Firms Need Some Soul Searching

Let me start with an observation: most organizations have lost their souls.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go on a diatribe about Satan or religious redemption. What I mean is that most organizations don’t know what they stand for — they’ve benchmarked themselves into cookie-cutter imitations of all their competitors. It’s really hard to tell the actual difference between banks or retailers or airlines or whatever. Firms try to use marketing gimmicks to fool customers into believing that there’s a real difference. And some more advanced firms use micro-segmentation and analytics to deliver customized messages to smaller and smaller groups of people. But, alas, customers are getting smarter — and any type of marketing pitch is becoming less effective. So what are firms to do?

Find your soul!

The path to redemption starts by anwering two questions (honestly):

  • How is your organization truly different?

  • How do you want your organization to be truly different?

These questions need to be asked from the perspective of all of your key constituent groups, which for most companies starts with customers and employees. Howard Shultz, founder and Chairman of Starbucks, has been quoted as saying…

Customers must recognize that you stand for something.

If your looking for me to now provide a step-by-step process for saving your souls, you’ll be disappointed. While I’ll probably touch on some left-brained approaches in future posts, the path to salvation starts with a more right-brain commitment to re-defining or re-invigorating what your organization stands for. So instead of reading some itemized advice, I suggest that you start by watching this video…  

The bottom line: It’s time to find (or restore) your organization’s soul!

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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