As soon as an organization wants to embrace a change initiative like customer experience, it runs smack-dab into tradition, and the problem of actually executing the very changes it wants to execute. This is one of the largest reasons why change initiatives fail 70% of the time (Mckinsey, Changing Change Management).
So even before we talk about customer centricity, or about the change your customers and employees want, we need to discuss moose hunts. Once we can hunt down the moose in your organization, we can clear the way for change.
What on This Good Green Earth Is a Moose, and How Does It Keep My Business from Becoming More Customer-Centric?
Now, the moose is indeed a majestic, if ungainly, animal. But make no mistake: There are plenty of them ranging out in your organization right now, some within sight, others in hiding, but all useless, and we need to root them out before they cause any more damage.
So the first thing we need to be able to do is to identify one of these buffoonish creatures when we come across it. You already know one of the moose’s primary traits, namely, that it is quite useless, but where can you find them?
Look for moose in policies, procedures and practices that are outmoded by the modern business environment. Let me provide a timely example:
United Airlines Discovers One Moose Too Late in 2017
Do you remember the incident on United Airlines last year, when the airplane crew had a passenger forcibly removed? This unfortunate public relations nightmare was caused by a moose.
The moose in question was a policy for overbooked flights. The United crew was authorized to offer up to $800 as a reward for anyone who would give up their seat (when the company developed this policy, $800 made a bigger splash). But when no one took the deal, the backup procedure was to pick extra passengers at random and request they leave the plane.
But consider this the first principle of becoming a change leader:
On the flight in question, one of the random picks was David Dao, a physician, who refused on the basis that his patients needed to see him the following day. Still following procedures, the flight crew requested that the Chicago police forcibly remove David from the plane.
The Chicago police boarded and strong-armed Dr. Dao, delivering a concussive blow to the head and knocking out a few teeth in the process. And of course, because everyone in this day and age is armed with a professional-quality digital camera, the entire incident was filmed and uploaded to the Internet, where the entire world will be able to see the consequences of United’s moose for the rest of time.
Video courtesy of Business Insider
The fallout, in terms of legal fees, settlement to Dr. Dao, and reputational damage, has caused United irreparable woe. Of course, United has since updated its policy, but this company will continue to suffer from a serious moose infestation without a way to root out the other moose in its organization.
What can they, and companies with similarly outdated policies, do?
A Simple Way to Enable Rapid, Customer-Centric Change within Your Organization
Go on “Moose Hunts!”
Moose Hunts are development initiatives intended to have a singular purpose of identifying policies, procedures, routines, approval processes and the deluge of digital and paper documents that do not support execution. They must be made extinct.
With all the policies at any large company, hunting down moose becomes a significant problem. Moose can live anywhere, in any protocol or policy, and rooting them out takes time and attention. Who is going to perform this huge moose hunt?
Are you going to hire a Big 5 Consulting Firm to charge $100s an hour to read every employee manual from front to back? Will you deliver an abstract mandate that cascades through each business function, brilliant in conception but which for some reason, fails to inspire employees to execute? These are the tools that change initiatives use, and which so often fail.
Instead, I propose a much simpler way to execute customer-centric change on an organizational level. One of the benefits of customer-centricity is that every one of your employees intuitively understands and appreciates the motivation for change, and this provides customer experience change initiatives with an enormous advantage over, say, digital transformations.
You can trust employees to execute a customer experience initiative more deftly than leadership could on its own. The trick is to empower employees to help you change. Most organizations find the results extraordinary, if they can give up a little control.
It is interesting to note that for organizations as well as individuals, the key to change is actually stepping aside rather than trying to control. By trusting the process as opposed to our singular judgment, we unlock the most powerful change engine. Good luck on your journey.
*No actual moose have been harmed in the writing of this article or in any change initiatives
Ewenstein, Boris, Wesley Smith, and Ashvin Sologar. “Changing change management.” McKinsey & Company. July 2015. Accessed January 29, 2018.