Keepin’ It Real, Yo.

This week I came across a fascinating stat – 75% of companies consider themselves highly customer-centric, however only 19% of customers agreed. The stat is from a piece of research that CapGemini did a few years ago – In short 125 companies and 3300 customers were surveyed – and 67% of the time there was misalignment in perception. For those that are visual (like myself)here’s a nice little picture that summarises the data:

My point here isn’t that we all need to be more customer-centric, it’s that we’re likely more misaligned in our perceptions than we realise. Across my clients I’ve found this to be the case not just between company and customer, but within teams and leadership cohorts.

There seems to be two root causes:

  1. There isn’t enough time spent upfront getting aligned and on the same strategic and tactical page.
  2. We’re all riding the seesaw between data-led and action-led – – too much data slows us down (*cough, benefits realisation mgmt, cough*), but not enough and we’re running blind.
    (A corporate see-saw… well kind of)

Thankfully it seems the solution here is rather simple.

First – Slow down a little upfront, and get aligned in intent.

Second – Ask the question “how soon will we know if we’re wrong”. Then find ways to accelerate that feedback.

How often are you checking in with reality?

Because, when you’re leading change, you’re leading into uncertainty. But does it really HAVE to be that way? – What would it look like if you built in ways to make it increasingly certain as you go?

Moving Your Legs But Not Running

My daughter just kept climbing. Before long, through much concentrated effort she was at the top of the rope challenge. “Look at me Dad!” – she exclaimed proudly. (So of course I quickly snapped this photo).

Her very next words were “my friend showed me how to get to this top part” – a simple example of the power of shared learning at play. Learning that only happened because they both had: a) the time, and b) a shared goal.

This is a sharp contrast to a couple of my current clients who barely have a moment to breathe – let alone share tricks and lessons with their colleagues. Add-in confusion on priorities and regular start-stop instructions – and you’ll quickly find you’re moving your legs but not running.

So here’s a quick prompt for you to reflect on:

  • Our days have recharge periods built into them (those precious moments of sleep).
  • Our weeks have recharge periods built into them (weekends… although those are quickly evaporating).
  • Our years have recharge periods built into them (public holiday periods).

Do your work plans have recharge & learning periods built in?

If not – why not?

Final thoughts

On the topic of recharging, I made an interesting observation this week. What I subconsciously choose to listen to on my daily commute is a good barometer for how full my mind is, and how busy I am.

If I choose to pop on productive podcasts & audiobooks – then I’ve got space to learn.

If music – then I’ve got thinking I need to do.

If comedy podcasts – then I’m absolutely exhausted, and I need to go home and rest.

I’m curious what other forms this ‘energy-barometer’ can take – What do you use?

See you all next week.