As the new year begins, I like to take stock of what is working well in my business and what I could do differently to help meet my objectives. All leaders benefit from this reflection, and I help coach leaders through this practice.
Recently I’ve been thinking about the process I use to come up with new ideas or continuous improvement opportunities, and one thing I could do more of is to look at my business from a completely opposite point of view. This includes not just processes but also desired outcomes.
I read an article recently about a Dutch-based grocery store that opened up a slow checkout lane to give customers who are not in a hurry, who need more time or who want to socialize the opportunity to slow it down when they get their groceries. The pilot was such a big hit with the elderly and those in need of human connection that they are now rolling this out to 200+ stores. This is a great example of turning an idea on its head.
It’s called the Kletskassa initiative, and it’s part of the action plan of the National Coalition Against Solitude, created by the Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Netherlands along with about 20 major organizations in and around the country. This institution addresses the issue of social isolation that plagues part of the population and attempts to provide a space for them to interact and create interpersonal connections.
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Traditionally, large-scale grocery business’ checkout processes are designed to create efficiency, cost savings and to upsell last-minute items. Existing processes are built around these desired outcomes. Through this initiative, this organization has put in place a new service line that is based upon an outcome contrary to its usual mandate – and the result is providing better service to a specific segment of its clientele.
It got me thinking about the business outcomes we take for granted that work for the majority of our customers but perhaps neglect a key demographic or business need.
As you begin 2023 as a leader, think about getting your team together to test your desired outcomes and consider turning them on their heads. You may be surprised about what you might find throughout the process.
If you would like to discuss retooling your business strategy, reach out to me at sandi (at) soundleadership (dot) ca. For other thoughts on leadership, go to www.soundleadership.ca/resources.