Could it be that managers focus on linear relationships, while leaders focus on exponential ones?
Managers look for year-over-year, organic progress; boards, analysts, investors, and banks love predictable progress.
But, if you want exponential gains, you need to unleash the forces that will move you up an exponential curve.
Einstein figured out the relationship between energy and matter
In a flash, all the linear progression of the bomb-maker’s art were left in a cloud of radioactive dust near White Sands, NM. The heaviest conventional bombs used in WW2 were 1 ton bunker-busters, the first nuclear test was of a 20 kiloton weapon, or 20,000 times stronger than the prior state of the art.
What can you do to convert your mass (inventory or service capacity assets) into energy (cash) using the speed of light squared as your multiplier?
Leaders focusing on transforming the moment of detonation/conversion, the moments/touchpoints of customer/company interaction, might be a place to start.
Analyze, measure, improve every customer touch point?
Energize the entire organization in a maniacal devotion to creating intensely satisfying customer experience every time?
How can that be done, really?
Customer experience leadership, simplified by the Service Profit Chain
To understand the drivers of customer experience and to communicate how to affect those drivers throughout your organization, you need a clear conceptual model, something, to structure people’s thinking about the wildly complex set of variables that mix in moment-by-moment business activities.
Simplifying Customer Experience Leadership by Simplifying the Service Profit Chain
The graphic above would be useless in the hands of a front-line, customer-facing supervisor trying to help an associate better serve a customer. It is fairly complete, but overly complex.
Ockham’s Razor, that the simplest completeexplanation for any phenomenon is the most preferable, would lead us to parse the Service Profit Chain down to that arrow that connects employee retention and employee productivity (customer-touching employee work) with external service value (the moment of customer experience).
If we think of every customer interaction with our brand (web, call center, product, service, billing, etc) as a conversation between two people, we begin to have a conceptual structure that is clear enough for even front-line supervisors to use in the heat of the moment.
We are hosting a party and we want ALL of our guests to have a lovely experience:
Satisfying, with a hint of the sublime if possible
What type of conversation are you hosting today? One constrained by focus on/measurement of:
Average Handle Time?
Average Order Value?
Scoreboard v. Playing Field
Are we looking at the scoreboard while the game is being played and lost out on the field?
Is your organization aligned behind hosting an exceptional conversation between your customer-facing people and your customers? In word, yes, of course; but in deed, really?
The basic work of our organizations, where our long-term financial success will be won or lost, is in hosting exceptional conversations, be they be real-time person-to-person or asynchronously, enabled by the web (see a Zappos employee selling shoes and Fogg, Persuasive Technology).
Does this work?
Ask Zappos who used these ideas to create what they call a Wow! machine and a billion dollars in sales in 10 years.
Have your conversations built that kind of organic growth over the last decade?
Newton’s second law of thermodynamics, it’s not only about heat, it’s about entropy, and entropy seems to act on everything, even brands.
Customer Experience and Brand Building
Of course, some brands are hot and getting hotter while others seem to be cooling or are dead cold
When was the last time you bragged about your Buick on MySpace over an AOL internet connection?
Were all of those brands victims of expert managers who worked the numbers while missing the fire of great customer experience?
Do you ever remember thinking:
This Buick is magic!
This AOL start up CD I received in the mail is inspiring, again!
I wish Facebook was a lot more like MySpace!
Customer Experience Leadership
The difference between heating and cooling (building and entropy) seems lie in the distinction between management and leadership, e.g.:
Apple starts cooking under the leadership Steve and Steve
Apple cooling/dissipating under expert managers Scully and Spindler
Apple refocuses and gains heat after Jobs returns to leadership
Apple becomes the most valuable company in the world in April 2012 with a valuation over $600 billion making it one of the two most valuable companies in history.
n.b. The other was Microsoft in 1999 at the peak of the first internet bubble.
Jobs combined an artist’s commitment to elegance in Customer Experience/UX – from product design, interface quality, to site/store experience, even to packaging with notoriously driven and focused leadership practices aimed at delivering a customer experience vision.
Customer Experience Management v. Customer Experience Leadership
Is the distinction between managers and leaders in their balancing of numbers and vision?
Do managers use vision to reach an envisioned financial/organizational/brand metric goals?
Do leaders use numbers along the path toward a vision of a relationship between their customers and their own lives mediated by the company’s product/service?
Of course, every successful business person is partially a manager and partially a leader, but what’s the current balance at the top of your organization?
What would it take to shift your leadership’s focus to one with a clear vision of customer’s experience that builds heat in your brand?
The Head of School says that the school is simply ahead of the curve in meeting student’s new research and reading habits.
Are those habits serving the students well? Is learning simply about collecting information efficiently? Matt Mullenweg, founding developer of WordPress (Yeah Matt!), finds that he reads more with a digital reader than he did with print books. Read his views and those of other media luminaries here.
I, as you may have guessed, side with those who believe that the long focus, the peaceful contemplation, that the reading of a real book allows can lead to deeper thinking.
I think of reading as having a long conversation with a mind from another time and place, and probably a much higher IQ level, than mine. If I hurry through this conversation with a TV on in the background (links, tools, maybe even ads around digital content) what are the chances I’ll get all I could out of the exchange?
Actually, for me, the reading is only the first step. I think the digital life-style, with it’s self-created quick-cut editing, is the real issue because of its focus on quantity and speed. Time to reflect, to sift, store, and record your understanding of what you’ve read and it’s implications for your life are where the real work of learning takes place.
If anything, we probably read too much of the wrong stuff these days… scarfing down intellectual potato chips, while the nutritious foods and the slow chewing and digestion they require remain untouched and undone.
With all the media we consume these days, it seems to me that we need to ask ourselves one question before taking on any reading:
Is there a good chance that I will change the way I work and live from what I learn here?
If the chances are slim, put down the media and walk outside. If you’re looking at media, ancient or au courant, that stands a good chance of refining or elevating your personal philosophy or understanding of yourself or others in a way that will lead you to make different choices and take different actions tomorrow, read on!
In my search for a meaningful path toward my own education, I’ve found the following thinkers and ideas useful. I started with Jefferson and Franklin, men I admired. I then looked to their favorite authors and educational methods. From there, my latticework continues to expand.
Autobiography of one of America’s greatest autodidacts. Full of fascinating perspectives and practices as well as great stories.
One of America’s most important thinkers and the author of The True Believer-lived for years as a Depression Era migratory worker. Self-taught, his appetite for knowledge-history, science, mankind-formed the basis of his insight to human nature. Working and Thinking on the Waterfront is a rare glimpse into not only Hoffer’s personal life but his thought process while postulating his great future works.
Interesting, useful ideas from an often overooked 18th-century autodidact from Naples who attempted to create a science of history, complete with the ability to predict what’s coming.
On the Study Methods of Our Times
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Self-Reliance of course, but also his essay History, which serves as the foundation for my approach to the subject.
In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work.
Steiner’s focus on the whole person, not just mind, but body and soul too inspires me to offer a richer, gentler form of teaching.
Piaget’s stages of human development interestingly expanded and explained by a psychologist.
Latticework reveals the thinking that has led Warren Bufftet and his partner Charlie Munger to make such excellent financial decisions.
Building a Bridge to the 18th Century by Neil Postman argues that the best thinking of Western Civilization was done in the 18th C. and that we’ve been riding their coattails ever since. If we want to find a workable path forward as a society, we need to return to the educational practices and the high quality of thinking of those amazing years.
In the essay, On The Advantages and Disadvantages of History for Life, Nietzsche clarifies the possible affects (positive and negative) of history on humans who live in the here and now.
The essential book on learning the trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric.
Thomas Aquinas/A.G. Setillanges, O.P.
An practical, inspiring look at applying Scholastic methods to our own intellectual lives.