Each year our theme wraps around what’s happening at the moment, to give us a new outlook on current challenges. As we take time to reflect on it, we can notice what these challenges are drawing out of us, as we step forward in our role as professionals.
Your Moments of Truth
For me, this 2022 theme represents our opportunity to seize the moment, when the world as we know it is changing and will continue to do so. The need to change and adapt has been amplified by the sheer quantity of global disruption. Early in the pandemic, there was a strong sense of working toward back to normal. However, after two years, normal has changed. We already live in the next normal and who really wants to go backwards? In another year or two it will be another new normal. We inhabit an evolving work environment. So, every day as professionals, we practice living with new challenges in an everchanging world.
We want this to have a personal meaning for you. What is your moment of truth, as you personally stand up, look out and take action to make a difference? How can you inspire change and transformation? The fact is that those of us who make time to learn and improve can adapt better. Whereas those people who are content with how they are, or refuse to accept the changes around them, will find it hard to catch-up. The change required to survive and thrive becomes bigger with each opportunity that we let pass by. Decisions made every day will shape the future, whether small or large. Confidence and self-belief become critical to the success of every professional.
Are we fit and ready for the future?
Whether we are active or reactive, there will come a time, for all of us, when we need to respond to what is changing around us. Through life, we will face many turning points, make-or-break moments if you like. It is in these ‘moments of truth’ where your professional practice will become tested, and you need to expect this. We can be prepared even if not certain – fit and ready for the moments of truth. At such times, we rely on our instincts, our knowledge, our experience, and our ability to act differently. This is what we bring to the table as professionals.
If we are stuck in past habits, we won’t spot the links from where we are now to where we need to be. We must continue to learn and be open to new ways, because the better prepared or competent we are, the more we can be confident to succeed. Our theme image for 2022 appears to show moments of truth for individuals, but this could equally be for teams and for organisations as well. How decisions are made now will shape the future. So, what an opportunity we have, especially thinking about hybrid working and the future of customer satisfaction, colleague satisfaction and digital transformation. We want you to be confident to stand up and make a difference. Whether that’s just a meeting, or how you start to tell a story with numbers with your reporting, you need to do something different, because ultimately we want you to have the confidence and self-belief that you can drive change. Each year our Best Practice Theme is designed to help you think differently and take a fresh perspective on how we succeed as customer professionals. It’s always a really exciting time for us because this offers both challenge and inspiration. The purpose is for each of us to be able to reframe and redefine the problems we all face — day-by-day, month-on-month in this fast-changing world. So what problems are you looking to solve this year? What goals do you want to achieve?
Building on two decades of best practice For our 22nd year at The Forum, we can build on a long history of raising standards in customer operations. I was looking at the 2012 Best Practice Guide with my colleague Dave Vernon and thinking how relevant the articles remain still, all about planning for peak performance with thinking from the London 2012 Olympics. And, with a member looking though the case studies, when, lo and behold, we were talking about work on annualised hours and flexibility. Is that not timely now?
Let’s look back over the last five years. In 2017, we focussed on breakthrough, releasing potential, with a great article on resilience. Haven’t we needed that during the pandemic? In 2020, we used 2020 Vision, for our 20th year, crystallising knowledge to reflect our development and help us think forward for the future. In 2021, the key to the door was a symbol for our 21st birthday as a community of professionals. So, Unlocking Opportunities, helped to reflect on the difference we can all make. The 2021 Guide pulled together an extraordinary breadth of great practice out of those challenges we had been facing together during the pandemic. It was a time when traditional approaches often just weren’t possible. We had to think in new ways.
For 2022, I want to highlight the opportunity that we all have as specialists to shine and excel. Yes, some may have hitherto lacked that confidence and found themselves as spectators. However, each year we see more and more members making time and budget for their own development. We fought for this for many, many years to get to this opportunity, to be able to shape what our future is. I think we really have got the opportunity today to make that change. You know, sometimes, we can feel that we are a small team in a big organisation. There’s not many of us, we’re not being heard. What’s different, if we are truly confident to succeed, is that we gain a voice within the organisation to take a lead, to balance the needs of customer, colleagues, and commercial success, of course.
Community: you are not on your own
So, we feel our 2022 theme and image really encapsulates that there’s people behind you, helping you achieve this. You are not on your own. When you see these people in that theme image, we invite you to think of that as the community of professionals behind you when you step forward, not just the colleagues in your organisation but part of a larger community reaching across sectors and types of organisations.
In developing the theme, we worked with our Professional Fellows and other Accredited Members to understand the problems they face and the way in which the theme can provide a lens that helps us all move forward in raising standards. Take a look at the box to see the things they were telling us.
And, you know, we’re here to support you as a Forum team as well. Obviously, you’ve seen the expanding membership base, with more people coming in every quarter. Our communities are a safe place to meet people in your role from completely different organisations and sectors. There’s a huge range of different roles covered by our 16 network groups, from Real Time Planning to Predictive Analysis, Knowledge Management, Training and Contact Centre Systems. Our learning programmes engage professionals at every stage of their career pathway. So all the time the community is expanding and diversifying.
Please, keep speaking to us, keep telling us what we need to be doing. We shape things around what we hear, from members and others, and we want to continue to be really relevant and keep learning as a community about what works, what doesn’t work and how to make change happen most effectively to raise standards. Do sign up for your free member login to the online best practice library and try downloading the new Forum Mobile App, to extend your network and learning resources. We also really look forward to seeing you, both virtually and face-to-face, and please do get in touch. I hope you have a great year and real confidence to succeed as a professional in Customer Operations.
Author: Phil Anderson
This article was first published in the 2022 Best Practice Guide - You Moment of Truth: Confident to Succeed
To download a full digital copy of the Best Practice Guide, click here