had our experiences, both good and bad, with driving change both internally and with clients. From those experiences and our studies, we have adapted a change model we find effective for our area of expertise. Here are a few of its unique elements;

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  1. Give people time to digest the change. Often leadership has spent significant time discussing the desired change and its causes. Leadership is no longer wedded to the status quo and is committed to what is ahead. It is unreasonable to expect everyone else affected by the change to need any less. Pushing change just triggers the organization pushing back.
  2. Segment the audience when communicating. Treat the communication like a product or service launch where each segment has a tailored communiqué that addresses their unique position in the organization and how they are affected by the change.
  3. When developing role models, reverse engineer internal successes. What I mean by that is that any successful project has elements of whatever roadmap you’ve chosen. The fact the events took place through unconscious competence is meaningless. What is important is that they took place in your organization and can be used as examples you own.
  4. Treat crisis change different than steady state change. When making a steady state change, spend as much time on the process as the idea of the change. Develop separate roadmaps for crises and steady state. Don’t oversimplify the roadmaps. Ensure there is time for gradual understanding to minimize stress response and push back as well as to avoid lingering mistrust. Don’t try to create crisis where there isn’t.
  5. Provide coaching to key change spots. This may be one-on-one to executives or in mass to groups. It may use internal or external resources. You won’t correctly anticipate all the key spots but thinking about them will prepare you to respond quickly to the one’s you miss and the preparation acts as preventive maintenance. Coaching has a proven impact to help people focus. Add coaching to training and people learn more. Coaches accelerate the acceptance of change and help avoid potential long lasting problems.

Woodrow Wilson was right – if you want to make enemies, try to change something. But if you handle the change correctly, you can minimize the resistance and develop new allies along the way. And to do that, don’t repeat the same mistakes from failed changes. Look to the successful ones for elements that produced better results. Develop successful roadmaps for change based upon your

experiences. And we would be happy to share our successful roadmaps with you as well. If you’d like to discuss these ideas about change, feel free to contact me.

What is Change Management? The Rule of Three

March 6th, 2013 Comments off

Celebration

Great art can inspire change and drive us to action.  It can make you dream of something better or make you aware of your dissatisfaction with the status quo. The former makes your feelings soar.  The latter can bring pain.  Which do you believe drives us to action?  While I’d like to believe we act on visions of what could be, I think we’re more driven to immediate action by the feelings stirred in the dark painting.

When I reflect on that idea I remember reading how the opposite of satisfaction isn’t dissatisfaction but the lack of satisfaction.  Just because we’re not satisfied, we may not be willing to change right now.  We may in the long run. But maybe not right now.  Meanwhile, when we’re dissatisfied, we act.   Not being satisfied won’t drive new behavior simply because change is scary and painful.  So it’s not until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing that we change.

I thought a lot about this lately because I had three consecutive discussions with new prospective clients about the subject of change.  In each case, the party with whom I was speaking wanted to talk about driving operational excellence. But what we were really discussing was change.  The three conversations were all very different organizations yet they had very common denominators.  So here were the three scenarios;

  1. A state university pushed to change by technology and funding pressure was described as being very resistant to change driven from outside its culture.  Yet they lack an acceptable and successful internal change model so they remain wrestling with how to proceed.
  2. A heavily regulated division of a large insurance company described itself as having little process discipline and is considering BPM software to lock down processes.
  3. A successful manufacturer that implemented Six Sigma using an outside party five to ten years ago saw few meaningful results and quit.  Now they look to restart but recognize how hard it will be to get everyone to buy in a second time.

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In each case, I strongly advised against three things;

  1. Don’t emphasize form over substance.   You don’t have to sell a big change model, adopt a new software application or role out a headline OpEx initiative.  You just have to move some things forward and make some gains to win hearts and minds.  They’ll take it from there.
  2. Don’t superimpose an external set of rules such as a software program.  Everyone organization has successes internally.  Focus on those. Build on them.
  3. Recognize what may seem like dysfunctional behavior to you is probably quite normal.  Someone whose profession is to improve is often puzzled by those that don’t embrace it.    The problem is the subject never said they were dissatisfied.  While they may agree things could be better, they aren’t motivated to change.   That isn’t irrational.  We seek self actualization in the long run but in the short run we change when we are unhappy.

War

So what can we do at those three organizations to avoid the pitfalls and drive some much needed change?  We recommended the following actions;

  1. Celebrate your own successes.  But reverse engineer them so the success is replicable.  And improvement may have occurred through hard work but there were probably some unconscious best practices that can used as examples for the rest of the organization.  Advertise the success and highlight the best practices that can be replicated.
  2. Find who is dissatisfied and wants to change.  Don’t try to convince people to change with arguments of a better life.  Instead, find who is dissatisfied and willing to go through the pain of the change.  If you find someone with pain that isn’t acting, help them become aware of the level of pain.  If they begin to show signs of a willingness to change, start working with them.  If not, come back to them.  If it’s real long term, chronic pain, they’ll be ready one day.
  3. Let the organization pull what it needs rather than a centralized group pushing what they think is needed.  This isn’t to say a centralized group doesn’t know what is needed.  It very well may in which case it should make it available. But you dictate change.  You are better off giving them the ability to drive the change they see as needed.

The bottom line is that very different businesses have very common needs when it comes to change.  The core elements of change are universal.  I’ve tried to identify a couple of key “don’t do’s” and an equal number of “do’s.  Hopefully, these will help you avoid some potholes and accelerate success.  If you’d like to discuss, please contact me.

Lean Management System – The Key to Sustainability

January 24th, 2013 2 comments

Lean Management System is the Key

Lean has wonderful elements.  Two important ones about which we have written on many occasions are that lean projects can be implemented quickly and the tools can be disseminated broadly within your employee population. The result is that you can get traction and a payback the organization can see and measure.  Every level of management and line personnel love those properties.

But like any sort of change initiative, it is still difficult to get true cultural change.  In other words, just because it can be more easily understood and applied more easily than say Six Sigma and the payback is shorter, doesn’t mean its guaranteed to be successful.  Implementation and sustainability are quite different. So how can it be done?

Well let’s first define how sustainability appears.  A lean culture of continuous improvement is characterized by:

  • Daily Application – Ability to apply the tools to improve operational performance on a daily basis
  • Proper Application – Knowledge of where to apply the tools, or a process for continuously refocusing on problems and opportunities.
  • Demonstrated Successes – Extensive knowledge of, and success with, the tools.

To achieve this, organizations need a change model.  It should be a structured process for achieving the discipline and focus needed for any successful change. This process is a Lean Management System, which doesn’t guarantee lean success, but build the foundation skills.

A lean management system is focused on work groups of five to ten people. It provides an integrated set of planning, measurement and problem solving tools to help the work group:

  • Focus on daily performance measurement and improvement
  • Improve effectiveness of supervisory communication
  • Solicit and evaluate employee improvement ideas
  • Assess lean status and define improvement objectives

A Lean Management System is meant to build the new “habits” necessary to develop a culture of continuous improvement with four key elements:

  1. Primary Visual Display (PVD) serves as a central communication point for a work group. The work group members themselves maintain performance metrics, schedules and improvement actions.
  2. Huddles of ten minutes in length which serve as a meeting place to review performance to date, communicate critical next steps, plan progress and solicit solutions to problems.
  3. Performance Metrics which are essential to instill the discipline necessary for standard work and other lean practices to be sustained.
  4. Kaizen Events structured to systematically collect and evaluate employee improvement.  Kaizen events provide a process to capture the ideas, evaluate them and ultimately implement them for operational improvement.

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A Lean Management System seeks to build new work habits.  And, like any new habit-building program, it must be practiced diligently until the new processes gradually become “business as usual.”  Day-to-day, hands-on coaching of work groups and team leaders is essential to ensure acceptance. Initially this is accomplished through process compliance, but ultimately through knowledgeable use of the tools.  And finally, through a deep enough understanding that you achieve process innovation.

A lean management system is focused on improving work group performance.  It is part of a broad-based lean deployment, not a substitute for value stream mapping, kaizen events and other methods to identify and implement lean improvements. Think of a lean management system as the glue that will hold lean improvements in place and gradually broaden the application of lean tools within your organization.
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A lean management system must be linked to higher-level operational management activities within an organization to ensure seamless communication of expectations, feedback on results and review of improvement ideas. As teams and organizations gain experience with a lean management system, work groups become more empowered and the freedom to act increases dramatically. A lean management system will help bind lean changes to the process and build lean thinking into the culture at the intact work group level. A lean management system is the missing link to a achieving a lean culture.  A lean management system is the missing link to a achieving a lean culture.  If you wish to discuss this post, feel free to contact me.

Dr. King’s Words For Operational Excellence

January 20th, 2013 2 comments

Martin Luther King was a religious and political leader.  This is neither a religious nor political blog.  But work and morality are inextricably linked.  Consider Shakerism’s belief in efficiency and hard work. Think how Shaker furniture personifies their morality.  Their work methods were their ethics.  How you think about work is a moral issue.  What you produce is a reflection of your morals.  So arguably Operational Excellence, which is a system by which you work, reflects a set of ethics by which to express your morals about work.
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So with that framework in mind, on this day of celebration of his civil rights accomplishments, let us look at how Martin Luther King’s words address our work.

Excellence

“He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lives a great street-sweeper who did his job well’.”

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence”

“Whatever you life’s work is, do it well.  A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead and the unborn could do it no better.”

“Whatever effects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Change & Improvement

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”

“The time is always right to do what is right.”

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.”

“All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.”

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Leadership

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”

“I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.”

Education & Thought

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.”

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than to have to think.”

There is morality in our work. There are ethics in how we accomplish it.  There is value in looking to how men and women the likes of Martin Luther King speak to morality and ethics including how their words reflect upon our work.  Please let me know your thoughts by contacting me.

Drive Results by Managing Outcomes through Networked Teams

January 8th, 2013 Comments off

The field of Operational Excellence, including Six Sigma Qualtec, has often laid out the case that you drive improvement by properly chartering projects aimed at performance gaps. The performance gaps are chosen by looking at enterprise level value streams’ ability to meet critical requirements laid out by various voices important to the organization. The challenge is often to overcome functional silos. Cross functional teams are formed to overcome that challenge. To progress, the conflict which must be resolved is often resolving the white space between functional responsibilities.

But there is a third axis. What if instead of trying to reconcile the differences between value streams and functional areas, the real challenge was to marshal the energies of existing networks of personnel.

The concept of organizational networks has grown by leaps and bounds. It has happened for a variety of reasons. Our general understanding, and probably more importantly our level of comfort, with our lives being dependent on networks has probably been one of the most important reasons. On a personal level, we manage a networked life with Facebook. Professionally, we do the same with LinkedIn. Organizationally, we’ve increasingly dealt with the concept as we outsource more shared services, expand and contract supply chains, use more contractors and manage activities with cloud based solutions. We live and manage networks.

How then does the concept of networks impact our ability to improve processes? Well, they are as important to understand as value streams, processes and functional areas. And in many ways, it is networks that get projects and initiatives successfully completed as much, if not more so, than functional areas. The challenge therefore isn’t to build a project team cross-functionally but to do so with the right support of critical networks.

A basic view of BPM and a three step approach to implementation.

Networks aren’t invisible as much as they aren’t tracked. They can be identified with organizational network analysis. I suggest you look at the work done by Rob Cross, a faculty member the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia to see the basic elements of identifying networks in your organization.

Once you understand your networks and they touch critical improvement projects, we suggest managing desired outcomes by holding elements of the network accountable for milestones. Naming and using cross-functional teams can still be effective if the people chosen from the various functional areas are well connected within the critical networks.

I may be tossing out some ideas that might seem to muddy the waters. Do we really need to introduce one more axis into how we successfully execute projects? We know these networks exist. We know processes produce outcomes and people reside in functional areas. We know to

fix problems we must execute projects within processes that cut across functions. And to execute the projects we must have cross functional teams. But to ignore that networks get things done simply because they are messy or not shown on an organizational chart isn’t a good way to go. We need to tap into the networks to get projects done. Ensure team members are well networked and then manage the outcomes of the network through those individuals. Recognize and leverage how things get done.

If you wish to discuss these points, feel free to contact me.

Why Change Fails in Performance Improvement…

January 3rd, 2013 5 comments

Be the Change

Whether it is a new year, the passing of another birthday or a lecture from your doctor at your annual physical, you have made yourself a new set of promises to change.  You check the many yellow sticky pad slips around your desk and see many of the same items on prior lists.  Why didn’t they happen last time and why will they happen this time? Frankly, having a list and the motivation isn’t enough.  You need a path.

Organizations aren’t that different.  Change is difficult and it’s nearly impossible without a proven way to change.  And most companies don’t have it.  In fact, in a 2006 McKinsey study of companies which had embarked on major initiatives over the prior ten years ranging from Operational Excellence to acquisitions, McKinsey found the majority proved to have a negative return on investment.  McKinsey pointed to the following top three deficiencies in companies that failed to successfully drive a positive ROI on an initiative;

  1. Lack of Commitment and Follow Through by Top Executives
  2. Defective Project Management Skills Among Middle Managers
  3. Lack of Training and Confusion Among Frontline Employees

Before accepting these conclusions, I took a look further back in available literature for similar studies.  Part of my reason was to validate the McKinsey findings but part was also to see if there had been a change in causes.  My search yielded a 1996 study by Coopers & Lybrand, now PricewaterhouseCoopers, which cited the following top three causes of failure and evidence of success;

 

Needless to say, the Coopers’ study, done ten years earlier, seems to point to the same causes – committed leadership and skilled, involved middle managers and frontline employees.  Presumably commitment means a willingness to take on the politics of functional boundaries.  The saddest part of my finding these studies is that the failings from the time period leading up to the Coopers’ study don’t seem to have caused any sort of change in behavior over the next ten years – but  that is an issue to discuss at another time.

The interesting point in the McKinsey study is that success is defined and the reason for failure is refined.  And that starts to lead the thinking for a solution.  Specifically, the McKinsey study defines success as a positive ROI.  Frankly, this is a pretty low hurdle since it doesn’t get into any weighted cost of capital hurdle rates.  Imagine college with a simple pass/fail. But I have to admit that if 80% of the students were failing, starting with a P/F system is a step forward.

Obviously, an ROI calculation is mathematical so while you can argue things like whether soft costs should be included and how they should be valued, you at least have a framework for discussion.  You can begin to theorize whether the implementation costs are too high, the results too low or the time to achieve too long.  And depending on the cause, you can begin to implement some solutions.

At this point, I admit I’m leaving actual research and relying on some common sense and experience for the final part of the discussion where we look to a solution.  First, I posit that the decision to move forward and the execution of a project are often two separate events.  If an initiative fails to meet anticipated gains, the error is often in the original assumptions supporting the decision.  That is quite different from the costs and time where some of the most significant problems arise in the execution.

What does this mean?  Well assuming Operational Excellence program are producing negative returns like other corporate initiatives, how do we construct Change Management models that better address causes of failure such as the lack of a committed leadership and skilled, involved managers and front-line personnel? And keep in mind, the commitment, skills and involvement we are discussing here aren’t process improvement skills (i.e. belt training).  We are talking about change skills.  Interestingly, Deming spoke of the importance of these issues well before today’s Operational Excellence programs.

If you wish to discuss Change Management models that address the aforementioned challenges, feel free to contact me.

Ziggy Stardust: The Ultimate Continuous Improvement Professional Managing Change

June 11th, 2012 Comments off

Time may trace me but I can’t trace time – Changes…released as a single in 1972.

As I pull the vinyl out of the attic box marked 1972, a year marked by Watergate, anti-war demonstrations and Mark Spitz’s gold medal run at a terrorist marred Olympics, I realize we are in a time of tremendous societal change.  In the world of commerce, businesses have posted incredible productivity gains during the last five years which should be followed by hiring.  Yet payrolls remain muted due to concern about what is next.  So companies are left to find new ways to produce goods and services, meet customer demand and still have a healthy workforce.

To successfully lead our organizations through that change, it is good to remind ourselves of change principles because it isn’t just technical skills that produce success.  In fact, anyone who has lead any initiative in an organization understands that without the elements of change, no amount of technical skills can get us to the promised land.

So, let’s think about the key principles of change –

  • First and foremost, authentic, committed leadership throughout the duration of the initiative is essential.
  • There must be compelling reasons to change, that resonate not just for the leadership team, but that will appeal to all stakeholders.
  • Leadership must articulate a clear and legitimate vision of the world after the change initiative.  The vision must be widely understood and shared.
  • With the foundation pieces in place, leverage the “early adopters” where there is low resistance and from whom to learn from mistakes with a forgiving partner.
  • Leverage early wins by taking what you learned with your early adopters to the broader organization.  Integrate with competing, initiatives.
  • Set benchmarks, measure progress and celebrate wins.
  • Identify the systems that influence the desired change and modify them support (and not fight) the desired change.

Remember that continuous improvement is about continuous change.  Facilitating the ability to change is critical.  Focusing on technical skills without addressing the foundational elements of change won’t yield any progress.  It’s not that it is only half right.  Technical and cultural capabilities work together and, if either is missing, progress isn’t possible.

If you’d like to discuss any of these topics, please feel free to contact me.

Change Management – Is it as Simple as Just Seeing Clearly?

September 29th, 2011 5 comments

Change management - Use VOC and VOB to objectively identify performance gaps that matter mostWe’ve been working with a number of customers of late that are trying to improve service delivery processes, and move into the differentiating realm of service innovation.  In these very large enterprises, it’s always a challenge to get organizations to change behavior.  Immediately, voices start rising, touting the need for change management.

This is another of those terms that can have a lot of different meanings to a lot of different people.  Wikipedia defines change management as a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. If you google “change management”, you really enter the swamp.   Even if we narrow change management to the business / process improvement world that we at SSQ live in, there is still a lot of confusion.  How do you sort it all out?

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In the CI world, companies want and need to markedly improve their value-generating processes (value stream), but the question becomes how do you get people to embrace the changes that come as part of improving?  How do we get them to embrace the overall effort to improve processes, and theoretically improve service delivery?  Do we really have to indoctrinate them into some new philosophy of change?

Personally, I don’t think so.  I think that many times change management becomes a problem because people don’t have a clear picture of 3 simple (not really) things:

  1. where they are now,
  2. where they need to be
  3. why they need to get there.

Most organizations have plenty of smart people (I know … there are exceptions!)  .  The fundamental trick to change management really boils down to getting all those smart people pulling in the same direction.   If you can get clarity around the 3 simple things above, you might be surprised to see that change management is not the big issue you thought it was.

I’ve used the term simple to describe these three things above, but getting there can be anything but.  With our engagements, we spend significant time on the front ending trying to get these answers, and I can assure you that it can be challenging.  But, we get there, and I firmly believe our success rates with business improvement efforts are better because of it.

There are other ways I’m sure, but we use a structured approach that attacks the problem by:

  1. Understanding, for both the customer (voice of the customer) and the business (voice of the business), what constitutes high-performance and turning that into clearly defined metrics (efficiency and effectiveness).  We are looking for gaps in these indicators, between current state and where we need to be.
  2. Understanding the top-level value stream from a process perspective (not function), the things that have to happen to deliver your services or products, and create customer and business value
  3. Identifying metrics at the process level (VOP), and making sure they are aligned with top level VOB and VOC (#1).  Like #1, we are looking for the gaps.
  4. Defining an objective prioritization scheme based on voice of the customer and voice of the business.
  5. Identifying improvement ideas from the gaps, and evaluating and prioritizing those ideas objectively based on #4.  A prioritized project pipeline.
  6. Turning high-value project ideas (business cases) into tightly scoped improvement projects that are clearly aligned with very visible objectives (#1)

Of course, this is over simplified. There’s a lot of work happening between the spaces, but think about it and ask … Is change management really as simple as being able to see clearly? As always, I welcome your thoughts on this.  Comment or contact me directly if you prefer.

Process and Change in Service Industries – The Survivor Challenge

February 1st, 2011 Comments off

Outwit…Outplay…Outlast.  Wow, that says it all doesn’t it?  Reality TV is a kick. Throw a bunch of strangers onto an island and watch them dwindle down based on how well they can play to the desires of a group in a winner-take-all battle. Lots to learn from watching. How well and quickly can a player understand the group’s requirements? How well can they meet those requirements in a highly competitive situation? Each elimination changes the group’s dymanics so the requirements, competition and strategy all have to be adapted continuously and quickly. One slip up and you could be out. How does this relate to Service Industries?

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In previous articles, I’ve discussed how business and consumer patterns have gone through massive changes and how understanding the Voice of the Customer is the key to adapting to the new environment. The nascent recovery is providing an opportunity to survive and, for some businesses, to flourish. But the competition is still in the elimination phase and I believe that is very much the case for service businesses of nearly every nature.

It’s important to understand why things are different in services so as not to be lulled by more macroeconomic headlines. Before the crises, manufacturing went through years of driving productivity while services accelerated right up to the edge. The Federal Reserve’s strategy of depreciating the dollar and growing demand in emerging markets has helped the global competitive position and demand for manufacturing products while services are more tied to the domestic economy. Finally, we have a political environment that ramped regulation or restructured entire service industries such as banking and health care. And if that weren’t enough, services are going to be the start-ups of all the unemployed as they require less capital and can use the internet to gather and distribute information, the very essence of a services business, at a very low cost.

Change is not over in service businesses. Like Survivor, listening and adapting quickly to an ever changing customer is still the only protection from elimination. Several key points we consider imperative to driving alignment are:

  1. However you capture VOC, keep improving it. We propose a five level maturity model that goes from what you need to simply stay alive to what you need to be innovative.
  2. Balance how you respond to VOC with how you respond to other stakeholder demands. We have a checklist of behaviors that will give you the ammunition to point to an imbalance.
  3. Segment your VOC. Meeting every item your customer sets out for you will not yield a purchase while some will yield tremendous results. We offer a framework for segmentation.
  4. Convert what you hear to something you can measure. To make science out of art we use industry case studies and benchmarking as the best guide.
  5. Align process metrics to the chosen customer measures in #4 above. Again, use industry benchmarking and cases to apply knowledge and experience and avoid the alchemy.

Now you are ready to drive change. But there is one more thing. Let’s return to the scenario painted at the start of this article…it’s not enough to just do this. You must do it fast. We are rebounding but demand for services isn’t returning to 2006 levels…at least not until around 2016…and competition is increasing. During that time, businesses will fail, be acquired or be rationalized. But there will also be winners and, like Survivor, they will win big. We urge you to recognize what is coming and act.  Outwit…Outplay…Outlast.

If any of the pieces above would help you, let me know our thoughts.