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  • Writer's pictureMark Slatin

What Took Me Four Years to Discover as a CX Leader?

"Every failure is a blessing in disguise provided it teaches some needed lesson one could not have learned without it. Most so -called "failures" are only temporary defeats.

- Napoleon Hill

I began my career as a CX professional when CX was a budding discipline. The Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA) was less than a year old when I launched the first formal customer experience effort at a Sandy Spring Bank.

My focus was on establishing and building:

  • Recruiting a CX governance group of senior leaders

  • Establishing an Employee Experience Committee

  • Selecting and Implementing a Voice of the Client program

  • Building trust with key stakeholders

  • Designing a new hire orientation "CX Day"

  • Deciding on the right metrics and measurements

  • Landing on customer loyalty metrics

and the list goes on...

Then I had a eureka moment!

At some point about four years in, after many ups and downs, after victories and defeats, I realized my role wasn't what I thought it was.

I thought I was the construction guy, who helped to build and enable the organization to deliver consistently "remarkable" experiences.

And, while that was the overarching goal, it was only one aspect of my role.

My role as a CX leader was a change agent for cultural transformation.


Building the "miracle wheel" as Fred Reichheld calls it (see my interview with him is the enabling part.

It's the how.

But CX is much bigger than that.

Cultural transformation is the what.

This really changed my mindset and perspective.

It meant that in order for CX to be embedded, and not bolted on, I would need to do several things effectively:

  • Tell stories - because people who are inspired to change do so because they believe in the purpose and stories engage both sides of the brain.

  • Create apostles - this shift in my thinking made me realize that I can't do this myself. My goal was to turn on 1000 light bulbs. That's means acknowledging that I needed to enlist an army of CX fans who carried their own torch for the movement.

  • Align with leaders - meaning I needed to stay tuned into the executive winds and use tailwinds to move our efforts forward.

  • Learn about change management - this is a more recent learning that I'm adding as an essential tool for any business leader involved in cultural transformation. I was a keynote speaker last week at the Association of Change Management Professionals Summit in Charlotte and discovered how much I didn't know about this important topic while attending. I have so much respect for CMP's.

There were more lessons connected to this new mindset shift, but these changed the trajectory of my efforts. There's so much to unpack in what happened next (perhaps for a future issue).

I'm curious, what resonates with you?

What did I miss?


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