Transformation Goes Beyond Business


I've been wrestling with a myryad thoughts lately. As I work with many established businesses to build on success in support of the next level of growth, I see both the benefits and the limitations of creating efficiencies.

Standardizing, optimizing, and eliminating friction from experiences can be a time saver and a marketing boon. However, increasingly I see how many smart business leaders and experienced eCommerce pros face a point of flat returns from this specific strategy and are called to rethink their approach.

Part of it is due to how culture has changed the way we make purchases, the products and services we select, and how we communicate our values by the choices we make with our tribes.

At this point in the planning process we wade into the less certain (or proven) territory of experimentation, which sounds scary and yet is preferable to just testing existing options. We invent and uncover new ways with the first, we prove and disprove hypotheses with the second.

In this case, hope is not a best ally, because it lulls into believing that there is more optimization to be found where possibly no stone was left unturned and the business does not face just a slow moment, it is headed toward a cliff. The time to prepare a parachute, the saying goes, is before you have to jump.

Companies become very good at what used to work. Peer pressure and best practices in reporting and spending hold teams firmly tied to the usual programs. Data is used to provide support for confirmation bias.

The one illuminating data point comes from what in marketing we would call and "assist" channel — and that is culture. Culture creates the conditions for being open to experimentation and for thinking about success differently. This to me was at the core of Steve Jobs' insight. Hard work needs to follow, and commitment to stay the course. Only then transformation can take place.

Transformation goes beyond business. It needs to start with people and have the space to operate within an organization's culture for it to deliver a positive impact. It means literally taking a different form.


Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effect on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.