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Is fear affecting your decision making?

Way back when I decided to leave active duty I took a friend, a fellow captain, to the informational meeting held by Cameron Brooks, the placement company that went on to help me land my first post-military civilian job. We had each been in the Air Force for about a decade, and I think he was just curious about what they had to say. We met up after the presentation and he was cool to the idea of making the move. I asked him why and his reply was so stark and simply stated that I remember it today: “I don’t know anything else.” (Any other life than the military, he meant.)

Now, since those days we’ve fallen out of touch so I’m not sure if his decision was the right one…only he can make that call anyway. Today I imagine he remained in the service, and now likely retired or is near it. What I do know is that my friend’s fear of doing something new kept him from jumping from active duty into a new civilian career…kept him from making a move based on analyzing an opportunity.  Not to disparage his choice—ultimately perhaps he’s better off—but fear was his driving factor. (more…)

By | 2021-06-22T15:35:32+00:00 June 22nd, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, Leadership|0 Comments

Keeping up with your professional network

One of the things that makes being an independent consultant different from work ‘on the inside’ is that doing things like keeping up with LinkedIn and other ‘work-related’ social networks is actually part of the job.  While it may seem a luxury to be able to find cool stuff here or find out about promotions and career moves of connections, LinkedIn and other such platforms are bread-and-butter.  It’s where we connect, sometimes where we find leads, and always where we share our insights.  If you’re not in this sort of business, LinkedIn may be something you rarely even think about or a site you hardly ever visit.  I know that, in my last corporate incarnation, I had several colleagues who never used LinkedIn, some of whom didn’t even have profiles.  I had one co-worker who insisted that she never used it because she didn’t want to give the impression to the boss that she was looking for work (she wasn’t, but still, her reasoning went, why give anybody a reason to think so?)  If you’re not as active as those of us who live and breathe business networking but still want to find a good way to stay in touch, below is an article I wrote a few years ago while I was working full-time that I think still stands up.  I’ve updated a couple of spots and of course, edited it for clarity.  Enjoy. (more…)

By | 2021-06-16T15:42:31+00:00 June 16th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, Leadership|0 Comments

Agile and CX: Embracing Change

This is the final installment of four articles tying the concepts, values, and principles of Agile and Scrum to the Customer Experience discipline.  I introduced the series here, and parts one, two, and three are herehere, and here.  In this article, I’ll dive into the concept of embracing change.  Specifically, the Manifesto highlights this aspect of Agile project management as preferring to respond to change rather than following a plan.

Now, the idea here isn’t to not have a plan or that planning is somehow bad or discouraged.  But keep in mind that the genesis of Agile as an approach to project management was a rejection of the rigid nature with which some PMs follow a plan, ignoring or wishing-away changes to the environment around them.  As I mentioned in an earlier article in this series, when Customer needs change (as they always do), it won’t do to simply follow the plan as originally written and expect good results. (more…)

By | 2021-06-10T19:23:33+00:00 June 10th, 2021|Categories: Agile and CX, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

CX and Agile: Collaboration over negotiation

This is the third in a series of four articles about applying the concepts of Agile and Scrum to Customer Experience.  I introduce the concept here, and parts one and two are here and here, respectively.  In this installment, we’ll consider the value that considers Customer collaboration to be more important than contract negotiation. (more…)

By | 2021-06-08T15:05:21+00:00 June 8th, 2021|Categories: Agile and CX, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Agile and CX: Working software over documentation

This is part two of a four-part series of articles wherein I tie out the principles and values of Agile Project Management with Customer Experience.  I introduced the concept here, and part one is here.  Let’s jump right in to the second value, as articulated in the Agile Manifesto and associate a few Agile principles along the way: (more…)

By | 2021-06-03T15:52:34+00:00 June 3rd, 2021|Categories: Agile and CX, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Agile and CX: Prioritizing People over process

This is the first in a four-part series of articles about Agile/Scrum and how we as CX practitioners and leaders can integrate the approach and theories of Agile Project Management in our work.  I’m framing the series by way of highlighting Agile’s four values as enumerated in the Agile Manifesto and also integrating what are called the twelve principles advanced by the same group that invented it.  You can find the introduction article to this series here.

In this installment, I’ll be reviewing the first Agile value of prioritizing individuals and their interactions over adherence to processes and the use of tools. (more…)

By | 2021-05-27T16:29:20+00:00 May 27th, 2021|Categories: Agile and CX, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Agile and CX

One of the more curious—and least expected—experiences in my professional career is how I became a professor at the US Air Force Academy.  I wasn’t formally trained as an educator but learned at the knee of some wonderful academicians and thought-leaders in the field.  One thing that I took to right away was analogizing, or finding different ways to explain or apply a concept.  This is vital to education because a classroom full of cadets is a collection of different ways of looking at the world:  If you can’t make some effort to appreciate different ways people grasp concepts, you’re in for a rough day in front of the class.

That translates into the business world in some interesting ways, most fun of which is leveraging one’s skills in ways that are less traditional or somehow different than they were initially intended.  I’ve written a bit about the importance of leveraging Process Engineering generally, and Lean Six Sigma in particular to the field of Customer Experience.  It’s the “do something” with the VoC that differentiates a truly successful CX effort from simply a survey reporting function within your organization.

All of that throat-clearing as a setup to introduce that, before I started the CX chapter of my career, I was also a Certified Scrum Master, coaching and teaching Agile Project Management and Scrum.  Recently I was thinking deliberately about how the principles and practice of Agile and Scrum may apply to the CX field of work.  As you may expect, I found many lines along which one can find the value and applicability of Agile in CX, as well as CX in Agile (there’s a joke about peanut butter and chocolate in there somewhere). (more…)

By | 2021-05-25T15:35:08+00:00 May 25th, 2021|Categories: Agile and CX, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Regulation as a CX opportunity

As a CX consultant and Fractional Chief Customer Officer, at times I’ve had clients and worked with companies in highly-regulated industries; from healthcare to insurance as well as others.  In the online webinar panels I moderate, I also come across senior leaders at companies in these sorts of fields all the time.  I love working and speaking with them, if for no other reason than that, within these lines of business, there’s so much potential to differentiate among competitors from a CX perspective.  In industries such as pharmaceuticals to banking and finance, if you’re in one of these greatly-overseen businesses, you’ve actually got an advantage when it comes to CX. (more…)

By | 2021-05-18T15:24:18+00:00 May 18th, 2021|Categories: Consulting, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts|0 Comments

Is NPS right for you?

Does NPS make sense for you?

Let’s try this thought experiment:  Say you’re a plastic surgeon, specializing in a bespoke and specific sort of work that’s…um, shall we say, personal in nature.  Naturally, all plastic surgery is by definition personal, but I mean that your specialty is the sort of thing that people…just don’t talk about, whatever that may be.  No, I’m not thinking of anything in particular myself.  And yes, I’m sure this sort of thing exists.  Based on this business model, what do you think the likelihood would be of any of your Customers discussing their procedures (and your work) with other people?  Obviously, they’re unlikely to initiate such conversations themselves, but also based on the intimate nature of the need, I don’t imagine “friends and colleagues” of theirs—who might also have use for it—would ever raise the topic themselves either.  Even if they’re extremely pleased with your work (and perhaps even more so if they are), your clients are not likely going to recommend your services to friends, family, co-workers, etc.  Here’s an obvious place where NPS would make no sense as a metric for you. (more…)

By | 2021-05-11T14:42:43+00:00 May 11th, 2021|Categories: CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, VoC|0 Comments

Don’t abandon your Chief Customer Officer

I was recently speaking with a friend who’s a Chief Customer Officer.  She was in good spirits but nonetheless was lamenting a bit about her colleagues:  “It’s like I feel I have to defend my existence sometimes,” she said.  Oh, boy, have I been there.  My career has included time within PMOs, BPM/BPI organizations, and of course CX.  Some organizations approach these sorts of disciplines as nice-to-haves, often because it’s fashionable to put effort (or appear to do so) into these sorts of things.  At the end of a lean quarter, or if temporary business enthusiasm simply starts to ebb, you find yourself on the chopping block.  No matter how poorly sales go, it’s never sales they come looking to get rid of.  But our sorts of ‘ancillary’ organizations are often in the crosshairs.

Fortunately, my friend didn’t mean it that way.  She didn’t feel her job was on the line or that her team could be cut because people didn’t see the value.  That’s a relief.  But more frustrating for her was that she found it difficult to gain traction and buy-in for her CX improvement efforts.  She has the support of her boss, the CEO, who often speaks of the importance of CX and why having a Chief Customer Officer is so valuable.  But whenever she attempted with her peers to institute a change or to improve something in what they did in order to improve their CX, she ran into continual pushback. (more…)

By | 2021-05-04T14:56:20+00:00 May 4th, 2021|Categories: CX Culture, CX Jobs, CX Strategy, CX Thoughts, Leadership, Process Engineering|0 Comments