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Fail to Fail

Since the first of March this year, I switched to another business line within Sogeti. With a sense of melancholy, I decided it was time to leave the world of test and quality after 10 years, knowing that in my heart, I will always look at the quality and see imperfections in the software I work with.

For some time now, I have been feeling the need to shift to the front, more to the business side of IT if you will, where transformations take form rather than testing the result of that transformation.
So when Harm Pul asked me if I was willing to join his business line, I acted like I usually do: go for it with no hesitation or regret.

The business line is called technology transformation and my position is transformation consultant, operation in the heart of digital transformation, disruptions and change management.
One of the topics in our ‘new’ business line is customer value and customer journey. As I am new to most of the offered services and expertise in the technology transformation business line, I got myself wondering: what is customer value and what customer are we serving?

Say that your goal as a company is happy customers and happy employees. As long as the customers and employees are happy you find your business to be a success.
You simply use the phrase: No happy customers without happy employees and no happy employees without happy customers. The mere confirmation of that unquantifiable gut feeling is enough to know that your business is still a success.

Is unquantifiable business value actual business value?

What if you want that feeling to grow, what if you want more of it for your customers and employees? How do you make a big smile bigger, what is needed for that?

You certainly haven't heard of any measuring instruments for customer satisfaction or tools to quantify the employee happiness. Then again, if you do not know where that smile is coming from, there is no way of knowing how to make that big smile bigger. If you don’t know specifically what your customer is willing to pay for, how can you increase your revenue? And on the other end, we have the increasing demand of modern business to measure and quantify everything because we need to know, right?

Why can’t we just trust our gut feeling when we feel that something is right?Why do we need ‘proof’ in figures, tables and business models? The fact that we are able to feel, isn't it  the very thing that makes us human? Why do we need to, like a robot, act only on facts, reality, program, and protocol? why not follow our gut feeling (which, by the way is the only reliable source of guidance that you can trust if you ask me. When was the last time your gut was truly wrong? think about it). 

We therefore find ourselves in a predicament: yes we can trust our gut and act accordingly but if we want to increase customer and employee happiness, we need to measure and quantify the feelings in order to properly address them and make sure that our actions will increase that satisfaction. I would say aim and shoot rather than take a wild stab in the dark.

This presents another intriguing premise: what if you fail to fail, does that make you successful?
I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

In your business, one of the things that makes your employees so happy is the fact that there is plenty of room to fail. My head coach at the Ohio University Without Boundaries (the great and unforgettable Bill Steinman) once told me during my 3-week course there:
“And if you fail, great! You learn more!”
A true statement if you ask me and if you can, a great sentence to live by.

So employees are encouraged to fail and to not fear but embrace the results of a glorious #fail. But what if they do not fail? Does that make them successful? What if they fail to fail? Often as kids, we are thought not to fall, not to get dirty and not to run with a lolly in our mouth. All focused not to fail (often for good reason and best intentions of course), only to find ourselves in an environment where we are encouraged to fail, so that we may learn.

This is quite a disruption and change requirement. And like my previous blog tells us, change takes time.

There is a lot of added value in this attitude if you ask me. Quantify and measure the failures and act accordingly. Quantify and measure the fails to fail. What will generate more value in your opinion?

So even when we fail to fail, we can still be successful, right, or do I fail to see something here?

Hans Lantink
Hans Lantink
Senior Test Manager
+31 (0) 625 645 077
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