|Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of TIAA|
In Google's Project Aristotle, Julia Rozovsky and her team identified the five most important attributes that distinguish the highest performing teams at the company from the lowest. Impact was one of these five characteristics. Rozovsky and her group defined impact as follows: "The results of one’s work, the subjective judgement that your work is making a difference, is important for teams. Seeing that one’s work is contributing to the organization’s goals can help reveal impact." What happens, though, if workers don't always feel as though they are having a significant impact on the company's broader goals and objectives. What if some workers never interact with customers, and thus, never see the positive effect their actions have on customer experience and satisfaction? Leaders need to bridge that gap. They need to create a "line of sight" between the workers' actions and the customer. They need to demonstrate and affirm that the workers are having an impact. In so doing, leaders also can show their front-line employees that they truly care about them and value their efforts.
Here's a great example of a leader who understood the importance of affirming impact. Thasunda Brown Duckett is the new CEO of TIAA. Prior to that, she served in several senior executive positions at JP Morgan Chase, including as CEO of their Auto Finance business. In an interview with David Gelles of the New York Times, she described one of her early moves as leader of that business at JP Morgan Chase:
When I was named C.E.O. of Auto, within the first 90 days I went to the mail room, and I told them, “Keep doing your job with excellence. If you don’t put that payment in the right chute, and it accidentally goes to mortgage, then the customer doesn’t post on time, they’re upset, and they end up closing their account with us. But you started that process. So when you hear me talk about our customer experience having improved, brush your shoulders off.” And they go, “You’re welcome. You know we got you.” At that moment I was able to connect them to Chase, to this bigger narrative. And now they know that T cares about everybody.