What is Your Organization’s Environment Communicating?

In my customer service speeches and workshops I stress the principle of “Everything Speaks” - every detail of a company’s physical environment is communicating a message (positively or negatively) about the company’s brand. I’ll often show photographs of Everything Speaks examples, such as stockroom doors left open in full view of customers, dirty or dusty shelves, messy desks, etc. I usually get some pretty sheepish looks from audience members as they recognize that some of these examples are prevalent in their own organizations.

The CEO of one hospital client took this approach to heart and he started carrying a digital camera with him, taking pictures of good and bad Everything Speaks examples (primarily bad) throughout the hospital. As a part of his regular Friday staff meetings, he would have a short photo presentation highlighting what he’d seen during the week. It wasn’t always the most popular agenda item of his meetings, but it certainly made his point clear and problems were quickly taken care of.

A while back, he sent the photograph shown below. What you're seeing is an employee suggestion box, and right underneath the suggestion box is a container for paper shredding. Not quite the message I think the hospital meant to communicate to their employees.

So why not take a walk through your operation with a digital camera and do the same thing? Yes, it could rub some people the wrong way, but I guarantee the Everything Speaks message would get around pretty quickly.

Something to think about: How can you creatively drive home the Everything Speaks message with your team?

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