You don't have customers. You don't have employees. You have people.
Throughout my career I’ve been so blessed to review and stay on top of all sorts of reports, KPIs and metrics. Each of the metrics were defined as some sort of category to help me (and others) quickly get a grasp on performance and understand where the performance is trending.
I’m sure you likely get to review lots of reports in your role too (if you’re lucky!). While reports and metrics are absolutely valuable in helping us understand performance and help us in our decision-making, I think a focus on metrics has caused one detriment to how we collaborate with others, how we lead others and how we serve our customers.
We’ve become so used to referencing things by categories that we do the same when referring to those individuals that we interact with - to those that we serve. And we need to remind ourselves, and each other, that these categories of individuals are actually people.
Your clients? They’re people.
Your prospects? They’re people
Your board members? They’re people.
FTEs? They’re people.
Your leadership? They’re people.
Your team members? They’re people.
Teams that support you? They’re people.
Teams you support and collaborate with? They’re people.
Project team members? They’re people.
Your contractors? They’re people.
Your agencies and vendors? They’re people.
Your strategic partnerships? They’re people.
Your website users? They’re people.
Your social followers? They’re people.
Your email subscribers? They’re people.
Soylent green? It’s people. (just making sure you’re still here!)
These are all people - real people with real goals and real challenges and real struggles and real problems.
You’ve hopefully heard me say that empathy is a key behavior in delivering a simple experience. Once you recognize that the ones you’re delivering any experience to are real people then it becomes much easier to truly empathize with them.
True, effective empathy can make or break your ability to deliver an outstanding experience to others. True, effective empathy is when you “walk a mile in others’ shoes” and start to truly understand what it’s like to be them and what it’s like to be on the receiving end of whatever you're delivering to them.
If you simply categorize others based on a term, without recognizing them as real people, then you're in danger of delivering an experience to them based on what you assume they need - not what they actually need. You may think you have an idea on the best way to deliver an experience to others, but if it’s only in your head based on your own goals, challenges and struggles then you’ll miss out on delivering an experience that's tailored to their needs. You’ll miss out on delivering an outstanding experience.
So if you really want to brand out from the crowd - if you really want to make an impact on the people you serve then start thinking of them through the lens of not a category name, but people. Real people.
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