I recently spent four days at MIT with over 60 CEOs from around the world. Their businesses span a variety of industries and offer products and services that range from simple to complex. Over the course of dozens of conversations, one thing was consistent, their worlds were growing smaller, their challenges were getting larger, and their view of the future was ripe with opportunity. I’d like to share with you a handful of the insights and observations made from this amazing collection of entrepreneurial leaders and innovators.
Big surprise, right? Mobile devices had transformed many of their operations. The excitement around mobile applications, new devices, and increased connectivity is tremendous. Phone calls back home to family and colleagues were replaced with Skype and FaceTime. Daily huddles and strategic planning are managed via GotoMeeting with integrated video. Mobile devices are delivering some of the greatest transformations, but also one of the largest areas of opportunity as it begins to crystallize both external and internal communications.
Customer care and satisfaction continue to be critical information for CEOs. Most organizations lack timely feedback from their customers, employees, and partners. Customer service tends to be the leading indicator of future business performance. Systems that take the “pulse” of customers, employees, partners, and vendors, are critical to growth and stability and those companies who have implemented these systems have experienced tremendous growth, avoided costly mistakes, and are outpacing their competition.
Managers tremendously value employees that enable independence. Most CEOs are challenged by the amount of time they spend asking questions and searching for answers. Great reporting of key indices enables faster decision-making, increases resources, and fosters greater employee independence through the seamless and transparent performance reviews from senior management. Nearly everyone who had focused on “measuring everything” shared that there were challenges in the beginning and coworkers were reluctant, however the insight from real-time analytics ultimately improved company morale, performance, and satisfaction.
CEOs have always valued the voice of the customer, however they had fears about what would happen when customers got together to discuss their products. Social media has forced the issue of open conversations, but CEOs are realizing the value in hosting these communities in an environment that provides a greater level of control, insight and analysis. Community Managers are becoming a critical part of the sales, R&D, and marketing efforts. The sales funnel has changed and communities are often the driving force behind lead generation and prospect education. The voice of the community is powerful and organizations who are not only listening, but hosting these communities, are thriving.
I have put together a brief survey to identify some critical points of readiness on these four areas. The survey is anonymous and only takes about 2 minutes. I’ll post the results next month and you can see how your answers compare with the aggregate results.