Optimization culture : Doing more with less
Endless lists of projects, business unity priorities and bosses asking you to realize their latest “big new idea”—such is the daily reality of employees in leadership roles.
And so, with great finesse, you present these new initiatives to your co-workers like some kind of door-to-door salesman, trying to convince them of the benefits of digital and omnichannel customer experience. But sadly you often only add a few items to their already lengthy to-do lists, not to mention having to impose new ways of working on them.
Arguments about improved productivity and growth aren’t enough anymore to convince people to adopt digital initiatives more quickly. This is because digital ecosystems and customer needs are constantly evolving. Instead, organizations need to aim at transforming their organizational culture in order to make continuous optimization a vector for growth. The master key for successful continuous optimization is maintaining your own business objectives while generating value for customers.
Here are a few avenues to consider to help you bring it all together.
We’ve often looked in-depth at establishing goals, but to refresh your memory, what’s important is to set goals that are “SMART,” an acronym that stands for targets that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. For more information, take a look at this tutorial.
The first step in realizing any goal is to ensure you’re heading in the right direction and that your activities relate to your company’s ambitions.
Data are incredibly powerful. They help motivate and convince others. Make them work to your advantage to show that it pays to look for ways to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Data are important for spurring your teams to question their opinions and preconceived ideas.
Set a reference value for key indicators and perform a comparison once you’ve made particular modifications that are especially important. At every stage, you should be prepared to change or cancel any modifications if they don’t provide the expected results.
And don’t forget: Select key indicators to help you orient your activities and not to create targets just for the sake of it.
Once you’ve shared data and information on clients with your teams, they’ll want to begin making improvements. This might give you the impression that your work is done, but actually you’ve only just begun!
Certain initiatives might be costly, yet still very profitable. On the other hand, others might make your clients’ problems even worse and harm their revenue. If you don’t provide your teams with a way to analyze and test their ideas, you won’t know which ones are the best.
Here are a few basic principles to get started:
- Pursue the most effective measures and make the arrangements that get you closest to your goal, independent of their cost
- Perform these activities enough times to identify what works and what doesn’t
- Analyze possible improvement activities such as automating certain proven tasks, speeding up the deployment of an initiative that passes the test beside other initiatives or getting rid of them in order to prioritize activities with greater value
- Analyze the results and repeat the above process from the beginning
Establishing a centre for excellence is the next logical step.
Creating a team of experts who are at the service of the entire company can act as a kind of accelerator for acquiring new skills within a range of departments.
In a general sense, a centre of excellence is there to help make the right decisions based on data, to provide tools to get the most out of invested efforts, and to promote the creation of a synergy and optimal workflow between your teams and your partners. It also determines the overall approach to be taken based on experimentation initiatives in order to foster continuous improvement.
Finally, centres of excellence enable you to define the work practices that improve team spirit and cooperation between the various departments at your company. They can help with, for example, processes, the alignment of tools and technological platforms, or even the consistency of business intelligence.
Most of us apportion work by assigning it to teams organized around common functions. These different services and departments often have fields of action that are clearly defined.
This type of structure means that teams are only responsible for small sections of a journey to create value for the client. They therefore must negotiate with other departments and manage to convince them that their ideas are well-founded if they want to make improvements that affect the project in a global sense.
While this functional structure might be logical and efficient internally, it may represent an obstacle when it comes to the consistency of the experience offered to the client. To resolve this issue, it might be smart to create cross-functional teams organized around the client and their needs instead of around the variety of tasks to be executed.
Companies whose structure depends on function-based teams may face all kinds of challenges that will necessitate restructuring. Here are a few common problems:
- At some point in a process, each department needs a contact person with all the others to achieve its objectives
- A huge volume of communications damages the efficiency of teams and causes a slowdown throughout the entire company
- Teams compromise on their own objectives to contribute to achieving the objectives of other departments
- Employees feel like they’re struggling with a lack of time and an increase in frustration.
One solution involves formally bringing together all the business units the clients deal with. Facilitating conversations through meetings with common objectives enables you to understand the client experience across all stakeholders and get rid of any conflicting priorities.
This way, issues do not arise solely with a single business unit at the company, but are shared by everyone and are refocused on the client. It therefore becomes easier to understand and evaluate the various repercussions of a structural problem on all business units, which is essential when it comes to prioritizing value creation activities and establishing road maps that provide a global view of client experience.
Delegating decision-making power to a team of stakeholders creates a common language for client needs instead of retreating into the cacophony of the divergent desires and opinions of internal personnel.
This is the age-old question that drives every marketing organization. Yet the real question is actually why you should do more with less.
The answer? To stay relevant to your clients now and in the future.
Most companies employ a few people who act as optimizers, whether this is simply their character or based on their interests and experience. Some organizations may even be able to count on the support of a “growth team.”
But growth can’t really happen unless every employee at the company is guided by common performance goals and understands the importance of testing, measuring and improving client experience across every point of contact.
It is therefore the responsibility of management to foster a strong culture of optimization within their organization through actions, decisions and approaches that are coherent, effective and efficient.