If you’re at, or paying attention to the Adobe Summit, you are hearing the word “experience” a lot. The basic claim Adobe is making about experiences is this: “Becoming an experience-based business is how you will succeed. And with today’s competitive landscape, you don’t have many other options“.
This theme is certainly not new to the Summit, and one I don’t think will go away anytime soon. Every company in this day and age is looking for a competitive advantage, one that will keep them from losing their place in the market. Some focus on product, some marketing, and others branding. The ultimate solution likely involves all of these components, but as I believe Adobe would argue, becoming an experience-based business lies at the heart of all the efforts.
While I like the idea of becoming an experience-based business, I feel somewhat incomplete, as if there is more to discuss. In my eyes, the biggest component Adobe has left out of their message so far is the “how”. They are giving heartfelt sales speeches on what we need to do, as well as why we need to do it. But from the conference stage, it’s easy to over-simplify solutions and make them sound like easy endeavors. The reality is that becoming an experience-based business (in some cases) requires an entire organizational transformation. Everything from how analysts look at data to how leadership makes decisions might need to change. And if you have any experience in the business world, you know this is not an easy task! Changing organizations is one of the hardest things to do in business and it’s also what I happen to be passionate about. Therefore, if you are serious about helping your organization move into the future, here are 5 resources which can help you get there.
1. HBR – On Change Management: These first two resources deal with a particular field called change management. Simply put, the study of change management is the study of how to change an organization. The first resource is the book “On Change Management” by the Harvard Business Review. The HBR releases amazing content and (in my opinion) really help you understand the big picture of a certain idea. HBR’s book “On Change Management” gathers articles from the top voices in this space and dives into the core ideas behind change management. The book is quite comprehensive and is also a great intro for people looking to understand what change management looks like. If you are looking for a single resource on the strategies behind changing organizations, this is what you are looking for!
2. John Kotter – Leading Change: If you are familiar with change management at all, you will definitely know the name John Kotter. John Kotter is one of the big dogs in the industry, and for good reason! He has many books on the subject and has been developing the industry from Harvard for quite some time. Learn from this man and soak in his thoughts, they are worth your time!
Leading Change is one of his most popular books and is very simply about how to be a change agent in your organization. Whether you are a marketer, accountant, engineer, or intern, you have the ability to impact change on your organization. All you need is the proper education and tools, which starts by reading this book.
3. Customer Experience Enhancement – A whole bunch of Blogs: I have found blog posts to be more informative on this topic rather than a book or two. Therefore, for this “third” resource, I am providing a whole bunch of links to blogs I believe are helpful in learning about enhancing your customer experience. And just to be clear, the idea behind becoming an experience-based business is to design your business around the experience of your customers. In order to do this, you must learn how to change an organization, as well as identify/improve your customer experience. The first two resources focus on the first part, and this collection of resources focuses on the second.
- McKinsey – Putting Customer Experience at the Heart of Next-Generation Operating Models
- Super Office – 7 Ways to Create a Great Customer Experience Strategy
- Software Advice – 5 Must Have Tools For Improving Customer Experience
- McKinsey – The CEO Guide to Customer Experience
- First Round – The Case for Start-ups to Put CX at Their Core
4. Dan Pink – The Puzzle of Motivation: While this TED talk isn’t exactly on the topic of becoming an experience-based company, it does an amazing job at re-imagining how companies are structured, particularly as it relates to employee motivation and retention. Brad Rencher (Executive VP at Adobe) made an interesting comment this morning during the general session, saying that a recent study done by Forrester shows a correlation between happy customers and happy employees. In general, when you find a company full of happy and satisfied employees, you will likely also find happy and satisfied customers. Becoming an experience based company is certainly more than just making your employees happy, but there is some decent evidence out there showing that it might be an essential step.
In this Talk Dan Pink outlines a new strategy for employee motivation, focusing on three foundations for satisfaction. He is funny, brilliant, and very engaging. I hope you enjoy this talk half as much as I do!
5. Gandhi: An Autobiography – The Story of my Experiments with Truth: This last one might be a curveball, but I think its always a good idea to take lessons from other places in society and apply them to our industry. Often many people have turned industries upside-down because they came in with a different perspective or point of view. You never know, by applying a different set of lenses to a problem, you just might be the first one to crack it 🙂
The reason I recommend this book is because Mohandas K. Gandhi is arguably one of the most effective change agents in the last few hundred years. And even beyond that, he has inspired many giants of our time to do the same, such as Martin Luther King Jr. Gandhi aimed at changing the social fabric of an entire society, and had quite a large amount of success. If you can just glean one or two lessons from him, you just might be able to change the fabric of your company.
I hope these resources have been helpful for you! If you have any questions are additions to make, please comment below or message me somewhere. Thanks for reading!