Customer Advisory Boards – It’s What You Celebrate

Some say you are what you measure… but we seem to get results from what we celebrate.”

This was a statement made by a CEO of a very large, publicly traded company—not really what I expected.  ‘You get what you measure’ is the focus of most successful companies, but in digging deeper I noticed that celebration—particularly when trying to drive forward the difficult work of culture change—is worthy of attention.

Most businesses today are in the midst of some form of disruption and subsequent business transformation as they work to create new forms of value for their customers.  Customer Advisory Boards prove to be important tools in staying connected with customers through these transitions and gaining direct insight about the transformation.  In some cases, we hear that change isn’t moving fast enough because employees are struggling to keep up with the demands of the business.

We started to think about this question of measuring results versus celebrating results and whether changing one word might help employees make the leap.  It seems trivial—after all it is just one word—but the difference in that word is significant.

Employees that feel measured tend to be focused on upward and internal management to ensure they are sending the right signals; employees that are celebrated focus on working with customers to get the results that will win a celebration.  And the customer prefers working with people who are oriented toward customer wins and celebration, versus detailed internal measurement.  This isn’t to advocate for avoiding measurement, but it is interesting to see the shift in mental models when employees (and customers) feel they are working toward a positive goal.

As you look to your next meeting with customers, think about presenting the areas that are being celebrated in your business rather than just the areas measured.  It will surprise you, but customers will see your business transformation as positive and important, versus difficult and not quite measuring up.

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