With the explosion of business reality shows like Dragons Den, The Apprentice, Natural Born Sellers, The Restaurant, the list goes on, we are increasingly using clichéd phrases and Metaphors in our workplace to the extent that they can become rather irritating and to be quite honest a bit of a bore!
I should not complain completely as in the past I have “possibly” used quite a few too! However, I feel the time has come to ‘reinvent the wheel’ ‘yes’ another mundane cliché I hate!
A Great Customer Experience requires creativity and the ability to stand in your ‘The Customer’s Shoes’ –whoops, here I go again!
Here are a few of the idioms I have found just by surfing the web in ‘my cubicle’ which is my office, for 20 minutes (all will be revealed later!).
“Thinking outside of the box, touch base, customer centric, go to market, going forward, blue sky thinking, credit crunch, heads up, pro-active, ducks in a row, 360º thinking, flag it up, pushing the envelope, in the loop”
One of the greatest creative clichés seems to be the ‘thinking outside the box.’ The meaning being to be creativity you need to challenge your own assumptions, and look at in this case, ‘The Customer Experience’ from a fresh point of view, a new angle, to put your creative head on. Break away from conventional thinking and take off that blindfold conceived by past experience’s.
Literally sitting outside a box, rather than in it as the cliché goes, can make you more creative.
But these are only metaphors so can we take them literally? Unless we can have the true understanding of how they work how can we actually put these ideas into the real working environment, and heighten, strengthen and improve our Customer Experience?
‘So yes thinking ‘outside the box’ is an awfully overused cliché. However, nevertheless it does capture the idea that in creativity you have to try and explore new areas, new thinking and new possibilities in the workplace.
There is research done by that demonstrates how this cliché actually works in real life. You can view an article relating to this research here.
In another study a group of people literally sat inside a box whilst another group sat outside a box. The results showed that the people sitting outside the box came up with more ideas than those sitting in the box.
You can try the concept of this idea for yourself. Rather than actually get a box and sit inside, just try walking randomly around. Then try the same only walk in a square shape. Research has also shown that to walk randomly around you can come up with and idealize more ideas and thought processes than walking in a square. So this begs the question, if your employees are always sat in a small space or cubicle in the workplace might they you be guilty of stifling their innovations and ideas too?
So going back to the idea of thinking outside the box if we put the clichés and ideas from our boring business meetings into action and be willing to use them without all the restrictions and stumbling blocks we often put in place. How much better would we be if we fully understood the meaning beyond these metaphors and applied them to deliver a Great Customer Experience?
Staff at a hospital in Oregon in America did exactly this. They took the thinking ‘outside the box’ cliché seriously. They proved that in the most professional way that organisations and the people do not need to be boring dull and lifeless and stick to the same old metaphors for life. They can be themselves, not be afraid to take risks for fear of being mocked or seeming unprofessional. They have shown with a strong branded message that even at work you can exceed customer’s expectations ,and yet at the same time have tremendous fun! All work and no play is the formula for boring and predictable, not for a remarkable brand or organization that sticks at the forefront of the customers mind.
Living a Customer Based Experience is a team effort. In the case of the Pink Glove Dance, the video featured staff at all levels of the organization, from the floor cleaners to the very top surgeons. Watch the video here http://youtu.be/OEdVfyt-mLw
Just like a cast of actors in a play, they may not always be perfectly in sync. Some may out perform many of the others. But the crucial point of the matter is at the end of the day, it takes each one of us individually to play our part to make a difference from all to us, to all of us. If you do not follow your script properly you will inevitably forget your lines and let your team down.
At the end of the day, how we live our lives and build our organisations comes down to an important choice: will you sit it out and just read the clichés, or will you learn your lines and step out with confidence and innovation like the staff in the glove dance.
Will you use all the conventional ideas about organisation and management based on a small number of taken-for-granted images and metaphors, or will you explore a number of alternative metaphors to create new ways of thinking about organisations? Can you make any difference when you are told you can think outside the box?
Whatever you decide I hope you can wear those ‘pink gloves’
And as for my ‘cubicle’? Well, actually our offices are a hub of creative energy, innovation and individuals with a passion, where individualism reigns and boredom goes out the window.