The eagerness that urges you to build a platform and pick a partner can easily become a problem, if it pushes you to try too much, too fast. Buhl acknowledged this “boil the ocean” pitfall early. After considering a half-dozen objectives the company needed to pursue, he narrowed it down to a single issue, one he felt the company was ready to support and the marketplace was likely to respond to: customer service.
“In our background prep with Kuehne + Nagel leadership, it was obvious the organization had been passionate about this topic for years,” recalls Lackey. “The ground was already soft; the consciousness was already raised; and the people were ready.”
The ground-softening that Lackey describes was the direct result of a previous success: the rollout of KN Behaviors.
Reimann agrees. “We’re always looking to push ourselves to move from good to great. We’d done this with other large and successful initiatives — getting our technology and processes and global network to such a position of leadership. So, by the time this customer service effort began, the business units were hungry for it.”
Why the hunger? “Because there’s a clear business outcome linked to improvement in this area,” says Buhl. His comment points to one of the determining factors in his choice of platform: Successful transformation narratives require the participation of the right blend of stakeholders. “Customer service spoke to the cultural work HR was interested in, and spoke to the growth efforts the business units were interested in,” says Buhl. “We all know that happy employees are more likely to create happy customers. And that good customer service increases retention and the bottom line. This could be — if we pulled it off — one of those elusive win-wins.”