On the Path to CX Leadership: Develop Your Skill Set, Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, and Know Your Customer

“That’s one of the things that I’m a huge believer in is skill sets. Early jobs with skill sets, because skill sets travel. And […] I think it’s incredibly important to me, as we think about workforce development,” says Lambert Walsh, the Senior Vice President of Customer Success at DocuSign, in our recent Linkedin Live conversation.

While chatting with Lambert, we discuss the importance of developing the skill sets that help set you up for success in a customer-oriented leadership position. We also explore the ways in which the pandemic affected this digitally-focused organization, and how they managed both employee and customer experience during this high-intensity period.

Don’t Be Afraid to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Lambert previously held a role as Vice President and General Manager at Adobe and states that during this experience, he did some work that forced him to expand into areas that he found uncomfortable. It was in this space where he had to “stretch” outside of his comfort zone, that he developed more skills and continued to value the importance of empathy.

He says, “I think getting continued opportunities to expand and to get out of your comfort zone, that’s the test. […] You find out where people are vulnerable and where people are insecure and you really start to look at it like, ‘how do I help?’ and ‘how can I lean in with my capabilities to then solidify.’ Then, all of a sudden you don’t really look at things as domain expertise.” Over time, you start to realize that so much of the work is around focusing on skills so you can create value, which then creates recognition opportunities such as the Chief Customer Officer or Chief Experience Officer roles.

When you're forced to stretch outside of your comfort zone, you develop even more skills and increase your understanding of the importance of empathy in the workspace. –– @LambertWalsh, SVP, Customer Success @docusign Click To Tweet

Help Your Team Understand the Customer Condition and Why it Matters

When it comes to uniting the C-Suite around customer experience, Lambert says, “You have to understand what the common ground looks like.” This is what I like to refer to as working together under one common vision. He expounds on that concept by stating the necessity to take the customer off of the spreadsheet. Communicate to your colleagues how the data points come together to showcase what your real customer engagement is. Don’t just show the data––make it real for them to “understand what the material impact is.” When everyone understands the customers and their needs, you can work more effectively towards solutions to accommodate them.

Help your colleagues recognize the customer condition and why it matters. Lambert goes on to say that since their Chief People Officer (recruiter) knows the various customer landscapes, she is able to find candidates for DocuSign that fit the diversity range, experience, and personality attributes they look for in employees. Know what’s important to your customers and figure out how to fulfill that.

As a leader, you need to help your colleagues recognize the customer condition and why it matters. –– @LambertWalsh, SVP, Customer Success @docusign Click To Tweet

Leverage Remote Work to Increase Your Talent Pool

We’ve all experienced a new way of conducting business during the pandemic, and for Lambert and DocuSign, they were “living off of adrenaline for the first six months,” as business increased. He shares that they spent a lot of time in reactive mode, and have since been able to move forward in a more strategic direction. This direction helps them think through how to build for the future.

Lambert shares that the successful implementation of remote work has helped DocuSign open up the talent pool, as they can now work with folks who aren’t local to their offices. This shift in landscape provides more opportunities for diversity in thought leadership, which has fundamentally changed their operations and is something they’ve “been able to benefit from.”


What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then?

Lambert says:

“Understanding what global means. I was blessed with an opportunity to go live on multiple continents and multiple assignments and get exposed to to thinking and to culture cultures, and I have such an appreciation for each and every country I’ve ever been to because it’s taught me something I don’t know if I as a young American, ever truly understood.

When I started going off into other cultures, I found greatness everywhere. And I don’t think I really appreciated what it’s like to work for an American company, and to be on the other end. That’s something that I think I wish I knew how that played out earlier. Because it would impact a lot of my decisions, it would impact a lot of my thinking. And it would certainly change my sensitivity to conditions.”

About Lambert Walsh

Lambert Walsh

Lambert is the SVP, Customer Success at DocuSign, where he leads global professional services, solution consulting, and customer support. Prior to that, Lambert worked with Adobe as VP and GM, Adobe Global Services. As a passionate proponent of customer success, Lambert has played key roles as a chief customer advocate. The strong relationships Lambert cultivated with senior customer executives, and resulting deep customer insights, create a strategic advantage in GTM strategy.

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