Is your organisation in the midst of some kind of major change?
If your answer to that question is no, you’re drunk or kidding yourself. Probably both.
We live in an age where there has never been so much change. The world is overflowing -with disruption, from technology to politics to climate collapse.
Business leaders have been battling at the sharp end of this storm. If aren’t going through a merger or acquisition, or facing regulatory upheaval, you’re probably overhauling your organisational structure to accommodate a globalised Gen Z workforce, or at least grappling with a considerable shift in your goals.
But whatever specific changes your organisation is going through, you likely share one common aim with the rest: to deliver better customer experience. Because from financial services to cupcake startups, delivering better customer experience is the one output that’s sure to drive resilience, profitability and growth.
You’re also likely to have twigged one important fact: that the quality of your customer experience, and the success of your business outcomes, is driven by the engagement of your people. The research around this link is now so plentiful and unequivocal that even the most sceptical of boards have had to acknowledge that company culture is really, really important.
All of which should have made 2019 a glorious year for people change.
Not so much.
In 2016, a landmark study by Korn Ferry found that 67% of CEOs believe technology will create greater value in the future than people. This “intangibility bias” towards prioritising dead stuff (that can be easily quantified) over human stuff (that is more nebulous) helps explain why leaders are so bad at improving their culture, even if they claim it’s a top priority.
This comes despite the fact that the only technology on the planet specifically dealt to thrive on change is the human brain. As a species with pretty pathetic muscles and really tiny teeth, we’ve only managed to haul ourselves to the top of the food chain by our talent for adaptong to our environment, swiftly and creatively. It’s homo sapiens’ evolutionary superpower.
It follows that the task for leaders, in these turbulent times, is to tap into the bits of the human code that have made our species so successful – those unique bits of change-enabling cultural DNA. From nudging behaviours to spotting positive deviants, the time is ripe for a whole new approach to people change – one based on the latest neuroscience, behavioural economics and evolutionary biology, as well as decades of on-the-ground research.
A major Telco company understood this when they collaborated with us to roll out a top down, leader-led culture transformation programme for customer experience teams. Involving 600 managers and over 17,000 team members, the project focused on achieving compelling storytelling around the new brand values across the division; shifting ingrained mindsets; and identifying and spreading new, change-positive behaviours to achieve business goals.
£110m in sales, a 44% increase in NPS interaction score, a nine point increase in employee satisfaction and seven awards later, BT was called out in the January 2018 UK Customer Satisfaction Index as having its highest result since 2013.
That’s what we call People Power.