You’re probably thinking to yourself right now that you know what the most important word is for CX adoption. Of course you know what needs to be said to get your organization to ignite customer-centric behavior.
Or maybe you don’t know for certain, but you have a good idea that two or three words that you’re thinking about have a good chance of being the right word.
Let me burst many of your bubbles and tell you right now that CX adoption is not driven by “accountability.” As a matter of fact, I have taken exception to the word accountability in association with customer centric and employee centric practices.
The word accountability has been demonized in the media and now has the social presence of being connected with mistrust, contempt, blame, and most importantly fear.It is fact that if you want transparent, meaningful and sustainable employee and customer engagement you don’t want it to be driven by fear. Any action that is motivated by fear is ultimately doomed to fail. And most often times fail catastrophically.
Be truthful. How would you feel if somebody told you, “I am holding you accountable?” As an individual being told you’re being held accountable can paralyze you into taking no actions. You freeze out of fear. Is CX adoption part of your thinking when you hear the word “accountable”? Be for real, do you honestly think that employees are going to a rally around the word accountable? I don’t think you are going to find your employees in the break room saying, “Yeah, hold me accountable.”
When it comes to CX adoption of customer experience practices and focus we need individuals as a collective to move forward and do things different. The behavior of everyone needs to change to move an organization.
Getting everyone together is the key… together is more than a word.
Amazingly, when people are treated as partners working together with others – even when physically apart – their motivation increases, according to new Stanford research. This surprising new research shows that introducing the word “together” into conversations can change how people feel about their work and significantly impact effort and outcomes.
“Working with others affords enormous social and personal benefits,” Gregory Walton, an assistant professor of psychology at Stanford, wrote in an article in the Journal of Experimental Psychology with co-author Priyanka Carr, then a Stanford graduate student.
In an interview, Walton said, “Our research found that social cues that conveyed simply that other people treat you as though you are working together on a task – rather than that you are just as working on the same task but separately – can have striking effects on motivation.”
In five experiments, Carr and Walton found that these “cues of working together” increased “intrinsic motivation” even when people worked on their own. People wanted to do well and more because they found the work more rewarding. They were not forced to do the work out of obligation or accountability.
In the studies, participants met in small groups. Then, they were separated into rooms to work on their own on a challenging puzzle. People were separated into “psychologically together” and “psychologically separate” categories. People in the “psychologically together” category were told they would work on the puzzle “together” and that they would either write or receive a tip on the puzzle from another participant in the study. People in the “psychologically separate” category were simply told that each person would work on the puzzle – there was no mention of working “together.” And the tip they would write or receive would come from the researchers.
While all the participants worked on their own on the puzzle, the key difference was that one group was treated by peers as though they were working “together.” The rest thought they were working on the same thing as others but separately, or simply in parallel to them.
Quick question. When you feel you are being held accountable, do you feel alone?
Walton stated, “In our studies, people never actually worked together – they always worked on their own on a challenging puzzle. What we were interested in was simply the effects of the perceived social context.”
Their research findings revealed that when people perceived they were working together they:
- Persisted 48 to 64 percent longer on a challenging task
- Reported more interest in the task
- Became less tired by having to persist on the task
- Became more engrossed in the task and performed better on it
The results showed that merely feeling like you’re part of a team working on a task makes you feel more motivated as you take on new challenges. Intrinsic motivation increases because of a sense of joining others in an activity not because of a sense of obligation, competition or pressure.
Carr noted, “It is also striking that it does not take enormous effort and change to create this feeling of togetherness. Subtle cues that signal people are part of a team or larger effort ignited motivation and effort. Careful attention to the social context as people work and learn can help us unleash motivation.”
Walton mentioned that if people feel obligated to work with others, if they feel their contributions will go unnoticed or if they don’t have ownership over their work and contribution, then group work might not be productive. See, get rid of “accountability.”
So as you look to increase your skills and abilities for leading customer experience transformation in your organization, remember you can’t do it alone. Matter of fact, you need to do it together. You need to act together. And most importantly you need to SAY ‘together.’
The article was originally posted on Beyond Morale by Jim Rembach.