Remove the NOT | Mindset & Agility – The Rocket Fuel for Customer Experience Success

This is the third post in a series titled Mindset & Agility – The Rocket Fuel for Customer Experience Success.

For two weeks, I’ve focused on innovation tips from the classic book A Whack on the Side of the Head by Roger von Oech. I’ll finish sharing insights from that book this week and move on to emerging theories and research about creativity for our next installment. As you’ll recall, Roger believes most of us have developed thinking patterns that get in the way of our creativity. Let’s focus on two mental locks which include the word NOT – “That’s not my area.” and “I’m not creative.”

Given the complexity of business, specialization is a natural and powerful force. Often in larger organizations, the research and development department owns much of the innovation. For example, a customer experience leader might enlist the services of their agile team to gather input, create a minimally viable solution, and iterate product or service improvements. In that case, it’s easy to conclude innovation is NOT your area.

However, Roger suggests that dynamic and evolving organizations rely on everyone to develop, what he calls, a hunter’s attitude. Specifically, he notes, “Don’t get so busy that you lose the free time necessary for idea hunting – schedule hunting time into your day and week. Little side excursions can lead to new hunting grounds. Look for analogous situations. Often problems similar to yours have been solved in other areas.”

In addition to hunting for or benchmarking solutions from those in other businesses and other industries, Roger encourages us to challenge that voice inside our head that says, “I’m not creative!” According to Roger, “The world of thought and action overlap. What you think has a way of becoming true. Whack yourself into trying new things and building on what you find – especially the small ideas. The creative person has the self-faith that these ideas will lead somewhere.”

I’m convinced all of us can and should nurture our innate creative skills. As such, I often ask my clients to think beyond easy solutions by asking questions like “What else might you do?” or “Let’s assume that option isn’t available – now what?” As my clients internalize those types of questions, they hardwire creative inquiry and idea hunting into their company culture.

Inspired by A Whack on the Side of the Head, here are this week’s challenge questions:

  1. Have you asked everyone in your organization to be a member of your research and development team?
  2. What excellent customer service ideas or innovations have come from people other than those tasked to generate them?
  3. How consistently do you and your team hunt for ideas from customers, competitors, or those outside your industry?

I’d love to explore how you are approaching creative customer solutions with your team. Please schedule a time to talk. You can also download a complimentary eBook based on my new McGraw-Hill release titled Stronger Through Adversity.

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Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and chief experience officer at The Michelli Experience. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, Dr. Michelli and his team consult with some of the world’s best customer experience companies.

Follow on Twitter: @josephmichelli

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