Wednesday, January 31, 2018

12 Principles of Successful #CEM Change Management

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Change. It's inevitable.

And it's hard. Many - as high as 70% of - change initiatives fail.

But don't let that stat scare you. And don't let it change your attitude about what lies ahead. Don't let that become a self-fulfilling prophecy! You know you need to make the change. You know that it will take a Herculean effort. You can do this! And I'll help with a few tips.

Your transformation efforts are much more likely to be successful when you incorporate some of the most basic tenets of change management. John Kotter's got his eight principles of change management, but I'm going to expand on those a bit and put things into customer experience management terms. There's definitely overlap; after all, as you start to think about the strategies and steps involved in customer experience management, you realize that it is a change management process in and of itself.

Here are the fundamental steps - or pillars - to successful customer experience change management.
  1. Understand the current state. You can't transform something you don't understand. In order to really learn about the current state and to identify and help prioritize what to fix/change, do two things: (1) listen to employees and to customers, and (2) map their journeys. These are the two greatest tools in your customer experience management toolbox.
  2. Create a vision for change. Once you know what needs to be changed, you need to define what the future state will look like. Your change vision is a statement or image of some desired future state, i.e., what the company and the experience will look like after you change, along with details about why this future state is desirable. It will give employees a sense of the magnitude of the change and the overall impact on the organization, on themselves, and on the customer. On the heels of your vision, develop the plan for how it will be executed.
  3. Build your business case. Answer the questions: Why is this change necessary? And what impact will it have on the business if we make this change? Identify your objectives first and then align the business outcomes and benefits tied to each. Your outcomes may be customer retention, account growth, new business through referrals, culture change, etc. Benefits might include cost savings and other efficiencies. Building your business case is not only about the why but also about the what: teach executives who might not understand the connection between focusing on culture, employee experience, and customer experience and increasing revenue and profits. You'll have to appeal to both the rational and the emotional sides of their brains. And establish the burning platform.
  4. Get executive commitment. If company leadership isn't on board with the change, then forget it; it won't happen. You might have localize or departmentalized efforts, but those will be silo'd efforts that translate to silo'd experiences for employees and customers. Without executive commitment, you'll never get resources - human, capital, or other - to execute on your customer experience strategy. And while we're talking about executives, they must also all be aligned. If they're not on the same page about the change initiatives, then it'll be a challenge to successfully execute.
  5. Establish your success metrics. You've defined your objectives and your desired outcomes. But how will you know when you've achieved them? What does success look like? How will you measure success? Define your success metrics early so that you can track progress over time.
  6. Develop a governance structure. Changing the organization's DNA to be more customer-centric is not a journey for one person to undertake; this is an organization-wide effort. As such, the governance structure is critical to the foundation of any customer experience management effort. Without an executive sponsor, an executive committee, the core program team, and cross-functional champions, your transformation won't get very far.
  7. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. I can't say this enough. Communicating your vision is an important piece of change management. If no one knows what it is or why it's taking place, then people start to ignore it; they certainly don't want to be a part of it. Of course, the key is to communicate the right information. Tell the change story. Early. And often. Let them know what is changing, why it's changing, how it will impact them and what they do (differently) on a daily basis, and how they will be involved. Celebrate milestones and successes. Keep communicating.
  8. Involve and empower employees. Get their buy-in and commitment. There's a great quote from Benjamin Franklin that's so fitting here: Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn. Get employees involved - early in the process. When that happens, they feel like they're a part of it. Don't just force change on your employees; give them some ownership in the change. They'll be more accepting of it, without a doubt.
  9. Model the behavior. It's important that, once executives are committed to the change effort, they lead by example, to model the change that they wish to see from their employees; if they don't live the change, why should employees?! If your CEO doesn't demonstrate commitment to the transformation by being the role model for how to deliver a great experience, it won't happen. Often times, some quick wins will help to drive the point home that this change is real - and it's happening.
  10. Stand up a group of culture ambassadors. Put together a group of people who exemplify the change you envision. They already live the change. They get it. Find ways to not only involve them in the change initiatives but to also be ambassadors for the change: model it, sell it, champion it.
  11. Build on initial successes; keep going. Change fatigue can set in at any time because there's always some initiative within the organization that pulls people away from what they are doing on a daily basis. Keep people informed of the progress being made. Celebrate each milestone. Be relentless and just keep going until the outcome has been achieved.
  12. Monitor and adjust. Once you’ve implemented the change, once you're in the "future state," your job is not done. The customer experience is a journey, as are your customer experience management and improvement efforts. The business evolves. New products are launched. Customers’ needs change.  New competitors enter the marketplace. Continuous improvement is the name of the game.
Having problems getting adoption for your latest change initiatives? Avoid change fatigue and the skepticism that comes with change feeling like the flavor of the month. You must have a vested interest in getting the process right, in sticking with the journey and not giving up because it's hard. No one ever said this was going to be easy; nothing worth doing ever is!

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -Thomas Edison

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Put People Before Profits

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Does your company put profits before people?

I bring this up because I've seen a particular phenomenon many times: executives decide to put their employee experience and customer experience improvement efforts on pause because sales figures are down. Clearly the blame is that the people focus has derailed them from business development and closing deals; there can be no other reason for this (she said with all the sarcasm in the world).

We know that the employee experience and customer experience transformations are a journey. Unfortunately, the immediate pressures of the business often drive out long-term goals and objectives.

So many executives today still live by the old management adage, companies are in business to maximize shareholder value. In doing so, they put profits before people, rather than the other way around. Ironically, in the 1970s, Jack Welch was a huge proponent of that adage, but within the last ten years he has renounced it, calling it "the dumbest idea in the world" and saying:
Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy. Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers, and your products. Managers and investors should not set share price increases as their overarching goal. Short-term profits should be allied with an increase in the long-term value of a company.
While creating and maximizing shareholder value is important to any public company, it is an outcome, not a means. There are means to achieving that outcome, and they including putting employees and customers first, ahead of profits. Companies succeed if and when employees want to work for them, customers must be willing to buy - and actually buy - their products, vendors and suppliers want to partner with them, people want them to locate in - and be a part of - their communities, and shareholders buy their stocks. Companies have more constituents than just shareholders and more responsibilities than delivering value for them. The rest of their constituents must receive value, as well.

When companies (executives) put profits before people, they are driven by:
  • short-term thinking
  • short-sightedness
  • impatience
  • money, metrics, margins, numbers, revenue
  • shareholders
These are the things that cause executives to stop improvement efforts and shift focus and resources solely on closing deals and making the numbers.

When, in reality, focusing on the employee and focusing on the customer first are all about ensuring you can close deals and make your numbers.  Focus on the former, and the latter follows.

Peter Drucker says that the purpose of a business is to create a customer. You can't create a customer if you don't have the right people in place to deliver value to the customer, if you don't understand who the customer is and what her needs are, and if you're not designing and creating products that help them solve problems or get jobs done.

Seth Godin writes in his post, What are corporations for?...
The purpose of a company is to serve its customers.

Its obligation is to not harm everyone else.

And its opportunity is to enrich the lives of its employees.

Somewhere along the way, people got the idea that maximizing investor return was the point. It shouldn't be. That's not what democracies ought to seek in chartering corporations to participate in our society.

The great corporations of a generation ago, the ones that built key elements of our culture, were run by individuals who had more on their mind than driving the value of their options up.
So how do companies do that? How do they drive up value for employees so that they can deliver value for customers?

  • Define and socialize your values and guiding principles.
  • Create a culture where people are first.
  • Hire the right people, particularly those that fit your culture.
  • Take care of employees, and they will take care of customers. Don't just treat employees as cogs in the wheel. Trust, motivate, reward, and respect them.
  • Let employees know how their work matters and how it impacts the business. Be open to ideas and suggestions from employees and use them.
  • Listen to employees, learn from what you hear, and do something with the feedback. They want the business to succeed as much as you do. Value their input, and show them that you care by using it to make changes and improvements.
  • Invest in your employees. Coach, train, and develop them and ensure they are on a path to career success.
  • Treat people like people. See human. Be human.
  • Create a workplace where policies and processes don't hinder an employee's ability to do his job - and do it well. Or hinder his ability to deliver a great experience to his customers.
  • Live a life of servant leadership. Put the needs and interests of your people before your own.
  • Leaders must communicate, and be open and transparent. Develop a culture of transparency.

It's a mindset shift. I can tell you all of those things have to happen, but your CEO and her executive team (the entire team, everyone on the same page) must choose to lead and to run the business differently. It begins with them. The choice is theirs.

But it doesn't often happen on its own - and certainly not overnight! As always, if you can start to show some quick wins and ROI, you'll build the business case for why the shift is necessary. And there's a ton of data out there already to show the impact of focusing on employees and the employee experience. Don't be afraid to use some of that to build your case.

Your employees come first. And if you treat your employees right, guess what? Your customers come back, and that makes your shareholders happy. Start with employees and the rest follows from that. -Herb Kelleher


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How and Why to Map Your Stakeholders

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Today I'm pleased to share a guest post by Paul Laughlin. This post was originally published on his blog on October 2, 2017.

Do you have a stakeholder map? Is it up-to-date and do you use it?

Those questions frequently come up when I’m working with clients. In either training or coaching, the need to "know your stakeholders" is a common one.

It’s not surprising that it matters. Today’s businesses are more complex than ever. Plus, it’s not enough for insight or analytics leaders to generate insights, they need to be able to act on them. Few, if any, of today’s leaders can do that in isolation.

Whether you need to partner with IT, Sales, Marketing, or Operations, you will need to cooperate. The challenge, of course, is that other people have their own priorities, challenges, and values. These may not accord with yours, or may at least make your intended action less important now.

Consider a stakeholder map for better stakeholder management.

Creating a Stakeholder Map: Step 1
The first challenge, when seeking to manage your stakeholders better, is to identify them. This might sound patently obvious, but I often see too little time spent on this stage.

Leaders (including data/analytics/insight leaders) will easily recall others they work with often. But, one of the benefits of a well-designed stakeholder map is having taken the time to spot others.

So, I suggest taking some time to think. Use mind-mapping techniques to identify a 360-degree view of all your stakeholders. To get you started, consider the following possible direct relationships:
  • Whose investment/permission do you need to proceed?
  • Whose process approval do you need to comply?
  • Whose resources do you need in order to deliver change/action?
  • Whose engagement do you need to do the work?
  • Whose expectations do you need to meet to succeed?
  • Whose cooperation do you need in order for it to work?
  • Who thinks they are affected (but aren’t) and needs reassurance?
In other words, consider your: sponsors, gatekeepers, suppliers, team, clients, peers, and others who may be worried.

Once you have identified these immediate relationships, then think about who they need. Can you identify their line manager, internal suppliers, teams, peers, etc?

Some simple examples of different visualisation techniques for this stage are available from Stakeholdermap.com.

By this stage you may be thinking this could be a never-ending journey. You are free to stop once you find newly-identified stakeholders who wouldn’t really be impacted. Either they would have no stake in what you are working to achieve, or you don’t need them.

My advice is to work on this a little longer than you want to. It’s surprising how often, toward the end, you identify a team or a leader you had not considered.

Creating a Stakeholder Map: Step 2
The output of Step 1 may look unwieldy, even if you have produced a beautiful "spider web" on flip charts. That is because it is. Of itself, the above exercise has identified too many stakeholders for you to viably manage.

The point of Step 1 is not to create your priority list but first to think broadly enough so you’re not stuck on "the usual suspects." Step 2 is all about prioritization. Anyone who has worked on project/change management will be familiar with the Boston Consulting Grid (BCG). This works on a similar representation.

To prioritize the stakeholders identified in Step 1, you need to assess each one against two dimensions:
  1. How much influence do they have?
  2. How interested are they?
The first question is all about their impact on what you are seeking to achieve. Let’s say you have produced a targeting model for a marketing campaign. Perhaps all your testing has proven (to you) that it is much more accurate than the current approach used by Sales & Marketing teams. In this context, Question #1 means: Who has the authority to decide if new targeting is implemented?

One caution here is to consider different types of power. It’s easy to identify those who are more senior in the organization. Also look for those with significant influence over others or recognized expertise. Score highly all those who have high influence over the decision to use the new model.

The second question (above), concerns engagement. Frankly, are they bothered? You should score highly those who are very interested (either as advocates or detractors). Also consider stakeholders who have significant "skin in the game," i.e., those you know will be interested once they understand the impact on them.

Once you have relatively scored every stakeholder (from high to low on both axes), you can plot them. This is where the exercise looks like a BCG. Plot the relative position of each of your stakeholders identified in step 1 on a 2×2 grid of the above axes.

In classic BCG fashion, the ideal quadrant should be top right. That is the stakeholder with high influence and high interest. But, be ruthless. Don’t just keep stakeholders near that top right because you like them or usually work with them. Take a hard look at relative scores – because you need to prioritize down to those who need to be managed.

A tidy visual explanation of this technique is published by Karim Vaes:

Image courtesy of Karim Vaes

Using a Stakeholder Map: What Next?
Hopefully you have seen above the benefit of identifying your stakeholders and prioritizing those who matter most. Such a stakeholder map (output from Step 2) can help you prioritze your limited time.

Every insight or analytics leader I meet is busy. They often refer to things like "not enough hours in the day." So, personal effectiveness and productivity should matter to such technical leaders, too. This mapping exercise is all about helping you be more productive.

Managing stakeholders takes time. The way to avoid burnout and to stay sane is to focus your efforts. Be disciplined in who you spend time with and how you communicate.

This is how you should treat the different quadrants of your map:

Key Players (Top Right)
This is where to really focus your efforts. Get to know these stakeholders, what they are like, what matters to them. What is there preferred way to be briefed (face to face, call, email summary, etc)? Plan in time to proactively ensure they understand your proposal and keep them informed in a way that works for them. Clearly communicate what is in it for them.

Keep Satisfied (Top Left)
These stakeholders are your next priority group. They have the influence to make or break your plans, but less/little interest. The key here is to be brief. Ensure you summarize down to the least they need to know to reassure them. Your time is likely to be taken crafting pithy updates or influencing their trusted advisors/teams.

Keep Informed (Bottom Right)
These stakeholders are less important than the two groups above, but are interested. Here the key is to minimize the time you take keeping them informed. Most of your stakeholders should be below the central horizontal axis, so they are in this or the next group. Given such volume, although this group matter, they can be a time drain. How can you automate reports, or brief them through existing meetings?

Minimal Effort (Bottom Left)
These are the least important stakeholders. Step 2 should have placed the largest number of stakeholders identified in Step 1 in this quadrant. Here you want to be reactive, if possible, and protect yourself from any unnecessary effort. Avoid offending anyone, but see if you can just answer their questions through existing means or as they arise.

Stakeholder Map: What Works for You?
I hope that post was useful. It's important to know how to effectively manage stakeholders. But mapping your stakeholders is a great place to start. If you don’t have a map, or the one you have doesn’t work for your current situation, then create a new one.

For now, what works for you? Do you have any other tools you use? How do you map stakeholders and keep the most important ones in view?

Paul Laughlin has over 20 years experience of leading teams to generate profit from analysing  data. Over the last 12 years he’s created, lead and improved customer insight teams across Lloyds, TSB, Halifax and Scottish Widows. He’s delivered incremental profit of over £10m pa and improved customers’ experiences.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Importance of Communication to the Omnichannel Experience

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Today I'm pleased to share a guest post by Ford Blakely, founder and CEO of Zingle.

According to Google, 98% of Americans switch between devices in the same day.

Today’s savvy consumers have a variety of options when it comes to engaging with your brand. From desktop and laptop computers to tablets and smartphones and even brick and mortar stores, the customer journey is more complicated than ever.

Let’s get one thing clear, though: having multiple channels is not the same as being omnichannel. The difference here is that a true omnichannel experience is interconnected and seamless throughout the entire customer journey, whereas multichannel simply means you have multiple customer touchpoints but fail to connect data across channels to enhance the experience.

The Importance of an Omnichannel Strategy
Delivering a true omnichannel experience is hard to achieve but definitely has its benefits. A survey by Aspect Software indicated that businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t.

Other benefits of an omnichannel experience include:
  • Deliver Better Customer Experiences through leveraging real-time and historical data on customer online shopping behaviors, profile preferences, and purchase history, as 90% of customers expect consistent interactions across channels.
  • Provide More-Effective Marketing through targeted promotions and remarketing strategies based on data-driven customer segmentation across channels, as campaigns integrating four or more digital channels will outperform single or dual-channel campaigns by 300%.
  • Acquire New Customers by increasing exposure to your brand and engaging customers on any channel or device they are using, as 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
  • Gain More Robust Data that covers all channels and allows businesses to make better decisions on product development and marketing efforts, as 77% of strong omnichannel companies store customer data across channels compared to 48% for weak omnichannel companies. 
  • Improve Operational Efficiency through real-time communication and visibility of data across channels, as 71% of shoppers agree that it is important or very important to be able to view inventory information for in-store products.
As you can see, having an omnichannel strategy has benefits for both consumers and businesses alike. Customers get better experiences, while businesses acquire and retain more customers.

The Missing Link in Today’s Omnichannel Customer Service Strategy
Consumers don’t care about channels; they demand a fast and effortless customer service experience no matter which channel they use.

Common customer care channels like phone, email, website, chat, and social media are all great ways to serve customers, but there is one missing: text messaging.

Text messaging is the only channel that doesn’t require a lot of effort or time for customers to engage, and many consumers prefer it; RingCentral reports that 78% of consumers wish they could have a text conversation with a business. But only 48% of businesses are currently equipped to handle any form of messaging.

Customer service continues to evolve and improve as technology advances, and businesses should be looking at all channels available to serve customers while keeping in mind the business cost of service for each channel. For example, customer service call centers cost dollars per call versus text messages, which cost cents per call.
 
People like to communicate in different ways. Some like emails; some like face-to-face interactions; while others, like millennials, prefer texting over phone calls. Regardless of which channel your customers choose to communicate, ensure that your messaging, tone, and overall experience is consistent and personalized across channels. In addition, proper training of staff on knowledge, etiquette, and timeliness for each channel you support is equally important as the channel itself.

The implementation and execution of your omnichannel strategy can be the difference between rising above - or falling behind - your competitors.

Ford Blakely is the founder and CEO of Zingle. As a frustrated consumer with an entrepreneurial spirit, Ford sought to figure out a quicker way to order his latte in the morning. He did - and in 2009 Zingle was born as the first two-way, business-and-customer communication platform. Currently, thousands of hotels, food retailers, and other businesses use the software platform to increase efficiency, revenue, and customer loyalty by providing a quick and simple way to communicate with customers through text messaging - people's preferred method of communication today.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

8 Must-Read Posts to Start Your CX Strategy on the Right Foot

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Does your company place top priority on culture and employees?

I've asked this question many times over the last several years - over the last 25 years. I've said more times than I can remember: "Quite simply, without employees, you have no customer experience." Companies have to put employees first. They have to make sure employees have a great experience. And yet... they don't.

I'm encouraged that more and more consultants and thought leaders are talking about the importance of focusing on the employee experience and culture these days. Together, we'll make a dent!

I look forward to sharing the link to a webinar I recorded just before the holidays that's all about culture and employee experience. Stay tuned for that link - it's coming soon!

In the meantime, here are some blogs I wrote in 2017 to get the thought processes flowing. Companies need to focus on these areas - for the sake of the employees, the customers, and the business.

Leadership
We Have a Crisis in Leadership

Culture
7 Pillars of a Strong Culture
Culture - The Soul of the Organization
Mission, Vision, Guiding Principles, Values. Oh My!
Signs You Work in a Toxic Environment

Employees
The Candidate Experience and the Customer Experience
Where Do Your Employees Fall in Order of Importance
Employee Engagement: A Confluence of Passion and Purpose

Some questions to consider as you look at your strategy for 2018:
  • Are your executives aligned? Do they work together as a team?
  • Are they committed to employees and the employee experience?
  • Do they model the behavior they want to see within the organization?
  • Have you defined your core values?
  • Are the values communicated and integrated into all your employees do?
  • Can your employees recite your mission, vision, and purpose?
  • Have you developed a Culture Ambassadors program? 
  • Is your culture one that attracts great talent and keeps existing employees excited to come to work every day?
  • Do you have an employee listening program? And act on the feedback?
  • Do you map employee journeys? And use the findings to improve the employee experience?
  • Is the candidate experience on anyone's radar?
If you answered "No" to any of these questions, start building your to-do list! You've got your work cut out for you this year! If you think you can deliver a great customer experience without first focusing on the employee experience and creating a culture where people come first, you're wrong. Time to revisit your strategy!

Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization's makeup and success — along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like. I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn't just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value. -Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Former CEO of IBM


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Silos Are For Farmers!

Image courtesy of Pixabay
I originally wrote today's post for CallidusCloudCX; it was published on their blog on July 26, 2017.

In last July's webinar with CallidusCloudCX, I talked about nine behaviors of CX Losers. (There are more than nine, without a doubt!) One of the behaviors was failing to break down organizational silos.

I grew up on a farm, so I'm quite familiar with silos. And that's where they belong, on the farm; they're concrete or metal structures that are created to hold or to store something, to separate the contents (grains), and to make that something difficult to get at (by rodents, predators, weather, etc.).

That sounds very similar to what organizational silos do: hold, separate, and protect. One silo, er, department, will hold, separate, and protect its contents (data, information, resources, etc.) from another department. Even worse, the focus within each organizational silo is on the flavor of the day, or of the silo - whatever that silo is working on, which may or may not be connected to what the rest of the organization is focused on.

Organizational silos cause pain for your employees. They lead to reduced efficiencies, waste resources, kill productivity, reduce morale (with a them-and-us mentality), and are detrimental to your ability to create a customer-focused culture. This means they cause pain for your customers, too. And they wreak havoc on your CX strategy.

Silos kill innovation. They create nightmares for the customer experience. And say good-bye to the omnichannel experience! When departments and channels don’t talk and share customer data, the experience is fragmented and frustrating. You’ve experienced this: Think about having to re-enter your information when you go from website to phone or providing information when transferred from rep to rep. That frustrates customers to no end!

When a company is silo'd, the following are just some of the things that happen in a vacuum:
  • Communications: no consistency
  • Actions: no consistency
  • People development: training, coaching, hiring, rewards and recognition, etc.: no common standards or consistency
  • Data access and usage: no data sharing
  • Information and knowledge: no sharing
  • Technology and tools: unique to each silo of the organization
  • Metrics: unique and inconsistent
There is no consistency or uniformity when there are silos; every department is using its own tools and processes to support what they are doing rather than working efficiently and consistently with the rest of the organization to be more cohesive, to be one company. And employees and customers feel it and know it.

What do companies need to do?

They need to get everyone in sync, on the same page, and working together toward a common goal.

Think about this: silo is more of a mentality than a physical thing. There are no walls in place to keep you from talking to your colleagues in another department and from sharing what you’re working on with others. Department or business unit heads choose to not share information or to collaborate. It's a leadership issue. It's a culture issue. It requires a shift in mentality!

How can you start to shift the mentality? Try these...

1. Journey maps: by definition, when you map customer journeys, you must involve cross-functional stakeholders, which (a) gets them collaborating and sharing and (b) helps them see how various departments impact a single customer journey. As a result of that epiphany, they realize they must work together to improve the experience. A previous client mapped their customer journeys and learned that their silo'd business units created a poor experience for the customer, who had to re-engage as a new customer each time he worked with a different business unit. After mapping, they flipped the organization on its head and organized the business to align with the customer journey rather than being a silo'd journey through their individual business units.

2. Governance structure, steering committee: helps to ensure that action plans are executed and outcomes are measured - cohesively, in a collaborative fashion - across the organization; the governance board functions as the engine and the oversight committee of a CX change management initiative. They get people working together toward a common cause/goal. They ensure alignment and accountability, and their cross-functional collaboration is priceless.

3. Communications and collaboration technology: put systems into place that allow employees to share information, learnings, and more across departments, channels, business units, etc. Put technology in place that facilitates and encourages communication and collaboration. Encourage collaboration and cross-functional teamwork – through journey mapping, action planning, design thinking, etc. – in the interest of the customer. Having the tools and technology in place facilitates and supports an open culture.

4. Leadership and executive commitment: breaking down silos is a culture and a mindset shift, and of course, that means it comes from the top. Both company executives and department/business unit heads must lead the charge. What can they do?
  • Improve cross-functional and organization-wide communications and interactions by initiating, supporting, and facilitating the conversation starters
  • Share stories, acknowledge successes, and cross-team collaboration
  • Work toward a common goal, in a very vocal way, i.e., talk about the common goal and how each department impacts it
  • Speak the same language, using a common vocabulary when it comes to the customer and the customer experience
  • Tie CX and other incentives in the same way from department to department, i.e., don't give people a reason to hate what's happening in another department
Other thoughts? Make sure you’ve defined and communicated the company's mission, vision, values, guiding principles, and brand promise. These help to get everyone on the same page. While they may not break down silos, they'll create alignment and break down some of the mentality barriers that exist with silos.

Have you had success breaking own silos? What have you done? Would love to hear your thoughts!

Silos build the wall in people’s minds and create the barrier in organizations' "hearts." -Pearl Zhu