Something You Can Work With

I am always grateful for the opportunity to share ideas & thoughts.

Not in any great big way. More in that as we share what we observe, the more likely it is that we will say something someone can use to make a difference. And we all want to make a difference – Right?

So I am going to talk about a couple of things that might directly help you, or start a process of thinking that leads to a better outcome for you.

Some of these things I’ve talked about on our Custerian Blog, but given only so much goes in, and I can write too much, I thought a quick revisit would not go amiss.

Change is constant – so doing something is the only option

There are a lot of ideas written about how change affects things, but lets not boil the ocean today, except to say most of us have a desire for things to stay the same (this makes us feel safe) whilst in reality everything is constantly altering (which many of us would rather ignore as it makes us feel unsafe!).

It’s this contradiction that is at the heart of why, for most, ‘stuff’ happens to us Vs we get the ‘things’ done that we want too.
It’s a bit like we end up fighting change, instead of directing it.

Idea 1 – Try taking a different (physical) perspective

Do something different today and see how it affects things. A great start for this is to take a problem and look at it in a different light.
If this problem relates to a person, or another department, try physically sitting in their chair (or department) and asking yourself:

“what solution to this problem, can they see that I can’t”

This ability to take another perspective on things is a big part of positively affecting change, because it gives you:

  1. More information, especially with regard to the context in which you are trying to work. Context is often more important than facts.
  2. It enables you to sell your solution – which most likely will be a better one – because the approach will feel more empathetic.
  3. It allows you to make decisions you might otherwise resist, because taking another persons view, stops you from leaping to conclusions and opens up alternatives.

The important bit here is to physically put your self in a different position. It is this simple premiss that is at the heart of nearly all the ‘Think Different’ ideas.
Or put more simply: To shift your mind – shift your body!

Idea 2 – Challenge the value of current information

Instead of adding to your information burden, try looking at existing information in a different way and seeing what that brings you:

The Danger Of Averages – This is a bit of a one person crusade at the moment. Averages are actually what most people don’t do most of the time – In fact it is entirely possible to have an average that represents what no one is actually doing.
Far better to ask for the MODE – most common occurrence. Oh and at the risk of upsetting the statisticians do ask for the ‘Outliers’ these are the extremes that a few people are doing.
This can give a fresh insight into areas for improvement that are more likely to have a positive effect, because they affect more (mode Vs average) people, or are more motivational factors – outliers.
Which reminds me of a conversation recently which went like this:

“You do realise nearly all metrics used in contact centres today are not based on what should be measured, but on what the technology could measure, and they’ve sort of stuck”

And that from a very senior ex BT guy… Just made me stop and think… It was a perspective I had not considered before.

Ask The Same Question From Opposite Ends – This one is great for getting teams to create and own solutions to insurmountable problems.

So here’s a common scenario, the old ‘you need to do more for less’ annual budgetary conundrum. (which by the way leads to all sorts of behaviours like ‘hiding unused budget’ or ‘holding back savings’).

There is the big Customer Journey Mapping from Current to Desired state solution. Very valid and one we would always advocate. But what can you do now?
Try this. Pick a big figure, usually over 25% but under 50% and then get your team together and ask them the same question – almost – twice:

  • How can we do the same amount of (insert activity) for 35% less cost – without affecting satisfaction etc.
  • How can we do 35% more (insert activity) for the same cost – without affecting satisfaction etc.

You will be amazed what this approach can create, especially if you capture the output in circles and look for the areas/opportunities overlaps!

Doing More Of Less

My next Custerian Blog is almost certainly going to be on the subject that runs counter to current trend. The one that says everyone can have everything now across any channel, at the same time. You know the one.
The ideas I have talked about and shared above fit in a different theme, which is instead of adding to what we are doing, so in effect doing less of more, why don’t we do more with what’s important.
In fact what not start subtracting some unproductive ‘stuff’, so we can spend more time on less. I bet most of our customers only contact us across multiple channels because we don’t give them the right answer the first time they raise their hand to us?

So To Summarise

Next time you want to get a better answer:

  • Physically change how you look at the task/opportunity/problem
  • Take a different view of the same information
  • Ask the question from both ends