Mind the Gap! Don’t forget the TMO

Transition (Oxford Dictionary)

tran·si·tion, tranˈziSHən,-ˈsiSHən/

noun: The process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.

verb:  Undergo or cause to undergo a process or period of transition.

It seems every organization, whether corporate, non-profit, or public sector,  is fixated on change these days. “Transformation” programs abound, and adaptability to change is table stakes for success in any role. That said, I often observe that not enough attention is paid to the transition phase. We obsess on the CMO (current mode of operation,) and the FMO (future mode of operation) – but spend too little time on the TMO (transition mode of operation).

I would argue that the TMO is a key phase that needs to be planned, managed, and harvested if you wish to have the best results in any change initiative.   In fact it is the TMO that dictates the success of your transformation initiative. If the TMO is too uncomfortable or poorly designed your organization will not have the ability to let go of their old ways and adopt your new process or design.

I met an author, Gail Blanke, a number of years ago who had written a great book on life changes “Between Trapezes – Flying into a new life with the greatest of ease”.   I loved the analogy she painted of change through the example of circus performers. She told me that the thing that people often fail to think about when thinking of trapeze artists is that they have to let go of the bar they are hanging on BEFORE they grab the new bar. For that tiny instant they are holding on to nothing at all. What courage it takes to let go of something and be completely helpless for that split second before you grab the next bar!

If you are managing a change initiative, have you spent enough time preparing your organization for that period of transition? Are you prepared for the anxiety and fear in that moment when the organization has to let go of the old way of doing things, but has not yet fully grabbed the new mode? Are you ready to help people understand what is required during transition, communicate their fears and support each other? I would suggest that all of these things are critical for a successful change program.

     In short, when driving transformation – Mind the Gap!

When Clicks are the Mortar


Much has been written about “Clicks and Mortar” or “Bricks and Clicks” Strategy, yet I continue to be amazed by how many companies are not integrating their physical and on-line presence.   These companies are seemingly unaware of how their divergent presence is costing them.  Costing them in terms of near-term sales loss, but more importantly costing them in terms of missed opportunity to build loyalty with their customers.

Rather than think of your online presence as a complementary or differential experience to your physical interactions with your customer – think of both of these pieces as essential components of your complete end-to-end experience.  Fixate on how customers learn, buy and receive your products or services across all elements of your business.  Make the “clicks” the mortar that holds your entire customer experience together.

Tips for making your clicks your customer experience mortar:

  1. Consider how your online and physical experiences can complement each other.  Does your online experience make people want to visit your store? Does your store use online support to expand selection and inventory options?
  2. Make your brand consistent across your online and physical experiences.  This goes beyond the logo and colours that you use. Does your employee training and scripting use the same ‘voice’ as your online presence?  Have you clearly articulated the promise of your brand, and critically assessed how both your physical and online environments showcase and support this promise?
  3. Make navigation between the online and physical experience seamless. Don’t make your customers choose whether they deal with you in one channel or the other. Rather, measure yourself on how many of your customers use both, and on how easy you make it to move between them.

The key is to make sure you are thinking about your customer experience comprehensively.  Customers are demanding, digitally savvy and thinking about all their experiences with you when deciding whether to build their relationship with you further – make sure you’re ready!