How to Put People Before Programs

Editors Note: During our August focus on Guest Experiences, we are honored to have some of the best voices in the world of Customer Experience provide guest posts for the Vision Room. As you read the content below, simply think “Guest” in terms of the “customer” the author is talking about – and you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of these great minds.


If you want to move beyond cosmetic changes and lip service to real changes in both the employee experience and the customer experience, the first thing you have to look at is your company’s culture.

What is culture? My favorite definition is Herb Kelleher’s: “Culture is what people do when no one is looking.” To add a little more detail to that, culture = values + behavior.

While customer experience strategies must include a priority focus on the employee experience, they often don’t. Many companies believe they can improve the customer experience without improving the employee experience. I’ve heard it many times over the last 25+ years.

At the root of what both employees and customers experience is a company culture that focuses on both of their needs – and puts them before profits or shareholder value. Does your company have a people-centric culture, or is it profit-centric and profit-driven? Companies must make money, but there’s a better way of doing it that benefits all constituencies involved.

How do you design a people-centric culture? It’s definitely a culture shift (obviously), a mindset shift, and a behavior shift for most companies!

Unfortunately, in most organizations, the culture looks like the pyramid in this image below, where mission, vision, and values might frame the foundation for the culture, but revenue and profits take priority over employees and customers – and drive everything that’s being done in the organization. These companies live by the old management philosophy that they’re in business to maximize shareholder value.

Contrast that with a people-centric culture (image below), where, without a shadow of a doubt, the company foundation is its mission, vision, values, and purpose. These companies have a strong culture and use these foundational elements day in and day out to operate the business. Once the company is grounded in well-defined and clearly-communicated mission, vision, values, and purpose, they’ve got a solid basis for a people-focused and people-centric culture.

Next, you’ll see that I’ve reordered the layers of the typical organization culture pyramid and have added a new layer that is all about the executives and executive alignment. If your executive team is not aligned with the business goals and outcomes, both internal and external, then neither is the rest of the organization. In the same vein, if executives don’t embrace both servant leadership and truly human leadership, then it will be difficult to foster that people-centric culture.

The next layer in the pyramid is your employees, who will benefit from a company built on solid mission, vision, values, and purpose – all of which become not only the basis for hiring, firing, and promoting but also the basis for executive behavior and decision making. And they benefit from an executive team that is aligned and working together.

As you know, employees must come more firstThe employee experience drives the customer experience. When you’ve got happy, engaged, satisfied, and empowered employees, customers benefit in their experience. And so, the customer experience is the next layer of the pyramid.

And when you focus on the people – employees and customers – first, then the numbers – revenue/profits – will come.

Putting employees and customers before revenue and profits means that your executives are making decisions with their employees and customers in mind at all times. They are doing what’s best for employees, and ultimately, for customers, so that, in the end, the business benefits.
If there’s any doubt that that is possible, check out this TED2019 Talk from Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO of Chobani. It contains a lot of powerful messages!

You watched the whole thing, right?

I could just stop there, but I’ll wrap up with a few thoughts.

While creating and maximizing shareholder value is important to any public company, it is an outcome, not a means. There are means to achieving that outcome, and they include putting employees and customers first, ahead of profits. Companies succeed if and when…

  • employees want to work for them
  • customers want – and actually do – buy their products
  • vendors and suppliers want to partner with them
  • people want them to locate in – and be a part of – their communities, and
  • shareholders buy their stocks.

Companies have more constituents than shareholders and more responsibilities than delivering value to just shareholders. The rest of their constituents must receive value, as well. So, put employees first, then customers, and watch the business thrive.

To hear more about my thoughts on this topic and how to create this people-focused culture, be sure to watch my webinar with CallidusCloud titled, Be a CX Winner by Focusing on Culture and Employee Experience.

Always put people first, for without them, there is no organization. -David Sikhosana, Time Value of Money: Timing Income

> Read more from Annette.


 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Annette Franz

Annette Franz

Annette Franz is an internationally recognized customer experience thought leader, coach, consultant, and speaker. She’s on the verge of publishing her first book about putting the “customer” into customer experience. Stay tuned for that! Annette is active in the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), as: an Executive Officer on the Board of Directors, a CX Expert, and a CX Mentor. And she is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP). She is also an official member of the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for successful business and career coaches. Members are selected based on their depth and diversity of experience.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Storytelling Begins with Passion, People, and Place

When our clients come to us, invariably they arrive with a need for which they require a solution.  Simple enough.  However, if we attempt to deliver a solution without a proper understanding of the problem, we will fail every single time.

At Visioneering Studios, we begin our Envision.Design.Build process by putting down our pens and turning up our ears.   We dare not present any sort of solution until we understand the story of the people for whom we are working and the place they want to create.

Everything begins with the story.

At the core of our team is our identity as storytellers, spatial storytellers.  We are a multi-disciplinary group of professionals bringing years of experience to the table from film, urban planning, architecture, interior design, development, real estate, and writing.  We have learned that to best understand the story we must first assume the roles of cultural anthropologists.  We will search for the three elements that will drive this story; passion, people, and place.

>> PASSION: A NARRATIVE OF REDEMPTION

Most people would agree with the definition of passion as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.”  That’s nice…but that doesn’t quite do it for me.  It’s a little too fluffy, too polished, and nothing like real life.

My view of passion is more akin to the one that describes the anguish and suffering that Jesus Christ endured the night before and during his crucifixion.  For me, passion is the amount of pain that one is willing to endure in order to fulfill the mission.  It’s not always a pleasant experience, but it is one driven by a sense of moral and spiritual imperativeness.

Passion is a narrative of redemption.  Redemption is about change or transformation.  Stories grip our heartstrings when they describe a peaceful existence torn apart by insurmountable adversity, and then climax with a heroic victory.

Spatial storytelling must follow the same story arc.

We ask our church partners, what “dead and dry bones” do you want to see new life breathed into?  What marriages do you see as mended?  What parental prayers do you believe will be answered?  What stories will be rewritten?

That’s the passion we are talking about.  This is the story we want to help tell; a narrative of redemption.

>> PEOPLE: THE CAST OF CHARACTERS

Stories simply do not exist without characters.  Each church we work with has a unique calling to a specific people.  These people are possibly made up of different socio-economic statuses, ethnicities, religious beliefs, sexual orientations, and other sub-cultures.  Each of them derives identity and meaning from different things and different places.  Are these understood?

Before you design a solution or deliver a sermon you believe will change lives, listen to them first.  This is called empathy.  One of my favorite quotes about empathy comes from the René Laennec, the French physician/inventor of the stethoscope.  He told his students, “Listen to your patients, they are telling you how to heal them.”

When you understand the context and character of your audience, you will be able to deliver a suitable word, which is fitly spoken “…like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Empathy makes you a better designer, a better preacher, and a better problem solver.

>> PLACE: A SOIL-SPECIFIC SOLUTION

Not only has God given you a unique passion for a specific people, but He has also called you to a specific place.  This may be defined as a metropolitan area, a city proper, or a specific neighborhood.

In the secular world, there is a growing appreciation for place.  Retailers like Starbucks have adopted the business model of making third places (the place between where you work and play).  Developers are creating mixed-use developments to manufacture cities within cities, and place making is a trending topic aim in the architecture and urbanism circles.

But, where is the Church in this conversation?

Some churches have failed to understand and adopt a proper theology of place, which states that it is God’s desire, plan, and promise to redeem a connection to people and place.  They hold on to an old model of sacred spaces, which separates the sacred from the secular by creating ‘holy huddles’.  They isolate themselves from the community to which they are called to redeem and to bring Shalom.

They fail to connect to connect the theological dots.  When Jesus Christ exhaled His last breath on the cross, not only was His job finished, but also the tabernacle veil was ripped in two.  This veil, which had previously relegated access to God’s presence to one person one time a year, was eternally torn to allow access by all mankind.  This democratization of access was foreshadowed when a Samaritan woman, a cultural and spiritual half-breed, met Jesus, a Jewish rabbi, at a water well and experienced redemption.

Churches today are not only called to be places for redemption, but they called to be places of redemption.  Places where every Average Joe and Plain Jane could encounter redemption in synch with the natural rhythms of their life.  These are the connections between the God’s passion for a people and a place.

So, what does that look like?  Well, that’s where the story making begins.

Read more from Steve.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steven Chaparro

Steven Chaparro

Steven is a multi-disciplinary storyteller with a background in architecture, real estate development, financial advisory, and church leadership. He is best known as a passionate communicator, a sought-after advisor, and a strategic thinker. He challenges the status quo with his bold leadership and disruptive thinking, yet approaches situations with the heart of a teacher.

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> I agree 100%, you can tell if a church is doing this it grows, if there's no growth there's poor leadership..
 
— Dennis Whiterock
 
comment_post_ID); ?> Great work Bubba! Its exciting to see how God has blessed your faithfulness over your lifetime into remarkable, fruitful, Kingdom expansion! Jesus DID say, "without Me you can do nothing!" (John 15:5). No surprise that He rewards "thick and thin" prayer with great fruitfulness! :)
 
— Mike Taylor
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I loved this presentation. It helped greatly as I organized an Outreach Ministry of The Shepherds Care. Thank you. Esther Callaham Mahgoube Emmanuel Pentecostal Church New Jersey
 
— Esther Mahgoube
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.