The rules for relationship success are timeless. Since the beginning of civilization they have remained the same. But when organizations grow beyond a single office and a few employees and customers, those rules rarely grow with them.
Even with the vast array of relationship tools in today’s digital workplace, the problem persists and may even be growing. Gallup reported in their “State of the American Workplace” that 70% of employees are disengaged. And recent studies point out that most projects aimed at improving the customer and employee experience meet with failure.
How can an organization made up of thousands of employees, often spread around the globe, effectively build relationships with each other and with potentially millions of customers?
The good news is that the timeless rules for individual relationship success can be scaled to work in the modern workplace, but it does take discipline and a new perspective.
Great connectors listen. They listen to what is and isn’t said: words, subtle nuances, body language, eye contact. And they remember: facts, names, stories and ideas are all stored in their head.
The same is true in the workplace. Just about every organization listens. And most of those businesses also remember – in the form of data. But very few make all of that information easy to access – giving each member of the team a single “corporate memory” where they can find everything that they need to get their jobs done. Studies indicate that job satisfaction drops by nearly 15% when employees have to access more than two enterprise systems to get their jobs done; but on average employees have to use between 5 and 8 systems daily.
“People should feel like technology is being made to work for them. Instead, they often feel they are being made to work for technology.” Tweet This
And that’s a shame. People should feel like technology is being made to work for them. Instead, they often feel they are being made to work for technology.
Stephen Covey famously said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
You know them. That select group of people that “get” you. They spend time thinking about others. They analyze. They have empathy. They ask questions and invest time in understanding your story.
In the workplace, understanding is the analysis step.
But analyzing data is an increasingly complex challenge. The digital universe is doubling in size every 2 years (EMC, “The Digital Universe of Opportunities”). Organizations that understand their employees and customers are organizations that have harnessed the ability capture the right data (both quantitative and qualitative), extract insights from that data, and innovate faster than their competitors.
The best connectors in the world make it look effortless. And that’s the problem. Connectors have developed their skills through a lifetime of learning and refining good habits – not luck.
In the same way, consistently creating engaged employees and great customer experiences is the result of intentional processes. Processes are the wheels of successful relationships, technology is the engine to scale these processes to a large workforce, and leadership is the driver.
“Leadership must embrace a new way of leading or technology investments, like a car without a driver, will cause more harm than good.” Tweet This
Today organizations are investing billions of dollars into technology – but that’s not the biggest problem. Relationship processes are different than other business processes, and they require a unique combination of flexibility and rigidity. And leaders must embrace a new way of leading or technology investments, like a car without a driver, will cause more harm than good.
The best relationship builders are always improving. They measure results consciously and unconsciously. They continue to get more successful because they never stop learning from their failures.
Businesses often don’t know how to measure and track the score. When they do, the next urgent priority tends to crowd out taking the time to learn. But capturing the score and prioritizing time to learn are the easy parts.
The hard part? Most workplaces don’t know how to deal with failure.
And when we’re talking about improving, what we’re really talking about is learning from our failures. The rule of “know” requires transparency, vulnerability and introspection. These are challenging organization concepts, but critical for continuous innovation.
5. Good LUCK
The best connectors approach life and relationships with a people-centric sense of purpose. They balance serving other people with passionately and unapologetically pursuing their own goals. Leaders never forget that people are the most important thing, and that they are one of those people.
“Leaders never forget that people are the most important thing, and that they are one of those people.” Tweet This
Organizations constantly struggle to balance their needs (such as profit) with the needs of the people that they serve.
It is refreshing to see so many businesses emerging that are committed to customers, community and employees. But there are too many young businesses that vanish because they don’t know how to balance admirable missions with cash flow. Like a heart that forgets to keep beating, they are gone before they can do much good.
On the other extreme are the organizations that are strictly about the bottom line or bureaucracy. They may still have a pulse, but it doesn’t feel like it. They exist to produce profits and paychecks. Without profits and paychecks a business will cease to exist, but those are not the reasons why a business exists.
“Without profits and paychecks a business will cease to exist, but those are not the reasons why a business exists.” Tweet This
Listen, Understand, Connect, Know … LUCK.
Every way we interact can benefit from applying The LUCK Principle: social channels, content marketing, voice of customer research, company meetings, intranet portals, email campaigns, sales processes, customer journey mapping, and all the rest.
The good news? Digital marketing and workplace tools make it possible to effectively scale LUCK more effectively than ever before.
The bad news? Digital marketing and workplace tools make it possible to ruin relationships faster than ever before.
How does your organization rate? How can you improve the way your team engages with each other and with customers?
Here are some tools to dive deeper with The LUCK Principle:
- Follow the blog: The LUCK Principle for Employee and Customer Relationships
- Signup to buy the book when it is available (July 2016)
- Study up on CRM Failure and how you can recover from it
Originally published on July 11, 2016 by SpeakerMatch Speakers Bureau