Becoming more customer centric always involves people and change. A lot of clients tell me "we don't do change management well". If this describes your organization, you're in a big club. But the key to change management is not all about the giant project plan for change management. It's much more about doing the small things well, to engage people and start conversations.
Because where change is concerned, conversation is action.
You can start to shift in a more positive direction by taking small steps. You might be surprised how well they work. Here's a fresh example from yesterday.
I was having lunch with a client who was holding a large meeting later in the day around their CRM initiative. She asked me for some ideas about energizing the meeting, which I was glad to provide. Judging by her e-mail this morning, the meeting was a success:
My meeting yesterday went really well!! People commented on how great the session was at the close and afterwards. In addition to our group notes, we also now have a written record of their ideas in their words.
Here were a couple of the things which worked so well for my client, (a clever individual and a fast learner):
- Ask everyone in the group to fill in a simple mind map to do a brain dump on the topic to get things rolling (Download SimpleMindMap.pdf )
- Post the mind maps on the wall, and get everyone to walk around the room in pairs to read the other maps.
- Start the discussion by asking people for the common themes they saw
This approach gives everyone a chance to be heard. It clears up all the brain clutter on the topic and gets it down on paper before you even start. It's a much faster way to share a lot of information quickly than by going around the table for everyone's input. It quickly helps people see where there is common ground. And it surfaces fresh ideas and issues in a non-threatening manner.
Now my client is a pretty capable individual, and I bet her regular meetings are usually pretty good. But she took a couple of simple ideas and leveraged them to make a potentially painful discussion about CRM implementation challenges an energizing meeting that got people excited about the project.
To close the meeting, she asked everyone for their personal action steps to take towards the vision. So people left the room talking, having made a personal commitment to take some small step.
If your meetings are full of telling and selling, you might try a couple of these techniques to get things moving in a fresh direction.