Improve “Purposeful Leadership” In 2011

As I mentioned in the post Build Customer Experience Competencies In 2011, I’m highlighting each of the four customer experience competencies as part of my effort to help companies put together their 2011 plans. Today’s post looks at…

Purposeful Leadership: Does your executive team operate consistently with a clear, well-articulated set of values?

What’s the number one obstacle to customer experience success? Other competing priorities. That issue falls squarely on the shoulders of the executive team. It’s very easy to shoot off a few emails and “claim” that customer experience is important. But if the executive team doesn’t “behave” like it’s important, then why should the rest of the organization?

Here’s great advice that Newark Mayor Corey Booker shared:

“My mom used to say that who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.”

As you can see from the results below of 140 companies who took Temkin Group’s Customer Experience Competency Assessment, most companies don’t regularly demonstrate Purposeful Leadership.

The biggest issues show up when it comes to putting customer experience performance on par with financial performance. If executives aren’t looking at customer experience and the resulting impact that it has on loyalty as a key business measure, then customer experience will always fall prey to “other competing priorities.”

Here’s a chart that shows what can happen when executives aren’t fully committed:

Take a look at these two free short eBooks:

Here are some other good posts about Purposeful Leadership:

The bottom line: Excellent customer experience requires Purposeful Leadership



Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

2 thoughts on “Improve “Purposeful Leadership” In 2011”

  1. Thanks for the great perspective, Bruce. Purposeful leadership is much more important than metric-based goals for achieving superior customer experience performance. Purposeful leadership sets the tone and parameters for employees to use their best judgment in decisions and actions that affect customers. For example, I reserved a rental car online and went to the airport desk to pick it up, and had to endure a series of vague up-sell questions even though I told the agent I’d made up my mind and was in a hurry. The agent’s behavior was clearly driven by metrics and/or revenue-focused purpose. Despite my explicit request to cut to the chase and get the keys, the agent kept pursuing his agenda! In these times of increased customer sophistication, customer-focused purposeful leadership is absolutely essential for ongoing business success. I’ve got a couple posts related to this called Actions Speak Louder Than Words and Cusotmer-Focused Culture by Living With Your Customers.

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