How to lead your organization in 2014?

This post is written for 24sessions.com, a young startup to disrupt intermediaries in knowledge transfer.

 
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Will your business life still be full of merely scheduling new brand concepts, new services and products? Often based on old concepts and sometimes – does management not imply risk taking? – an emerging novelty as the 2014 WOW-factor.

Take a moment to reflect on your leadership activities of the last decade before the end of the Great Financial Depression! Can you agree with my claim that we are living in a transition phase?
Not just because of the massive use of technology by customers, professionals, peers, competitors and even – if you are a married (male) reader – your mother in law. In the past your leadership’s goal was achieving improvements. But such an approach does not matter in this era in which business results can only be realized in a fundamental different way.

May i quote the American counter-cultural poet Tuli Kupberberg:  “When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge”.

As a business leader, you know that success in the business world does not come that easily.78aa0-6a00d8351b44f853ef0192aca10dbe970d-320wi Especially in an era of massive shifts when your business has to adapt to changing circumstances. I do no believe that adapting to emerging technology is the decisive factor for creating business success. Although technology will disrupt institutions, organizations and professionals with a low degree of creativity.

And it is here that design thinking comes in.

To start with: design thinking is a mental state to solve problems.

Behave like a designer

Let’s reflect on how as a leader you acted in the old world. My working assumption is that your corporate, entrepreneurial and professional success was dependent on the extent that you were able – applying technology- to code emerging algorithms (coding into fixed business rules) into business rules.

So far, that good.

But how to make any real progress in your new world? An environment in which that algorithm-ization is probably no longer effective? Do you still believe that more and more merely technology will create that substantial business success?
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I believe that to be successful customer leadership needs more to think like designers in the forthcoming years. For me, a designer is not a master in coding rules.

A designer is able to deal with complexity and ambiguity, creating fundamental value for corporations and institutions. It’s not sufficient to understand designers: you have to embed their thinking into your leadership style. You have to be able and willing to think inside the box and outside the box simultaneously, appreciating the old world and emerging new world and applying parallel diverging and converging thinking.

Can that be done?

Sometimes, customer leadership is easy. You can act like a role model and embed design thinking-elements in your leadership style. Start working on complex problems in short-lived projects with an attitude of yes, we can. Using constraints to create additional insights, focused energy and action. Start design thinking, lead your organization in that way and it will help you to make sense in these seemingly chaotic times.

Getting insights for your customer

Getting close the customer will become your next frontier. In the past – at least in my experience – tumblr_m7hrdriO1C1rqwtvlo1_1280gaining true knowledge from customers was vague art. To create value for your customers now implies insights in the heart (and more and more) the brains of your customers.

Design thinking revolutionizes your understanding of the needs of your customers and leads. It (and also neuromarketing and service design tools) enables you to connect the dots and lay-out road-maps for creating insights. Bear in mind: it all starts with empathy as the key element for your commercial benefits.

A new business imperative

Design thinking is one of the new business imperatives for the customer experience leaders in the next years. Understanding and applying of these concepts into customer experience management should not be underestimated. It is a tough challenge to get a grip on emerging patters and to translate them into contexts that enables you and your organization to thrive in the era of the customer.

Be challenged, have fun and achieve outcomes in 2014.

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andrea zehnder

andrea zehnder

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