“Double-click” to get the most from your NPS® surveys

TLDR: Net Promoter Score℠ (NPS®) surveys can help you decode many things about your business.  Most people start by looking at the global NPS trend.

To get the most value from your analysis, I recommend “double-clicking” on your NPS results and looking more closely at what’s below the surface.

Continue reading

Building a Customer Success team? Start with customer feedback

TLDR: Building a Customer Success Team? Start with Customer Feedback

The genesis of a customer success team is often “ready, fire, aim”.  Somebody has to manage the growing customer base, and quickly.

But the team should start with a purpose, or else you risk mismatching your hires to the needs of the job. How do you define that purpose? Use customer feedback to create the team charter.

Continue reading

On governance (and what happens when there isn’t any)

BoardroomLeaders who work within a governance structure are different than ones who never had governance over them.  We’re experiencing the difference right now in our president’s behavior, and nobody should be surprised at what we see.

Why shouldn’t this be surprising? We implicitly assume that all leaders are accustomed to a governance-based structure because they worked within one before. We get surprised by the behaviors of those who never had governance, because it’s a rare circumstance.

Most all of us have a boss.  Even as a CEO, you have a “boss” because you have a board of directors to whom you’re accountable, or to investors, or both.  When we reflect on recent presidents, they all had bosses too.

President Obama had a boss as a senator; the party leader.  Plus his constituents.  As a law professor, he had a boss in the dean of the faculty or the departmental head.

President Bush had bosses. As governor, it was his constituents and his party. As a businessman, he was on boards of directors where others’ inputs were accommodated by necessity.

However, our president grew up never having a boss.  This is both unusual and very different.

Effectively, he wasn’t ever subject to the governance of independent directors, investors or a supervisor.  As a result, his behaviors never had to accommodate persons in higher authority than himself.

By way of analogy, once in a while a company in the tech industry manages to succeed with the founder’s own bootstrapping. Only later does the company accept outside investment and accept outside investors onto a board of directors.  The longer the time between initial bootstrapping and initial governance, the harder it is on the founder to modify his or her behavior to accept a governance structure for the first time.

I’ve borne witness to multiple of these situations and I can tell you that the founder/CEO seldom adjusts to this change easily if at all.

Now our country is witnessing this phenomenon on a grand scale as our president experiences the initial shock of governance; there is now a unilateralism in virtually everything he does.  This includes but goes beyond having two other branches of government. There are bosses in the form of constituents, the media, other governments, staffers etc.  He can’t order everybody around as he was accustomed to. Apparently he doesn’t like it one bit.

We should not be surprised by any of this given an utter lack of governance in his past, let alone taking his personality into account. If Americans thought they were hiring a typical successful business CEO – who had a board and investors – they overlooked the important difference between the vast majority of CEO’s and this one: governance.

Whether he becomes an effective president or not will depend, in my opinion, on whether he can accept governance over himself for the first time.

 

Is America’s divide about Christianity?

The Pew Research Foundation published an in-depth analysis of what constitutes “national identity” around the world. The data is based on Spring 2016 survey data.

What struck me is how important being a Christian is to Americans, relative to other countries:

Relatively few say religion essential to national identity

As one might imagine, the importance of Christian affiliation is greater for Republicans than Democrats.

In fact, there are several meaningful differences in the definition of “national identity” between the parties:

In U.S., Republicans take tougher stand on what it takes to be a true American

We know that city dwellers skew Democrat and rural dwellers skew Republican.  This report reinforces the broader basis of our “city mouse versus country mouse” cultural and socioeconomic divide:

  • multiple ethnicities in cities versus homogeneously white in rural regions
  • multiple religions and secularists in cities versus Christians in rural regions
  • higher per-capita incomes in cities versus lower in rural settings
  • higher percentage of college educated graduates in cities than in rural settings

I fear this divide is intractable for now. Our cities are becoming more, not less, diverse by every measure thanks to the global nature of the technology and financial service industries.

But the divide is still probably temporal, given the long term demographic trends.

Perhaps we’re experiencing the last stand by those who think our country’s control should rest in the hands of one religious affiliation:

screen-shot-2017-02-03-at-3-43-28-pm

For another blog is the irony of this all.  Our founding fathers carefully designed an areligious government system, where no religious bloc could wield power over others. Their motives were rooted in their prior experiences of religious persecution and monarchial control.

If we really want to get along, perhaps the founding fathers should be our true north (again).

Customer health scores: you’re probably doing it wrong

TLDR: A lot of work has been done in recent years to develop customer health scores.  In B2B SaaS, even more work has been done to automate the process. Interestingly, the underlying approach that most companies use is flawed.  

We can draw a lot of lessons from sales forecasting in order to get health scores right.

Continue reading

“Daddy, why is the President allowed to lie?”

Businessman holding wooden alphabet blocks reading - Lie - balanced in the palm of his hand.

My 9-year-old son is aware of the recent election and the President’s actions since inauguration.  He sees news snippets on TV and brings stories back from school.

It’s been difficult explaining to him why the President can get away with lying.

He understands that the role of President is to be our country’s leader, and therefore should be the “best” person among us.  And he’s heard many, many times from us his parents about the importance of truthfulness.

So he’s confused.

Yet his innocent question remains.

Our President is a serial liar.  This is not in dispute.  He’s done so multiple times in just his first week in office, perpetuating a pattern throughout his candidacy.  And his lies are beyond what we’re accustomed to hearing from politicians on both sides, spinning their versions of an issue.

So many questions come to mind:

  • Why is this ok?
  • Do we not deserve better?
  • What will be the cost of this behavior on our citizens’ commitment to do right and to get along?
  • How will the rest of the world see us now, and what will that cost us?
  • Will there be a backlash?
  • Will we learn some sort of lesson from this episode, and never repeat it?

These are profound issues. Ones that are tempting to ignore but carry untold costs.

Ethics matter if we want to continue to be the country we say we are.