For many U.S. professionals, today — the day after Labor Day — is one of the worst days of the working year. Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. So you come off a three-day weekend — which is usually pretty hard as it is — and as you come off it, you’re thinking “The summer is over.” The summer is a looser time at most offices. While companies still need to be productive and build their customer-driven growth engines, chances are a lot of your colleagues were out on vacation for chunks of the summer. Heck, you probably were too.
So now we’ve arrived at this point. September 6th. It’s the fall. Bosses and executives are probably already calling big strategy-planning sessions and talking about what needs to be done. Your calendar’s filling up. The next three-day weekend you can see? It’s not for a month — Columbus Day. You want to enjoy the leaves and the pumpkin spice lattes but work stress is everywhere and your company desperately needs a better CX focus.
The good news: Thanksgiving is only 10-11 weeks away. Once you hit Thanksgiving, that’s a chunk of time to refresh. The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a sprint — a lot to get done in a short amount of time punctuated by office parties — but then you tend to have two weeks with a lot of out-of-office messages.
You can do this. You can beat back work stress and focus on CX. Let’s quickly run through four approaches.
Beat back work stress and focus on CX: Priority alignment
If you’re not focused on priorities, what are you really focused on? There’s amazing research from MIT on how bad priority alignment is in most organizations. You need to overcome these and focus on your priorities. What are your metrics? How will you know if customers are responding to your organization and its products/services? Where will your customer focus truly reside? As I noted above, people are already filling up your calendar. Work stress is everywhere. So, I’ll give you a little help: investigate my 17-second customer experience strategy.
Beat back work stress and focus on CX: Focus on customer retention
Customer retention is cheaper, and often more effective, than customer acquisition. Here are 35 customer retention strategies that should help beat back the work stress.
Beat back work stress and focus on CX: Move towards one-company leadership
I talk about one-company leadership at least once a day, if not more, and probably have been doing that since the 1980s. It’s tremendously important. In all honesty, having a company embrace that idea is more important than what’s on the balance sheet — although most companies don’t understand this, sadly. Most of my books are about creating and fostering one-company leadership, so consider those a resource. But now, if you’ll allow me three seconds of self-promotion, we move to…
Beat back work stress and focus on CX: Listen to my podcast
I was initially a little hesitant to have a podcast, because everyone seems to have one these days and I didn’t know how I’d necessarily stand out. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished with it, though — the next episode will be Episode No. 20 — because we’ve managed to speak to real CX and CCO executives and learn what they do day-in and day-out to confront some of the biggest issues of the work. You can find all the episodes here, and after I had done 12 episodes, I did a big blog post recapping some of the major themes. These episodes average 20-30 minutes, so if you hit a big work stress moment and want a half-hour to yourself, go outside, pop in the earbuds, and have a listen.
Be back tomorrow with a guest post and Thursday with a new post as well. Podcasts return next week. Any other thoughts on work stress?