7 Inhibitors to Customer Driven Growth

7 Key Inhibitors

Jeanne Bliss is an expert on customer-centric leadership. Her new book Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine is a success roadmap for leaders wanting to build a customer-focused organization.  Jeanne pioneered the Chief Customer Officer position and has held the job for twenty years at Lands’ End, Allstate, Coldwell Banker, Mazda and Microsoft. She has led Customer Bliss since 2002 where she has consulted with some of the world’s largest companies.

With all of her experience and research, the very first thing I wanted to know was about the mistakes leaders are making.  She shared with me the 7 growth inhibitors companies are making again and again.


“Culture is the action, not the words.” -Jeanne Bliss


What mistakes are holding companies back from building a customer-driven organization?


Are You Making These Mistakes?

There are 7 key inhibitors that companies stumble over in trying to earn customer-driven growth:

1. Not having executives engaged in the effort.

Often executives will say that they want to focus on the customer experience, but they hand off the tasks to a department or area to work on it. It is hard to sustain this work without executive involvement driving the new prioritization, removing actions that are in the way, and giving people permission to work together.

2. Starting with a mantra, not an action plan.

Often companies decide that they want to get some early traction by telling everyone to “focus on customer experience.” What happens next is that people realize this is a big corporate priority and begin making plans, creating new scoreboards and taking action. A lot of action occurs, executives get a false-positive that change is occurring, but it eventually stalls out because the actions don’t add up to improve complete end-to-end customer experiences.

3. Not defining the customer experience and gaining alignment.

The most potent recurring use for the journey map is to guide work and discussions from the customer perspective. Without this framework to unite efforts, silo work continues to proliferate.

4. Not breaking the work into actionable pieces.

6 Leadership Lessons from a Banker, Pope and CEO

This is a guest post by Rowena Heal, writer at RocketMill. She spends a lot of time with her head in a book or watching too much Sci-Fi. For more information, please check out the Cryoserver blog.

Heading up a team is tough and, unfortunately, a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership doesn’t exist.

From menial tasks, like enforcing a tidy desk policy and coaching best practice for a tidy inbox, to motivating a team to double revenue year-on-year, it’s difficult picking appropriate techniques without falling into the trap of micro-management.

Thankfully, there’s a lot to be learnt from Mario Draghi, Pope Francis and Tim Cook; all of whom have appeared within the top four of Fortune’s World’s Greatest Leaders List.

Mario Draghi

As President of the European Central Bank, and second on Fortune Magazine’s list, Draghi has a tough job on his hands. Despite this, his abilities to motivate and remain calm are great examples of skills that should be emulated by managers in all fields.

1). Keep your team motivated:

We wouldn’t blame Mario for succumbing to the stress of maintaining financial unity across 18 countries, although he’s yet to do so.

Despite having one of the toughest and most significant jobs in the world, his pledge to do ‘whatever it takes’ to preserve the euro – as well as boasting the nickname Super Mario – highlights his motivational skills.

Managers should take heed of this approach, remembering staff morale often rests heavily on your own emotions; if you’re stressed, rest assure they will be too. If things are getting a little shaky within the business, keep the team motivated – chances are the positivity will help pull you all back out of a slump.

“The speed of the boss is the speed of the team.” -Lee Iacocca


2). Stay grounded:

Mario’s often praised for his down-to-earth approach to his job; something arguably unexpected when under so much pressure. Draghi’s less than lavish lifestyle outside the office – his family celebrated his son’s graduation in a pizzeria in Milan – keep him grounded in work, too.

We’re not suggesting you remove all luxuries from your life, just don’t spend hours bragging about big expenses to staff that cannot afford the same – it’ll only create barriers. Remaining down to earth is a great way to ensure team members can speak to you openly and avoids issues with secrecy or intimidation.

Pope Francis

Now a few months into his second year as leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis is responsible for economic reforms at the Vatican and has driven a spiralling discussion on divorce and homosexuality throughout the Church.

Author Jeffrey A. Krames believes there are at least 12 leadership lessons we can learn from Pope Francis, but we’ve picked two we deem important and applicable.


3). Listen to advice:

Unfortunately, a manager isn’t always right, so it’s important to accept that decision making isn’t a lone task.

Francis demonstrates enthusiasm for learning from the people around him, creating a Council of Cardinal Advisers comprised of eight members from across the world with ideologically varied views. This group advises him on all major actions and has been deemed the ‘most important decision-making force in the Vatican,’ by John L. Allen, author of The Francis Miracle: Inside the Transformation of the Pope and the Church.

When heading a team, don’t be afraid to ask for advice from staff. Weigh up opinions and come to a conclusion based on this. Even if you still opt for your original decision, it’ll feel reassuring to know others are backing your verdict.


4). Lead with humility:

Asserting authority doesn’t have to go hand in hand with bossiness, and it’s important to remember how important your staff are – you wouldn’t be able to do your job without them.

Be more approachable by immersing yourself into the business – as well as the office. Francis is a clear advocate for leading with humility, and you can imitate this quality, starting with simple steps, like abandoning your office for a desk space next to your colleagues, or spending less on lavish business lunches.

Tim Cook

37 Quotes on the Creative Force Within


“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” –Albert Einstein


“Creativity doesn’t just love constraints; it thrives under them.” -David Burkus


“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” –Joseph C. Pearce


“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” –Henri Matisse


“Quiet people have the loudest minds.” –Stephen Hawking


“Creating open teamwork is the best way to encourage innovation.” -Kay Koplovitz


“You can’t harvest big ideas unless you sow the right seeds.” -Rowan Gibson


“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.” –Dr. Seuss


“A thousand dreams within me softly burn.” –Arthur Rimbaud


“The earth has music for those who listen.” –Shakespeare


“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” –Robin Williams


“Creativity takes courage.” –Henri Matisse


“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” -Albert Einstein


“Innovation is the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” -Peter Drucker


“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” –Henry David Thoreau


“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” –Alan Kay


“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” –Vincent Van Gogh


“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.” -Thomas Edison


“Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” –Carl Sandburg


“Every artist was first an amateur.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson