In my previous post I dealt with customer experience management and how CEOs and members of the board discussed about it in a seminar called Customer Oriented Strategies which was held on 16th of March 2017 at Aalto University School of Business. I thought that (at least) one of the seminar presentations deserved its own post.
Kenneth Strömsholm the CEO of Veho Oy, gave very interesting and inspiring presentation about customer experience and change management or how he put it in his title: “Managing Customer Experience and Unbearable Toughness of Change”. He highlighted that you can’t talk about these issues separately. They are bonded to each other. While listening to Mr. Strömsholm, I was thinking that we, service designers, are full of enthusiasm for carrying out our design process. We should also give time, thought and tools to support change in organization. Change resistance can make our efforts, to create amazing or just better customer experiences, worthless.
Kenneth Strömsholm have created four very catching and humorously description of the invisible obstacles of change.
First obstacle is human nature and how most of the people meet the new situation. He explained that the first three questions people are asking when they are confronting the change for the first time:
- First question: What does this mean for me?
- Second question: Still what does this mean for me ?
- Third question: Could there still be some aspect to figure out what does this mean for me?
Mr. Strömsholm pointed out that as a leader, you can’t underestimate the importance of these questions. You need to accept that these are the questions how people are trying to found out their place in a new situation. You need to give them time and try to find answers to these questions together.
The second invisible obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named as a Chipmunk –effect. Chipmunks are in their chips with their heads down and no matter how hard you try to yell your brand new message, the message goes over their heads. You need to repeat your message 11 times. Each time there is a chance that one or even few chipmunks have their heads up and they will actually get the message you are sending.
The third obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named Kick off. He explained this obstacle as follows. It takes seven months for board of directors to build a strategy and five minutes for personnel to understand it wrong. He pointed out that as a director, you can’t expect the personnel to walk away from Kick off –meeting, immediately take their saws and go to work according to your new strategy. After Kick off, the work for getting your strategy alive, starts.
The fourth obstacle Mr. Strömsholm has named Major population. For people, employers, it’s always easy to agree with the major population. Most of the people are skeptical and thinking: “We should not do anything, eventually these directors will calm down and whole thing about change will be forgotten”. As a director you should just carry on and step by step get the major population behind the change. Then there is only minority left against the change, and nobody wants to be part of minority.
Three phases of change and the feeling
Mr. Strömsholm summarized three phases of change. First you need to get information, then you can understand and after that you start to believe. Feelings in the organization are effecting the length and strength of each phase.
Very catchy speech, next time when designing services, I will indeed bond customer experience and change more deeply together…and think about chipmunks.