Roadmapping is the process of getting from point A to point B, and it accounts for the little steps in between required to make sense of it all. Making sense is important because you cannot deliver messages that are not coherent because it facilitates disbelief in your leadership ability. Protecting your leadership ability starts with delivering messages that are well thought out and coherent because it generates the faith and belief that you know what you are doing.
To roadmap your messages it is important to understand the goals, purpose and action. The action must be within the grasp of your audience or stakeholders, so it is equally important to make sure it has specificity. Specificity is the “Call to Action” for your audience such as making a policy decision change, or cultural changes such as helping others. In our attempts to change the working environment, we can rely on two significant variables that are internal values and policy recommendations.
Internal values are the target of our messages because it seeks to extract the values of an individual in order to transform it into action. In organizational design, we call this organizational citizenship because it deals with the ownership by the employees within the department. For example, this is trying to facilitate your organization to produce more of those employees that care about the business and its impact. By crafting the message to align more with the overall values within the department, you can increase your odds of making impactful change.
But how do you discover your department’s values?
To discover the values within your department (scale down or up as needed), we will turn to computer science such as social network analysis. It helps visualize the data, so you can more accurately see the interactions throughout the work week. Because you can see the agents (people) within this social network, you can start to make inferences about the environment. Couple this to metrics, and you can quickly see the connections between work performance, safety, and other administrative actions either positive or negative.
In some of the other articles written on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), I went over how we can feed the KPIs excellent metrics based on our data analytics. The process should be similar because our coherent goals should couple the intended outcomes we are trying to effect. For example, if we are targeting work culture to improve KPIs, then we need to make sure the realistic goals of the presentation make incremental change. Incremental change is measured through the purposeful actions given to the audience or stakeholders.
Change management is the idea of capturing incremental changes, and cementing them towards the long term goals. Using your goals to make change can occur in two methods: incremental or explosion. More frequently we make incremental changes for numerous reasons. From my professional and personal experiences, a good deal of change occurs incrementally because of conflicting values. Conflicting values can be the biggest obstacle to overcoming situations where improvement can feasibly occur.
One example of conflicting values typically occurs in new operational standards within the organization. Imagine telling a tenured employee that there is a new system in the works that will allow him to produce more; however, he will have to work differently. The change from his archived job design needs to be updated to reflect the changes, and this produces a new environment requiring adaptation. Within human behavior our goals are going to produce an emotional response based on the individual's values.
It is from the values that we need to craft our messages to meet the goals. If we do not, then we are going to risk employee retention rates or inefficiency work flows because of reluctance. This is where the field of change management needs to be pre-planned for people like this employee type. The employee type dictates parameters for our goals to live within, and this is a good thing because now you understand the context within the environment. By living within this parameter, you get to maximize and optimize your space as you prepare to break the walls and expand them through purposeful action.
After determining our coherent goals, we can seek to understand the purpose for each message that we deliver. In the broad spectrum there should be many messages to give; however, the agenda always will relate to the goals. This is what produces a coherent message that provides us purposeful actions to meet our goals despite varying audiences. This is the part of communication strategy that will take up a lot of your time and energy because you are essentially wargaming your strategy. Secondly, you are mapping out your landscape or ecosystem within your organization.
Tailoring your message is the definition of specificity for this context, and it is typically conducted after mapping your ecosystem. Your ecosystem map indicates your stakeholders while your stakeholder analysis produces the referential material for crafting purposeful messages. In hierarchical order, this process should go like this: KPI > Metric > Goal > Purposeful Messages > Facilitate Action > Evaluate. By focusing on the messages, you may not need to make policy changes because you were able to facilitate organizational citizenship behaviors.
The relationship between citizenship behaviors and purposeful messaging is the key to making change without policy. Citizenship behaviors are the actions we take based on our values aligning with the organization. Secondly, it is the amount of ownership we feel towards that organization such as “Brand loyalty”. Employees steward their organization based on their engagement with citizenship behaviors. To modify or improve this, we as leaders need to craft highly specific messages with purposeful action to get us from point A to point B.
It does not make sense to ask entry level employees to make executive level changes, so we need to make our ask or “Call to Action” feasible. When the example is not as stark, and our thoughts lead to the gray zone we need to ask ourselves an important question. This question is “How much effort would be required by them to perform the action?”. If it is a lot, then you need to reevaluate the action. If it requires some action, that most people would say is reasonable then odds are you can continue.
Actions should be internalized actions rather than external. This means your actions should not focus on external events such as treating customers better. Actions should stem internally because you are seeking to change employees from the inside out. Instead of focusing on the action to emphasize customers, you should focus on personal growth. For example, the treatment of customers may only be a superficial sign of something deeper.
Having your employee pool or population expand personally should yield dividends in the attempt to change culture through citizenship behavior. If you are too focused on developing actions around the superficial signs and symptoms affecting your KPIs, then you will lose time and energy. If you do not think so, then imagine your entry level workers are going to school for in-demand skills. These employees that facilitate citizenship behavior to grow and prosper are going to experience “Brand loyalty” and consider your employment opportunity regardless of pay difference amongst the job offers.
Our KPI is customer satisfaction because it relates to how people recommend us to their personal and professional network. The metric we want to feed our customer satisfaction KPI is wellbeing within our employee population. The goal to help produce wellbeing within our employee population is to empower frontline employees to not push sales. Through our root cause analysis, we saw that frontline employees were pushing sales in hopes to maximize their commission sales. This push to sell was the cause of initial negative wellbeing scores that we took as the baseline for our goal.
From here, we are going to make a multi-level approach to improving wellbeing within the employee population with 3 well crafted messages. The first message, frontline employees, would be to not push sales aggressively, and focus on being the subject matter expert for the company’s product and its superiority over other products. The second message, managers, would be to watch the amount of sales per person, and notice those above average sellers in order to check in on them. Lastly, the third message for directors would be to focus on asking managers what they are doing to help over achievers stay sustainable in their pursuit of sales.
Employee burnout is detrimental to wellbeing and work performance, so it is important to understand your KPI along with the context of the problem’s definition. In this scenario, all agents (frontline employees, managers, and directors) are incentivized to sell more because of a commission based employment model. The difference is that they are looking to keep their workforce in a sustainable pace versus burning themselves out to sell above average quotas.
In this scenario, we introduced a different sales method which allows the customer base to self-identify their needs and go to the salesperson. This is because the customer relationship was not strained by pushing a sale, and that it was nurtured by providing quality customer advice. In theory, we call this reciprocity because it obliges the customer to want to return the favor by procuring business with the organization. In other words, you are creating sales in the short-term and long-term by seeding your value towards customers to reap reciprocity through your CRM (Client Relationship Management) methods.