The Rise of the Chief Customer Officer – HBR

My organization’s COO posted this blog post this morning on our Yammer feed. When I first read it and the comments on Yammer I thought,” yes, we do this”–we are a small organization and for the most part , in terms of customer service ,any one in the office could be approached in the office and appropriately answer questions or direct them in the right place.

Then I read the article, and the importance of having a customer-driven person in the board room aka a Chief Customer Officer. I LOVE the idea of this, but could see how it would be hard to catch on in a corporate company.

A position such as this would be something I see as relevant in all organizations. At times it is so easy for those in the board room to get caught up in numbers, bottom lines, quantitative goals that the customer is lost–the customer becomes a product instead of a driving force. Companies sometimes givers the members what the company THINKS that the customer wants long-term. And sometimes this changes the experience for the customer in the present or immediate future. This can create a cyclical problem if the company is not right, then the long -term plan becomes the present and because the customer’s point of view wsa not brought in at the beginning the plan still does not TRULY have the customer in mind.

Finances has a voice in the board room, operations has a voice in the board room, why shouldn’t the customer have a voice in the board room? In my opinion, there is no question that there needs to be a “touchy feely” person in the room to temper out all of the people looking at the black and white “facts” and numbers. There is a narrative behind every number and “fact” and someone with a qualitative, customer-driven focus can change the story in the board room.

Members mattering most starts in a organizations annual goals, what they see as their bottom line and what they consider success.


Johari Window

You cannot focus on frames without noticing which window you and/or others are looking through. With better understanding of the Johari Window one can decide which frames(s) need be applied to a conversation, situation, research etc.

Often individuals base their opinions on one’s public self, while understanding our perspectives come from a much deeper place–which most of us often assume is made up completely through our public and private self. Easily forgetting that the hidden self and unknown self are just as responsible for our and others thoughts and perspectives.

When developing frames, utilize mindfulness to understand which windows you are accenting–try to make sure each receives a brand new frame.


Open: Adjectives that are selected by both the participant and his or her peers are placed into the Public quadrant. This quadrant represents traits of the subjects that both they and their peers are aware of.

Private: Adjectives selected only by subjects, but not by any of their peers, are placed into the Private quadrant, representing information about them their peers are unaware of. It is then up to the subject to disclose this information or not.

Hidden: Adjectives that are not selected by subjects but only by their peers are placed into the Hidden quadrant. These represent information that the subject is not aware of, but others are, and they can decide whether and how to inform the individual about these “blind spots“.

Unknown: Adjectives that were not selected by either subjects or their peers remain in the Unknown quadrant, representing the participant’s behaviors or motives that were not recognized by anyone participating. This may be because they do not apply or because there is collective ignorance of the existence of these traits.

info supported by *the always reliable*, Wikipedia


What AREN’T You Asking?

In life, you have to make sure you’re asking the right question.

1+1=2. Why? One of what? Plus one of what else? In what circumstance are these things being put together? 1 snake plus 1 rat equals 0 in my book. 1 male rabbit and 1 female rabbit equals 12 babies. 1 bomb + 1 crowded location equals dozens/hundreds dead. Ask Questions!! Don’t believe something because it was taught to you that way or it’s always been that way.

Become an independent thinker. For everything told to you there are a lot of variables. Most things are subjective.

Reframe the Question

Metro Framing

It seems whenever I leave my apartment “early”* to go to work–it never fails that there is a metro issue. Today, I’ve been sitting at the metro for over 30 minutes watching the sign change from no listing, train listed but no time, train listed at 17 minutes until arrival and then back to nothing. All these changes as more and more commuters and tourists fill the metro platform.

I’m watching a lot of people standing around vocally complaining or giving off body language signals that show that they are upset and/or antsy. I’ve learned that getting stressed doesn’t fix a problem (for me) instead it compounds a problem so sitting calmly takes no effort to me on morning like this. Therefore, I’m sitting and people watching, and I see that most people are on their phones texting, reading e-mails or the web, while others  are talking on the phone.

If I could reframe the situation for the impatient and upset I’d say, “hey, if we are all going to be stuck here aren’t you glad we are at least stuck on a platform with a strong cell signal?!”

Reflective Observation:

Why are some (most?) brains programmed to first tap into our negative feelings about a situation? What makes it so that individuals have to work to find the positive frame? Is this an american frame of mind? Does this occur in other cultures and/or countries? What causes me to believe that others think that way? Am I the only person that immediately jumps to the negative frame? Do I just to positive frames more often and not just realize that I’m doing it? Could it be beneficial that I at least notice when I have a negative frame so that I can reframe? Could I work harder to notice when I have immediate positive frames, just as I do with the negative, so that I can still challenge my assumptions in a situation?


After over 40 minutes of sitting here, the train finally pulled up, crowded. Now I’m watching everyone participating in the cattle call–trying to stuff themselves on an already crowded train. I cannot begin to imagine how that could make for a better day, but I don’t know their stories. Some may be in a rush to go nowhere, some to a boring meeting they most likely didn’t want to attend in the first place. But who knows, maybe someone is off to see their only daughter get engaged and this delay has thrown a wrench in their plan.

All I know is that you get to choose how you feel. A negative and/or dejected attitude won’t make a train to come faster and it definitely will not make you paper thin so that you can fit into that small space left in the metro door. Usually it just leads to a broken frame in which everything and/or everyone is wrong following that initial “trigger”.

Be powerful. Take the time to reframe. Create the day you want to have. You get to choose!

*please note that the term early is subjective in my world. 🙂 #wishyouworkedhere

We Literally Live in Our Memories

Have you ever thought about how difficult it is to actually live in the moment–in the present? When in essence, we are all living in our most recent memories. Each moment is a reflection of the previous or a prediction of the next.

Subconscious reflection is tied to our beings although it is not often acknowledged because most individuals don’t take the time to actively delve into those reflections. Our reactions to someone’s facial movements or upset feelings of a missed the train–these reactions and feelings are connected to our most recent memories. We think we are upset in the moment, but in truth our feelings are tied to a recent memory. That’s why I say we all choose how we feel. We get to choose on how we reflect and remember a situation.

The reflective practitioner often gets a bad wrap. One wonders why a colleague would need 30 minutes to just think–there’s work to be done!!! Well, there’s always work to do. Taking time out of the day, even if it’s five minutes, to reflect on all of your reflections. Take time to separate your assumptions from your concrete experience.

The world is black and white. The actual moments are the black and white. Our reflections color the world gray.  We create the rainbows, the sunshine. We create the clouds, the rain.

Great, Greater, Greatest.

I just read a great blog post, “Great Leaders Make Others Great,” written by Leadership Freak and thought I’d share.

Following his list of 10 things that make others great,  he left readers with two questions:

Why don’t leaders grow young leaders? How can leaders grow more leaders?

From a workplace point a view and as a Director in my organization, I think that points 2 and 10 in the blog are highly connected to his first question:

2. Provide opportunities for failure. Nothing succeeds like a good failure. Our failures, more than successes, make us. Organizations that learn from failure go farther than ones that punish them.

10. Leverage ownership over accountability. The power of accountability fades in light of ownership. Say, “This is your project.”

As a manager, supervisor, or anyone with any type of oversight you know that at the end of the day you are responsible and accountable for the development and outcome of a project. Therefore, I’d be accountable for any failure. Looking into the “how” and “when” of failure can significantly change my POV on the matter. Failing at steps 1, 5, and 9 does not equal project failure, if caught at each step those are opportunities to learn, adjust and move forward. Did the “failure” happen because of the person, process or the plan? Is it now an opportunity to share with others when planning to make sure to include or exclude or carefully execute certain pieces? Did the person learn that they did not allow themselves enough time or did not understand the process as clearly as they thought they did? There are so many variables in any project–and when you hand the reigns to someone else the gaps become easier to see. Whereas if I do a project myself I can easily adjust deadlines to fit other things I’m doing or fix a mistake before it is caught by others.

Failure teaches you how to adapt, plan for the future and even provide space for further discussion and collaboration. Failure provides a threshold for a new success. Being afraid to fail means that you are, essentially, afraid so succeed.

There are many opportunities to fail at something and failure does not have to be discovered at the end of the project. Giving someone the opportunity to own their own project and stating “this is your project” does not mean, “this is your project and follow up on the day it’s due–good luck”!

Projects happen in stages, parts and pieces. There are timelines, there are times to check in and share project. Any owner of a project would have to check in with someone–Wedding planners check in with the bridge and groom (or their parents), CEOs check in with their Board of Director’s. Checking in does not equal checking up. Knowing your manager is going to continually change things, impose their ideas, provide low morale. Managers, including me, need to always remember that the project most likely won’t happen the way you’d do it (whether in process of final product). But, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t done well. You have to clear your mind of your own expectations and look at it from a blank slate or at least the end-users perspective.

In one of my Knowledge Management courses required that we read, Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace. The book was a great and unconventional read that continues to inspire me and it reminded me of a section of the book in which the Gordon MacKenzie decided to start saying “yes” to any of his staff that would come to him with problems or ideas. This kind of encouragement gave his colleagues the ability to shares ideas without rejection with the opportunity to follow it through.

I will be saying “Yes” more. I will say, “this is your project” more. Why not? True failure doesn’t have to exist.