How can you continually improve your employees’ morale and performance?
How can you stay ahead of your customers’ ever-changing needs?
How will you survive financially amidst rising costs?
A version of these questions was on the back cover of The Unstoppable Organization and drew my eye and pulled me in. The book’s author, Shawn Casemore, is an authority in employee and customer empowerment. His consulting practice is focused on helping leaders build organizations stronger through their people.
After reading the book, I talked with Shawn about his work and the book.
What are the characteristics of the “unstoppable organization”?
An Unstoppable Organization is one in which the CEO and leaders from across the organization perceive themselves as facilitators of their employees needs, suggestions and ideas. Their priority is to remove the barriers and obstacles that stand in the way of their employees getting their job done. In turn the leaders of Unstoppable Organizations recognize that by creating an environment in which their employees can thrive results in an environment in which customers are satisfied.
“An unstoppable organization is one that puts its people first, placing them at the forefront of creating a brand promise.” -Shawn Casemore
Customerize Your Future
What is “customerizing” and why must companies do it?
An unstoppable organization is one that puts its people first, placing them at the forefront of creating a brand promise that will satisfy the evolution of customer demands. When people aren’t placed first, the brand promise ultimately will fail. Domino’s was only able to meet it’s brand promise of “30 minutes or it’s free” by having it’s entire team in each store be dedicated to creating a consistent product that was delivered on-time every-time. Your customers want customization, and it’s through your employees that you can actually define and meet this growing need. With the right product knowledge and a clear understanding of the customer, employees are well equipped to provide the ideas and support necessary to satisfy your brand promise.
“Businesses often forget about the culture and ultimately they suffer for it, because they cannot deliver good service from unhappy employees.” -Tony Hsieh
How do leaders best build an organizational culture that adds value to customers?
Since an organization’s employees can make or break a customer’s perception of the value an organization provides, it’s critical that organizational leaders build their organization around satisfying the five phases of customer value, namely they create an Image for their organization by ensuring what a customer hears about a company, it’s employees, brand, products and community involvement are positive. The image the customer hears of, once investigated, must in turn create a perception that the customer should get involved. If a customer then has a positive perception, their initial experience must align with their initial perception. If their experience is positive and aligns with their perception, then they will progress to making an investment. Once an investment has been made if their experience aligns with the their expectation, then they will be satisfied and return again and again to make an investment and be comfortable telling others of their positive experience.
“Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.” -Steve Jobs
Empowerment makes up a large section of your book from empowering employees, customers, brand and market share. Talk about its importance.
In today’s day in age, those employed whether they be of the baby boomer generation or a Millennial have become accustomed as a consumer to getting what they want, when they want it. They expect a custom experience in everything that they invest in. No longer are consumers willing to stand in line at the bank (and be happy about it) or buy a purple car on the lot because it’s the only color left (not that there is anything wrong with a purple car!!). This expectation for customization means that consumers—like employees—are expecting to be treated as individuals and respected for their own ideas. Leaders in turn can tap into this expectation and keep their employees engaged and motivated by providing them the ability to contribute, participate and take action around their ideas. Empowerment is the key to becoming an unstoppable organization because it satisfies who we have become as consumers, and in turn what we need as employees.
“Empowerment is the key to becoming an unstoppable organization because it satisfies who we have become as consumers, and in turn what we need as employees.” -Shawn Casemore
How do unstoppable organizations use social media?
Unstoppable organizations use social media as a way to connect their employees with their customers. It’s not about pitching their products or services but instead creating a community or environment in which employees speak highly of the organization, it’s products or services. By having employees and existing customers participate and engage on social media around the organization, it’s products and brand, it in turn provides social proof to prospective customers as to the value of the products/services, and it also provides an online environment that appeals to potential employees seeking future employment with a great organization.
Pitfalls that Limit Growth
What common pitfalls do you see organizations making that limit their growth?
The most common pitfalls organizations make today that limit their growth include 1) the belief that leaders often have that doing more marketing or sales activities will lead to higher sustained sales (yet if more was better, employees would already be doing more), 2) that more products or services will create new opportunities for revenue when in fact they create more complexity for employees and more confusion for customers, and 3) that customers today think and act the same as they have for the past several decades when making an investment decision. More products, services, activities or resources doesn’t mean more, it means less. Assumptions that nothing has changed mean death from a revenue standpoint.
“If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other bout that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” -Jeff Bezos
For more information, see The Unstoppable Organization.