Out of the Office


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To belong, or not to belong

One of the projects I’m currently working on is to create a new Intranet for Citrix. As part of that, we’ve started to discuss “what does it mean to be a citizen of a company?”

We’re lucky to be getting some creative inspiration from  CCA’s dMBA 2nd year Experience Design class (taught by Nathan Shedroff).

The students are exploring the theme of membership and presented their research findings this weekend.

Here are my key takeaways:

Varying Levels of engagement:

  • Obligatory Membership v. Voluntary (e.g. draftees v. volunteers…however everyone is a veteran after returning home)
  • In body or in mind (am I doing yoga for exercise or for the spiritual side; likewise I may be at work for the job, my career or as a calling … go read Chip Conley’s Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow)

How membership works:

  • Rituals & Common Language (company acronyms, celebrations, etc)
  • Support Network or family-like relationships (think buddy programs and mentoring)
  • Defining who is “in” and “out” of the group
  • Feeling like you are part of something bigger
  • Sense of obligation; requirements to contribute
  • Some groups are defined by a shared struggle or challenge (e.g., weight watchers)
  • Leaving a group (alums)

Thanks CCA for the sparks!


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Reflections on A Raised Hand

What does journey mapping and customer experience have to do with preventing domestic abuse?

A recent HBR article, The Truth About Customer Experience, is a great primer on the topic of journey mapping and how the process can be beneficial in improving the customer experience.

When it comes to changing the customer journey, it isn’t easy and they write “delivering on customer journeys requires two high level changes… (1) modifying the organization and its processes to deliver excellent journeys and (2) adjusting metrics and incentives to support journeys, not just touchpoints.” What’s key is that organization become cross-functional (from siloed) and empower bottom-up innovation.

So what’s the connection?

Kelly Dunne is the COO of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center in Amesbury, MA. She and her colleague, Suzanne Dubus, were inspired to find a better way to help victims of domestic abuse than just providing shelter after a woman whom they had tried to help was murdered by her abusive partner. (read the New Yorker Article A Raised Hand)

In brief, their quest to understand the break down the of system, led to the creation of the Domestic Violence High Risk Team where they coordinate the work of multiple agencies.

What struck me about the story, besides the depressing statistics about the prevalence of domestic violence, was that the best outcome for women was to do similar things to what one does with a journey map.

The first is to reframe the question (for companies, it’s a shift to thinking about the customer first, from the outside in, rather than inside out). For Dunne, it was to make the problem not about the victim, but about the perpetrator.

With the problem reframed, you often look for solutions in difference places. The High Risk Team broke the silos of the different agencies involved —  the crisis center, local law enforcement, hospitals, governments and courts – and through sharing information can now effectively issue restraining orders, change child visitation privileges, monitor probations and do other things to keep potential abusers away from the victims.

Without the cross-functional teams, each agency looked at just the one piece of the situation or one aspect of data, totally unaware of what the other group might know.

For my work, looking at customer experiences and improving them, it’s all upside….happier customers, stronger business, more innovative offerings. I don’t pretend to be saving anyone’s life.

In the work that Dunne and Dubus have done, improving the journey of victims of abuse is truly a matter of life and death. I feel very humbled to see how this same approach can make a profound difference in a totally different sphere.