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Navigating the modern work landscape – impact and effort

As things have shifted so dramatically over the last few years and there is no sign of it abating nor of going back to normal, I wondered what that meant for modern work. Time for a DanelDoodle. This is a really high-level view and naturally I will have missed key elements. But I just wanted to map the landscape (the important factors being effort and impact) and then plot some elements I thought worthy. Some notes after the doodle.

What’s needed to get ahead at work in the next 10 years

Pick one or two at most, because you cannot excel at all.

  • Business Outcomes Achiever. My views on this are no secret, I’ve written countless posts with the tag. It is the most powerful of the activities in my view. If you can show how you are driving the company forward and to success, you will be successful. But it’s not easy.
  • Innovator. How are you thinking differently, doing things differently? This requires equal parts creativity and execution capability. Do it right and you will be rewarded handsomely because competition is so high and change so fast.
  • Productivity Pro. Because being able to withstand the pressures of distraction and so many things to do and focusing on the things that matter, matter. Not hard work but the right work.
  • Technophile. If you don’t master technology, it will master you. And get it to work for you, that’s why it is positioned as high impact and low effort. As every company becomes a software company and automation takes off, this becomes key.
  • Sense Maker. Navigating the onslaught of information, challenges and opportunities out there and making sense of it so you and your company ultimately make the right decisions.
  • Collaborator. As we work more from home and use tools to connect this becomes ever more important but it has always been. Because you go further together than alone.
  • Authentically Nice. Because you don’t have to be an arsehole to win. But it does have to be genuine.
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The employee customer experience connection – 6 reasons to focus

With a world that is so binary I’m not surprised there isn’t more attention on this topic. People are either in the one camp, or the other, mostly. There are some, and I consider myself one, that straddle both sides. Here is why I think this is going to become increasingly important and a key differentiator for businesses if focused on properly.

First a little elaboration on my interest and role. I am watching a trend that eventually will become a report on the subject – more on that and other writing here: Employee Customer Experience Connection.

As for my role, I work as a customer success professional in the employee experience industry. Okay, the industry has only just recently identified itself thus and only in part, but effectively that is what its about.

At Microsoft where I work (disclosure), a massive part of its business, the Microsoft 365 part, is about employee or personal productivity. Formally, it’s a “productivity cloud that delivers innovative and intelligent experiences, rich organizational insights, and a trusted platform to help people and organizations get more done”.

The employee experience part that I am now heavily involved in has just recently been emphasised through a product called Microsoft Viva.

But my point is, the majority of my work has been (in the last decade or more) with people in companies concerned with helping their employees get more done for the success of the organisation. This ultimately comes through being successful with customers.

Why the employee customer experience connection matters

  1. Co-dependency. You can spend all the time in the world creating the best employee experience but if you don’t know if or how it impacts on the customer experience and outcomes, you are missing the bottom line. Customers are where the rubber hits the road and revenue and profits are earned – without this being optimised, you wont have employees for long. The rub is, it’s through employees you achieve this 🤔
  2. Data insights gold. There are tons of insights to be had on either side of the equation but if you don’t map it at the intersection, and there should be no reason why you cant, it’s wasted. At this intersection, you find the holy grail. If employee experience is the input side, the customer experience is the output side and how to optimise this, the ideal.
  3. Culture matters. What you do inside is reflected outside and the way you treat people is a linear relationship with the way employees treat customers. Company culture creation is at the forefront of that. Culture efforts are normally focused internally because it is within your control to a greater degree. Company culture impacts on and influences the culture that customer feel and lives too, so best you get it right.
  4. Proximity matters. A great example of this is the retail industry which I recently wrote about: 3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience. Retail stores that give an employee a good experience have low turnover, and, in addition, they have a much better experience. And the firms that focus on this show higher profitability and growth. It doesn’t mean this proximity cannot be achieved in the digital realm, it’s just that in this context and for this industry, the physical experience has greater impact.
  5. Employees as customers and vice versa. You have to keep in mind that outside of your company, your employees and customers operate in both realms and get to experience good or bad encounters as a result of them. If an employee has a great experience as a customer with another company and comes back to yours to realise it’s terrible in comparison, they may not stay around for too long.
  6. Common purpose. Customers and employees alike have aspirations they strive to achieve, aligned with a sense of purpose. This cannot really be separated or compartmentalised. So you need to think about the vision of your company and what you are setting out to achieve and how you are bringing value to the world in the context of both groups alike.
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3 reasons retailers are leading at the intersection of employee and customer experience

As the featured image suggests, this is a thought rocket, some sensemaking on the fly – essentially some quick thoughts on a recent development, announcement, etc.

This post is related to a trend I am watching: Employee Customer Experience Connection. My thinking is captured in the title, in essence. It came to me on discovering the video from Samsung after which I have also added some additional thoughts:

This is really inspiring and makes total sense. It’s well within the realm of the possible so I don’t think this is just marketing fluff.

I dug a little deeper and found this article: Here’s how retailers can improve employee and customer experiences.

So clearly the hero’s of this video are Scandit technology and the Galaxy XCover Pro. But Microsoft Teams on which I work a lot (disclosure) also cracks a nod in the article.

That makes total sense and Microsoft is doing a lot of work with retailers on this – check this video out showing how the venerable institution that is Marks & Spencer in the UK, is using Teams to support their frontline workers.

Here’s why retailers are leading

  1. Frontline workers often kept things afloat and profitable during the pandemic and are the face of employee experience (EX) and customer experience (CX). It’s where the rubber hits the road. Frontline workers in retail (unlike in manufacturing) are interacting with customers all the time – there really does have to be a meeting of these two experience connections as I have posited in the trend that I am watching – see infographic below which I created for this. The Samsung video really illustrates this superbly for this industry specifically.
  2. In 2022, labour shortages in general but acutely for this industry will force organisations to take a closer look at the intersection of their experience data. They will need to optimise these experiences to wring out every possible efficiency in an highly pressured and competitive environment – those that do so will win. The way to do it is through insight as to how the company is delivering through and for these two critical stakeholder groups – employee and customer.
  3. Employees want what customers already have – consumer grade experiences. And nowhere is it more evident than in retail and especially when online shopping has also exploded. So consumers have become expert at using digital to enhance their shopping experience. Employees had better be up to the same level and need/want to be – often customers in store will confront employees with the fruits of their expertise and knowledge. Internal employee tools are often not up to scratch but that is changing – see the M&S experience and how vendors like Microsoft are beefing up their support to the retail industry.

I’ve also written about the retail industry in a special section of my latest trend report – you can find out more about that and get the report by hitting the button:

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How to view the guides developed on this site – PDF

I’ve just completed a new trend report and I am making it available for purchase and download as a PDF. I wanted to explain why and how best to consume it. I did cover the why on both the page where you can buy it and where I provided some background but here is a little more and a demo.

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Gartner survey of Board of Director intentions 2021 – Digital

Gartner has just published a press release with some data on the survey they conducted amongst 273 people serving as directors or members of corporate boards of directors in US, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

I’ve highlighted two of the stats that stood out for me in the infographic. But first, for the one, I had to try and figure out what the heck they meant by “attempted to alter their enterprise economic structure to a more digital economic architecture.” 

Gartner explained this meant boards were trying to accommodate digital investments by “changing their capital allocation and governance approaches.”

40% of respondents said they have already moved some digital business-related budgets to business functions, according to Gartner, as opposed to a more centralized tech or IT budget. 

One in every three told Gartner that they have also changed the metrics that are used in order to evaluate the returns coming from digital investments. 

So for me this is the first of the significant stats. It signifies that they want to put control of digital initiatives in the hands of those that control the commercial destiny and success of the firm, i.e. out of IT into business. This is not new but the percentage is striking and bodes really well. This is where digital initiatives should reside. Not that IT will no longer be involved, quite the contrary as you can read from the press release, but they will play a different and lesser role, as it should be.

The second stat around digital tech initiatives being the highest amongst 7 other strategic business initiatives is the other one that stood out. Again, as it should be. Why?

Because as Bain’s Technology Report 2021 puts it, if you think we’ve reached peak disruption and innovation, think again. This decade will see an explosion of new opportunities as cloud models evolve, AI blossoms, and every company puts technology at the heart of virtually everything they do. 

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We Work Unbound – key concepts for a hybrid world

Working at Yammer back in the day (2012 onwards), we were at the forefront of some cutting edge work practices that had been brewing a while. The advent of social technologies of which Yammer was a latest iteration and that I had also previously been involved in (more here: birth of enterprise social) were driving these new practices. At the time we came up with a concept that could probably be called a precursor to hybrid work in that it made the most of social technologies that enabled remote work yet also included in person work. We used to hold frequent get togethers including customers, employees, leading outside thinkers, etc. There is still a Facebook group and LinkedIn group that are semi active for organising things. The manifesto which is the featured image for this post describes the concept at its core and below are some additional notes penned at the time. Sharing here for posterity.

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The post pandemic organisation’s hierarchy of needs

Click to enlarge

This is a long overdue follow-up to a piece I doodled and wrote about way back in 2016: The Modern Organisation’s Hierarchy of Needs.

For two main reasons its due an update. The clue to the first is in the original title. Anything that lays claim to being modern needs a revisit at least every 5 years.

The second is the more important one in that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on individuals and organisations since then and this requires the model to be revisited.

The pandemic has put pressure on organisations like never before and so it becomes even more important to hone your craft and perfect the way you actualise your business for continued survival. I would argue that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs continues to provide a sound basis for addressing the needs of an organisation (just as much as for an individual) and what to focus on for a healthy and successful business.

Some of the elements remain unchanged so I wont go into detail on those other than what you can read in the DanelDoodle – read the original post if you want to know more. Below is a little on what I think has changed in 5 or more years and since the pandemic hit us.

Continue reading The post pandemic organisation’s hierarchy of needs
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Jobs of the future will be what robots cannot do

The title of this post actually comes from a video I viewed on Big Think way back in 2016. It was a short video by renowned American physicist, Michio Kaku. I’ve just searched the site extensively to try and find it again but couldn’t. Good thing I downloaded a copy at the time and uploaded it to YouTube. I wanted to capture it as I recall it was not shareable. I have based a lot of my thinking on its prognostications since then. I first referenced it here: After robots and AI – intellectual capitalism where creativity and imagination thrive.

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State of advertising and company customer interactions 2021

My background in advertising makes this an interesting topic and you will hopefully soon see where the company customer interactions come in. I started out in the ad industry in the 90’s but left it before the turn of the century. My reasoning: the writing on the wall which indicated a gradual decline and irrelevance for the practice, especially at the onset of the technological revolution that was the world wide web. Twenty years later it’s worth pondering where things stand and if I was right in any way.

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Update on As a Service Trends

Sources for image gallery plus other related articles:

Culture: The Biggest Challenge in Getting the Subscription Model Right

MaaS transit: The business of mobility as a service

The first era of SaaS ends: ‘Best of breed’ was prelude to ‘systems of delivery’

Smart Growth: the Case for Measuring Brain Capital

Customer Experience Redefined: Insights From Chief Customer Officers on the Frontlines

Top 10 IT & Technology Buzzwords You Won’t Be Able To Avoid In 2021

Cisco launches Cisco Plus, a step toward network as a service

Artificial Intelligence as a Service Market Current Development, Growth Rate by Manufacturers – Microsoft, Google, Bigml, IBM, Amazon Web Services, SAP, FICO, SAS Institute, Baidu, Intel, Salesforce

How Subscription Platforms Have Become Revenue-Generating, Real-Time Fan Clubs

Sustainable Fashion: Where the Circular Economy meets the Subscription Economy

Subscription and Usage Management Technology Needs for the Modern Economy

Be more Zoom! COVID’s ‘wake-up call’ to business will fuel Subscription Economy growth, says Zuora CEO Tien Tzuo

Which Streaming Service Has the Most Subscriptions?

In the As-a-Service economy, ‘subscription’ without ‘service’ just won’t fly

Council Post: The New AAS Economy: Why The “As A Service” Sector Is Booming

Can the Subscription Economy Save Financial Services?

Employee customer experience connection – infographic

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The backlash to video calling and the alternatives

Okay I wouldn’t call just one decision from the CEO of a major bank the indication of a backlash: Citigroup CEO ordains Zoom-free Fridays to ease ‘relentless’ pandemic workday. But come on, how many tales have you already heard of similar woes. Zoom fatigue has become a thing. And its not just about Zoom. Microsoft Teams (disclosure) has built features into their software to try and negate the ill effects of too much time spent on video calls. So what’s a business bod to do?

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State of a category – customer success 2021

I’ve been in this space formally for almost 10 years now. I say formally because I’ve been doing the work a lot longer, just under another name. I’ve been passionate about it all these years and still am but after that long, you’ve got to question things. I’ve written on the state of customer success twice before, in 2017 and 2018. This is not such a post since they were in depth pieces based on the annual Pulse events run by the category builder Gainsight. This is just a simple temperature check, for my own sanity if nothing else.

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