When business conditions and contexts change in ways that require significant professional adaptation, most managers go in one of two directions, with a small minority taking a third path:
- DISPUTE: They acknowledge change but claim their training & skill sets are immutable. What worked before will work in the future (with enhancements). We’re already there” is a common line of defense.
- DENY: They ignore change, believing their environment is immutable. “Process works by a fundamental set of rules and always will” is a catch phrase.
- ACCEPT: In early stages of change, a minority comprehend that neither their skill sets nor their work environments are immutable, and they can’t be married to anything but success.
Why is this question relevant? Fundamental economic changes, demographic changes, technology advancements and globalization together have radically changed our business environment―with buyers big winners and sellers both short- and long-term losers. Consequently, business is fast losing its ability to act independently of customers, and customers are more and more proactive in demanding business be done “their way.”
Process, which creates perhaps 80% of customer experience, must respond. Not by being nice to customers. Not by trying to give them most of what they’re asking for. But more fundamentally by letting customers drive the “what,” “who,” and “how” of process design, just as they’re already starting to drive business strategies. Outside-In Process is the first significant process response to change. Others may come along. But regardless of where process people go, they need to go “somewhere else,” and soon.
The new emphasis on customer experience discounts the importance of creativity, promotional communication (including promotional branding), customer analytics (including databases) and lots of other traditional marketing stuff. Hence, lots of marketrs will have to leave their comfort zones before their comfort zones leave them. Outside-In overall, which fuses customer-centric planning with process design, is one escape route. There may be others. But marketers too need to act fast to avoid being very dis-comforted.
Which path will you take?
Will you dispute? Deny? Or adapt?