Making the best of a bad situation

There’s saturation of Covid-19/coronavirus blogging these days, so I’m mostly avoiding it.  Naturally with a caveat like that, this’ll be a post about…Coronavirus of course.  But this isn’t about coping or stress or health-in-a-lockdown or how-everything-will-be-different or whatnot.

Right as everything was beginning to hit, I was actually in Las Vegas speaking at a conference.  Of all places, at all times, I know.  It was early March, and we were right at the cusp of realizing that things were not good.  Nothing had really been shut down yet, I recall talk of ‘social-distancing’ as a novelty, people were cautious about shaking hands.  In all, it was a weird precipice where we all kind of had an idea that things were going to get weird and bad, but not how badly and even not really how.  One thing was for sure, even before politicians started shutting our communities and states and economies down:  This was going to negatively impact business.

One of my fellow participants and I struck up conversation over a drink and she said something like, “so how do you plan to take advantage of this?”  She wasn’t being evil or cynical.  She was just acknowledging that times of crisis often also offer opportunities.  After all, it’s Warren Buffett who’s credited with saying to be fearful when people are greedy and be greedy when people are fearful.  But as we spoke, she went a little deeper and said even more bluntly:  “This is a dream for anybody in investor relations, don’t you think?”  And she’s right.  To put a finer point on it, she said, “You can try something new, a new business venture, a new product, be experimental in your business; and anything that goes wrong you can just blame on the virus.”

By | 2020-08-29T19:42:41+00:00 May 7th, 2020|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Engendering a risk-taking culture

Business philosophers, book writers, keynote speakers, and basically anybody with an opinion on the subject will say that one key to success for an organization is to foster and encourage creativity and curiosity.  That’s surely a good start, but where the rubber really meets the road and awesome things start happening is when members of an organization truly feel free to experiment and take risks.  Of course as with any other theory, simply talking about it doesn’t get it done.  The real show of success is breakthrough ideas and actions that are the hallmark of a culture that really does embrace risk taking.

Too many business leaders (and not just in business…in many walks of life, really) talk a big game about risk taking and entrepreneurship within their organizations but don’t really work toward fostering this character in ways that really provide a good foundation for success.  As with so many marginal leaders, this comes from talking the talk but not really embracing what it takes to turn it into action.  Failure is punished publicly and discussion about alternate solutions aren’t tolerated.  Just get it done, they’ll say.  But then, all too often leaders will intone that they want—even insist—that their teams take chances and look for opportunities to break away from the pack.  But when they don’t see those results and instead go through quarter after quarter of middling performance without any tremendous successes, they far too rarely realize it’s them keeping the group back.

By | 2020-08-29T19:42:57+00:00 May 5th, 2020|Categories: Consulting, CX Culture, CX Thoughts, Leadership|0 Comments

Be careful what you measure!

I recently fielded a question from someone regarding moving NPS ratings from 8s to 9s.  I asked why that was important.  It was noticeable that the question was posed in terms of numerical scores, rather than moving Passives to Promoters, so I was curious.  Digging a little further I found that the source of the question was a desire among the associates to have their individual interactions move from 8s to 9s.  Peeling back the onion I discovered that they were seeking this because their bonuses were based on their own individual NPS ratings.  Ah, paydirt–in more than one way of meaning.

This is yet another one of those ways that, as I like to say, universal truths are pretty universal:  Just because you predicate your employees’ raises (or any other sort of incentive) on a nominally “CX metric” doesn’t mean it will obviate the nearly iron-clad applicability of Goodhart’s Law.  This little tidbit posits that once a metric becomes a goal it ceases to be a good measure.  The general concept is that, people being people, motivation causes them to aim for a target and sometimes tunnel-vision their quest for the prize, whether that prize be a simple pat-on-the-back, official recognition, or monetary incentives…what I call ‘kibble in the bowl.’

By | 2020-08-29T19:43:14+00:00 May 1st, 2020|Categories: CX Culture, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Measures & Metrics|1 Comment