Our previous post addressed the question “how do companies succeed?” Some key takeaways tackled were:
- Workplace strategies about educating employees about the importance of their role.
- How clarity about company values and mission helps employees understand the importance of the role they play and how it helps their company succeed.
This week we are expanding on the topic and importance of employees understanding the Vision and Mission of their company and bringing it to life in their job. Let’s clear the fog, look at business opportunities through a different lens, a wide-angle lens view and get to work.
The people in an organization are a representation of a company. Without people, companies don’t exist. Do your teams clearly understand your company’s vision? The mission? The role they play in helping your business grow?
Your people are critical to bringing to life the customer experience – the journey at every single touch point and as Brian Solis notes – all of the moments of truth. There’s a lot going on in the world – disruptions every day. How can your teams keep everything straight and continue to deliver excellence?
Innovation is occurring at warp speed with game changing outcomes.
Innovations today are not shaking up market share; they are creating and destroying markets entirely. Looking into the future, there are simply far too many possible outcomes to anticipate, let alone plan for comprehensively. Technologies such as Amazon (direct delivery, customized CRM) and Google (the way we search to find information) are just a few of the examples of how innovation is changing the way the world works.
The past is no longer a good predictor of the future.
Company behavior has changed; the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company has dropped from more than 80 years to less than 15 in the last century. As a small business owner – even the last 3-6 months have changed my perspective of where things are going, how we can grow.
Consumer behavior has changed.
Baby-boomers are not acting like the elderly of previous generations. They are living longer and working longer. On top of that, consumers are changing and can interact with your business 24/7 by numerous different touch points.
Competitive lines have dissolved completely.
As start-ups are successfully competing with established companies, think of IBM Digital being the largest digital agency in the world. As an agency, having a client become one of the world’s leading agencies should be a huge eye opener.
Information has gone from scarcity to abundance.
Knowledge is transparent. The critical organizational need is how quickly can you absorb mass information and skillfully act upon it and in a world of commoditization; your people are what make a difference.
Large F100’s are continually moving to procurement, cutting expenses while expecting more, and increasing payment terms.
Are we all crazy for wanting to do what we do and run a business in this environment?
But it’s not all bad!
Gaining a competitive advantage can be done and while sustaining a competitive advantage is even more challenging, it too can be achieved.
What is important is people need some form of structure and to understand and be guided to where the company is going. People need to see and understand the role they play in achieving that vision. Every single person in an organization helps achieve that vision.
So why are some companies successful and some that are not?
When flying one night back to Toronto I had horrible customer service experience from a major Canadian airline. In this frustration, I tweeted my displeasure after 6 hours of waiting. One company, WestJet took the time to acknowledge my frustrations and said they would be happy for me to come on board and be a customer. Additionally, I was provided an incentive to try them out --- all of this occurring through digital media.
As result, I went ahead and booked my next business trip with WestJet. During a long flight to Western Canada, I noticed that the flight crew really had a great buzz about them. They were energetic, enthusiastic and it became very apparent that they truly enjoyed what they were doing. In fact, they were down right passionate about their job.
Half way through my flight I asked the lead flight attendant ‘Jillian’ “why she was enthusiastic and living the WestJet brand?” She looked at me and wasn’t sure exactly what I was asking so I said, “You’re very enthusiastic and you actually love the work that you do, why?” Jillian quickly explained to me “WestJet is a great company to work for”. I proceeded to ask, “Why is WestJet such a great company to work for?” Jillian clarified for me “ They treat us as partners but they also empower us to make the flight a great experience for customers. She elaborated… “WestJet provides us with great training about how to deal with passengers and make it a great experience.”
It was clear to me that Jillian’s passion went well beyond training so I asked her “What did you do when you were little girl and how does that relate to what you are doing today? Jillian’s response was “I have never been asked that before. Well, I really enjoyed coordinating, organizing, and talking to groups of people.”
Intrigued with this flight experience and conversation I reached out to the president of WestJet and sent him a note describing my experience and asked him to contact Jillian and let her know that a passenger took the time to reach out to him to let him know what a great experience I had on that particular flight. To his credit, he replied within 30 minutes said he would let her know.
So, was this a one off experience or does the WestJet staff truly live the brand each and every day? Well, recently, while flying home I experienced an issue with my luggage – it was a long day and I was very tired. I received a call from WestJet stating they understand my issue, that it would be resolved the next day HOWEVER I would have to pay for the shipping to resolve this issue. I just wanted this issue resolved so I said okay and went on my way. The next morning at 7am I received a phone call from WestJet customer service apologizing for how I was treated the night before stating I should not have received that call and this is not how we treat our passengers. This staff member apologized for the inconvenience and made it clear all charges will be covered by WestJet, and that my luggage will delivered by noon that same day.
Looking directly at WestJet’s Mission statement we can see that these experiences with this brand were truly living the mission. The staff was friendly, positive and passionate and appreciative of their guests. It’s interesting, seems everyone on the team is aware of WestJet’s mission and they all believe it. Their vision for the future is surely to succeed if they keep up what they are doing – empowering their teams to provide the best service they can while tapping into each employees own personal vision.
Learning from this experience, you need to BRING YOUR VISION TO LIFE, you need to empower people through training and provide them with the tools to succeed professionally and personally. It’s critical to articulate a very clear vision and let your team bring that vision to life at every customer touch point.
How can you apply this learning to your own company?
Employees are actually living the WestJet brand and made customers feel very comfortable. WestJet understands what their employees want to do in life and understand their own passion and they successfully connect that with WestJet’s vision and mission to bring the brand to life. WestJet has empowered people through training and provided tools to bring the WestJet Brand to life.
So my challenge to you is to discover how to empower your teams to bring your vision to life.
Taking a deeper look at some all-star brands (WestJet, Ikea, Google, Apple) it starts at the top! Management lives it and is passionate about what they are doing and they create that vision for their employees to see, empowering them to bring the vision to life. An investment in knowing your team’s passions and providing them with training can play a key role in your business’ success.
If you read this article and are thinking your team needs help, you’ve come to the right place! BluePrince is here to help companies look at their business through a different lens to achieve long term, sustainable growth with key customers. We offer a range of services including strategy development and execution, project management, strategic insight selling coaching, and sales training. These services help position your team to be able to anticipate and deliver the best customer service experience to build customers for the long term.