Depending on where we all sit around the business table, we “see” the same things differently. So, let’s travel around that business table today and take a look at what professional shape shifting looks like.
When colleagues and customers are not sure what to expect from you each time you engage with them, you are ambiguous. How can that professional development strategy work, when clients seek clarity and consistency?
On the other hand, if you are not sure what to expect every time you re-engage with clients, they are ambiguous. As a result, how can you sell, design, serve or hire to create valuable and enduring client outcomes?
Consequently, professional shape shifting makes you, colleagues and clients feel like they are trying to hit a constantly moving target.
There is absolutely no value in ambiguous, professional shape shifting. To you, your colleagues, your customers and your company.
First, professional shape shifting keeps you continuously unaligned with clients. When you are unaligned, you come across as vague and uncertain.
Then, uncertainty and lack of definition negatively impact the quality of team leadership necessary to guide client decision-making. That scenario negatively impacts customer acquisition and retention.
In addition, not only chasing after but also defining yourself based on the latest flavor-of-the-month business trends is as transient as those trends are. Eventually, professional shape shifting becomes an exhausting, unsustainable professional development strategy.
To be fair, some of you work for organizations whose only strategy is continuous professional shape shifting.
Some organizations define and redefine themselves based on the latest customer experience results or the last consultant they hired. However, let’s think about how this scenario plays out over time.
When uncertainty and ambiguity are a workplace norm, that workplace becomes a fertile breeding ground for employee churn. Why? Because lack of strategic stability communicates only one message to employees: they are disposable.
For starters, this mindset creates fear and keeps people stuck in departmental silos. Then, ambiguity deconstructs the dynamics of workplace collaboration, replacing it instead with bias and baggage.
When employees have no clue how or if they fit into the next strategic shift an organization makes, they seek more enlightened, stable and rewarding employment environments. Ultimately, employees jump off the shifting, sinking ship. In the long run, subsequent employee churn takes a toll on customer acquisition and retention.
Who wants to risk that outcome?
Besides, the media is busy covering ambiguity in some of its finest forms. So why join the club and add to the confusion out there?
Friends, especially at this moment in the space-time continuum, you, your clients and colleagues seek constancy of professional purpose and greater clarity of actions. There’s no place for ambiguity in anyone’s playbook.
How are you providing answers to some of your most important professional development questions? As a leader, are you continuously fighting tactical fires that arise spontaneously, from ambiguous sources? Perhaps it’s (finally) time to do things differently?
Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks, consults and coaches about collaborative value creation for customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between strategy and execution. She works across leadership, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
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