Once the right team is assembled, there are three primary dimensions that impact the success of a project:
- Project Management
Each of these is detailed below.
The traditional view from within a company is that of a series of departments, each with specific predefined responsibilities. That structure is then managed within the bounds of a particular vertical industry. Unfortunately, this mindset causes many organizations to become self-absorbed and often breeds tunnel vision from obsessing on these silos. Simply put, too many business have forgotten why they are in business, as well as who is defining that why.
The proper contemporary approach is to focus on The Guest Experience — to be guest-centric*. This orientation is a natural progression from the past. It requires embracing the guests’ outside-looking-in reality. Guests don’t see departments. Guests don’t see industries. Ultimately, guests have a cumulative collection of experiences, experiences that transcend all brands. Furthermore, technology provides an unprecedented level of real-time connectivity. Any experiences can instantly become part of a broader consciousness that is constantly being shared, challenged, redefined and accessed. Yes, every interaction is being cataloged as another line of dialogue in the conversation.
The guests are speaking. They are enjoying a non-stop, free flowing conversation of information and emotions. This empowerment will continue to raise expectations beyond the capacity of the traditionalists and their silos. Companies that insist on dictating: “The way we work is…” or “This is what we’ve always done…” are destined to be second tier or worse.
On the other hand, organizations seeking reward will ask:
- “What do our guests expect?”
- “What has changed in the market that might affect our relationships with our guests?”
- “How can we work with this new tide and not against it?”
This is guest-centric.
While the behind the scenes the structures might remain the same, the demands of the modern business world call for a more accurate paradigm. Guest-centricity is the new foundation that answers that call.* For the more formal AU definition of Guest-centric, please see our FAQ.
More than just simple listening and promising to deliver your wants, the AU modus operandi is designed to be thorough, agile and effective.
- Discuss & define – Communication is essential. Listening is important, especially when the shared ideas trigger questions that probe deeper and ideally challenge the accepted norms. We not only request client participation, we require it.
- Clarify in order to understand – What the sender said might not be what the receiver heard. Being human means being flawed and the AU approach strives to compensate for this.
- Separate business needs from emotional wants – Addressing business needs maximizes The Guest Experience. While wants consume resources and typically compromise project ROI. Our focus is on defining needs and adding value, not playing the role of a stenographer cataloging wants.
- Focus, analyze & research – Claims of being a (self-anointed) expert are history. The internet is the new expert. Being knowledgeable, creative, resourceful as well as possessing the ability to think critically are the tools necessary to translate the vastness of internet based information into a form businesses can understand and use.
- Make appropriate recommendations – Whether the consideration is budget, corporate culture, or computer operating system, for recommendations to be successful they must compliment context, not conflict with it.
Naturally, as we collaborate with you in this iterative approach, our emphasis is on developing cost-effective guest-centric solutions that enable your organization and reorient you towards your version success.
3) Project Management:
Philosophy is the foundation. The methodology transforms the philosophy into reality by exploring and developing solutions that build on that foundation. The intention of the project management dimension is to provide macro level guidance that keeps participants and parameters focused on the philosophy, as well as maximize the effectiveness of the methodology.
- Properly defined goal(s) and an agreement of what defines success — These provide scope. They also provide the benchmark(s) that enable a project to be evaluated.
- Commitment / buy-in from all participants to the goals — Teamwork isn’t teamwork unless everyone is working together towards a common goal.
- Ongoing communication — There will be misunderstandings. There will be revelations. To keep everyone in sync, open and honest communication is essential.
- Setting and managing expectations — Quite possibly the most important component is expectations and their ability to impact a project.
- Accountability and responsibility — Much like the goals, roles, participation and follow through provided a secondary scope.
- Wisdom and agility to adjust course as necessary — Rigid rules are unrealistic. Our preference is to provide a sense of guidance that allows for flexibility when necessary.