- How does change affect my team, and how can I help support my team through change? (2:32)
- How does change affect my customers, and how can our team ease the transition of change for your customers, building an exceptional experience for them despite the change. (5:49)
- How is this change affecting my strategy, and do we need to adjust our strategy to better accelerate our growth? (8:41)
Interesting Links & Resources:
Managing change with your teams? Learn how you can optimize your Feedback loop to help build strong communication through change
Leading virtual teams? Listen to our podcast Episode 7 on how you can support your teams no matter their location
Listen to Episode 6
Luis: Hi, welcome to Building Teams with TEAMES & CO. I'm Luis Wilson, and I'm sitting down with Tracy Eames today to discuss how organizations can navigate unprecedented change. Hey, Tracy, how's it going?
Tracy: Hi, Luis. It's going well. How are you?
Luis: I'm doing great, thanks. So for today's episode, we really want to dive into how companies that are in the middle of really big changes, and perhaps they know that more changes are on the way, can go about responding now, and then what does that mean for their short-term, medium-term, and long-term plan? Can you talk about a couple of examples of what we mean when we say unprecedented change?
Tracy: So change can come in a lot of different formats. We try to keep it simple and talk about change as internally led or maybe externally prompted. 2020 has brought a lot of unforeseen externally prompted changes for our organizations. But I'm sure also for a lot of organizations there's been a fair amount of internal change management and internal change based on wanting to shift their strategy or respond to the current market dynamics. And so as we go through this, just know that when we think about change, we're thinking about how do you help your team adjust and become more agile, not only with that initial change or that initial event, but we're also trying to build those those empowered teams that can continue to deliver that exceptional customer experience over time and continuously improve together.
Luis: Got it. Thank you for giving us some color around what we mean by organizations going through change and the different phases of what that can mean. I want to ask you, I know that when we're advising organizations, we ask them to really ask themselves, how is this change affecting my team, how is this change affecting my customers, how is this change affecting my strategy? I want to talk about, today, each of those in detail. So could you dive in and talk to us about the first pillar, of T?
Tracy: Teams is always the place we love to start here at TEAMES & CO, so I'm happy to do that, but I think it's really important. And I think your statement is really critical to organizations because as we often talk about having all three of these things, all three of these pillars connected is really what's going to help organizations manage their change, accelerate their growth, really build that organizational agility. So I'm really excited to talk about all three, but I will definitely start with teams.
So when we think about our team, what we want to think about ... Obviously we want to take a step back and think about what we would want as an individual too, right? Usually what people want is information. And so it's not only important when we're first understanding that we're going to be going through change, we want to think about three Ts of communication. So we want it to be timely, we want it to be transparent and we want it to be truthful. So individuals are looking to their leadership to understand what's happening, what do I need to know, how does that affect me? We want to make sure that we're also working across our teams. So our team isn't just our nuclear team, but it's really the teams we work with across the organization, and it's also our leadership. So we want to make sure that as we're going through these shifts, we are not only communicating with our team, but we're gathering their feedback, we're sharing that up to leadership and we're really building that feedback loop.
And as we progress through change, especially as we think about progressing through 2020, it's helpful to continuously take that pulse. We sometimes in organizations have these one-time annual employee surveys, but the ongoing conversation with your team is really critical. So we want to talk to them about, "Okay, we have a shift. Maybe we changed the way we work together. Maybe we implemented a new protocol. How did that go? Did you feel like you had the information that you needed to be successful? Did you feel like you had the tools to be successful? Are there additional tools that I could provide as your leader or that we could provide as an organization?"
From your leadership, you might want to ask, "How are things going? Are we delivering the things that you're expecting? If we're not, how do we get better?" And really making sure that you're having those conversations, again, with other teams as well. So if you're on marketing and you work with sales and operations, every once in a while, just sitting down with those leaders and having a conversation of, do we feel like our cross-functional teams have what they need to be successful? Do we have clear goals for them? Is everybody pulling in the right direction? Are we all working on the new strategy, if there's a new strategy versus the old strategy?
And just making sure that everybody's really engaged continuously, because as we always say, having that strong feedback loop is going to help you gain a lot of information as a leader about how to better empower your teams and how to better support them. And in turn, it'll help the organization move quicker because you're removing those friction points as you go, so you're not letting things build up. You as a team encounter a challenge, you address the challenge ,you move on. And if you can do that and speed up that process, through ongoing communications, it's going to allow you to continuously adapt and innovate and really, again, just be more agile as you're going through a change.
Luis: Right, and it's making the team more agile for the change that's happening now and keeping those practices in place to continue the communication and continue the collaboration. Thank you. Then let's move on to the next pillar and talk about customers.
Tracy: In speaking about customers, as we always say, customers are the most important part of our business. They're the reason we are in business. And so as we're managing change and as we're trying to excel through change, we want to make sure that we are communicating with our customers just the same way we're communicating with our teams. And so again, this can be as informal as a survey, but also it can be when customers are calling in, that we're asking them some follow-up questions. So if a customer calls in and says, "Hey you used to offer X, but would you be able to do Y," asking some follow-up questions to understand what that really means will help you understand what will be newly valuable to them. So when we talk about creating that great customer experience, we want to make sure we're delivering values and we're meeting their needs.
And as we all know based on our experiences this year is that there's a lot of things that we didn't know were going to be valuable to us as customers until we're in this situation, right? And so having that consistent communication, tracking your customer metrics ... We talk about customer life cycle marketing a lot in terms of understand not only how you're acquiring customers, but how you're building loyalty with customers and retaining them for the long-term. Understanding all of those metrics and watching the trends in them will also help you follow up with your customers, understand if there's different value drivers; maybe your long-time loyal customers have different needs than maybe your new customers have. And again, all of that will give you the most amount of information to help you continuously provide value, going forward, to all of your customer segments.
Luis: Thank you, Tracy. I'm aware of one example that I just read across here in Forbes about how a hotel is staying in contact and communication with their customers and learned about one of their evolving needs. And because of that, they recently came out with a new offering, and that is offering a daily rate for folks looking to work from home. So this is basically changing out what the regular check-in and check-out hours are at their hotel to fit an individual looking for a workspace. This was all brought about by just that staying in close contact with the customers.
Tracy: Yeah, exactly. I think all of us are seeing examples like that. I mean, I know that I've recently downloaded a gym workout app. I used to be going to the gym in person, and now I have an app. I can take yoga classes and I can do outdoor runs. And it's really a shift in that entire business model of saying, if we can't have people in person, what's the way that we can still offer our service in a relevant way to our customers? And I think these are all really great examples of how organizations are listening to their customers and shifting.
Luis: Absolutely. Now moving on to the next pillar is strategy. Could you talk to us about how folks can think about strategy in terms of change?
Tracy: Strategy is exactly the perfect build-off of team and customers, right? Because your strategy is how are you going to deliver value to your customers? So how are you and your teams going to work together to deliver that value? So as you're having these conversations with your team and your customers, you're going to be going through a methodology and a framework to say, "Okay, what's the best way that we can fulfill these needs, and what's our strategy as an organization?" So your strategy has an organization may not shift entirely. Your mission, your purpose, key building blocks of your organization are going to still stay in place. If your mission and purpose, using the examples that we talked about as a gym, is to provide a way for customers to improve their health, get physical activity you're still doing that, right?
Your strategy of being able to deliver that value might be a little bit different now. And so I would continuously talk to your team. You can have folks within your team do exercises around SWAT, so your strengths, your weaknesses, your opportunities, your threats, and understanding which one of these opportunities might be the best possibility for you. You also are going to want to watch all of your quantitative data. So as you're moving and as you're shifting your strategy, you want to be tracking to say, is it working? So we don't want to keep shifting so often that we're not able to see the trends, and if our strategy shift has made a difference, but we want to keep tracking that strategy, tracking our goals against that strategy.
And the key to that is if we do shift our strategy, we want to make sure we set up new goals for our teams, and they understand what success looks like under the new strategic vision. So if you do decide that we do need to shift our strategy a little bit, we need to play in a new space, we need to deliver value in a new way, then we want to make sure that we have tactics that are coming out of that strategy that make sense and are aligned to delivering that value. And also that we have goals around those tactics to make sure our teams are aligned in delivering success, and they know what success looks like.
Luis: I see. So in recap, we talked about the three pillars that we use to look at change, team, customers, strategy, and how those work together. Also took a little bit deeper dive into, hey, what are the questions that you should be asking yourself now, and how does that relate to what you will be doing in the future for the long-term? Is there anything else that we should be highlighting to folks as they think about navigating change and empowering agile teams to do so?
Tracy: I think the most important thing, and hopefully it's come through in this podcast, is really knowing that it's a process of improvement and it's a process of innovation. If maybe you realize in conversations with your team, the first few things that you changed didn't work out as well, great, that's an opportunity for improvement. We're all in this together. And obviously, a lot of times these changes are not expected by any of us. So the process of having these conversations, continuously tracking our metrics, working together, it's all a process. And the more we can do that together and build a shared experience, we're going to come up with really great perspectives, we're going to have lots of different ideas, we're going to test a lot of things. But again, it's all about continuous improvement.
And so if maybe you say, "Hey, we could have done some things better," that's okay, let's do those things better the next time. And then when we do the next recap, we're going to say, "Okay, we could probably improve on these things," great, or, "We did these things really well. Let's do more of that." And I think that's a really important approach to take with our teams because we want to make sure, again, we're building that positive experience around change. And while we do have to change and a lot of these changes are very difficult, we want to make sure that we're treating it like a process versus a one-time event. That way we can continuously get better together.
Luis: Got it. Thank you for highlighting that process approach to change and then not having it just be a one-time experience. And thank you for joining me this week, Tracy; really happy to be back.
Tracy: Yeah, this was great, Luis. Thanks again, and we look forward to next week.