I have known and worked with John Stanhope over many years. John had a long career with Telstra culminating as CFO. He is now Chairman of Australia Post. Ever since I have known him he has had a customer mindset. Almost an obsession!
When I spoke to him about the mindset challenges in today’s business he said: “Today the focus must be on ‘customer innovation’. Many companies focus on innovation, but it is customer innovation that counts. At Australia Post our customers want their parcels anywhere, anytime, so we ask: How can we provide a great delivery process that gets better and better over time and do it profitably? Innovation must occur to meet our customer’s need and expectation of ‘anywhere, anytime’.”
He says all leaders must have a mindset that is externally and future-focused. This includes foresight and peripheral vision with future customer needs and changes in customer behaviour as central. This is what drives customer innovation.
To develop this mindset leaders must have a relentless pursuit that everything is about the customer. John says: “There are little signs that tell you. At the start of a meeting ask – Is this about our customers? If not, don’t have the meeting. Another key sign is ‘language’. How do you frame a problem or an issue? Is it framed in terms of the customer or not?”
I asked John how you get this mindset. He says: “ There are many factors, but I think a key one is that you must immerse yourself with customers. Ask them questions, listen to what they say, observe their behavior and then put yourself in the customer’s position. If I were the customer, what would I want to solve this problem? How would I like to be treated? That applies to anyone in a business no matter what level and what function.”
In every company that is continually successful at innovation, there are leaders and employees that have a customer obsession mindset. Like Amazon, that has developed a customer-obsessed mindset and a customer culture to match, this is required for sustainable success.
The only way to future-proof your business, your leadership or your team is with a strong adaptable, innovative customer culture.
Learn more here
Posted in Authenticity, CFOs, Change Leadership, Customer Centric Culture, Customer Centric Leadership, Customer Centric Values, Customer Communications, Honesty, innovation, Market Responsiveness Index, Trust
Tagged Australia Post, customer culture, john stanhope, telstra
As a first post on this blog, I thought it might be fun to start with a success story. A couple months ago, Telstra, one of our premier clients, was recognized for its efforts to better serve their customers. They were named the Australian telecommunications “Company of the Year,” and their chief executive was named “CEO of the Year.”
We have been working with Telstra over the past 12 months to assist with the transformation and training of their marketing teams and other business units to help realize the needs of their customer. Within the non-marketing functions, particularly the accounting and finance functions, much of our work centered on realizing and owning their role in the end customers’ experiences. For a market culture to work, it must have buy-in from the top down and across all functions.
Comments from our CEO, Chris Brown:
“We are seeing organizations that understand they need to have a strong market culture to improve their performance. With a strong market culture every employee understands how they impact the customer. This drive for a market orientated culture is supported by scores of academic studies that show if a company has a strong market culture then it is much more likely to understand customers deeply, and to align its self to deliver superior customer value, profitably. Telstra has identified this and with Sol Trujillo has begun integrating this customer first philosophy into the way they do business.”
From the lead consultant, Sean Gallagher:
“A company’s culture is very hard for competitors to imitate. Firms with a strong market culture are able to align the entire organization to deliver superior customer value, profitably. This is where MCS services can help. We assist companies in their transition to a strong market culture by benchmarking their current culture and marketing skills. With this data we help senior management increase their organization’s customer focus throughout the firm, with special emphasis on marketing skills. Granted this process doesn’t happen over night, but the pay offs are tremendous. Telstra is only at the tip of the iceberg in terms of reaping the rewards of their efforts to spark a corporate cultural revolution around the customer.”
Thanks guys for the quotes!