In my last blog post, I described the six most common reasons why customer centricity initiatives often fail. One of these is the lack of commitment demonstrated by senior leaders in the organization.
Here at five types of leaders you see most often, and their level of involvement:
1. THE PACIFIST
This leader delegates the business of creating the customer-centered culture to others and reviews occasional reports. He is not really fired up about customers and focuses on other perceived success factors like operational excellence or technological superiority.
2. THE BANKER
This leader hears the plans and signs off on the final budget. He generally forgets about it until the next budgeting cycle, where his most important question is typically: “What’s the Return on Investment?”
3. THE TRACKER
This leader is interested in customer behaviors. He regularly asks for and monitors various customer metrics (dashboard) and doesn’t do much else.
4. THE ROLE MODEL
This leader causes a vision for the organization to be created. He spends significant time with customers, and also attends internal meetings to improve service. He approves changes in appropriate systems and building blocks, picks his top performers to head up the customer/culture initiative and starts every meeting with reports on the organization’s customer health.
One of my customers used to have a cardboard cutout of a person placed in a chair at all executive meetings. On the cutout were the words: “I am the Customer. What would I say?”
5. THE CULTURE ENGINEER
This leader understands the power of culture. He actively manages it for maximum employee involvement, customer acquisition and loyalty. His business card may read something like “Chief Customer Officer”. He might define leadership as: Creating an engaging environment where each individual is willing and able to carry out the vision and mission of the organization.”
Questions for you to consider:
What type of a leader are you?
What type of leaders do you see most commonly in your organization?
What can you do to create a aligned and powerful leadership team?
How can you ensure your customer centricity initiative succeeds?
Guest post by Richard Whiteley
Richard is the author of The Customer-Driven Company, Customer-Centered Growth, Love the Work You’re With and, most recently, The Corporate Shaman. He is a co-founder of The Forum Corporation and winner of the Instructional Systems Association Distinguished Service Award. Richard is a long-time consultant and advisor of UP! Your Service.