There is a natural tendency for companies to create boundaries between their teams, by optimising within a business unit rather than optimising for a global customer experience. Unfortunately, such boundaries create a “them vs. us” culture where some teams start to feel like corporate refugees as they see other teams being favoured. So when the global customer experience breaks down, the following starts creeping into the vocabulary: “It’s not my teams problem.” (cf. “It is not my countries problem”).
There are two ways to overcoming such boundaries:
- By focusing on the “Cognitive Culture” of employees and instilling the values of teamwork, results-orientation and innovation.
- The second and most effective way is to cultivate the “Emotional Culture”. That is, by engaging their hearts so they love the customer.
“Love Knows No Boundaries”
Whenever I mention the word LOVE in business meetings, some executives shift uncomfortably. They are thinking: “My performance is measured by tangibles like operational efficiency, not love!” I remind them that, ‘Not everything that matters can be measured, and not everything that is measured matters’. – Einstein
Almost all senior executives acknowledge that their business is all about the customer experience AND that employees are their greatest asset. Yet they do not realise that the invisible force that connects both, is love. Without it there is no empathy for the customer. And without empathy there is no connection. Without connection there is no customer loyalty; which leads to the coveted 3 R’s of business: Retention, Repeat & Referral.
Where there is NO love, a task is performed, a box is ticked and a KPI is met. The customer feels like a file number. Where there is love, there is compassion for the customer’s anxiety for a transaction and there is a genuine willingness to help.
It is ironic that the most devastating tragedy of the current Syrian refugee crisis unfolded on the shores of Greece. The ancient Greeks appropriately had six words with corresponding meanings describing love. The one that is most relevant for business and for humanity is “Agape”, the love you have for all people on earth, even strangers. C S Lewis referred to it as “gift love,” the highest form of Christian love. It is the only one that fosters natural empathy for other humans. Your job as a senior executive is not only to meet operational efficiency targets but also to cultivate that kind of love in your organisation.
Opinion on the Syrian Refugee Crisis: I want to live in a world with NO boundaries. As humans we have an innate desire to help others. It should not matter whether that person falls in our arms from across the street or from across a border.