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 am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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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