Tired of hearing the phrase “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”? As more CEOs put customer obsession at the heart of their corporate strategy, the mantra bears repeating — because customer-obsessed companies put in the culture work to educate and encourage the workforce on everyone’s role in the customer-obsession strategy. Otherwise, the strategy stalls out or even negatively impacts the culture.

If that sounds daunting, know that a lot of organizations started where you are: at the beginning of culture change. Those that propelled their cultures toward customer obsession did so through two types of culture work:

  • Educating employees on what customer obsession is and how to achieve it. Talk about how to adapt education to different roles so that everyone understands what customer obsession means in the context of their daily work.
  • Encouraging the right behaviors through recognition and rewards. Values are what organizations say are important, but culture is how organizations demonstrate those values. Recognition and rewards are key to reinforcing the right customer-obsessed values.

If you’re planning to lead a culture change for customer obsession, here is a checklist we’ve developed and used with hundreds of organizations to establish a culture work practice:

Checklist for assessing whether you've successfully established your culture work practice