WHAT I KNOW: “ONE Version of the Truth” Is Critical

Posted on September 8, 2022

Hi, everybody. This is Jeanne Bliss. And what I know is that: in order to lead this work, you must first begin with what I call “one version of the truth.” Okay? Here’s what I mean.

Why Do You Need “One Version of the Truth?”

When your leaders, your CEO, and all of his or her leaders ask the question, “How are we doing? Are you meeting your goals?” What’s going to be presented back to that leader is the KPIs that are specific to their operating model to their dashboard. They’re not going to get an aggregated understanding of how we’re doing or what we’re doing or how we’re helping our customers; it will be through the lens of that silo. And it will also be through the lens of—the interpretation of—what they think the priorities of the customer are.

If you don’t start with one version of the truth or one understanding of what your starting point is—or what your point in time is—around what I call “experience reliability,” then what you will constantly have is negotiation around what “good” is around “how far you advanced and around where you need to go,” because you’re going to constantly have a dissected view and a non-agreed upon view.

So here’s what to do to get one version of the truth.

Start with Your Customer Goal Map

First of all, I’m going to beat the drum here, again, about your goals and your goal map. Figure out your version of your customer goal map: What are the five or six—there’s usually no more than six, otherwise, you’re turning it into boiling the ocean—key goals that are your job to help your customers achieve?

Now, get your leaders in a room. (You can do this with many groups.) And go back to your survey verbatims—I’m sure you have them. And try to find your survey verbatims and organize them by goal.

Again, because you’re rethinking how you’re doing your business by goal versus—a lot of times how we ask about surveys, which is by process steps—you may not have verbatims for all of them, but do the best you can.

The whole point of this first step in the process of starting with one version of the truth is uniting, first, your C -suite, and then other engaged communities of leaders into one version of even what we’re evaluating.

So build your first version of your goal map—a draft is fine. Get your quotes—your verbatims—organize them by goal as much as you can. Then assign groups of leaders to read the customer quotes to each other. What I like to do is cut the verbatims into individual strips versus pages, because otherwise, your eyes kind of rolling in the back of your head.

Cut them into strips. If you’ve got 10 people in a group, pass out 10 strips of verbatims, one on each strip, and have each leader read those out loud pertaining to the goal of that group has been assigned.

So activity one: get your goals, activity to have everybody read what your customers saying they’re either achieving or not achieving, for that goal today by reading it out loud.

Is Your Organization Green, Yellow, or Red?

Next, for each goal, put just a little simple bar/banner underneath each of one. Each of them a green bar, a yellow bar in the middle, and the red bar on the left.

And all that is is a very non technical way to get people to say, “Okay, based on what we’re reading and what we know how reliably from a one-company standpoint, are we delivering on this goal today?”

And what that means is: no matter who the customer talks to, no matter what product you’re delivering, no matter what channel—are we united and glued together to help the customer consistently achieve that single goal?

Now, here’s the key to this when you coach people on this exercise: you have to coach them that they have to check their silo pride and their ego at the door. Because you’re not evaluating how good somebody’s working or how hard the frontline is doing to solve a problem that’s happening.

What you’re evaluating is how united the silos are, and how linked together you are and how you’ve all started with that same goal: to help the customer achieve that no matter what. It’s not an “it depends” experience.

So have them report out and put a little tick mark on where you are today in from one company standpoint of helping them achieve that goal.

Are you 100% reliable? It always happens, no matter who no matter where no man or one went, no matter what product? Give yourself a green.

Sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it doesn’t. You don’t know for sure. Maybe a yellow.

Or it’s just challenging. It could be a red.

Or you could be in between red and yellow.

For you, as a leader leading this work, this also gives you a good understanding of people’s perceptions and how hard the work ahead is. Because if they keep giving themselves green on everything, you’ve got a lot of silo pride that you’ve got to work through.

First of all, honor what they say. And you that you have them report out by group: how they’ve rated themselves for each goal. So that’s the end of the first session.

So to recapitulate: draft of your goals, cut out those verbatims, break them into groups, read the goals out loud, and then rate reliability from a one-company standpoint. You can probably do that in about an hour.

Find Out What Customers Think

Then, be bold, and bring in groups of customers. If you’re live now, you can do this live. Or you can do it virtually,. We bring in about 10 to 12 customers at a time.

And goal by goal (use the same goals), ask your customers: what’s going on, how it’s working, and how reliable they feel your company is in uniting in delivering that goal consistently use that same bar: green, yellow, red.

When we do this on social on virtual applications, we can actually do polling.

And do that with many groups of customers until you feel like you have a solid answer.

From there, you have what I call “one version of the truth of your starting point.” Then you can layer in your surveys and other things.

But until you start with this, the headlights won’t go on, and you won’t have a united leadership team and their leaders thinking about where we are today.

Final Thoughts

So what I know is: in order to move from where you are, you need to all agree on where you’ve begun. “One version of the truth” is critical.

Go to CustomerBliss.com/WhatIKnow to get more and to sign up. Thanks everybody. Take care.

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