Fear is a liar.

A great friend said that recently and the words struck with profound emphasis. How true. Fear will hold us back. Fear will erode our confidence. Fear will make us think small and resist making the changes necessary to grow, expand, and prosper.

In whatever business you excel, in tracing the customer journey, there is no way to avoid the people element of that passage. Many organization offer a marriott of excuses on why they are not focused on the culture of their business as a strategic revenue generating exercise; they’re too small, they’re too large, they have too many locations, they’ve been successful this way for so long, there is no need to change, they’re going to ride it out. However, that is, as I understand the concept, an example of “finite” thinking verses the visionary “infinite” thinking.

If we do not focus on empowering, encouraging a “belonging” within our teams, our staff, then the successful customer journey will not be repeated. A good customer review may then be a one-off, unable to be replicated, and we will continue to search out, waste money on seeking an answer which is staring us directly in the face. The ability to consistently and effectively deliver a solid client experiences begins and ends with leaders who actively engage and empower their employees, at every level of this customer journey as leaders.

Considering this as the starting point means approaching effective recruitment with intention. This will then move into strategic selection, training, on-going communication, and constant care to tend and allow your future leaders to flourish within their roles. It is a crying shame when organizations recruit and attract the right team member, only to devalue, stifle, and discourage advancement once they are on-boarded. People who are cared for, will in turn care for the customers they serve because they have been shown how.

This can be done, according to the Disney Institute by:

·      Engaging emotionally

·      Be present to mentor

·      Build the commitment to the job

·      Instill the values of the organization

·      Understanding performance will follow

Communication reinforces culture, while the neglect thereof will undermine all other hard work, planning and intention and can be costly to an organization who devalues the need for on-going engaging conversation. Even in a virtual world keep in mind, not all virtual meet ups need to have an agenda. If it is a true meeting, then yes, there should be an agenda to keep on time and on task, but perhaps you may want to have a catch-up, a get to know, share a lunch time virtually, have a coffee and a chit chat. Even teams can have a productivity bubble where they work on a project together and are available to answer questions in the moment as they continue working independently on the project.

Gone are the days of the stick and the carrot. Believing that leadership only happens at the top may result in an organization’s culture demise, as leadership does and will happens throughout an organization, whether noticed or not. Building culture, means noticing. Starting at the top working down, successful organizations build a view for the future, an emotional connection, everyone can believe in. Then, empowering decision making at every level results in a culture change from the ground up, aligning behaviours and actions to the ultimate purpose.

Creatively reinforcement of the values gives rise to the ability to DESIGN the CULTURE you want … keeping in mind the customer journey begins and ends with the right staff members.

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