Nowadays large companies are interested in customer experience and invest in pricey and fully-featured CRM systems, like Salesforce or similar. Yet the problem is that no matter how powerful software a company has, the key thing is how well they translate customer-focused values to employees

In today’s post, we would like to make an overview of the extremely useful book from our corporate library. It is “Proactive thinking” by John Miller. John Miller is a business coach, founder of a consulting company. In the book, he tells how to get rid of the psychology of a victim and develop personal responsibility through the author’s methodology “Question after question”.

Personal responsibility

Proactive thinking is a personal responsibility for what is happening around us. It is not given from birth, it should be developed. We constantly face shifting of blame and do not even notice that we do the same ourselves.

You probably remember a dozen similar stories from your life:

The administration is not responsible for the things left in lockers.

I can not get a normal job, because I have no useful contacts.

Damn officials do not want to repair the roads.

Managers get millions of annual bonuses, but I haven’t received any rewards for 5 years.

All these mark undeveloped personal responsibilities. You will find much less good examples: when someone helps you in a difficult situation, quickly solves the problem, etc.

Here’s an example of personal responsibility from Miller’s book:

Miller came to the restaurant to have dinner. He was short of time and the restaurant was full. The waiter with a mountain of dirty dishes on a tray was passing by and asked:

– Have you alrerady been served, sir?

– No, but I ‘m in a hurry. I’d like to order a salad, rolls and a Diet Coke.

– We do not have Diet Coke.

– Then water with lemon.

Miller soon received his order and a minute later a Diet Coke. Jacob (the waitor’s name) asked his manager to buy a Diet Coke as he had no time.

An ordinary employer does not always have a possibility to provide perfect service, but proactive thinking is available to everyone. You should just stop being afraid of taking responsibility and start loving what you do. Proactive thinking is rewarded. A couple of months later Miller drove to the restaurant and found out that Jacob got a promotion.

The wrong questions

Miller developed his own system called “Question after question”. It helps to develop personal responsibility and get rid of the psychology of the victim. To do this, replace questions and complaints with actions.

Why nobody likes me?

Why nobody wants to work?

Why do I have to do it alone?

Why did this happen to me?

These questions are not productive because they do not lead to a solution. They only show that the person who asks them is a victim of circumstances and unable to change anything. Miller recommends to get rid of “why”-questions at all. There are two more classes of “wrong” questions: “who” and “when”.

Who is responsible?

Who can help the client?

When will the roads be repaired in my district?

When will they reply to my letter?

In the first case, we shift responsibility to another department, employee, boss and get into a vicious circle of blaming. In the second case – we mean that we can only wait.

The right questions

If there are “wrong” questions, there must be the “right” ones. According to Miller, the “right” questions begin with the words “What?” and “How?”.

What can I do to change the situation?

How can I make the customer loyal?

How can I work more efficiently?

How can I help my colleagues?

If the wrong question expresses the position of a person who is unable to change anything, the right questions encourage action and form proactive thinking.

Сollective responsibility

Collective responsibility does not exist. If a client comes with a complaint, only one person will be responsible for it. All the employees can’t stand in a line in front of the disgruntled visitor and jointly respond to the complaint. Collective responsibility is a personal responsibility in its purest form. It is the courage to take the blow for the whole team and to cope with all the difficulties. The above-mentioned example with the waiter Jacob is a great example of collective responsibility. The company’s goal is to be attentive to every customer. Imagine, what would your direct supervisor say if you asked him to buy Coke for a customer? If he is not ready to do it, if it is necessary, he has no right to demand from the subordinate to follow the company’s mission.

The theory of small deeds

We are often unhappy with what is happening around us: authorities take bribes, officials do not keep their promises, a neighbor parks his car on your parking place. We constantly want to change other people. Miller shows a simple truth: personal responsibility begins inside of us. We can change only ourselves. When we are changing the world and the people around us also begin to change imperceptibly. The changes will not be fast, but they are worth patience.