S4e14 The Getting The Basics Right With Fairy Dust Edition With Ian Golding

S4e14 The Getting The Basics Right With Fairy Dust Edition With Ian Golding

James chats with Ian Golding, certified customer experience professional and a customer experience specialist, certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt who spent over 20 years in the business environment and in business improvement, working hard to ensure that businesses he works for are as customer focused as possible.


He’s worked with some amazing companies before becoming an independent consultant including the Royal Bank of Scotland, GE Commercial Finance, GE Reinsurance and Brakes Brothers Food Service. And his last permanent role was head of group customer experience, where he developed and deployed the customer experience strategy for one of Europe’s largest online retailers Shop Direct.


They discuss doing the right thing, doing things a better way, leader evolution, Satya Nadella, what comes after CX, aligning the employee experience with the customer experience, customer journey management, short vs long term thinking, differentiation online, getting the basics right with fairy dust and differentiating by accident.


Contact Ian:


Tel: +44 7770 736 832
Web: ijgolding.com

Twitter: @ijgolding

Click For Full Transcription

James Nathan  00:54

Hello, and welcome to The Only One Business Show with me your host James Nathan, and another great guest for you this week. I’m really looking forward to the conversation. This gentleman is a certified customer experience professional and a customer experience specialist, certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt spent over 20 years in the business environment and in business improvement, working hard to ensure that businesses he works for are as customer focused as possible, where he’s worked with some amazing companies in his in his career before becoming an independent consultant including the Royal Bank of Scotland, GE Capital, or GE Commercial Finance, GE Reinsurance and Brakes Brothers Food Service. And his last permanent role was head of group customer experience, where he developed and deployed the customer experience strategy for one of Europe’s largest online retailers Shop Direct. Be very interesting to talk to him about that. Please welcome Ian Golding. Ian, how are you?


Ian Golding  01:54

I am very good. James, thank you so much for a lovely introduction. It always makes me go slightly red. So I’m glad that no one can see me.


James Nathan  02:03

Well, I’ve got two intros that I use when I’m speaking one of them’s a slightly longer one, I give them a long intro and the short intro and the first one is what it is. And the second one just says please welcome James Nathan.


Ian Golding  02:15

I did once have a client who used to tell people when they introduced me that I’m the David Attenborough of customer experience, which I found really embarrassing. So thank you anyway


James Nathan  02:28

If you’re going to be likened to somebody David Attenborough’s probably a decent


Ian Golding  02:32

Maybe I don’t know if she meant that I’m really old or something. But I’ll take it.


James Nathan  02:38

And you’ve been a you really have been bashing the drum for for customer experience for a long time. And you told me just before we went on air, I think the language was something like my job is just getting people to be nice to their customers.


Ian Golding  02:52

I have been doing it for a long time. In fact, I’ve been in business for over 27 years now. And whilst you can’t see me, I haven’t gone grey yet, which is a bit of a mystery to most people. But, you know, genuinely, what I do is my vocation, it’s not a job. And I have always believed that we’ve got to do the right thing, the right thing for our colleagues, for our customers for the shareholder. And it sounds so obvious. But as you know, whilst it sounds so obvious, unfortunately, when you work in a corporate world, people don’t necessarily want you to do the right thing that they want you to do what is right for the shareholder, potentially, primarily. So it’s, it’s so important. I think that people like us do what we do, but it’s not easy.


James Nathan  03:45

And it’s I mean, we talk about, you know, customer experience and customer service being common sense. Not terribly common….


Ian Golding  03:55

I guess but 100%. In fact, I will say that people like you and I James, hopefully you won’t mind me saying this are paid to state the blindingly obvious. But just because it is obvious to us. Unfortunately, it’s not obvious to others, and there are again, a variety of reasons for it. But fundamentally, I think the way organisations across industry have evolved over the last 20 to 30 years, maybe longer, is we have so radically overcomplicated what we do that people aren’t just too deep down in granular detail, and they can’t actually see the wood for the trees anymore. And so it’s not that people are stupid or ignorant. It’s just that they need someone to just say stop, just stop what you’re doing and just just have a look, you know, why are you doing it? And if we really enable people to do that we would be in a much better place from a working perspective.


James Nathan  04:55

But you’re right there is so much coming at us from all directions and yeah, I do feel like I spend my life telling people the obvious but then it’s only obvious when it’s shown to you. And when you are up against it, in no matter what it is, if you need someone to, to open your eyes or perhaps to slow the world for us for a while. So you can think about these things.


Ian Golding  05:16

And that’s about being a human. You know, this is not just about work, it’s about life in general. You know, we all get bogged down with things. But, you know, we need to be brave enough, courageous enough to acknowledge that there are times where you didn’t need to listen to what someone else is saying. It is okay to stop and acknowledge that maybe there’s a different way. But I don’t know why globally, we sort of convinced ourselves that acknowledging that we’re not doing very well is a bad thing. It’s not no one’s perfect. And if we’re able to acknowledge that there are different ways of doing things and stopping things isn’t bad, we will all be in a much better place.


James Nathan  06:00

Well, I think we could just stop now. As good as statement, as I think I’ve heard, we are always everybody can improve. Everybody can get better. You just have to I’ve recently, I should stop talking about this. But I’ve recently taken golf back up after a long, long break for 15 years


Ian Golding  06:19

A mid life crisis that is


James Nathan  06:20

Well my kids are old enough to give me a little bit of my weekend back it was was my philosophy. I’m not sure if that’s actually true or not. But but the reality is, you watch people who are the best, and they work and work and work and getting slightly better. And that’s the same in all walks of life, and particularly in business. And the best people really are those who are constantly, constantly looking. I was I was speaking with Ian Cockerel who comes upon one of these podcasts in a few weeks time. And he’s was head of a lot large part of the Walt Disney Corporation, you know, an incredible business and he said something along the lines of you know, stop thinking you’re a big shot as soon as you think that you’re done.


Ian Golding  07:02

Yeah. Well, I talk a lot at the moment about the role of leadership in creating customer centric organisations. And you know, what, what’s fascinating is that, you would think, as we experience radical change, as we have done during the pandemic, and as we continue to experience radical change now in a global economic crisis, that leaders really would have stepped up to the plate, they would have sort of understood during the pandemic, just how important it is to adapt, not just organizationally, but emotionally as change happens. But sadly, it’s almost as though the pandemic didn’t happen. And leaders are returning to an even more task focused command and control approach than they had before the pandemic. It’s almost like we’re seeing leaders regress, rather than evolve. And so I think we really need a much greater awareness of what I describe as transformational leaders, leaders who do exist for the right reason. And the leader that always comes to my mind at the moment is the CEO of Microsoft. Who…. let me test you, James, do you know who that is?


James Nathan  08:26

The current CEO of Microsoft, yes, no. Embarrassingly I don’t


Ian Golding  08:29

well, don’t be embarrassed because I was intentionally trying to catch you out. Because I asked that question to a lot of people, and not many people do know who it is. And the reason for that is because he is a truly transformational leader. He’s a man called Satya Nadella. And if you’ve not come across Satya Nadella, anyone listening to this, Google him, because it’s not about him, it’s about Microsoft, you know, and it’s so refreshing that you don’t constantly hear about the leader, the CEO, because the CEO, you know, he doesn’t do the do. He’s not the one that interacts with customers. He’s not the one that develops the solutions and products and the experience. On one of Satya Nadella’s as mantras is that he is working hard to turn Microsoft from a company that knows everything into a company that learns everything, right? That that’s what this is all about. And that’s why I’m a massive fan of his.


James Nathan  09:29

I am definitely going to spend some time reading and looking about…. because you think of businesses like Microsoft and within living memory, they were, you know, there were people in a garage. And you can understand why they do have big figureheads like Bill Gates, that you suddenly think of but that that movement from Microsoft being Bill’s company to Microsoft being Microsoft is quite a different thing.


Ian Golding  09:56

Yes, it is. It is get him on your podcast.


James Nathan  09:59

Well, if I could I would I’ve, I’ve had some lovely people on including your good self. And if you could introduce me Ian, that will be very kind of you. What’s happening in the world of CX today? Where are the trends? What are the changes?


Ian Golding  10:11

So, I’m asked that question a lot as you won’t be surprised. And what I’m about to say probably won’t surprise you either. I on a regular basis am asked that question in a slightly different way. A lot of people will say to me, what’s going to come after CX Ian? What’s the next big thing? And it’s a question that I find quite amusing, amusing, because there is no next big thing when it comes to CX, because CX has always existed, and will always exist. So it will never go away. It’s almost like people want it to go away, so they can focus on something else. But it will never go away. What it does is evolve. And the evolution right now, as we sit here in 2022, is that we are moving from a world of organisations recognising the importance of customer experience, to organisations starting and I stress the word starting, to understand the importance of the human experience. Because the most customer centric organisations in the world have always understood that you cannot deliver great customer experiences, until or unless you’re able to deliver great employee experiences. They’ve always known that, but it’s only very recently that other organisations are starting to twig that there is a connection. So the biggest trend right now is that need to align the employee experience with the customer experience, which is what I badges the human experience, because we must never forget that customer experience has always been and will always be about human to human interaction. And what we need is not technology to replace humans, but we need technology to better enable that human to human interaction.


James Nathan  12:16

It’s an interesting thing that because we’ve been talking a lot with people about AI and bots, and God knows what in tech, and how tech is, you know, how that replaces people in the process. And the answer is that it doesn’t, which is what you’ve just said that it enables. But there is a huge trend towards overtaking increasing the level of technology through business all the time. What can we do to make sure we’re doing that in the most positive way?


Ian Golding  12:49

 It’s the right thing, because technology and technological advancement is what will enable us to improve the customer experience, and the employee experience because that improving technology is making it easier and easier in principle for us to interact with organisations. The problem is when the motivation is wrong, because for too many, the motivation is to adopt technology to save money. It’s not a motivation to improve the experience, it’s to save money. And so what we see, or what we’ve seen historically and continue to see is that organisations are literally throwing technology at the customer journey without understanding it. And as a result, what they’re actually doing is making the experience for their customers and employees worse. What we really need is not to just throw technology with the hope that it will save money, we need to adopt technology in alignment with the customer journey. customer journey mapping and customer journeys in general, has been an obsession of organisations for a number of years. But many are not adopting the customer journey in an effective manner to drive continuous improvement. And when it comes to technology, if we’re going to adopt it in a more effective way, we mustn’t start with the technology, throwing it at the journey. We need to start with the journey and better understand how technology can enable that journey to be more effective at meeting the needs wants and expectations of our customers.


James Nathan  14:32

Who’s doing it well.


Ian Golding  14:34

If I am brutally honest with you, very few which sounds remarkably harsh. Many organisations aren’t doing elements of it well. So there are organisations who are very good at documenting what they do. Some organisations are good at measuring what they do. But to be able to effectively deliver tangible, measurable change, that has a positive impact on customer perception, employee perception, and the performance of the organisation. It is important to adopt what I call an approach to customer journey management, not customer journey mapping but management. And customer journey management is a cycle of continuous interconnected activity. That includes knowing who your customers are. So you can visualise their journey. So you can measure their journey to identify the small number of priorities, having the greatest negative impact on customer perception. And as a result, financial performance. And when you know what the priorities are, you then fix them. And you go through that cycle indefinitely, forever. Regrettably, what I’ve just described to you, is remarkably rare. You’ve got lots of organisations who have mapped customer journeys till they’re coming out of their ears once, but they’ve never looked at them ever again. There are lots of organisations who have been measuring the experience for years, but they don’t know what the customer journey looks like. And so what they’re measuring is not reflective of the truth. If I prod and poke companies hard enough, they’ll give me a really good idea of what’s going wrong. But they never fix it. You know, and so, I’m probably painting a rather bleak picture. But you know, there are very few that are doing this well, and the reality is James, that the most customer centric organisations in the world, almost all of them were created that way. Very, very few legacy organisations, almost all of whom are created not to be customer centric, but to be product centric, sales centric. Very, very few are able to successfully transform themselves to become customer led.


James Nathan  17:03

You know, it’s It saddens me when you talk like that, but it’s also very clear to me why that is. And you know, I, as a student, I started my working life as a barman in the Hilton Hotel. And when you start in, that kind of was, actually I started as a busboy moving plates and stuff around. And then eventually they allowed me to become a barman. After I’d been… they’d trained the daylights out of me….


Ian Golding  17:29

When they knew you weren’t gonna drink it all?


James Nathan  17:31

Well, more fool them. But after after, after hours was always good working in those places, but they were…. everything was about the experience of the human being coming through their door. And, you know, we learned so much from hospitality. Because, you know, when you were talking before about about customer journey, I was thinking, you know, the greatest, the greatest examples of that I think you see are in Italian restaurants in Italy, and you walk through the door, and they welcome you like a long lost friend, and they get you a lovely table. And if there’s not one they move on, and, you know, the whole thing becomes, you know, you just feel so very, very special. And there’s so much we can do when we look at these businesses, we think well, how do I bring that into my sales business? How do I bring that into my accounting firm? How do I bring that into my recruitment business?


Ian Golding  18:20

As you will know, it’s not difficult. You know, that that experience you get in that Italian restaurant doesn’t cost anything. Now, it’s about mindset. It’s about attitude. But, you know, I think what we do need to acknowledge is that, sadly, we live in a very capitalist driven world. Now, I’m not saying that that’s a sad thing. But the sad reality is that whilst we’ve done quite a good job of creating awareness of what customer experience is and why it’s important, I think the customer experience community globally, has failed to influence a very important stakeholder group, and the very important stakeholder group that we fail to influence are shareholders. Shareholders and financial markets. The people who actually own organisations, or who own parts of organisations. They are the ones who are demanding short term thinking from the people that leave the businesses, right? They are the ones who want the financial return tomorrow. They are the ones who are not allowing organisations to transform. And so I think what what we’ve missed, unfortunately, is the ability to enable shareholders and financial markets to get their heads around the fact that customer centric transformation is a long term objective. You know, and if you don’t think long term, you continue to demand short term financial return, then you run the risk of your organisation I’ve been failing and ceasing to be relevant. So you’ve got a choice. If you want that, then don’t even talk about customer experience, because it’s not going to happen. But if you have a sincere desire for your organisation to grow sustainably over time, you need to realise that demanding short term financial return is not going to allow that to happen.


James Nathan  20:23

But there’s going to be a trade off isn’t there?


Ian Golding  20:24

There is 100% is it’s not easy. But they need to understand what that trade off is. And so there are many times in my career where I’ve, I’ve looked at senior leaders and thought you really stupid. But maybe they are maybe they’re not, but but if we empathise with them, they’re doing what the shareholders are telling them to do, you know, and if they don’t do it, they’ll lose their jobs. So I do get why senior leaders behave in a certain way. And it takes a very courageous leader to stand up to the shareholder and say, No, we’re not going to do it like that, because we want this business to be sustainable. Jeff Bezos being the classic example. As we know, for many years, Amazon didn’t make anything, because he knew that this is a long term strategy. The financial markets hated him as a result. But he was right, he focused on this in the long term, the money comes.


James Nathan  21:20

And is the first place that people look most of the time, or a lot of people will look for whatever it is, and it’s not the cheapest.


Ian Golding  21:27

It’s not the cheapest, but as I say to everyone, because it’s something that people don’t think about, they take for granted, Amazon don’t sell anything that’s unique. They sell the same stuff as everyone else. It’s not the products that differentiate Amazon. It’s how easy they’ve made it for us to get to those products. That’s what differentiates them.


James Nathan  21:47

And when you’re talking about that customer journey, when you were speaking before about that I was thinking about Amazon actually in their return the ability to return quickly now, it’s become something we’ve all become a….. we expect if we put something online that if it didn’t, you know, if we buy a shirt, it doesn’t fit or whatever it is, we just stick it back in the bag and we download the label and we get off it goes until you go to…. I bought….. back to golf or shirt from from American Golf who are you know, really nice retail business. Absolutely woeful to buy from online, because when it’s wrong, you have to write the label by hand, you have to take it to a, you know, a courier or a post office yourself, you have to pay the return. I’m not going to buy from them again. Because it made it too hard. And that’s…. And it’s such a shame really for them, but too bad within someone like Amazon who everyone you know, there’s a lot of negativity around Amazon from a lot of people but but they do a great job.


Ian Golding  22:48

They do. And we’ve got to understand that because I do get a lot of people saying to me or Amazon treat their people terribly, and this, that and the other. But we’ve got to remember that the traditional retail industry blames Amazon for its demise. You know that there are a lot of people that really don’t like Amazon because they think it’s Amazon that’s that’s caused their problem. Amazon haven’t caused anyone a problem. Other than giving us the consumer what we need, there is nothing stopping anyone else doing the same thing. Having worked for an online retailer, you know, in the naughties. Amazon were the first to create the one click purchase, they are still the only retailer to offer a one click purchase, there is nothing stopping anyone else do that, other than Amazon were prepared to take a number of risks in doing so such as not having Verified by Visa on their website. There was no payment sort of authentication, because they knew that if you have that it adds another step into the journey. And it makes it more complicated. And so what the bank said to Amazon is that well, if you’re not going to put that on, you’re going to have to pay more for each transaction. Right? Then Amazon said, Well, okay, if that makes the journey easier, that’s what we’ll do. And so that’s why they did it. And no other retailer has replicated it.


James Nathan  24:09

And they make mistakes. I mean, they’ve made plenty of mistakes on their way through and if you remember the Amazon buttons that they tried to sell for one reason or another where you press a button when you run out of shopping liquid, washing liquid and it pops when in the great idea. Horrible and pointless and no one wanted it because they forgot the reason behind it. Or the reason for everything. But yeah, and certainly the high street isn’t. Amazon didn’t bring down the highest rate, the High Street brought down the high street.


Ian Golding  24:38

100%. And you know that this, I think is the point no one is perfect, almost coming back to what we said about ourselves. No one is perfect. You’ve got to keep learning. And when you make mistakes, you’ve got to acknowledge you make the mistake and move on. And you know, Amazon have a website and an app that doesn’t look very nice, but it doesn’t matter. So that’s not what people care about. What they care about is that it works most of the time. And that’s what we need to focus on.


James Nathan  25:08

So how do we use….. I mean, we’re thinking about the online world, because it’s very tricky …. when customer experience and you can you can map a journey online very easily and make it work very well. But how do you differentiate yourself in that environment?


Ian Golding  25:23

Very good question. Well, one of the things I talk a lot about to customer experience practitioners is the need to understand with all of the interactions that you’re having with a customer, which of those interactions do your customers take as given, and which of those interactions exceed their expectation? Now, most of the interactions that anyone has with a customer are actually things the customer takes has given you having a website, picking up the phone, completing an application form, these are all essential interactions, but they are what I would describe as basics. Now, the thing about basic interactions is that they are essential. But if it’s a basic, you’ve got to be getting it right. But the other issue with a basic interaction is that it doesn’t differentiate you. If an interaction is a basic, everyone does it? Anyone can do it. So what organisations need to think about is, where is it in your journey today? That you exceed expectation? Because a touchpoint, that exceeds expectation is unique to your organisation? No one else does it. Okay. Now, some people say to me, well, it’s a basic interaction, but we’re brilliant at it. So that’s why we exceed. No, if it’s basic, it doesn’t matter if you’re brilliant or not, it’s still a basic interaction. It’s not uncommon for organisations to look at their journey for the first time in this context, and have the realisation that there is nothing that they do today that exceeds expectation. And all that means is that their primary objective is just to get the basics, right. But even if they do, their journey is not differentiating. So it’s really important that companies don’t just think about the journey as it is today. But they also think about the future, and what the aspirational journey could look like. And where they could introduce fairy dust, as I like to call it into the journey to differentiate it in the future. And the reason that this is so essential, is because all industries are being disrupted continuously. And all it takes is for a disrupter to come into your market that doesn’t have any of the legacy that you do, that can start to introduce innovation that you haven’t got, that immediately differentiates their journey from yours. And, you know, ultimately, will make your customers think, oh, blimey, I’m gonna go there instead. So I think, a long winded answer to your question, but we really need to get our heads around: Are we getting the basics right? And where is it that we really need to differentiate in the future?


James Nathan  28:16

By getting the basics right, it’s plumbing, isn’t it? You just, you turn the tap on and water comes out? If you think about it until it doesn’t.


Ian Golding  28:25

But well, you raise another good point. Because, yes, you don’t but how many organisations wait for the water to stop flowing before they do something about it? You know, and so the reality is, most customer journeys have so many things going wrong in them, that, firstly, we can’t fix everything. But secondly, what do we fix first? You know, because we’ve spent so long not maintaining the plumbing, that it’s like, what what on earth do we do now. And that is the lack of continuous improvement of the journey. So that there is such a need for the competencies that we’re talking about here to be understood and formalised. So going forward, we don’t just wait and react as things go wrong. But we think about these things proactively. And we make the journey leaner, more efficient, more effective at doing what we need it to do.


James Nathan  29:23

Ian give us a couple of examples of those differentiators that people have done on top of that, what are a couple of things that you’ve seen recently, you thought, wow, that’s amazing.


Ian Golding  29:32

That’s a very good question. In my own personal life, I can’t think of anything immediately off the top of my head. But if I were to give you an example of a differentiator that is not driven by technology, because that’s becoming harder and harder to do, because most companies do the same thing. I talk a lot about it. Give me the example of the Ritz Carlton. So, I know it’s, to a degree, an overused example, but leveraging what you said about the hospitality industry. What the Ritz Carlton are brilliant at, amongst other things, is giving their people the ability to think and act in the interests of the customer every time they do anything. Okay. And what that means is that they really understand as much of the hospitality industry does the need to give people control. Now, what some would describe that as is empowerment. Now, a lot of leaders don’t like the word empowerment. So if you don’t like it, replace it with do you give your people control? Do you allow them to make a decision without having to ask permission. And the way the Ritz Carlton have enabled that for many years, is by giving their people the ability to spend money. Every employee at the Ritz Carlton has access to a monthly allowance of 2000 US dollars to deal with as they wish, as long as it makes a memory or put something that has gone wrong right. Now, it’s quite an astonishing thing. When you think about it, how many organisations would be prepared to do the same thing to give their people the ability to…. do you know what if we give, if something happens, you’ve got that allowance, you use it in whatever way you want to. Now, it shouldn’t be difficult to do. But firstly, many organisations laugh at me when I say this, because, well, we can’t afford to do that. I mean, that’s, that’s ridiculous. But it’s not about the amount of money. It’s the principle. Okay, it’s the principle of what that $2,000 enables them to do. Because you can only spend it if you’re thinking. So to give you an example, if I’m going to give you a real example of what someone has just told me, actually, in a workshop that I’ve been running today, they work for an energy company. Now, this particular energy company, I’m not going to name who it is, because right now with what’s happening with energy, there are a lot of people that don’t think of energy companies in a positive light. But this particular energy company, an engineer, was booked to replace a boiler for a customer, but the customer was a vulnerable customer. Now, what the vulnerability was, I don’t know. But that vulnerable customer, to cut a long story short, couldn’t afford to pay for the boiler that they needed in their home. So the engineer arrived, the boiler they needed was a specific type of boiler, they couldn’t afford to pay for it. And so the engineer decided to pay for the boiler himself out of his own pocket. Okay, and then installed it. Right now, it might sound strange that I’m using this as an example of something an organisation has done to differentiate. But what that engineer did was demonstrate how behaviorally you can differentiate. Now, what I’m hoping is that the energy company, he works for refunded that money to him, okay, because he did absolutely the right thing. But what he demonstrates is that what many organisations are doing is delivering differentiating experiences by accident. Because what he did was entirely accidental. He wasn’t asked to do it, there’s no strategy that says that that’s what they should do. He did it because he thought it was the right thing. And that is what many organisations are relying on today. They’re relying on the goodwill of their people to do what they think is the right thing. But that is not fair. And it’s not sustainable. We should not just take for granted that our people will do things like that. And that’s what differentiates us. What we need is to make the management of the experience intentional. So that kind of thing happens all the time, not just by accident. So I’ve slightly diverted around the question and I hope that you found that interesting.


James Nathan  34:30

No, you definitely definitely answered a knee yum. And when you when you talk about things like that, and then when you start talking about, you know, the Ritz Carlton I just magnificent set up in so many ways, and there’s so much to learn from them. And then you look at what the way that we were talking about employee experience very early on in this chat, but, you know, it brings me back to thinking about Nordstrom and, you know, their a handbook which just says use good judgement in all circumstances or situations. And they similarly have an allowance which they can use to ensure that the customer is happy. And that happy customer comes back. And that’s the thing we want most.


Ian Golding  35:15

Why wouldn’t you do it? What the only reason you wouldn’t is because you don’t trust your people?


James Nathan  35:20

Well, that the engineer thing, you look at that and think, Well, there’ll be 1000 excuses for why that shouldn’t be allowed.


Ian Golding  35:25

Exactly, exactly. Did you know what there was a brilliant story, someone told me this is a totally different context about a CEO of General Motors. Now, I cannot remember for the life of me her name, but the first CEO of General Motors to be a woman. Now, some people listening to this will know who that is. And the story I was told is that when she became CEO, she started to investigate what was going on. And one of the things that she did was invite the Vice President of Human Resources to come and see her. And the Vice President of Human Resources went to see her. And they had a conversation about various things. And she discovered that there were manuals for everything. There was a manual for, you know, how you should respond to emails, a manual for this, that and the other. But they also had a manual for their dress code. Right. Now, this says the CEO was quite surprised about this. And so asked the Vice President of Human Resources to send her the dress code manual. Okay, and it was pages and pages long of how people should dress to go to work in for various different jobs.


James Nathan  36:47

Was it written in the 20s?


Ian Golding  36:51

It’s quite remarkable, isn’t it? So what I was told is that the following day, having read all of this, she sent an email to the Vice President of Human Resources, saying I’ve decided to change the dress policy. And the Vice President of Human Resources, what is it? And she said, our new dress policy is to dress appropriately. That was it. And I think it’s, I’ve probably not told the story exactly as it was. But, you know, what a brilliant story. And if we need people to be thinking like that, you know, it comes back to what I said about organisations radically overcomplicating what they do, you know, why do we really need that? And so I think stories like that really bring to life, what we need to think about going forward, let’s not hark back to the past. How can we make our lives easier that is what every human needs right now?


James Nathan  37:53

Well, that’s probably leads me to my last question for you, and which is a really simple one. Listening to this now, as people are, what can they do? What can people do in their business today to make it better for today and better for the years to come? What would you suggest?


Ian Golding  38:08

So I’m going to say two things, if that’s okay, I know you said one, but I’m going to say two. So the first thing is, what are you doing every day? That when you do it, you are thinking to yourself, why? What are you doing that? If you stopped it today, it would have no negative impact on the customer, and no negative impact on the organisation? Because if you’re doing one thing like that, stop doing it. You know, why are you doing it? Okay, so I challenge you to just stop doing things that are not necessary. The second challenge is, I think we need to just stop and pause for a second and ask ourselves, whenever you’re doing something, how would I feel if that was done to me? We’ve almost forgotten to think like a customer. So the next time you do something that will have an impact on the customer, before you do it, ask yourself, if I did that to me, how would I feel? And if you come to the conclusion that I wouldn’t like it, okay, then do something about it. Don’t do it for two things. All right. What can you stop and ask yourself? The thing I’m about to do? How would it feel if I did it to me?


James Nathan  39:28

And that’s absolutely fabulous. Thank you so much.


Ian Golding  39:32

It’s such a pleasure. It’s been a real joy speaking to you, James. And I hope everyone listening at least find some of it interesting.



James Nathan  39:40

Absolutely, they will. Thanks again.



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That’s Not How We Do It Here