July 6, 2016
I recently interviewed Rimma Boshernitsan, the founder and CEO of DIALOGUE, a San Francisco, CA-based agency focused on helping companies gain a competitive advantage by designing experiences of human connection. Prior to founding DIALOGUE, Boshernitsan was a strategic advisor to CEOs of emerging businesses and Fortune 500 companies, working with some of the most well-known brands: Deloitte Consulting, Apple, Aesop, Levi’s, Kraft Foods, and Chevron.
According to Boshernitsan, there are three ways to enable human connection in business:
“With more and more startups in hyper-growth coupled with billions of dollars in funding, companies are at risk of losing sight of the most important aspect of conducting business: human connection.
Human connection is not only important in analyzing and understanding the consumer, it is just as important in creating the end product.
As an entrepreneur and business owner, how do you enable ‘connection’ in a way that paves a path for innovation and drives potential?
From our work at DIALOGUE, we’ve learned several simple ways to revive human connection with customers and employees.”
1. Create Meaning Through Shared Values – Always Introduce the Difference
“The more clear you are about what your company stands for, what the belief system is, and what the non-negotiables are, the easier it will be to create meaningful relationships with the right customers and hire the right employees.
In our work, we’ve found that shared values, yet potentially differing points of view, contribute to the most diverse opinions, the most innovative thinking, and a high likelihood that the end product has the true impact.
Hiring for just shared values alone is not enough. Hiring people who can challenge each other and embrace the variety of opinions at the table ensures for a rich dialogue that will better inform the reason your company exists and the problems it solves for your customers.”
2. Promote and Enable Curiosity as a Cultural Value – Think Big-Picture
“This is easy to say, yet hard to do when things are running at 100 miles per minute. Quickly understanding your company’s ‘why’ will drive your people and product towards better results and insight into what truly matters.
Why are particular customers being pursued? Why should they care about the product? Why are the mission, vision and values important? What purpose does the product serve in the world?
Whether understanding the reasoning for a colleague’s decision or empathizing with a customer in a rough situation, keeping the ‘why’ in mind naturally leads to increased curiosity, deeper knowledge, and a greater emotional connection — both at an employee level, and more importantly when designing the customer experience.”
For Boshernitsan, when you lead with curiosity, you bring human connection back to the forefront and establish it as a core principle by which your company operates.
3. Design for Intention – Cultivate Collective Intelligence Through Dialogue
“Collective intelligence is built through human connection. Yet, we are more often than not attached to our devices, running to the next meeting and answering the next most urgent email.
In this day and age, our productivity around connection happens by way of technology, often times with our devices rather than with our colleagues. What if we could measure our goals by how connected we are to one another? Or by how many different ways we discussed a problem? And then of course, by its ultimate solution?”
But what if we went back to being humans, connecting to one another for resources and ideas, rather than just to technology? According to Boshernitsan”
“If our intention is to be more connected to one another, ourselves, and the larger goal for the organization, then we have to intentionally design for human-to-human connection. By doing so, we activate and amplify collaboration and creativity. We create opportunities to really see our clients, our colleagues and ourselves in a new light. To enable greater intention, it is important to tie the type of relationship (and therefore the type of connection you are seeking to create) to the core values of the organization.”
Below Are a Few Tips on How to Shape Your ‘Connection’:
- Create opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas to occur.
- Create forums for dialogue amongst customers, employees and thought leaders both within and outside of your company.
- Promote face-to-face interactions between colleagues and clients.
- Enable people to go beyond the “dailies” to truly get to know one another. Email, Slack, Asana are great, however, what’s the opportunity cost of not moving beyond digital communication?
- High-touch, intentional moments of exchange can go a long way. Part of creating meaning and setting intention is building on our curiosity as humans, building on what motivates and drives us as a species rather than just thinking about “us” in the context of the company. What are the small ways to make a big impact? What impact is that experience trying to achieve? How can the interaction you create amplify the vision of the company and more importantly, can it amplify brand loyalty from your customers?
By connecting to one another, we make the invisible, visible, and take ourselves and each other to the next level.
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