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.
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.’
One of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done as a leader was build a team. Whether I’m actively looking or get a random call from a recruiter, usually the most intriguing potential aspect of a job is getting to hire people for a team. I’ve learned a lot of lessons over the years about that. Naturally first among them (and I learned this the hard way!) is to go out and hire immediately when you’re given the chance. I’m sure a lot of you are nodding your heads along with that sentiment.
When it comes to hiring a CX team, what’s most important? Well, the composition of the team will depend greatly on what part the new (or existing) team is supposed to play in the broader corporate landscape. There are too many branches and possibilities to get too much into the roles of any specific CX team based on its position in the organizational structure. You’ll surely have analysts, process engineers, perhaps some folks working on culture, and other important facets as well. But exactly the sorts of skills you’ll need, it’s hard to say generally.
But aside from the technical knowledge and capabilities, what are the characteristics of a good CX team member? Since CX is a pretty young field*, it’s hard aside from the few certifications that are out there to ensure someone’s proficiency in a technical field is adequately complemented by the knowledge and approach of a true CX professional.