Collaboration is what CCOs need to embrace

Collaboration is what CCOs Need to embrace

I wanted to take a second to talk about collaboration within CCO work. This is a complex, far-ranging topic and we’re only going to cover it in a brief blog post (although I do speak often about collaboration in books and speeches), but I wanted to touch on some recent research and thought leadership around collaboration.

Collaboration and uniting silos

This is probably the most obvious form of collaboration, and I — and others — have been talking about it for years. If you listen to any episode of my customer experience podcast, this is what a CCO will typically say about the first 90-120 days of the role:

  • Talk to everyone
  • Understand what they do
  • Figure out what metrics they are evaluated on
  • Know their vocabulary
  • Determine the best approaches to collaboration

Real talk: oftentimes, other executives won’t immediately understand the role of the CCO. Why? Because they are all tasked with customer concepts in their own silo. So they might look at you and say, “What will this person do?” I’ve had a few CCO guests who felt that way initially when entering a role at a new company. In those situations, collaboration is massively important. If you get people on your side and know their incentives, you can achieve a lot — and quickly, which is what your supervisor probably wants to see.

Some collaboration research

This is from a new Digital Tonto article called “The Era of Mass Collaboration:”

The truth is that today the possibilities of many technologies far exceed the ability of any one firm to capitalize on them. So they key to competitive advantage is no longer to optimize value chains, but to extend capabilities through collaboration, either directly or through platforms. In a networked world, the best way to become a dominant player is to be an indispensable partner.

This is a crucial point. Many people are still going to speak to you about the “value chain” because that’s a common, older-school business concept. But “value chain,” while still a focused term that makes sense in 2017, isn’t the way you should necessarily think about business. As Digital Tonto says, “extend capabilities through collaboration.”

Here’s a similar article, which includes this section:

That’s why Geoff Colvin argues in Humans Are Underrated that the most critical 21st century skill is empathy and calls for a shift in emphasis from “knowledge workers” to “relationship workers.” In a world of exponentially increasing complexity, no one person or firm can do it all, so those that can work well with others have a distinct advantage.

This one is interesting because we’ve been using the term “Knowledge Economy” of late, but in reality isn’t it always a “Relationship Economy?” Doesn’t that drive everything? And aren’t the most potent relationships fostered through collaboration and kinship?

That’s especially true in the customer relationship part of a CCO’s work, but also in how they structure their teams and treat their employees.

Anything else you’d add on collaboration?

I believe some of these concepts we write and speak on often — collaboration, loyalty, trust, relationship-building — are very important to the modern economy, both internally (how you treat your team) and externally (how you acquire and retain customers).

Seen anything particularly potent about collaboration that you want to share?

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