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The anti-trend movement: what your organisation really needs in 2023

Does this sound familiar? You're back after the festive break; you're calm, clear headed and optimistic. Then it hits. The tsunami of trends, tumbling into your inbox and cluttering your LinkedIn feed.

Suddenly, you’re filled with urgency and panic. What? You haven’t invested in quantum computing yet? What have you been DOING for the last year!?

It’s the business equivalent of FOMO, which at best creates a low-level organisational anxiety, and at worst becomes a waste of time and resources.

Organisations are often paralysed by their inability to leverage the insights and data they have. We ran a survey of digital and technology leaders, and 64% of respondents said they already feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights with so many conflicting priorities and business demands against a backdrop of finite resources. The endless stream of new data ‘trends’ only makes this worse.

So what’s the antidote? Well we’d recommend that in 2023, you follow a different New Year’s Resolution – to ignore the chatter, turf out the trends and focus on what your organisation really needs. The anti-trend movement!

Think of it as mindfulness for your business – taking a breath and giving yourself permission to ignore the relentless clang of new trends dropping into your inbox. Focus on what’s happening inside before looking outside. Establishing strong foundations that support great customer experiences, facilitate growth or set you up for success is the best possible way for you to start the new year.

Here’s our take on the foundations to focus on:

Make Data Work for You

Being data driven isn’t just about having decent CRM (although it helps). You need a data driven operating model in which ideas are validated, intuition is amplified, and decisions are accelerated.

  • Your data needs to be well-structured and clean – the phrase ‘rubbish in / rubbish out’ applies perfectly here, and all advanced analytics and machine learning begins with clean data.

  • Systems should be connected and multi-source to give the best chance of unlocking the eureka moments that occur when different data sets intersect.

  • Start thinking about data governance and ethics early – with success, your focus shifts from ‘Can we?’ questions to ‘Should we?’ Consider what being data-driven means to you, and where your opportunities intersect with your values (as well as keeping you on the right side of the law.)

Ultimately, data driven organisations are characterised by curiosity and access. Provide your teams with the required tools, training and access to data sources. Then give permission to use them by fostering a culture that encourages difficult questions and challenges assumptions.

Be Ruthlessly Customer-focused

Customer insight is the foundation for great customer experience – so far, so obvious. However you’d be amazed at how few organisations have internalised that insight into an instinctive (and data driven) understanding of the customer through the value chain of their organisation or service. Ruthlessly Customer (or User) focused means:

  • Understanding the key drivers that sit behind customer behavior and expectation – the accelerated route to channel shift, growth or engagement when you get it right.

  • Using Service Design to consider the customer in their environment, not your walled garden, designing services and experience with a focus that delivers outcomes.

  • Engaging with expectations and accepting you can’t – and don’t want – to meet them all. Many organisations achieve consistently high CSAT whilst delivering a lower service level than competitors – expectation. Tap into your customers’ expectations to understand where you can succeed.

Ruthless customer focus is just as much about what you don’t do – and the customers you choose not to focus on. It’s why universal measures like NPS have their place but can ultimately be diluting – creating a metric that rewards trying to satisfy everyone. We’d argue strong focus on who your customer is and their key drivers requires compromise on some experiences, in order to nail the services, processes or customers that will make a difference.

Turn Agile Approaches into Agile Culture

Agile – really? Isn’t that all so 2010?... well yes. And yet, most organisations still have a long way to go in agile transformation. While many have dipped a technology toe in the water, most remain in the shallows. To set this foundation, think less about ‘agile delivery’ and more about agility in operation – applying the principles and approaches that unlock a new way of operating:

  • De-siloisation is an outcome of agile in flow – brilliantly cognitive diverse teams coming together around a shared outcome and objective, empowered to achieve.

  • Iteration in-flight, creating the imperative to be insight driven, and permission not to know it all up-front (which no one ever does anyway).

  • Adaptability to change – how many multi-year programmes end up as too-big-to-fail, too-invested-in-to-stop; or in other terms, good-money-after-bad? Agile principles and approaches break the cycle of all-or-nothing, moving to a little and often approach that has change at its heart.

Culture shift is the most critical element to success and yet typically the strongest barrier. The root cause is often a lack of belief or trust in the process, or too much organisational scar tissue to give up the controls that protect.

Above all else, agile is characterised by collaboration, trust and a one-team approach – without trust, there is no agile. So ditch the training courses and agile manuals, and invest in high performance coaching and collaboration.

Join The Anti-Trends Movement

Has this got you thinking? Well that’s good news!

We’ll be taking a deep dive into each of these areas in the coming weeks so you can start 2023 focused on the right things to help your organisation thrive in 2023. Leaving you with a clear, calm mind that’s ready to focus on the road ahead.

….and breathe.

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