Purposeful Leadership Lessons From Coach Brad Stevens

In case you missed it, I’m a huge Boston sports fan. So it feels great to write a post that combines one of my favorite teams with one of our Four CX Core Competencies.

I’m focusing on the leadership style of Brad Stevens, coach of the Boston Celtics. I’ve been a fan of Stevens since he was a coach at Butler University. He smart, confident, and seems to understand how to lead people. To get to know him better, I read a number of his interviews, including:

It turns out that Stevens is a great example of a Purposeful Leader. His actions and behaviors are consistent with what we call the Five P’s of Purposeful Leaders:

Customer Experience (CX) Core Competency: Purposeful Leadership

  • Passionate. Leaders who aren’t energized by the company’s future can’t expect their employees, partners, or customers to be passionate about helping them get there. No matter what situation he’s been in, Stevens paints a compelling picture of success for all of the people around him.
  • Persuasive. Purposeful leaders don’t just bark orders about what things need to be done and how they expect people to do them. Instead they take the time to make sure that everyone understands why the organization needs to do something. Stevens has said “One of the things that I love about this league is that every one of these guys is here for a reason. It’s my job as a coach to focus on why are they here. I help them manage the areas where they need to improve.”
  • Positive. Temkin Group research found that employees who regularly receive positive feedback from their boss are three times more likely than other employees to do something unexpectedly good for the company and are three times more likely to make a recommendation for an improvement. Stevens gets this: “Our jobs are taking the 15 guys on the team, focusing on what they do best, and helping them soar with what they do best.”
  • Propelling. As leaders individually represent such a small percentage of an organization’s overall activity, whether they succeed or fail is not determined by what they personally do, but by how effectively they influence the actions of other people. Stevens recognizes that his success as a coach, is totally dependent on the performance of his players. Here’s what Stevens has said: “The people around you are accomplished, they’re passionate, they’re competitive, they want to do well, and your job is to help them find their best ability.”
  • Persistent. A leader’s words are only meaningful if they align with his or her actions. Stevens has said: “I think culture is something that, you know, it’s not something that automatically regenerates or automatically is year to year. It’s got to be passed along by the older players in your program. It’s got to be passed along by the way that you do things as a staff. Those are things that I’ve always found really challenging as a coach. If I’m going to demand that these things that we think are important to success on the court and also off of the court than I’ve got to try my best to be a model that’s striving to live towards that.”

The bottom line: We can all learn from Coach Stevens’ leadership skills.

12 CX Factoids: Ratings, People, and Leadership (Infographic)

It’s hard to keep up with everything that Temkin Group published in 2017, so we put together a couple of infographics to highlight some of the key data insights. The initial infographic examined CX efforts and ROI.

In this infographic, we examine 12 factoids on CX ratings, people, and leadership. Below the infographic you’ll find links to download the graphic (as well as a poster), along with links to the referenced content.12 Customer Experience Factoids Infographic From Temkin Group, Covers CX Ratings, People & Leadership

Here are links to download different versions of the infographic:

Here are links to the research referenced in the infographic:

BlackRock CEO Shares A Sense of Purpose. Hallelujah!

Every once in a while, there’s a signal that things are changing. I hope that this is one of those moments.

Larry Fink, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock, recently sent out his annual letter to CEOs. This year, it was titled, A Sense of Purpose. I urge everyone to read it. Here’s an excerpt:

Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.

I totally agree!

Companies have a responsibility to all of their stakeholders, not just to a narrow set of needs (financial returns) for a subset of its stakeholders (shareholders). This perspective is part of what has fueled what I call Modernized Leadership, which is a rethinking of outdated management practices.

Fink’s letter is particularly powerful given that Blackrock is the world’s largest asset manager. When investors take a longer-term point of view, they recognize that the creation of true value is driven by a commitment to a strong sense of purpose. As Fink says…

Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential. It will ultimately lose the license to operate from key stakeholders. It will succumb to short-term pressures to distribute earnings, and, in the process, sacrifice investments in employee development, innovation, and capital expenditures that are necessary for long-term growth.

Why is purpose so important? This video shows its power:

Purpose has been one of Temkin Group’s core themes for many years, so we have a lot of content on the topic. If you’re interested in becoming a more purposeful leader, I suggest you start here:

Having a sense of purpose isn’t just a notion reserved for CEOs and leaders, its applicable to everyone. We all share the responsibility for making the world around us a better place. With that in mind, I urge you to join Temkin Group in making 2018 The Year of Humanity.

2018 The Year of Humanity (Temkin Group)

The bottom line: We can make this a moment of change.

Report: Lessons in CX Excellence, 2018

Download Temkin Group research report, Lessons in Customer Experience Excellence, 2018We just published a Temkin Group report, Lessons in CX Excellence, 2018. The report provides insights from six winners in the Temkin Group’s 2017 CX Excellence Awards. The report, which has more than 70 pages of content, includes an appendix with the finalists’ nomination forms. This report has rich insights about both B2B and B2C customer experience.

Here’s the executive summary:

This past November, we named six organizations the winners of Temkin Group’s 2017 Customer Experience Excellence Award – AARP, Allianz Worldwide Partners, Century Support Services, Nurse Next Door Home Care Services, Reliant, and Sage. This report:

  • Highlights specific examples of how these companies’ customer experience (CX) efforts have created value for both their customers and for their businesses.
  • Describes winners’ best practices across the four customer experience competencies: purposeful leadership, compelling brand values, employee engagement, and customer connectedness.
  • Includes all of the winners’ detailed nomination forms to help you collect examples and ideas to apply to your own CX efforts.

Download report for $195
Purchase and download Temkin Group research report, Lessons in Customer Experience Excellence, 2018

Here are some highlights from the winners: Read More …

Young Employees Are Most Impacted By Purposeful Leaders

As many readers of this blog know, Purposeful Leadership is one of Temkin Group’s Four CX Core Competencies. How do leaders demonstrate this characteristic? By mastering what we call the 5 P’s of Purposeful LeadersPersuasivePassionatePropellingPositive, and Persistent.

In a recent post, we showed how Purposeful Leadershipaffects the behaviors of employees. We decided to take a look at how the impact differs across ages of employees. To do this, we segmented more than 5,000 U.S. employees into two groups, one that said that their boss demonstrated all five characteristics of Purposeful Leadership (about 55% of the total) and those who’s boss did not.

We then examined the percentage of each group who say that they “always” or “almost always” try their hardest at work. As you can see in the chart below:

  • Younger employee are most effected. Looking at the impact of Purposeful Leaders between both groups, we find the largest gap for the youngest employees (27 %-points).
  • Older employees try harder. For both groups of employees, the percentage of employees who try their hardest increases with age.

Temkin Group analysis shows that the positive impact of purposeful leaders is greatest with younger employees

The bottom line: Purposeful leadership is gaining importance.

Free eBook: 25 Tips For Becoming A More Purposeful Leader

Free eBook: 25 Tips For Becoming A More Purposeful LeaderAs part of our CX Day celebration, which this year is focussed on Elevating Purpose, we’re giving away this free eBook: 25 Tips For Becoming A More Purposeful Leader.

Free ebook download

One of Temkn Group’s Four CX Core Competencies is Purposeful Leadership. To master this competency, a company must be able to affirmatively answer the question, “Do your leaders operate with a clear, well-articulated set of values?” Purposeful leaders create an engaged workforce and help their organizations deliver positive customer experiences.

This eBook contains these 25 easily adoptable tips from across the Five P’s of Purposeful Leadership. Here are the tips:

25 tips for becoming a more purposeful leader

Also check out our recent video on Purposeful Leadership and the Elevate Purpose page.

The bottom line: Purposeful leadership really matters!

Large Companies Lack Purposeful Leadership

As you likely know, one of Temkin Group’s Four CX Core Competencies is Purposeful Leadership. It requires demonstrating 5 P’s of Purposeful LeadersPersuasivePassionatePropellingPositive, and Persistent.

How prevalent are these attributes? To answer this question, I tapped into Temkin Group’s consumer benchmark study and examined feedback from more than 5,000 U.S. employees. We asked whether or not they agreed that their bosses demonstrated these behaviors that are consistent with the Five P’s:

  • He/she makes decisions that are consistent with what he/she says is important (Persistent)
  • He/she helps you succeed in your job (Propelling)
  • He/she regularly shows appreciation for the work that you do (Positive)
  • He/she doesn’t just tell you what to do, but he/she explains why it’s important (Persuasive)
  • He/she is passionate about the success of the organization (Passionate)

We examined the data across size of organization. As you can see in the chart below, there’s a substantial drop-off above 5,000 employees for all five areas.Purposeful leadership at an organization

6 Levers For Executive Commitment to CX (Infographic)

In the report Activating Executive Commitment to CX, Temkin Group introduces a blueprint that CX leaders can use to gain and strengthen senior executive commitment. It’s composed of six levers: Create Vision Clarity, Share Compelling Opportunities, Amplify Emotional Empathy, Feed Intrinsic Motivations, Enable First Steps, and Fuel Ongoing Confidence. Here’s an infographic that provides an overview.

infographic of 6 levesr for gaining executive commitment to CX

You can download the graphic in several formats:

Want Better Employees? Be A Purposeful Leader

As you likely know, one of Temkin Group’s Four CX Core Competencies is Purposeful Leadership. It requires demonstrating 5 P’s of Purposeful Leaders: Persuasive, Passionate, Propelling, Positive, and Persistent.

Why should leaders bother to adopt these practices?

To answer this question, I took a look at our latest consumer survey and analyzed data from more than 5,000 full-time U.S. employees. As you can see in the chart below, employees who experience the behaviors of purposeful leaders are much more likely to do something that is good for the company even if it’s not expected of them.Employees work harder for personal leaders

This analysis highlights one piece of our dataset that shows how employees work harder for purposeful leaders. We see this same pattern across many other employee behaviors.

Being a purposeful leader is not about being a nice person or a likable manager. It’s about acting in a way that motivates employees and creates a higher performing organization.

The bottom line: Purposeful leaders have more dedicated employees.

Our Nation Needs More Purposeful Leaders

I’m sorry about this somewhat political post (you can stop reading it now if you like), but I feel as though we all have a responsibility to speak up.

I’ve become saddened by the apparent rise of hate across the U.S. Instead of embracing the strength of our diversity, our country seems to be giving rise to hateful rhetoric and policies that target minority groups.

As an American, I believe that this is intolerable. We are a great nation because of our diversity, not in spite of it.

To paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., I have a dream that we can live in a society where people are not judged by their religion, race, color, gender, or ethnicity, but by the content of their character.

While I’m not an expert on politics, I’ve spent a lot of time studying leadership. I believe that the leader of a great nation must demonstrate a competency that Temkin Group calls Purposeful Leadership. My hope is that the leaders of our country can better demonstrate these five P’s of purposeful leaders:

  • Persuasive: Don’t just say that we should be doing something, make the case for why it’s good for all citizens and important for the future of the country.
  • Passionate: Don’t motivate people by scaring them, provide a compelling view of the future that inspires hope.
  • Propelling: Don’t focus on your personal needs and ego, empower and enable the people who work for you and around you to be successful.
  • Positive: Don’t focus on finding flaws and blaming people, motivate them by showing appreciation for their successes.
  • Persistent: Don’t adjust your statements to meet the needs of the day, be very clear about your values and always act consistently with them.

The bottom line: The U.S. is a great country because of its inclusive diversity.

Report: Activating Executive Commitment to CX

Activating executive commitment to customer experienceWe just published a Temkin Group report, Activating Executive Commitment to CX. Here’s the executive summary:

Organizations that want to drive sustainable customer experience (CX) improvements need to have senior executives who are committed to propel change throughout the entire journey. Successful transformation efforts require senior executives to set the direction, lead communication efforts, model desired behaviors, align resources, and hold the rest of the organization accountable. However, CX leaders and their teams often struggle to obtain the commitment and involvement necessary from senior executives to ensure these change efforts succeed. In this report, we provide a model for how CX teams can effectively engage their senior leaders. Here are some highlights:

  • The blueprint includes six levers CX leaders can use to gain and strengthen senior executive commitment: Create Vision Clarity, Share Compelling Opportunities, Amplify Emotional Empathy, Feed Intrinsic Motivations, Enable First Steps, and Fuel Ongoing Confidence.
  • To illustrate how these levers work, we share examples of 24 best practices from companies including Anthem, CA Technologies, Cisco, Fidelity, Microsoft, Penske Truck Leasing, and Regions Bank.
  • We provide CX leaders with an assessment they can use to identify the commitment stage of their senior executives and offer advice on which of the six levers can have the greatest impact by stage.

Download report for $195+
buy activating executive commitment to cx

Here are the six levers for activating executive commitment:

  1. Create Vision Clarity. Many senior executives are enamored with the idea of customer experience, yet lack a clear picture of what CX really means for their organization. As a result, they aren’t able to persuasively advocate for the required changes. Therefore, CX teams should provide leaders with a clear understanding of where the CX efforts are heading.
  2. Share Compelling Opportunities. Senior leaders will only stay committed to a CX effort for as long as they remain convinced that it will help the organization succeed. That’s why CX leaders must continue to make and reinforce the CX business case to senior executives. This requires establishing a tangible business case and setting realistic expectations for the upside of action and the downside of inaction.
  3. Amplify Emotional Empathy. An executive who is emotionally committed to CX efforts provides a different level of support than one who is only intellectually bought-in. To gain this emotional commitment, the CX team should enhance executives’ natural empathy by bringing customers’ experiences to life for them.
  4. Feed Intrinsic Motivations. Executives are motivated by a myriad of different objectives, such as being seen as successful or reaching some self-defined goals. Intrinsic motivators – like meaning, choice, competence, and progress – can be particularly powerful levers for activating commitment. CX leaders should connect their efforts to the personal goals of executives and should make them feel good about the efforts underway.
  5. Enable First Steps. Even executives who are fully committed to the CX agenda may not know exactly what they can do to help propel the CX efforts forward, especially since they are often juggling many different priorities. It’s up to the CX leader to make it easy for the senior leaders to participate in the efforts by recommending specific, doable steps that they can take.
  6. Fuel Ongoing Confidence. CX teams need ongoing support from their executives; however, senior leaders are prone to distraction and doubt. To keep them on track, CX leaders need to keep executives informed of the progress and success of CX efforts and need to demonstrate to executives that resources are being used well and risks are being managed well.

Here are the best practices discussed in the report:

best practices for engaging senior leaders in customer experience

Download report for $195+download engaging leaders in cx report


Report Outline:

  • Without Senior Executive Involvement, CX Efforts Falter
    • Executives Must Become Purposeful Leaders
  • Six Levers For Activating Senior Executives
    • 1) Create Vision Clarity
    • 2) Share Compelling Opportunities
    • 3) Amplify Emotional Empathy
    • 4) Feed Intrinsic Motivations
    • 5) Enable First Steps
    • 6) Fuel Ongoing Confidence
  • Strategies For Different Levels of Executive Engagement

 

Figures in the Report:

  1. Senior Executives Don’t Always Demonstrate the Right Behaviors
  2. How Senior Executives Play a Critical Role in CX Efforts
  3. Blueprint for CX Leaders: Best Practices for Engaging Senior Executives across the Six Levers
  4. HR Support of Customer-Centricity, CX Leaders Versus Other Firms
  5. Sample Design Persona for an Online Travel Agency
  6. Integrating Executive Sponsors with Other Customer-Facing Roles at Oracle
  7. Disseminating Feedback to Spur Executive Action: Ciena’s Inside Out/Outside In CX Scorecard
  8. Sandy Spring Bank: Meeting in a Box
  9. CA’s Immersion Workshops
  10. Essential Elements of CX Governance
  11. Assessing Senior Executive CX Engagement
  12. Top Levers to Use with Executives by Engagement Level

Download report for $195+download engaging leaders in cx report

CX Competency: Purposeful Leadership (Video)

Temkin Group has found that the only path to sustainable customer experience differentiation is to build a customer-centric culture. How? By mastering Four Customer Experience Core Competencies.

This video provides an overview of one of those competencies, Purposeful Leadership, where the goal is for leaders to act consistently with a clear, well-articulated set of values.

Here are the Five P’s of Purposeful Leaders:purposeful leadership


CX Sparks: Guides For Stimulating Customer Experience DiscussionsThis video is a great introduction to a discussion with your team. That’s why we’ve created a CX Sparks guide that you can download and use to lead a stimulating discussion.

Customer Obsession Lessons From Amazon.com’s Bezos

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos recently sent a letter to shareholders sharing his view on how Amazon would avoid what he calls “Day 2,” because…

Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.  

I’ve shared the full letter below, but want to share my thoughts on Bezos’ four themes he shares for avoiding Day 2:

  1. True Customer Obsession: Obviously this theme completely resonates with me. I love the line… “Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and your desire to delight customers will drive you to invent on their behalf.” My take: Companies need to look for the unchartered white space, and innovate at the intersection between customers’ latent needs and emerging capabilities.
  2. Resist Proxies: Bezos calls out “process” and “surveys” as proxies to watch out for. Process is an issue because it can reinforce compliance and complacency, instead of empowering individuals to drive innovation.  Surveys are an issue, because they can provide employees with a superficial understanding of customers. Deep insights into what people like, love, and dream about aren’t fully answered with percentage points. My take: You need to create deep customer empathy, not just statistically significant charts and metrics. Find ways to include more qualitative research.
  3. Embrace External Trends: Amazon will likely be more adept at grabbing the “tailwinds” of trends than most companies, but it’s critical for all leadership teams to keep an eye on how the world is changing. That’s why we issue our annual listing of CX trends. I was also very intrigued by Bezos’ discussion about easy access to Amazon’s “deep learning frameworks.” An API that taps into Amazon’s rich analytics backbone could be much more exciting than even IBM’s Watson. My take: Every organization should identify a set of key trends and ask the question: “How will these put us out of business or help us to create even more value to customers?”
  4. High-Velocity Decision Making. Bezos discusses three elements of his leadership philosophy. First of all, treat many decisions as reversible, so that you are creating an option — not just putting all your chips on a single approach. Second, is to get comfortable with making decisions without full information. Thirdly, he talks about “disagree and commit” which means that everyone needs to get in line when a decision has been made. Finally, he wants true misalignment to be identified and dealt with immediately. Nothing kills a culture more than lingering, unaddressed issues. My take: It’s smarter to get moving and learn along the way (see my post Modernize Leadership: Learn and Adjust).

The bottom line: Every leadership team should proactively avoid Day 2.

Read More …

Sadly Saying Goodbye to Pete Winemiller

petewinemillerI just heard that Pete Winemiller passed away, and it hit me hard. I knew that he had been battling cancer, but I thought that he was winning the fight. How could he not? Pete was one of the most positive people that I’ve ever met. The world lost a wonderful man… and a true customer experience trailblazer.

Pete was the Senior Vice President, Guest Relations for the NBA’s OKC Thunder. His work on customer experience focused on the people who were interacting with fans. Not just employees of the Thunder, but all of the people from all of the partners who played some role in the fan experience, including concessions, parking, ticketing, maintenance, and even the police force.

I actually was privileged to give Pete and his team two different CX awards. In 2012, the Thunder earned Temkin Group’s CX Excellence Award. When Pete heard that they had won, he immediately asked if we could provide multiple versions of the award to give to his partners. He brought his partners out during the half-time of a game to share the award with them.

In 2014, the Thunder won a CXPA.org CX Innovation Award. Pete flew in to accept the award and I gave it to him on stage. He was a big man who had a huge, warm handshake. As with all of his accolades, he wanted to share the award with all of the Thunder partners. In November of 2014, I went to OKC with my daughter to participate in the halftime ceremony (I’m on the left and Pete is next to me).

IMG_0201

I really enjoyed that visit (you can read about it here). It was great to see Pete operate. He seemed to know the names of all the people who were working at the game. As he walked around the stadium, he was both a cheerleader and a stickler for quality. In his wake, he left a highly engaged workforce, most of whom were only part-time employees.

Pete was a great example of a purposeful leader. He operated with a clear, well articulated set of values. As a result, all of the employees who affected the fan experience delivered on the OKC Thunder’s five service principles (acronym CLICK!):

  • Communicate courteously
  • Listen to learn
  • Initiate immediately
  • Create connections
  • Know your stuff

We regularly interviewed Pete as part of our research, so you will see snippets of the OKC Thunder’s efforts in may of our reports. One of the most detailed overviews of Pete’s work can be seen in our 2013 report, Lesson in CX Excellence (download for free using the code “ThanksPeteW“).

The world lost a true CX trailblazer and a great human being. I’ll miss him.

R.I.P. Pete.

An Ugly Uber Lesson In Organizational Culture

1702_ubercultureIn a recent Fast Company article, This Is What Caused Uber’s Broken Company Culture, Uber was described as having a…

“Hobbesian environment” where “workers are pitted against one another and where a blind eye is turned to infractions from top performers.”

While I haven’t investigated Uber’s actual culture, it’s worth examining what could have caused this type of an environment in one of the fastest growing Internet companies. To be fully transparent, I’m an Uber customer who is thrilled with how the company has transformed the taxi experience.

My take: Culture is frequently neglected. Why? Because it often doesn’t seem to show up until there’s a problem. That’s what happened at Wells Fargo, and it is also what appears to have occurred at Uber. Very few leaders set out to create a dysfunctional culture, but they exist in many places.

Every organization has a culture, whether its leaders explicitly attend to it or not. It represents how employees think, believe, and act:

  • Think: Employees are intellectually bought-in and understand the company’s vision and why it is important to the company. What is the company communicating?
  • Believe: Employees see that leaders are truly committed to what is important to the company. What are leaders demonstrating with their behaviors?
  • Act. Employees adjust their behaviors to align with what is important to the company. What do employees do when no one is looking?

In young companies, organizational culture closely mirrors the attitudes of its leaders. If they care about fast growth at all costs or winning through combat, then that’s the context that frames how employees think, believe, and act. If the company is successful, then the culture tends to be strong, as it is implicitly reinforced by that success.

What does strong culture look like? Picture a cult. Behavior isn’t judged on a normal good/bad scale, but on how well people conform to the tone set by its leaders. Inappropriate behavior such as the sexual harassment alleged at Uber can go unchecked, unless it overtly bumps up against a cultural norm. If alleged allegations of wrong doing are not important to the leaders, then they will not be taken seriously or even acknowledged.

To all of the leaders reading this post, especially those who are running young, fast-growing companies, please stop ignoring organizational culture. You’re responsible for much more than financial results. You’re creating an organization that can hopefully endure and add value to society. So focus on your organizational culture and create a company that you can be proud of for generations.

Wondering how to do it? Read my post: Put Culture Change On Your 2017 CX Agenda. Here’s How. 

The bottom line: Organizational culture really, really matters!