Swing for the fences! Shoot for the Moon! You got this!
During my many years as a high school and collegiate lacrosse player and coach, I heard (and said) encouraging platitudes like these more times than I can possibly count.
But I think many CX professionals – myself included – could benefit from a reminder of just how much confidence can impact outcomes.
The power of persuasion
After reading The State of the B2B Customer Experience, a comparative analysis of leaders vs. laggards in CX, it dawned on me: “Leaders,” in the context of the report, are leaders because they say they are. They boldly proclaim their own success.
At Heart of the Customer, we are in the process of interviewing about 100 CX pros across all business sectors to identify current trends within the discipline and more clearly quantify what constitutes CX success. One of the most important elements cited, expressly or implicitly, as essential to growing a mature and impactful program is confidence.
The peril of restraint
Those of us who work in CX are used to obstacles and difficulties when trying to move the needle. Common roadblocks come up often in blogs and discussions. And just as often, they seem to lead to lower expectations and lesser experience improvement goals. Instead, we settle for a reasonable facsimile of what might be “realistic” to accomplish.
Many of us find ourselves holding back. Rather than making a clear case for the changes our research has shown will address customer issues, we instead apologize for the journey our company is delivering and attempt to fly under the radar, busying ourselves trying to move survey scores.
But not everyone.
There are a select few among us who seem to have it all together. They have close working relationships with internal leadership, and their input is so respected they are sought out to guide strategy in all areas of the business.
The potent ingredient
So what’s their secret? Why are they given a seat at the table while so many others are left outside “shouting into the wind”?
It could be that they lead and present their CX initiatives with confidence.
Too many of us apologize unnecessarily and doubt our own abilities. Is this because women, who are shown to apologize more often than men, occupy so many roles in CX? (And here in Minneapolis, those of us brought up in “Minnesota Nice” culture are doubly plagued!)
The simple truth is that language and tone matter. In social interactions, and in emails, and in presentations…and in board rooms. I know it instinctively in my personal life, but still need reminders in a professional setting.
When we preface our presentations to leadership with “I think…” instead of “This is…” we open the door to negotiating about the best course to take instead of focusing our efforts on implementing the changes our data indicates will be the most beneficial to our company and our customers. Even small changes in your posture make a difference – you can, quite literally, feel it in your bones.
Practice makes perfect
The good news? Experts say confidence is a learned skill and not something you are born with. As Margie Warrel wrote in Forbes:
“Confidence is not a fixed attribute; it’s the outcome of the thoughts we think and the actions we take. No more, no less. It is not based on your actual ability to succeed at a task, but your belief in your ability to succeed.”
Imagine those areas of your life where you feel confident, capable, and in charge. You probably didn’t start off that way, did you?
So let’s all take the time to practice feeling confident and to celebrate our small victories.
Then let’s step up to the plate. It’s time to swing for the fences.