In my last article, I touched on the topic of journeys as I explained the important distinction between process and friction.
Why? Because life is one big journey consisting of numerous smaller journeys within. As a result, journeys are so fundamental to who we are as humans that they permeate everything we do — including the interactions and relationships between people and organizations like yours.
It doesn’t matter whether yours is a school, university, government, non-profit, or for-profit — literally every interaction between your org and its people is either a journey, or an experience within a larger journey.
For example, when a person goes from:
- Searching for job opportunities to accepting your job offer.
- Researching potential colleges to graduating from your university.
- Buying a property to getting the plans for their new home approved by your city planning department.
- Considering various worthy causes to making a substantial donation to your non-profit.
- Feeling a sudden sharp pain to recovering from surgery performed at your hospital.
- Shopping for a new couch to buying one and having it delivered by your furniture store.
All of these are journeys where the person moves step by step towards a destination or outcome, driven by a specific want, need, or goal.
Ultimately, the success or failure of your organization is tied directly to the quality of these journeys.
Help your people complete their journeys and meet their goals in a helpful, intuitive, low-stress way, and you’ll not only improve their lives, but you’ll likely gain a loyal, vocal fan. Everybody wins.
Add friction to the process and derail their journeys — even unintentionally — and you’ll make their lives worse, drive them right into the arms of a competitor, and likely gain a vocal critic. Everybody loses.
I’ll have plenty more to say about journeys in future articles, including how and why journeys go wrong, how to make them right, and the practice of journey mapping.
For now, the key lesson today is simple:
Take. Journeys. Seriously.
Start thinking in terms of journeys. Watch for journeys in your own interactions as an outsider to other organizations, and as an insider within your own organization. Observe them. Observe every individual experience within them. Notice how these journeys make you feel. Notice how they make other people feel. Try to envision any consequences (intended or unintended) that may result from the journey.
These initial awareness steps will help start you on the path towards creating journeys that better serve your people.