NOTE: We’ll continue the series on “acedia” next week.
You’ve no doubt heard Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” song/video. If you haven’t, take 4 minutes to get a little happy:
I recently hired a Client Happiness Specialist. Don’t have one? You need one too! Why? I believe you want to live a life of no regrets. I believe you want to let yourself be happy, too.
Let me share my unsurprising epiphany: what we all long for is to be happy. If you ask a new parent what she wants for her child, she’ll likely say, “to be happy and healthy.” If you ask someone on his deathbed what he wish he’d done differently, he’ll likely say, “I wish I allowed myself to be happier.”
Many business owners I know don’t allow themselves be happy! They bemoan the fact that they are stuck (by choice?) wearing so many hats that don’t suit them. They’ve misplaced their Big Why. They think being a business owner means wearing most, if not every, hat. They feel stuck in that overwhelming role. Until last year, I knew better but was no different from many of you.
But, I knew that in order to achieve my Business Maturity Date last Sept. 21, 2013, I had to start taking off several hats. The first hat was “Event Operations.” This role handled the myriad of details involved in setting up six 3to5 Club meetings every month. That included managing details such as
- Confirming rooms
- Setting up rooms with materials and refreshments
- Buying and preparing materials
- Communicating before and after meetings with clients and guests
- And many other particulars!
So, I created a “Chief Event Operations Specialist” or CEOS position to cover this part of my company process map. (Process maps are ways to get the processes out of the owners’ or key employees’ heads so that they can be known, communicated and improved; having them is one of the key ways to increase the value of your company). Every position in a company should support and enhance the processes created to serve clients and to achieve the mission of the firm. Positions in companies need to be created so that the owner and key employees get off the treadmill and so that the firm can make more money in less time.
My life immensely improved after hiring a CEOS. However, after having very capable people in that CEOS role, I realized that the position itself also needs to evolve to allow the employees to have room for their own Big Why–so they can grow into stakeholders. It needs to feed the soul of that stakeholder so that he is not just “making money” and supporting the processes for my clients but, in fact he sees how the position allows him to fulfill his own Big Why.
I asked myself the hard question: “Did I create this role just to get work off my plate?” I realized that my answer was yes; and that was an inadequate answer. My Big Why got me into my business—liberating business owners from the tyrants of time and money—and I realized that I needed a way for the CEOS position to reflect the culture of my business. This position had to have “soul.”
So, I then questioned, “What is the deeper reason this role exists?” Certainly there are specific processes that must be supported for clients to have a great experience at a 3to5 Club. But I had to ask the culture question: what distinguishes the 3to5 Clubs of Jon Hokama and Associates (JH&A) from groups of other firms? How might our unique Big Why shape this role?
I realized that I wanted the CEOS to, in fact, experience what my firm cares about—client happiness. What is “happiness?” It’s helping clients become true stakeholders in their own companies—whether there are the Founder/CEO or the newest employee. It’s about freeing people to wear the right hats. This position is about helping clients to get up and dance!
Williams’ “Happy” makes us want to dance. What might we learn from the impact this video has had in its 284 million+ viewers?
Neuroscientists in Denmark helped me understand what it takes for a song—and by analogy my upgraded CEOS role—to make us want to dance. These researchers found that the beats in songs that made people most want to dance had “patterns that had a sort of a balance between predictability and complexity,” according to the study’s leader, Maria Witek.
Why do these beats affect us? According to Witek “there’s enough regularity to sort of perceive the underlying beat, but also enough complexity to sort of invite participants to synchronize to the music…Gaps in the rhythmic structure…provide us with an opportunity to physically inhabit those gaps and fill in those gaps with our own bodies.”
What’s more fun—to set up for an event or invite people to dance? I am confident that my new CHS (Client Happiness Specialist) will not only create the predictable patterns my 3to5 Club clients have come to expect and need, but to also invite them to put their bodies into the dance of their businesses.
My current CHS is quickly learning the predictability of creating 3to5 Club meetings. By virtue of who she is she will soon naturally introduce complexity into the music JH&A plays. It’s a complexity that invites others to dance. She’s already dancing and will help me invite clients into the dance!
Since your processes are particular to your business you may have your own version of my CEOS position. I encourage you to explore how you might blow the doors off to discover your own version of a Client Happiness Specialist!
Take a hard look at the processes and roles in your firm. While a job descriptions likely does an excellent job of defining the scope of what that person does, to what extent does it allow for that person to be their own Client Happiness Specialist (i.e. operations manager, accounting specialist, salesperson)?