How to Understand and Engage the Outliers in Your Organization

In my new Daily Dose video series, I explore the topics that chief customer officers must grapple with on a daily basis. Join me as I discuss what I’ve learned over the course of my 35-year career, so that you can more effectively do the work that needs to be done.

The following is a lightly edited transcript of the video below.

In each episode of my podcast, I ask my guests, “What do you know now that you wish you knew then?” It takes them back to the beginning of their time as CCOs to help reflect on lessons that they can pay forward to other practitioners of customer experience.

In today’s video , I want to share with you a takeaway from my own experience as a CCO and coaching CCOs—on engaging the advocates in your organization, as well as the outliers.

Know Who’s an Advocate and Who’s an Outlier

In doing this work, you might find people who feel they were already doing part of it, who don’t understand your role, or who feel like “you’re getting in their stuff.” That’s natural!

What we need, as we lead the work and as we unite ourselves as a group driving the organization toward a way of improving lives, is to understand who’s an advocate and who’s an outlier. Not to name names or build a list, but to understand how to bring the outliers in, how to hold them closer, and how to understand why they’re outliers.

Let me give you an example.

I’m working with a client, bringing them through my maturity map framework, helping the organization and the leaders understand what they’re doing today, how they’re doing it, and how it’s actually not supporting customers’ lives. We’ve identified a couple of really specific customer experiences that are not great for customers. We’ve done the work to bring the leaders together, we’ve created a consensus around some actions, and we’ve even renamed those actions from a customer goal point of view.

Understand the Reason They’re Outliers

In doing this work, several people are sitting on the fence, and so we’re trying to understand what their issues are. Three or four others really don’t want to participate in the work. What’s interesting is when we found out why they don’t. There were several specific reasons. Number one, they felt they were already doing the job; they felt they were leading the work already and that this was something inadvertently being taken away from them.

Offer to Co-Lead the Work

What we’ve done with those folks was offer to co-lead this project with them. Immediately, as we made that shift, we moved these folks from being outliers, not yet to being advocates, but they’re moving in that direction. By giving them what they thought was their power taken away, we’re building a bridge.

Now they’re co-leading this work with us and it’s shifting everything.

As we do this work across the organization, it’s important to understand not only the people who are gung ho—because we tend to gravitate toward those people—but also to understand why someone’s an outlier.

Are you facing resistance within your team as you make changes to improve customer experience? On this episode of 'Jeanne Bliss' Daily Dose,' we explore three steps to understanding and engaging Outliers in your organization. #CX… Share on X

It may not be just that they’re a curmudgeon; there may be real fundamental reasons. They may feel that it’s financially a problem or that it’s operationally not correct. By getting to the bottom of what’s driving people and their outlier-ness, their not wanting to get on board, we can find a way to bring them into the work. If you don’t, at the end of the day, what we know about this work is—so much of it—is about the underbelly.

If you don’t understand what motivates the outlier and why they’re being that way, you’re going continue to build a community of outliers, and it will consistently get in your way of moving the work forward.

That’s it for me today on today’s Daily Dose. Here’s your takeaway:

  1. Know the outliers and the advocates.
  2. Understand the reason why someone’s an outlier. Get to know their motivation.
  3. Give them a spotlight; invite them to co-lead the work with you.

I guarantee this will start shifting people to wanting to be a part of the work!

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