One of the privileges we have at Beyond Philosophy is working with great companies and highly talented people to develop change management strategies and lead customer experience transformations. Don’t get me wrong, this is no easy process. Forrester reports that a whopping 70 percent of change management initiatives fail. That’s a lot to overcome.

Over the years I’ve been witness to project managers neglecting personal change at the cost of business change. The two processes are identical. Without a change in your people, cultural change is mute, and all phases of business process change management entail people issues. Six core principles Forrester outlines are the keystones to any change management initiative:

  1. Visioning and detailed planning.
  2. Strong executive stakeholder support.
  3. Continuous and varied communication.
  4. Assessments to gauge successful milestones.
  5. Varied approaches and informational activities.
  6. Reinforcement until the process becomes part of the new culture.

Customer experience transformation is a journey, and the area with the most opportunity to plant the seeds of success is cultural change. We could focus on the negative: organizations that fail in customer experience transformation are those that fail at cultural change, or we could focus on the positive: lessons we’ve learned from companies that “get” the change and claim success.

Storyboarding is our tried-and-true technique for helping companies in the visioning and detailed planning aspect of CE transformation. Combined with emotional touch point mapping, we show CE executives how to win strong executive stakeholder support. We stress the need to continually monitor CE, even in face of competing demands from other departments. The emphasis we place on continual customer experience focus over the long-term reinforces cultural transformation until it becomes an accepted part of the business culture. CE can be modeled in statistically significant ways, which we incorporate as a part of communication to reach “analytical” types that view ROI as a number and a number only, at the neglect of CE.

Prosci’s ADKAR, John Kotter’s The 8-Step Process for Leading Change and Patterson’s Crucial Conversations are excellent resources to help understand cultural change in general.