An old mainstay around brands and brand experience strategy is that brands are best envisioned from outside-in and built from inside-out. This basic starting philosophy is what leads to some of the leading business and experience evangelists to focus on improving the global state of employee experience. Many people, including myself, trot out examples such as Southwest Airlines and Zappos as archetypes of this philosophy and give details as to why this philosophy creates customer loyalty beyond an individual transaction. There is, in my mind, some uncovered ground as to the nuances of human psychology and behavior that can both help to explain why this model works and to give insight into additional lines of reasoning when you are battling for corporate budgets against the bean counters.

In almost every large company, senior leadership understands the truism that authority rarely wins the day in making actual progress in terms of making significant change. It is not openly discussed, but the constant management of internal communications strategy and perception is a direct effort to remove plausible deniability from groups of people both inside and outside the enterprise. This drama plays out across industries at least in part because there is a culture of bidirectional gamesmanship and resignation rather than a bidirectional culture of accountability. (If you doubt this conclusion, examine the statistics that detail how private sector workers under 35 have an average tenure of employment under 3 years).  

Keepin' It Real

Many companies talk about creating a culture of accountability but in practice lack the knowledge and/or the discipline to do what is necessary to create and sustain it. A realistic understanding of the current disdain that many line-level knowledge workers hold for executive management requires that employers take a dramatic first step to shift the conversation from guarded defensiveness and ire to open dialogue and empathy.