“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”

In the blog post Technology Alone Will Not Solve All Your Problems I pointed out that even though technology may be important, it won’t “save the day in isolation” because “processes, culture and people are also critical”.

A later blog post The Process Dogmaspoke about the different types of processes, how to go about improving those processes, as well as the importance and benefits of processes improvement in a transformation project.

But culture is also crucial. It is amazing to see the lengths your people will go if they believe in the cause. Remember what Simon Sinek said on his very famous TED Talk People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”.

If your company has a healthy and strong culture, this will definitely have a positive effect on people’s commitment. They will buy into the transformation, or indeed any project you are asking them to be part of, or take forward.

Strong and healthy culture will make your people feel part of the team, part of the company, part of the vision. They will start to get satisfaction from helping your company improve and succeed. They will understand that the company’s success is their success.

On the other hand, if your people don’t “wear the company’s jersey” or believe in the company’s values – a consequence of an unhealthy culture – they will start feeling as individuals, only doing the bare minimum to get the job done, and their sole motivation is their salary.

Trying to improve or change in an environment where everyone is disengaged and disconnected is very hard and doomed to failure. So there is a need for you to instil a positive mindset and get people’s buy-in, triggering that feeling of team-with-common-purpose.

A good way to do that is to ensure every person understands that they’re part of a bigger picture or wider process, which has a specific outcome and purpose. That what they do is impacted by the upstream step, and will impact the downstream step, and ultimately the customer.

Customer Journey Mapping is a great technique that we have been using for a few years now. Getting a group of people, ideally responsible for different steps of the process, to get together and do a Customer Journey Mapping exercise, is usually an eye-opener.

They will have the opportunity to see the end-to-end process, and not just what they do. As well as the impact of each step of the process has in the overall outcome. They will hear “from the horse’s mouth” about the impact their work has on others. And this is usually also quite powerful.

Your people will have the chance to tell others about what they do, the tools they use, and how it is done. Potentially identifying opportunities to improve as they discuss it with their colleagues – a “fresh pair of eyes” and additional “brain power”. And also get familiar with what the others do upstream and downstream.

Customer Journey Mapping can have several outcomes. It can be used for analysis, surfacing of needs, solution or experience design, etc. But there is also another powerful outcome: the changing in mindset. If people are engaged in the “how things get done” and feel appreciated for their thoughts and inputs, then the “why you do it” becomes more powerful and better appreciated. And more often than not, it will have a positive effect on the company (efficiency, effectiveness) and the customer experience.

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