Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Change requires building new habits

Lots of research indicates that most (more than 70%) of the change initiatives do not reach their intended outcomes.
And because they do not produce the required results, we will launch new initiatives! This becomes an ongoing process, in which a lot of time and resources is wasted.

What can de done?
A starting point is to look at the inner perspectives of change. How does change work inside of us?  And what prevents change from happening?

Here is a simple formula:

Thinking ------>   Feelings   ------->   Actions ------>  Results

This means that if I want different results, that I then have to change my thinking. Different thinking leads to different results. Sounds simple, right?

Well, it isn’t that simple, because we are creatures of habits and these habits influence our thinking. Habits are thoughts which we have nurtured over time and which have become kind of embedded in our thinking. They are like the grooves in records. You really have to put in some effort and lift the needle out of the groove and put it in a new spot. This means that we have to create new habits, which will change our thinking and thus produces different results.

Creating new habits requires a consistent effort over a long period of time. They say it should be minimal 21 days. That is why there are many programs like the 21 days to loose weight etc. Let me give a simple example. I am driving 5x per week to another city and I do this on the autopilot, as I am doing this for many years now. This is clearly a habit. Some traffic works did require me to pick another route for a week. And guess what? 2x times I did show up in the normal place where the  - now blocked- entry is to the motorway, even though I did put a note at my front door, telling me to pick a different route. Clearly the old habit was stronger.  It definitely would take 21 days or more to create this new habit.

This simple example shows us that in any change initiative we need to pay a lot of attention to creating these new habits, these new ways of thinking. I can still remember years ago, when I did work for a large airline and we were running a change program. I did ask an employee from the telecommunications department, whether he was ready to implement the new changes. He did tell me that he did change the name of his activities and that for the rest he was doing exactly the same thing for the last 20 years. Needless to say that the required change, would not have had any impact. This happens a lot.

Therefor, it is really important to pay a lot of attention to the inner aspects of change.
So, how do you facilitate the change in habits of your employees AND yourself?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It is no luxury to have a complaints department

Recently I did have some problems with the provider of glass fiber services (phone, TV, Internet). They had sent an offer to check out HBO for free for 2 months. In that same mail, it was mentioned that if I cancelled before February 6th, there would be no charges. So, I did cancel by the end of January.
However, I was unpleasantly surprised, when I saw my invoice. HBO was completely charged for the next months. Then I did check my services online and it appeared that the HBO cancellation was not processed at all, although I did have a confirmation. So, I did call them and the finance department told me that there was one-month termination notice, so everything was administered correctly. He was not open to my arguments. He suggested contacting the complaints department, if I still disagreed.

Then I did write to the complaints department. And I did receive a confirmation from “mr/mrs complaints”, that I would receive an answer within 10 working days.
Finally they answered, saying that my claim was correct and that they will reimburse the money.
The result is fine, but the process has much opportunity for improvement.
-       The mails from the complaints department should be from a person, and not from an anonymous department
-       They did not mention that they would inform their finance department that they should respond differently. No learning there.
-       They did not mention anything about my time and effort to correct this.

As lots of research indicates, a well-handled complaint will make your customers more loyal and they will inform their network about their (positive) experience.

Do you have a complaints department? And is it seen as an opportunity to improve the customer experience and loyalty?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Have some ‘De-Digitalized Dialogues’

These days, it seems like we are glued to our screens. First we did spend many hours per day in front of the TV. Then we were (mostly for work) tied to terminals and PC’s. And since the introduction of smartphones, it looks like we are inseparable – the screen and me. Whether we are sitting in the train, biking, attending a seminar or having a coffee, we are always staring at the screen.

It looks like that the ‘good-old’ dialogue, where you have eye contact and are focused on the conversation itself and your partners, are disappearing fast. While I will certainly not deny the benefit of always being able to connect to the Internet, we are at the same time missing something. We miss the real (and sometimes emotional) connection with other human beings. This connection is crucial to understand the other persons. And interpersonal sensitivity is not easily transferred via the screen.
We do need to look each other into the eyes to get to know each other.

This is especially important for innovation. In a face-to-face meeting you will create a constructive and open atmosphere, which will speed up the process of coming up with great ideas and solutions. It becomes easier to build upon each other’s suggestions.
However, these meetings, or de-digitalized dialogues as I like to call them, need to be planned. You need to carefully bring the right people into the room, without the screens. I don’t believe that Marissa Mayer’s new policy (no working from home anymore) for Yahoo, will work as intended. You will not meet the right people by accident in the corridor. Or that is at least highly unlikely.

You need to plan these regular de-digitalized dialogues. When are you planning your DDD?

Enthusiasm drives Excellence!

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Friday, March 1, 2013

How to be a young innovator

Proudly I am announcing my new course: How to be a Young Innovator.

Please have a look: https://www.udemy.com/how-to-be-a-young-innovator/