Annette Franz’s picture

By: Annette Franz

You’re listening to customers. You’re combining their feedback with those bread crumbs of data that they leave with every transaction and interaction with your brand. You’ve developed customer personas to better understand who they are, what problems they are trying to solve, and what jobs they need to get done. You’ve mapped their journeys to understand their experience today and their expectations for a better experience tomorrow. You have done all of that, right?

And you’re analyzing all of that together to learn everything you can and to tell a better and more robust customer story.

And there you are. Stuck. Now what? What do you do with all of those insights? How do they get consumed and acted upon? And they must get consumed and acted upon—otherwise, it’s all just expensive trivia!

Mike Figliuolo’s picture

By: Mike Figliuolo

For a goal to be really relevant, it must tie to the broader purpose and goals of the entire organization. Your strategy is going to help drive that. Strategy consists of a desired future state and a definition of how you’re going to get there.

You should break that strategy down into smaller interim goals on that path. Every goal that gets set in the organization should be linked to that broader element of your strategy. How do you do that?

Take your vision and your mission. Look at where you’re going as an organization. Break that down into major themes over the course of the strategic planning period. Break each theme down into actions you’ll have to take to achieve it. Break each action down into subactions until you can set an individual goal for each.

I worked for a lawn and garden company at one point, and I was in the strategic planning group. We said, “We’re no longer going to be ‘just a lawn and garden company.’ We’re going to move into outdoor living.” It was a much broader expansion strategy.

Alaina Love’s picture

By: Alaina Love

‘I really don’t reach out to any of my colleagues when I’m struggling with a problem,” Alex confessed. “I’m the only woman at this level in the company and was chosen for this position over two men who were once my peers. I’m not about to ask for help and risk looking like I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Alex is one of three senior leaders who recently joined the executive team of a service organization. Team dynamics have not been the best since the CEO expanded the group composition. Episodes of friction and infighting between new and tenured members of the team have become routine, the effects of which are being felt by those lower in the organization. Like Alex, other members of the team weren’t reaching out to one another for input or advice because of fear of being judged harshly for doing so.

When I spoke with the CEO, it was clear that little had been done to truly integrate the team after it was expanded. Because the company was growing so rapidly, everyone was busy with their own divisional priorities, and the new team members got swept up in the flow.

“I think the last time I went to lunch with anyone was two years ago,” said Andrew, the CFO. “Most of us eat at our desks, or during a meeting. There’s no real time for leisurely chats with the guy sitting in the office next door.”

John Hunter’s picture

By: John Hunter

I am amazed how difficult it is to convince organizations to adopt quality improvement practices. I look at organizations that I interact with and easily see systemic failures due to faults that can be corrected by adopting management improvement strategies that are decades old. Yet executives resist improving. The desire to retain the comforting embrace of existing practices is amazingly strong.

What usually sells to executives are ideas that require little change in thinking or practice but promise to eliminate current problems. What W. Edwards Deming called “instant pudding” solutions sell well. They are what executives have historically “bought,” and they don’t work. I can’t actually understand how people continue to be sold such magic solutions, but they do.

Manfred Kets de Vries’s picture

By: Manfred Kets de Vries

David was extremely gratified when he was named businessman of the year. He felt he deserved the recognition. Many articles had portrayed him as an entrepreneur who had reframed his industry, which gave him the courage to make his boldest move yet: taking over his largest competitor.

Some analysts had said that he paid far too much for the company. Then bankers became nervous and soon reporters joined in. One wrote: “Not only was his latest takeover a mistake, but his endless side ventures—buying an upscale restaurant in London, sponsoring a football club, financing a private clinic—are too great a drain on the company’s resources.”

The damage was done. David would remain famous for sinking his own company and costing thousands of people their livelihoods.

Steven Brand’s picture

By: Steven Brand

Manufacturing Day, an initiative designed to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, arrives Oct. 4, 2019. The annual MFG Day (which can be held anytime during the month) involves thousands of manufacturers across the country holding events, tours, activities, and more. Last year, in California alone, more than 250 sites registered as event hosts, and more than 330 manufacturers and support organizations participated in or sponsored events throughout the month of October.

One of the great benefits of participation in MFG Day is recruitment, which is vital to the survival of many of today’s small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs). Why is recruitment so important? Because today, nearly 90 percent of these manufacturers can’t find the employees they so desperately need, according to new data from SCORE, a nonprofit resource partner and mentoring service associated with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Annette Franz’s picture

By: Annette Franz

There’s a lot of bad press out there about journey mapping. And there’s a lot of bad journey mapping (or what people think is journey mapping). A few months ago, I shared my six-step journey mapping process. Remember, journey mapping isn’t just a tool; it’s also a process. Know the tool and create it correctly. Embrace the process because the process is what’s going to ensure you achieve your desired outcomes.

I would call journey mapping the most critical and pivotal component in any customer experience transformation. An in-depth understanding of the experience today—what’s going well and what isn’t—is the only way to really drive change going forward. (You can’t transform something you don’t understand, right?) This is why journey maps and the journey mapping process are often called the backbone of customer experience management.

Caroline Rook’s picture

By: Caroline Rook

Toby Gould was both excited and petrified on the morning of Dec. 12, 2018. He and the three other nonprofessional rowers in his team were due to set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands in a rowing boat equipped with only as much kit and freeze-dried food as a 29 × 6 ft boat can carry. Ahead of them lay 3,000 miles of ocean before they would reach their finishing point across the Atlantic.

The 39-year-old—who normally works as deputy head of resilience at London Fire Brigade—said: “We are buzzing, we are ready to go; we are not thinking about anything else.” The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is seen as the world’s toughest row.

The rest of the team consisted of Jeremy Reynolds, 41, a former British Army soldier who now works as London resilience manager at London Fire Brigade; Alison Wannell, 40, the only female crew member and a qualified lawyer; and Justin Coleman, 53, a stand-up comedian. An hour before the race started, Gould posted a video saying: “We had a look at the forecasts. We are looking at three-meter waves from the off this afternoon. That’s scary!”

Donald J. Wheeler’s picture

By: Donald J. Wheeler

During the past three months James Beagle and I presented columns that made extensive use of analysis of means techniques. Since these techniques may be new to some, this column explains when to use each technique and where to find tables of the appropriate scaling factors.

In 1967, Ellis R. Ott published his analysis of means technique (ANOM) for comparing treatment averages with their grand average. This technique is a generalized version of the average and range chart. However, the assumption that allows this generalization also imposes a restriction of where this technique can be used. The generalization allows us to compute limits with a fixed overall alpha level (the user-specified risk of a false alarm). The restriction is that we can only use ANOM for the one-time analysis of a finite amount data (such as occurs in experimental studies).

Harry Hertz’s picture

By: Harry Hertz

This blog, “Blogrige,” is about organizational performance, but first I need to set the stage.

One of the most prized commodities in many organizations, including mine, is space. Space is tight. Organizational (business) units are always looking to keep their current space and grab more space from other units. My organization regularly does space audits and reallocates space as appropriate.

A former deputy director used to conduct “space walks” to look for underutilized space and reallocate it. On one of those walks, he came upon an office that appeared to be unoccupied but had a few papers and a banana on the desk. He concluded the space was in use because the fresh banana had to be a recent addition. But he misinterpreted the evidence and took a leap of faith: A clever manager had retained space just by placing a ripe banana on the desk. No one was actually using the space productively. The problem was that the deputy director did not explore further than what he could see on the surface. Yet how many times in our daily and work activities do we look no further than the intact banana?

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