In September 2007 I published my initial manifesto: Great Customer Experience Is Free. I still fully believe in the elements of that post. After 12 years, however, it’s time for an update. So I’m introducing a new manifesto: Experience Matters.

It seems appropriate for my new manifesto to take on the name of this blog, which I started in June 2007. Over the course of writing 1,684 posts, publishing many, many research reports, and working with hundreds of companies, I’ve sharpened my thinking about the critical role that experience plays in how organizations succeed and human beings thrive. I’ve captured these learnings in the four core beliefs of my Experience Matters Manifesto:

  1. Nothing is more important than people. Everything we achieve in life—personal, professional, and social—is based on people. Our success represents how we affect people, is achieved by working with people and gets amplified by celebrating with people. And when we fall short of our goals, we’re comforted by people.
  2. Experience is the human I/O system. Human beings have three core subsystems: mind, body, and experience. We process experiences in the world, which then affect us physiologically and psychologically. And we affect other people through the experiences we create. Experiences represent the input and output (I/O) system that connects people with each other and with the rest of the world.
  3. Experiences are in the eyes of the beholder. People can react quite differently to the same experience. Think about a concert, some people can have a wild time dancing to the music while other people are complaining that the music is too loud. We can only understand experiences if we understand how people are processing them.
  4. Organizations are experience factories. Organizations have different missions and structures, but at the end of the day, they all do the same thing: create experiences. Their impact on the world is based on the experiences they create for stakeholders such as suppliers, employees, partners, and customers, fans, patients, caregivers, members, donors, etc. Every project, program, product, or service ends up creating one or more experiences for one or more people.

My Experience Matters Manifesto represents the lens through which I look at the world. Here are some implications about what it means specifically for leaders of organizations, as they need to:

  • Care more about people. When we overly focus on profits, products, or processes, you lose sight of the purpose of those activities… the experience they create for other people.
  • Better understand people. It’s impossible to deliver the right experiences until you actively examine how people think, feel, and behave.
  • Think more about individuals. Since people react differently to experiences you need to focus your efforts on the smallest possible segments, building your understanding by examining the smallest, most cohesive segments.
  • Master experience management. If experiences are the output for every organization, then you need to build the discipline for delivering the right experience at the right time for the right audience.

The bottom line: Experience Matters!