I don’t know about you, but I do some of my best thinking when traveling — as I did recently, through nine states in eight days. This isn’t a 1,400-mile, gas-guzzling flex. It’s just to illustrate that I had a lot of time. I’ve been researching customer obsession in B2B for a while now with my colleagues Amy Bills and Barbie Mattie. So, I started to think about the parallels between business leadership and planning and executing a complex family vacation. Here are a few of my observations (and if you’d rather just cut to the chase and find out how customer obsessed you are as a leader, complete this survey now):
- Know your people — all of them. In the same way that I had to balance interests as varied as factory tours and amusement parks, customer-obsessed leaders understand their customers and their employees deeply. Sixty-four percent of the respondents to Forrester’s Future Of Work Survey, 2021, said that their leaders prioritize customer needs when making product or process decisions, but when there’s a customer-obsessed leader in place, that percentage jumped to 90%.
- Empower innovation, and remain flexible. Allocating time for spur-of-the-moment shifts in our route allowed us to explore the spectacular Luray Caverns in the Shenandoah Valley. Eighty-six percent of B2B organizations with customer-obsessed leaders agreed that senior leaders could find the budget when they needed to fund innovative new projects. This was true for only 56% of average organizations.
- Resource appropriately. Car snacks. Need I say more? In organizations with customer-obsessed leaders, 85% agreed that their manager helps them resolve issues that get in the way of their work — something that’s true for only 60% overall.
And just like leaders who aren’t 100% perfect yet, I had a strategy and a plan to execute but still made some missteps — like forgetting to book ferry tickets more than a day in advance, so we had to get up at the crack of dawn. But my family knew how committed I was to making it a great vacation for everyone, so they didn’t whine when the alarm went off at 6 a.m. (or at least, not too loudly).
Want to see how customer obsessed a leader you are? Complete our survey, and you’ll see your results immediately. As a thank you for your contribution to our research, we’ll be sure you get a full copy of the results if you’d like.
Please join me, Amy, and Barbie on our LinkedIn Live session this April 12, during which we’ll share a lot more about customer-obsessed leadership.