Think about the things that you’re doing to transform your organization and your customer experience. Are you doing busy work? Or are you doing real work?
Today’s post is inspired by this quote from Thomas Edison:
Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.
Wow. Doesn’t that just describe what’s required to make some real improvements when it comes to customer experience transformation!
Dictionary.com defines busy work as work assigned for the sake of looking or keeping busy. YourDictionary.com defines it as work or activity performed with the intention or result of occupying time and not necessarily to accomplish something productive.
As customer experience professionals, we have no shortage of work. But are we spending time on things that matter? Or are we spinning our wheels, doing tactical things, and looking like we’re making improvements – when, in reality, we’re applying bandaids and simple fixes rather than making/doing meaningful overall process improvements and customer experience redesign work.
You might be doing busy work if you…
- were moved into a CX role with no real, clear direction or support
- were put into said CX role because “everyone does it” or “we know we need this”
- think tactics only, not strategy
- are not focused on customer outcomes
- don’t make improvements based on what’s most important to your customers
- don’t listen to customers
- make decisions and improvements based on what you’ve been told is best for the company
- don’t have executive commitment and support
- haven’t assembled a cross-functional team to drive initiatives forward
- are working in your silo without thinking about the holistic experience
- haven’t defined and/or communicated your CX vision
- haven’t outlined a roadmap for change / change management plan
- think you can do it alone (change the experience)
I hate to say this, but I will: (unless you’re working on building your business case to get executive commitment for your customer experience transformation) if you are only trying to fix things in your corner of the world, you’re doing CX busy work. Seeming to do is not doing. The customer experience goes well beyond what happens in your department, so while you’re fixing the experience for the customer in one step or area, he’s having a completely different, disjointed experience with another. While it may feel like you’re doing something, making progress, and making an impact, you’re not. It’s not enough. The entire organization must be in on it, starting with executive commitment and that shift to a customer-centric and customer-focused culture.
How do you ensure that you’re doing the right work and that you’re set up for success? Take a look at The 7 Deadly Sins of Customer Experience post I wrote earlier this year. Make sure that you’re not committing any of them.
Being busy and being productive are two different things. -Unknown
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My favourite way around the problem is the Ivy Lee method. Worth a read if you have never heard of it.
I use a similar method to what James suggests. It doesn't make me smart or super-human but it does allow me to focus on one thing at a time and prioritise the right things. I'm also rubbish at doing more than one thing at once 😉
James, I'm definitely on board with that approach. I sit down at the end of the day and write my to-do list for the next day and follow a similar process/approach.
Adrian, I agree… it doesn't make you super-human, but at the end of the day, you can look at the list, see the things you've crossed off, and decide if it was a good day or not.
“Real work is what advances your business or your job”. It uses your skills to the full and often takes you out of the comfort zone. It is challenging by nature, and thus meets with some resistance in your mind.
Busy work is “what you do in order to avoid doing the real work.”
Thanks, Jane. Well said.