Customer centricity ain’t gonna happen without the appropriate metrics, stupid!


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An American academic by the name of Steven Kerr wrote a profound article in 1975 entitled ‘On the folly of Rewarding A while Hoping for B’

Central to the content of the article is the reality that reward systems exist which encourage behavior contrary to what is wanted/desired. The behaviours that are desired are frequently not rewarded at all. Steve’s article provided examples of these ‘fouled up systems’ within politics, in war, in medicine, in universities, in consulting, in sports, in government and in business.

I’ve been promoting the fact for many years that one of the only ways of creating sustainable competitive advantage is through the design and delivery of a unique and distinctive customer experience. Achieving this outcome is a consequence of enlightened leadership and organizational design based upon systemic thinking such that all business resources and capabilities are aligned, embedded and mobilized in order to achieve the business purpose. The only way to achieve this is by creating and managing ratios and metrics that drive the appropriate behaviours to achieve the ultimate objective.

In today’s world (and more importantly in tomorrow’s world) this becomes even more important if businesses are going to differentiate themselves and become more accountable for their actions. I think it was Lou Gerstner, IBM turnaround fame, who said that ‘you get what you inspect, not what you expect.’

So, until businesses establish some ‘balance’ in their ‘un-balanced’ scorecards, until businesses truly start collaborating and co-creating with a real commitment and understanding of the ‘meaning’ behind their stated vision, mission and strategic intent, until businesses start seeing and understanding the critically important links across systems, resources, processes, policies AND their strategic  objectives and until organizations establish metrics that underpin EXACTLY those behaviours that they desire, we will continue to see ‘more of the same!’ When the rate of change inside the organization is less than the rate of change outside the organization, that organization is living on borrowed time. Sadly, the consequence is that you and I, as consumers, will continue to suffer mediocre and random experiences at best.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Doug Leather
Doug is a leading expert in Customer Management working globally with large blue-chip organisations. He is best described as a Customer Management Evangelist/Activist as a result of his broad multi-industry and multi-country insights into customer management capability understanding, best practice application, customer experience, business models and business performance improvement. He is a Wharton Business School Alumnus.


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