Take the Cross Silo Assessment and Get 11 Implementation Tips


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Most CEO’s no longer need to be convinced of the importance of retaining customers and developing relationships with profitable customers. What’s on their mind is how to accomplish this feat inside their organizations.

Take stock of where your company is today in managing collective cross-silo work.

  • Consider each statement
  • Determine whether it applies to your company.
  • Decide if these actions are already being reliably managed.
  • If there’s a void, it may be right to consider a Chief Customer Officer.

1. There is someone in our company who clarifies what we are to accomplish with customers.

__ YES there is   __ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: These agreements need to be established in partnership with the functional owners across the organization. It is really important to make sure that the CCO or executive leadership does not do this in a vacuum and then try to “throw the brick over the wall” to the leaders to rubber-stamp.

2. There is a clear process to drive alignment for what will be accomplished.

__YES there is   __ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: The best leaders I’ve worked with drive people into discussion by going around the table and asking each to state his or her commitment or dissent. These leaders make it okay to disagree if someone is not comfortable with what’s being proposed.

3. We have a roadmap for the customer work and know where progress will be measured.

__ YES we do  __ NO we do not

Implementation Tip: This needs to be a group effort. Bring together a team of people with at least one person from every operational area. This group needs to get into the ramifications and work involved in getting the priorities done.

4. Clear metrics exist for measuring progress which everyone agrees to use.

__ YES they do __ NO they do not

Implementation Tip:  Pick a few key metrics that everyone understands, knows their roles in and can follow.  The large score cards we have all created have become almost meaningless because they are filled with so much data.

5.  There is real clarity of everyone’s roles and responsibilities.

__ YES there is __ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: This is about the handoffs between the silos. Make sure that there is a task list that clearly states which parts of the organization must come together to get the priorities accomplished. Too often these goals are kept lofty and high, and people aren’t made accountable for their completion.

6.  People really participate and care about the customer work.

__YES they do __NO they do not

Implementation Tip:  You need to get a commitment from each operational area leader on the number of headcount and the amount of staff time they will contribute. Create a formalized team where 25 to 50 percent of people’s time from areas throughout the company is dedicated to the customer work.

7.  Appropriate resources are allocated to make a real difference to customers.

__ YES there are __NO there are not

Implementation Tip: Hand waving without investment won’t get you anywhere. The key here is to have an organized annual planning approach that dedicates time to the customer objectives and customer investment. The chief executive needs to be personally involved. To achieve success, specific actions with defined parameters of what needs to be accomplished must be identified.

8. There is an understandable process for people to work together.

__ YES there is __ NO there is not

Implementation Tip: This work is as clear as mud. It starts with a high-level frenzy that in the blink of an eye has people going back to business as usual. The process for how the work will be defined, reviewed, executed, and rewarded has got to be laid out clearly.

9.  The work is considered attainable.

__ YES it is __NO it is not

Implementation Tip: Our frenzied enthusiasm gets away from us, and we talk about the end “nirvana” state rather than the steps to get there. What I learned is not to abandon strategy but to dole it out in bite-size pieces. You need to know the end game. But then you need to bridge the gat between strategy and execution so people can work it into budgets, priorities, and planning.”

10.  A process exists for marketing achievements to customers and internally.

__ YES it does __NO it does not

Implementation Tip: When you don’t tell people internally what’s going on with the customer, it’s all white noise to them. No report equals no action. You must make a point of marketing back to both your customers and internally inside the organization.

11.  Recognition and reward is wired to motivate customer work.

__ YES it is __ NO it is not

Implementation Tip: The customer work is not going to seem important until people start to be publicly commended and rewarded for it. Make every company gathering an opportunity to call out customer achievements and reward people for them.

The Question Comes Back to You

  • Is anyone taking these actions?
  • Is anyone even thinking about them?
  • Does anyone have the time to?

Don’t just ask these questions, stew over them. Debate them with top leadership and board. And know that whatever you decide, driving customer profitability isn’t going to be a walk in the park. Is it realistic in your organization to divide and conquer these tasks? If you can, your organization is well adjusted. Having the operational areas own the responsibility and having them share the administrative parts of this work would be heaven. But I haven’t seen many evolved companies that are ready for this. It’s the pushing and prodding part of the work that most companies need someone to spearhead. That becomes the role of the Chief Customer Officer.

Download Cross Silo Assessment (Do You Need a CCO?)

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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