Thursday, November 5, 2009

NACCM 2009: Make Customer Strategy a Reality: Moving from Vision to Execution – Implementing Your Customer Strategy with Speed

As we end the North American Conference on Customer Management 2009, consider how we take the “what” we learned and turn it into a strategic “how”. This thought was posed by Tom Atkinson, Director of Customer Research for the Forum Corporation.

Atkinson talked about developing “strategic speed” because of the impact it has on sustaining our businesses. The 1980’s and 1990’s were about first-generation speed. It’s now time for second-generation speed which is about mindset and mobilizing people.

Strategic speed means delivering value to customers faster. The key to strategic speed is how your organization’s leaders think and act. They don’t aim for speed per se, but rather for increases in three people factors:

1) Clarity – shared understanding of the situation and the direction you are heading. Employees should be able to answer the question “where are we going and why?”

2) Unity – collaboration across departments, geographic boundaries, etc, is the main driver of unity in business. A culture of collaboration helps projects and strategies hold together.

3) Agility – Encouraging people to find ways to meet strategic objectives in a constantly changing environment rather than sticking to a rigid plan. Companies which can quickly resolve customer issues win.

Atkinson stressed that strategic speed requires leadership and that leaders need 4 key abilities to succeed:

1) Affirming strategies
2) Driving initiatives
3) Managing climate
4) Cultivating experience (learning and sharing by all)

He challenged the audience to think about these concepts as they return home to develop new strategies. Visit Forum’s website at to read more about this concept.

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