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The Cultural Transformations That Occur As You Experiment


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I’ve been reflecting on some immediate successes I’ve witnessed clients experience through our business simulations, and I realized…I don’t think I share this piece of advice loud enough:

If Your Company Isn’t Experimenting, You Aren’t Learning Anything New.

Yes. Experimentation often means you don’t get things right the first time, or the second, or the third. But that’s exactly why you should be experimenting. You are testing possible solutions and steadily eliminating options one variable at a time to get to the root cause.

Customer experiences improve because of experimentation. But more importantly, your organization improves dramatically in the process of trial and error.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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The Cultural Transformations That Occur As You Experiment

  1. 1. T H E C U LT U R A L T R A N S FO R M AT I O N S T H AT O CC U R A S YO U E X P E R I M E N T
  2. 2. M S . F R I Z Z L E Take Chances, Make Mistakes, and Get Messy! “Type a quote here.”
  3. 3. 1 . D E E P E R K N OW L E D G E A N D U N D E R S TA N D I N G A large bank suffered from an industry-wide problem: incomplete information on applications for mortgages. The solution was presented and approved. Millions were invested in creating an application with required fields so information had to be inputted. It was a logical solution and should have worked. Unfortunately, that only shifted the problem. Now instead of calling for missing information, processors were calling to get correct information. The root cause of the problem was left undiscovered. When you realize the problems you face are not going away, but are manifesting in new and unsuspecting ways, that is when you must get messy and dive deep into issues and opportunities. Sometimes to solve for an unknown, you have to venture into the unknown. Experimentation leads you down an unknown path of discovery.  One that has you asking ‘how do I make this problem repeatable?’ It is counterintuitive. But only when you can create the problem you are trying to solve do you understand it well enough to solve for it. So why would mortgage consultants who want new business not input information? Well, they did not want to be charged a couple of hundred dollars for an appraisal on accounts where the mortgage is not likely to be approved. The solution in the end was to change the compensation model to cover appraisal fees for approved and declined mortgages. It cost thousands and saved millions! By creating the problem you often find out all of the things that are not causing the problem. This helps to remove barriers in thinking that may have been created through organizational myths. Often these are the source of strife between teams, departments, leaders and business units. Sometimes to solve for an unknown, you have to venture into the unknown.
  4. 4. 2 . I N C R E A S E D O R GA N I Z AT I O N A L E M PAT H Y   Customers are receiving their reports late. Sales teams are scrambling to submit a proposal on deadline. Wrong and incomplete information is being sent for analysis. Leaders are making poor decisions with half the story. Everyone is upset, including the customer. Typically, the customer does not become front-and-center of a business until everyone whose tied to a business goal has their backs against a prickly wall, feeling pinched by senior leadership. So, finally, you start asking questions about what the customer needs. Having empathy for what the customer goes through is the first step to building a better company. When you are ready to put the customer first, experience the customer journey together from an end-to-end view.  Measure it from that perspective instead of how ‘we’ or ‘they’ are doing. Be factual about what is going right and wrong along the way. This is how you can grow much more connected to your customers, as you internalize their relationship with you. Their wins will be yours. Their failures will be yours too. Feeling what the customer feels increases your overall empathy and allows you to approve the improvement process in a more thoughtful way. This is how you can grow much more connected to your customers, as you internalize their relationship with you. Their wins will be yours. 
 Their failures will be yours too.
  5. 5. 3 . A H U M A N I Z E D B R A N D The student lending division of a bank was about to experience a big unwanted change.  A law was brought about that would shift their business model and reduce their current revenue by 60 percent. Everyone felt it would be best to close the business unit. The division head asked for a little time and leeway to experiment with a solution. He put together a cross-functional team called CustomerGPS to reconnect with the customer. They sparked conversation with the education community and learned what was concerning schools, students and their families. As a result, CustomerGPS discovered a hidden customer need, which they met with action to redefine the way the bank communicated with students and families. Education professionals asked: why wasn’t this been done before? The answer: the bank was afraid the advice they were providing may dissuade some customers from applying for private loans. The bank took a chance in being transparent about their product suite in an effort to gain greater customer life value. They chose not to be controlled by their perceived limitations of their product suite. They chose to be the customer and educate and engage customers as they would like to be treated.  By doing so, customers saw a more human side to the bank, which served the bank a unique market advantage. B R A N D
  6. 6. E X P E R I M E N TAT I O N I S P O W E R F U L .   I T G I V E S Y O U C O N F I D E N C E T H AT Y O U K N O W T H E P R O B L E M O R O P P O RT U N I T Y W E L L E N O U G H T O C H A N G E T H E O U T C O M E O F A N U N D E S I R A B L E S I T U AT I O N . I T G I V E S Y O U O P P O RT U N I T Y T O U N L E A R N W H AT Y O U K N O W, R E C O G N I Z E U N C O N S C I O U S B I A S E S , A N D G R O W I N T O I N N O VAT I O N . P E O P L E D O N O T R E G R E T W H AT T H E Y FA I L E D T O G E T R I G H T, B U T W H AT T H E Y L A C K E D T H E C O U R A G E T O T E S T.
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