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Nov
21 2012

Using Great Work to Create a Customer-Focused Culture

Syndicated from: Box of Crayons

Is it all me, me, me? One of the conversations I have with groups when we’re talking about Great Work is about focus. One the one hand, Great Work is a subjective measure. It’s about the work that has meaning for you, that creates an impact that you care about, that work that lights you up. And on the other hand, the opportunities for Great Work for most of us take place at work – where there are goals, objectives, strategies, cultures and ways of being and doing that are required. The sweet spot might be a third spot In a perfect world, you find this magical alignment between what you want to do and what you’re required to do. If your not sure how things stand for you, feel free to download the “I care/They care” exercise and see for yourself. But an idea that might serve you, your organization and those your organization serves might be the richest place to play of all. Here’s how I’d be approaching it First, get clear on who your customers actually are. I know we all know that in theory, but often there’s a pretty big gap between that and reality. One tried and true method is to create a very specific profile of that person. For instance, for the programs we deliver to organizations, there are two key audiences: The participants. (Meet Bob, who’s 34 and worked at the organization now for five years. He’s been managing a team of six for a while, and is doing an OK job at it. But he’s the classic time-crunched manager. There’s too much to do and he’s drowning in the overwhelm; his team is more dependent on him that he’d like and he wishes they’d be a little more self-sufficient; and sometimes he’s not sure why he’s doing the work he’s doing – he’s become a small cog in the big machine .) The VP of HR who is buying the program. (Meet Sandra. She’s been in the world of HR and L&D for a while, and is something of a skeptic about training for the sake of training. She’s hungry to create impact and shift the culture of her organization for the better, and is at her best when thinking creatively and strategically. She’s looking for something more subtle, more fun and more strategic than the usual programs that are out there.) Second, get clear on how you and your organization are failing them right now. Go beyond OK and good enough. Imagine an extraordinary experience that you might deliver, one that will make their jaws drop. And notice the gap between what you’re doing now, and what extraordinary might look like. And suddenly, there’s something juicy to do, right? Now it’s no longer a question of “where’s my Great Work Project?” but more likely “which of the opportunities do I pick?” And if that’s the case, I’m a fan of using the “magic box” or 2×2 matrix to help make some decisions. Decide on a couple of key criteria you’d like to use to make the choice. Some options you might consider are: Cost (time, effort, money) Impact on customer experience Joy & Fun in doing it Alignment with culture or expectations Likelihood of success And there may be others you’d like to add to the list. Pick the two that are most useful for you. And map them out on a classic 2 x 2 matrix. (If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here’s a picture of one.) You’ll start seeing what choice(s) you might make depending on where they fall on the matrix. Mmmmmm… Great Work…. Sure, we’re all charging towards the end of the year. In the US, it’s almost Thanksgiving and around the world everyone’s got more than enough on their to-do lists. But it’s worth, always, taking a little time to reflect on where there might be opportunities to do more Great Work. Unless you make a choice, it’s all too easy for your life to be filled up with the excess of Good Work that abounds.

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