Processes to marry the Customer to Team Development

Published: 12th January, 2020

Processes to Define the Role of Customer and Team

Following on from our ninth Webinar, “Building Your Team Around The Customer“, Richard Copley, a connection and collaborator of mine, came to me with a story which was connected and developed the theme in a way I wanted to share. In this, our first jointly facilitated session, we worked through Richard’s experience of a start-up within the Insurance industry to describe what it takes to truly commit to putting your Customer at the centre of your business to ensure that everything that you build is designed to maximise your chances of delivering on your promise. Realising that you may not in a position to start with a blank page I hope that with the principles we describe you can think differently about the way you set-up your organisation.

My take-away was a shift in the way I think about defining Processes. A rigid structure of swimlanes can constrain your thinking to the teams you either in your mind or are already in play. We start with these horizontal lanes all the time in a change environment, this is way we are taught and the first thing we see when we bring up a template to start defining the steps. Bringing an element of creative thinking and freedom to the task ensures we capture the Process in it’s raw form from the Customer perspective. Only then do we group the logical steps of the Process to define the individuals best placed to execute them. By deriving the teams in this way you’re putting the inherent expectations of the hierarchy and culture aside by ruthlessly prioritising your Customer you wish to provide the value to. Stripping back to basics in this way is both liberating and challenging to the organisation involved and will draw upon your best change agents to take the key stakeholders with you.

“The whole premise of insurance was it was so complicated that customers would never understand it. So, all you did was employ sales people to almost beat them into buying a product. And that that worked for a long time and so lots of people ended up with insurance policies they had no understanding of and our view was we need to change that. We wanted to put the customer at the centre of everything that we do as a company” – Richard, Jan 2020

“Well, if you really want the Customer at the centre, then at top of your work architecture, then there are only three things you ever do in an organisation, you acquire customers, you service those customers, and then you do work to retain them. Everything else is just just supporting that” – Richard, Jan 2020

A Practical Demonstration

On this recent webinar, we worked through the key points above and more. As a practical demonstration of the human need Big Picture provides us with the straightforward and practical prop with which to satisfy our need to make and do wherever we are:

Identifying your Key Processes

For an organisation you are familiar with identify several Processes that you are familiar with and note them down. Try to find a mix from different areas of the organisation and the role of the Customer in each of them. On a Big Picture board this is indicated by how close you think they are to the Customer Journey line running left to right through the centre. Remember your commitment to putting the Customer at the centre of everything you do and so for each Process if the Customer does not feature directly then challenge yourself and your colleagues to think about how they might influence how you go about the task.

Shining a Light on the Customer

For a Process where you have a direct link to the Customer focus down on exactly what their experience would be and how that sits with the Purpose of the business- for Big Picture this is at the top of the board. Looking left and right along the Customer Journey consider how this Process fits with others before and after and whether this is coherent. Within our Business Development approach we would encourage this to be framed initially as where the business is now and then separately how you want it to work in the future.  This breaks down an element of complexity in thinking about how things are working in practice vs. how it could better. It is the latter that we take into the next stage. In addition ensure you understand a sufficient proportion of the end-to-end Customer Journey before thinking about the structure of the team.

Circling the Team

Putting aside constraints and expectations seek a logical grouping of internal resources that will most elegantly achieve the necessary outcome from a stage of the Customer Journey. This can be achieved by thinking about the mix of competencies required then the people that have the ability to deliver on that. It may help to think about the outcomes explicitly to double-check your feel for the match-up. Also have in mind a range for the team size so you can build in the practicalities of managing the team. Encourage the ‘mix’ element as this is where the disruption and so the opportunity lies. Expect a few iterations to allow time the explore different permutations before thinking about putting the structure into practice.

Watch the full Webinar here!

You can watch the whole Webcast here. Sign up for the next one at

Why the bother?

When the team start talking, they have a chance to share what they really think, and so:

– They are more likely to be productive in their time with the company.

– The business will enjoy a ready supply of new opportunities each and every time you get to the truth- the challenge is working out what to do with them all! Boss Bill gets the most of her team and is able to translate that up to the board.

– Employees are likely to stay with the company for longer and that means avoiding the costs of rehiring- worse case 6-9 months of an the employee’s salary to locate and train a replacement and 2 years to become fully productive. Not to mention the toll on existing employee productivity and morale.

What we can help you with

Big Picture naturally generates extremely high engagement levels as you provide your people with the tools they require to share useful truths about the business. With light-touch delivery it means you can involve large group sizes, of up-to 20, with no drop off in engagement levels. This results in the highest Engagement levels we have ever seen for People and Business Development.

If you like this you might also like …

The stuff we care about is all over our YouTube channel @YourBigPic. You can have a go yourself by printing and writing on the one-pager here for a business YOU care about. I would love to take you through a taster of Big Picture in a Discovery Webinar you can sign-up for here.

And thanks for reading!