That's the title of Ben and Roz Zander's book that I mentioned in our last newsletter. And I strongly encourage you to read the book. In this issue, I'd like to talk about a practice from that book called "Giving an A".
|How would you describe...
|the way you feel getting ready for work, travelling to work, being at work, travelling home from work...if joyful, fun, exciting, wonderful, inspiring, fulfilling...
aren't on your list then you'd better do some serious thinking about
how you spend your time.
You can choose your attitude but if you can't change the environment where you work then it's time to move on.
Remember, there's only one you...keep well.
The basic premise is that by giving someone an A, whether it is your employer, co-worker, a waitress, a sales clerk, a family member etc.,...you change the relationship from the world of measurement into the world of possibility. Now I'm sure some of you are saying hold on there Carolyn, you can't manage what you can't measure and I agree with that BUT I want to share Ben's rationale for his practice and maybe you'll see things in a slightly different light.
A place of respect
Ben and Roz believe that when you give an A, you'll find yourself speaking to people from a place of respect that gives them room to realize themselves. He compares that to the great Michelangelo who is quoted as saying that inside every block of stone or marble dwells a beautiful statue and one need only remove the excess material to reveal the work of art within. I would challenge you that this is true of every employee that works with us to deliver an exceptional customer experience. When you give them room to grow and allow them and depend on them to take responsibility for situations, they will do the right thing. It's when we micro manage people that they end up needing to be micro managed. They lose their self-respect and feel that nothing they do is good enough. Respect...it's a key ingredient to any successful relationship.
The theory works in practice
Ben has applied his theory to his teaching. As the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and an instructor at the New England Conservatory, he has proven how this practice works. At the beginning of the term he announces that each student in the class will get an A for the course with only one requirement. They must write him a letter dated the following May, which begins with the words "Dear Mr. Zander, I got my A because..." and then in great detail they must tell the story of what will have happened to them by next May that is in line with this extraordinary grade. They must write in the past tense reporting on the insights they gained, and on the milestones and accomplishments they achieved.
The results have been phenomenal. Students have risen to the challenge of what they committed to do. Ben also applied this practice in his work as a conductor. Now you may compare this to the Harvard study wherein those that wrote down their goals achieved them and you may indeed say, that's goal-setting plain and simple. I've used this reflective technique in strategic planning sessions - we created a newspaper article talking about all of the great things that we've accomplished and the headline was a notice about the award this organization had won as a result. You're wondering no doubt...did they win it? You bet!
It's about the individual
When Ben asks his students to talk about their accomplishments he tells them that he is especially interested in the person they will have become...their attitudes, feelings and worldview...then to fall passionately in love with that person. When he talked about this practice at the conference, he told us that the students actually start acting differently. They weren't interested in grades and comparing themselves to others - they were focussed on becoming the best that they can be.
It's food for thought
So...how does this relate to your business? We know that great customer experiences begin with staff. When staff feel that they've been given an "A", I believe they'll perform to the A. Your thoughts? Click here to tell us what you think about this month's newsletter.
Carolyn Watt is the founder and president of The Customer Experience Company. She is passionate about customer experience and believes that the experience is formed as a result of three things: processes, communications and people. That means that you must make it insanely easy for your customers to do business with you. Your communications must be written clearly. And, your staff must deliver on the brand promises you've made to your customers.