Category Archives: leadership

Customer Focused Executives Lead by Example

Telstra Executives spend a day in the call center

It was great to see the leadership of one our largest clients take action recently by getting some hands-on front line experience with customers in their call center.

There is no better way to demonstrate real commitment to building a customer focused organization than rolling up the sleeves and getting your hands dirty. All of the customer centric benchmark organizations we have worked with have very hands-on executives. It’s really about walking the talk.

Congratulations David and John I hope this becomes part of the new Telstra way.

You can hear more from John Stanhope, Telstra’s CFO on our new easyLearn site that has lots of tools and templates for creating customer focused behavior in large organizations.

How to be a “game changer” in your business

We just recently released a new case study on the CMO of Franke, Charles F Lawarence. It tells the story of the impact a “Market Responsiveness Index” survey can have on your company and career.

Charles described the experience best himself:

“This MRI tool was a game changer for Franke and me personally.”

The tool allowed Charles to quickly gain insight into the organization he was leading. It highlighted areas of organizational  strength and weakness as it relates to customers and alignment around the Franke brand and customer experience.

More importantly, it provided a rallying point for change and action planning.

You can download and read more about Charles and the Franke story here.

Jeff Bezos on what we call marketculture, zappos and amazon’s early days

I came across a really great video produced by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon today.

In it he shares some cool stories about Amazon’s early days, a short list of what he knows about business and why he loves Zappos.

What is really interesting from our point of view is his comments on what he knows about business. He mentions a few of the critical components of what we call “MarketCulture” – an obsession with customers, understanding them, listening to them and inventing for them. Take a look:

Jeff if you are listening, we would love to run Amazon through our “Market Responsiveness Index”!

87% of CEOs are not creating adequate value

My business partners, (Sean and Linden) and I recently completed writing a new white paper with the title “The Truth about Profit Trends: What CEOs need to Know and Do” , to date it has been garnering a lot of interest.

It outlines some worrying trends related to company’s return on assets over the past 40 years and identifies some of the reasons behind these.

One of the key findings was that 87% of CEOs are simply not creating enough value. Given the CEO’s role is to drive the organization towards its vision and enable it to fulfill its purpose by creating value for its customers this is a worrying trend. What is stopping CEO’s from creating value?

The short answer is company culture, many firms have lost competitiveness due to an internally focused culture that kills innovation and eats strategy for breakfast. Without addressing culture CEO’s cannot be successful in creating the positive change necessary to succeed in today’s hyper-competitive global marketplace.

You can access our new whitepaper from our new resources page here.

Do you embrace the competition or shut it out?

We had an interesting peak inside the Microsoft culture recently through an article on the WSJ “Forbidden Fruit: Microsoft Workers Hide Their iPhones

Here is a summary of what happened:

“The perils of being an iPhone user at Microsoft were on display last September. At an all- company meeting in a Seattle sports stadium, one hapless employee used his iPhone to snap photos of Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Mr. Ballmer snatched the iPhone out of the employee’s hands, placed it on the ground and pretended to stomp on it in front of thousands of Microsoft workers, according to people present.”

As a result we had some interesting discussions at our team meeting yesterday, particularly around the message being sent to employees. Essentially the message is “Don’t use competitor products even though they maybe better than ours” In fact ignore competitive products and focus on our own products even though the don’t deliver as much value.

It may be a bitter pill to swallow but by embracing competitive products it does allow for a deeper level of insight into how to create something event better. Without understanding the customer’s experience with competitors companies become myopic and cannot create a better vision of the future.

How could Microsoft’s CEO have handed this differently? What was his goal?