If you defined humanity, you might say something like: humanity is the state of being human, or it is a human’s ability to think, process, and communicate. You might also connect humanity with feelings we experience, like love, fear, joy, and sadness. All of which I would agree with.
When I think of humanity, I also think of people who have shaped me into the person I am today.
My parents: for raising me to be strong, confident, and empowered to be whomever I want to be
My husband: for being by my side every step of this crazy journey we call life
My colleagues: for trusting me to work alongside them, collaborating, and creating impact within, and beyond our walls
My clients: for believing that we are one team with one collective goal - to live our passion and purpose every single day, at work, at home, and everywhere in between.
Four components remain consistent across each of these relationships; I call them the four C’s of humanity: communication, compassion, credibility, and change. I see the first three as the non-negotiable pillars that serve as the foundation to any human connection; without them, we crumble.
But inevitably something will come and challenge the strength of these pillars – that’s the fourth C: change.
At SHIFT, changing lives is at the heart of all we do. This could be a change of process, change of leadership, change of structure, change of systems, or a blend of all these things. We help our clients not only endure through these changes, but also thrive amidst the ambiguity that comes along with today’s increasing pace of change. As we work with clients through their constantly evolving landscape, it would be easy to lose sight of the human connection and solely focus on form and function. But what would we gain? More efficiency? Lower costs? Increased profits? Maybe, and likely, only in the shorter term. What would we lose? Sustainability? Innovation? Consistent growth? Definitely.
Speaking of sustainability and innovation, check out this podcast on how one entrepreneur is merging technology with humanity to build shelters in some of the most poverty-stricken areas in the world.
Humanity is Limitless
Take the work we are doing with one of our largest clients as an example. As a leader in the traditional media space - an ever-changing, ever-growing industry worth more than $712 billion in the U.S. alone - they are confronted with new competitors every day. From streaming media to Internet advertising, they are constantly seeking new ways to innovate and thrive in a very crowded space. Their ask to us was to help them reimagine their sales organization to ensure they operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, while meeting the demands current, and future clients.
One option could have been to reduce costs associated with human capital to automate more of the selling process – a reality that many industries are moving to that could eliminate 73 million American jobs by 2030. Yes, with this model they may have seen reduced overhead, increased efficiency, and increased margins. By moving forward only with an “automation” solution, what they likely would have missed was the creativity to discover new solutions for their clients that can only come from face-to-face interactions, strategic brainstorming, and transformative thinking. To avoid these potential challenges, we helped them envision different organizational design options that would not only provide their sellers more opportunities to connect with current and prospective clients, better understand the client needs, challenges, and goals, and to design solutions to help their clients grow their business.
Communication. Compassion. Credibility. The pillars remain constant.
Humanity is the Differentiator
Consider our client in the meal kit delivery business. They are one of 200 players in the very competitive meal kit space, which as an industry, is expected to grow to more than $10 billion in revenue by 2020 (up from one billion in 2015). The client was looking to establish a stronger foothold in the marketplace and differentiate itself from its competitors. They could have easily decided to focus their efforts only on refining their product or reducing their operational costs. Instead, they poured their energy into their customer. They asked us to support them in building out the framework for a department solely focused on improving the experience for the customer. We helped them identify who their ideal customers were, what challenges those customers faced, and what was most important to customers when selecting a meal kit provider. From there, we mapped out the current and ideal buyer journey; identifying key milestones along the way to ensure customer expectations were not only met, but also exceeded. We scoped out the types of functions and roles that would be required to make this department a success, ultimately increasing customer retention and lifetime customer value. We crafted key messaging and talking points for the customer experience staff to leverage to ensure they were connecting with the customer, wherever they were on their journey.
What’s the point? We helped them craft the ideal recipe for providing exceptional customer service, including these three critical ingredients: communication, compassion, and credibility.
As we move towards a world where potentially 1/3 of the workforce will be replaced by automation, we can’t lose sight of human systems. No matter the industry, size of business, or revenue value, humanity cannot be replaced. Our clients say it best…
“I really love what SHIFT is doing. You are bringing a level of humanity to an organization that has never really focused on that. That is huge.” -SHIFT client
This is why I do what I do. This is humanity.
Are You Ready to Shift?
Discover the power of humanity-led initiatives, even when faced with changing tides, during a SHIFT exploration session. You’ll work one-on-one with me, or a fellow SHIFT expert, to identify your goals, devise an action plan for success, and identify where SHIFT can propel your initiatives.
It’s the first step in each of our client success stories and promises to be the best 30 minutes you’ll spend all week (perhaps, all year). Because together, and only together, we can change the world.