How to Grow as a CCO: 5 Lessons in Leadership

I’ve been so pleased with the response to my recent video on looking ahead at the state of customer experience, which sparked a lively conversation on LinkedIn and gotten more than 13,000 views so far (wow!).

Since I’ve received so many thoughtful comments and questions especially about the work of leading the experience practice in various organizations, I wanted to share a few of my favorite lessons that I’ve gleaned over the years.

1. Adjust your innards

To be an effective leader, you have to come to the table knowing who you are. Sometimes, it can be hard: there will be a lot of things that may whack, whack, whack and away at your inner peace, and your strength and who you are and your skills. But it’s so important to be grounded in who you are and to believe in the skills that got you this far. I also talk to the people I coach about finding your passion and your path. What makes you giggle? I’m 35 years into this work with customer experience, and I’m still happy and excited. Find the things that rings your bell, whether in your primary role or on the side.

2. Take personal accountability

In each of our roles, in each of our work, you’ll have to collaborate with others on projects. But you’ll also have many opportunities to take personal accountability and make a difference where you are within the organization. In my book, Would You Do That To Your Mother?“, I’m offering you a simple question to ask yourself. What can you do to support your customer through your attitude, your body language, or your offer of help—even when your answer is “no”?


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3. Find ways to enable congruence of heart and habit

Look to enable ways, within your organization, to allow your team and employees to align their hearts—who they are and who they were raised to be—and their habits—what they’re enabled to do and be at work. As customers, we find joy and enjoyment in engaging with brands who act in this way.

Does your organization enable congruence of heart and habit? Do you help your employees align who they were raised to be with what they're enabled to do at work? Share on X

4. Help others push the rock up the hill

Most of us will find that, in our roles, we have to push a rock up the hill. We will face challenges that require us to unite our teams in order to overcome them. Think about how you can support others as they push rocks up the hill.

5. Share with others! Broadcast your journey

We stand on the shoulders of the people who came before us. I deliberately make my podcast, not about broadcasting your successes, but broadcasting the journey of the chief customer officer.

In it, I ask: What worked? What didn’t work? How did you re-navigate? How did you stop and pause? The work is interesting, but what really drives the work is culture. I call it the underbelly; how did each guest navigate the underbelly of their organization, in order to succeed?

It’s the same reason I co-founded the Customer Experience Professionals Association. Learning from others who do this work is so important, because often times, we are the first to occupy these specific roles.

What advice would you share with others doing this work? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts!

1 comment to " How to Grow as a CCO: 5 Lessons in Leadership "

  • Tabitha Dunn

    All five of these truly resonate with me and my journey as a CX leader. I appreciate how you always bring together heart and mind in how you look at the work we do in CX.

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