3. How far is it from your customers to your most influential decision makers?
Who in your company interacts with your customers the most or least? How transparent and fast is the flow of information from the customer to the most influential decision makers?
“.. The people whose opinions and actions are the most impactful for the overall direction of the business are often the very people who have the least direct knowledge of customer needs and goals .. there is simply too great a distance between decision makers and the customers whose needs and goals should be driving those decisions” — Matt Lemay, Agile for everybody (4)
An organization should strive to both find a way for everyone to regularly meet with customers. An excel spreadsheet, a persona or customer journey can never compare to the rich meaningful experience of a face-to-face interaction.
At the same time the goal is not to get one person to learn about the customer, but the company learning together and exchanging their learnings in a network of collective insights.
There is a need for transparency across every layer of the organization (sharing is an active exercise and too expensive at scale). To increase the flow of information, making sure everyone is learning at the same time and that everyone is equally close to the customer.
- Find a few dedicated people and ask them to draw out a proposal for how everyone in the organization can get to spend as much real time with customers as possible.
- Experiment to build transparency and learning into your daily work. These are not extra activities, but should be integrated into your ways-of-working. (6)
4. How do you measure, value and incentivize teams and colleagues?
“Individuals in an organization will avoid customer-facing work if it is not aligned with their day to day responsibilities and incentives” — Matt Lemay, Agile for everybody (4)
If the organization isn’t measuring value to the customer as measured by the customer — avoiding any dubious proxies — they are more likely asking their employees for customer charity than designing an organization for customer centricity (7).
What gets measured becomes valuable and incentivized. The person deciding the organizations metrics is according to Christensen the most important person in the company (8).
Customer value is not an isolated measurement. It’s one of several metrics in a chain of measurement connecting the company’s strategy to value for the customer unlocking value to the business (9).
Introducing measures helping the company serve the customer will change what gets valued and what gets done in the organization.
Using Customer Jobs-to-be-done (10) ask your teams what value is to the customers from the customers’ own perspective. And explore ways to measure that you are able to create this value for them— and how this value reflects back on your business value.
(1). Shoshana Zuboff, Design flaws within organizations, https://youtu.be/GCPvnXUVteA
(2). This requires a systems thinking mindset. Read more here: Why every designer should be a systems thinker, https://everythingnewisdangerous.medium.com/why-every-designer-should-be-a-systems-thinker-388e4fb7293b
(3). Design for all the uses we cannot imagine, https://everythingnewisdangerous.medium.com/design-for-all-the-uses-we-cannot-imagine-a7b60d37a1c
(4). Matt Lemay, Agile for everybody, https://www.oreilly.com/library/view/agile-for-everybody/9781492033509/
(5). Mental Models, Farnam Street, https://fs.blog/mental-models/
(6). What’s at the heart of a curious learning organization, https://everythingnewisdangerous.medium.com/whats-at-the-heart-of-a-curious-learning-organization-d7ea1da95bb6
(7). Are you measuring customer value, https://uxdesign.cc/are-you-measuring-customer-value-b1a9e919c473
(8). Clayton Christensen (Innovator’s Dilemma) & Marc Andreessen (a16z) | Startup Grind Global, https://youtu.be/IkBp1ntD3Zc
(9). How do you measure customer experience, https://everythingnewisdangerous.medium.com/how-do-you-measure-customer-experience-14ef428f15d5
(10). Clayton Christensen, Understanding the Job-to-be-done: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfGtw2C95Ms&t=3s