Simon Terry

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Celebrate Outcomes

The process is just a process. Often the process is one of many competing paths. Outcomes matter more.

In a recent conversation about customer experience, we were discussing the way people fixate on processes. Processes appeal to our industrial management mindsets. Processes are an engineering challenge of neat inputs and defined steps delivering an outcome in a mechanical fashion. Processes are so easy and alluring.

As a result we see troubling signs:

  • people compete for the beauty of their customer journey map. Have a look at Pinterest there are hundreds that are so gorgeous they reflect no real customer experience ever
  • organisations obsess about adoption over value creation because adoption is far more susceptible to a process
  • change management becomes an exercise of templates and measures rather than a series of changes in human relationships and mindsets
  • leadership is discussed an exercise in steps or processes to be managed rather than work to realise of the potential people in real complex circumstances 
  • measures, averages and other abstractions of the process mindset take precedence over human considerations.

Raising process to an exalted state devalues the complexity of humanity. The computer does not need to say no. Putting process over outcome leads to the outrage economy as people try to fight their way out of a narrow industrial mindset.

We need to focus on real human relationships. We need to allow for the mess and power of human emotions. We need to consider networks with learning, change and feedback, not just linear processes. Importantly, we can allow for human scales, learning and flexibility. Most importantly, we can allow for human conversations. That is the path to achieving the real messy and complex outcomes that we need.

Our organisations, our customer experiences and our relationships will be better for a broader more human approach.


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