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Success Story Podcast

Tiffani Bova – Global Growth & Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce | The Human Edge in a Digital World

By June 10, 2023September 24th, 2023No Comments

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About The Guest

Tiffani Bova, the Global Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, is renowned for her work with leading companies worldwide, guiding them in customer engagement, business growth, and exceptional customer experiences. With a forward-thinking approach, she explores disruptive trends and their real-world impact. Tiffani’s focus lies in driving customer success and growth.

As an accomplished author, Tiffani’s book “Growth IQ” (Portfolio, August 2018) achieved great success, becoming a Wall Street Journal Bestseller and ranking among the top five Leadership and Strategy books in 2018. She also hosts the popular “What’s Next!” Podcast, recognized as one of the Top 50 Business, Marketing, and Management Podcasts. Tiffani’s expertise has earned her prestigious accolades, including being named in the Thinkers50 2019 Global Ranking of Management Thinkers and being recognized as one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women in California” by the National Diversity Council. She is widely acknowledged as a top sales and marketing influencer by Top Sales World Magazine, INC Magazine, and LinkedIn.

With a unique blend of operational and research experience, Tiffani Bova is regarded as a leading thinker in sales transformation and business model innovation. Her insights have been featured in renowned publications such as HBR and Forbes, and she has been cited in prominent media outlets such as Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, and The Economist. Tiffani’s dedication to gaining practical knowledge by immersing herself in the field has cemented her reputation as a thought leader, valuing the perspectives of employees, customers, and frontline sales forces to grasp market realities.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 – Intro
  • 02:45 – Unleashing Growth: Tiffani Bova’s Origin Story
  • 09:28 – Beyond Claims: Assessing Employee Experience (E-X)
  • 16:21 – Elevating E-X: Characteristics at Every Organizational Level
  • 28:17 – Transforming Priorities: Tiffani Bova’s E-X Recommendations
  • 33:40 – Unmasking Illusion: Challenges with Inflated KPIs
  • 37:53 – Humble Heroes: Delivering Exceptional Results
  • 42:19 – Best Buy Turnaround: Investing in Employee Success
  • 52:15 – Connecting with Tiffani Bova: Unlocking Growth & Innovation
  • 53:24 – Redefining Success: Tiffani Bova’s Vision

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What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.

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Machine Generated Transcript

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

employees, customer, companies, people, salesforce, business, experience, Shopify, growth, kpis, NetSuite, work, great, book, executive, day, organization, happening, 1000s, leader

SPEAKERS

Tiffani Bova, Scott D Clary

 

Scott D Clary  00:00

How do you actually gauge whether or not a company does have an optimized GX?

 

Tiffani Bova  00:05

We did a very small us only based project took publicly available information. What we found was

 

00:14

Tiffany Bova, She recently wrote a book growth IQ get smarter about the choices that will make or break your business. She is also a growth expert at Salesforce and has been giving keynote speeches to businesses the most customer centric company on the planet to who it is.

 

Tiffani Bova  00:33

There is this fine line between proving ROI when it comes to the soft skills of humans that actually has the greatest impact on that connection during that moment that matters. When an employee touches a customer. That moment happens

 

Scott D Clary  00:51

that’s I want to know what’s good UX looks like a different level. Yeah, it

 

Tiffani Bova  00:54

is a great question because I think this is where

 

Scott D Clary  00:58

what was the turnaround story from BestBuy walk me through what they did? Welcome to success story. I’m your host Scott Clary. Today I just wanted to remind you that one of my favorite events of the year is coming up I’m talking about hub spots annual inbound conference in Boston. I think you’ll love it. If you’ve never gone before, mark your calendars. September 5 through the eighth 2023 Catch talks from some of the most incredible speakers they have Reese Witherspoon, Derek Jeter, Andrew Kuperman, and there’s so much more. They have multiple stages. We have tons of industry experts and tracks from sales strategy to AI to innovation. You always walk away with practical tips that you can put into action right away. Plus, you’re always going to connect with other leaders. I’m going to be there a lot of people in the HubSpot Podcast Network are going to be there. It’s one of the most exciting events featuring leaders from some of the most innovative companies in the world this year is going to be unforgettable. Tickets are selling out fast head over to inbound.com. To get yours today. My guest is Tiffany Bova, a global customer growth and innovation evangelist at Salesforce and the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of growth IQ over the past two decades, she has led large revenue producing divisions at businesses ranging from startups to Fortune 500. As a research fellow at Gartner, her cutting edge insights health Microsoft, Cisco, Salesforce, HP, IBM, Oracle, SAP, at&t, Dell, Amazon and other prominent companies, expand their market share and grow the revenue she’s worked with. 1000s She has been named one of the top 50 Business thinkers in the world by thinker’s 50. Twice. She is also the host of the podcast what’s next?

 

Tiffani Bova  02:45

All right, well, I would say that it was probably I might have been 22 years old ish, I was in that range. And at the time, I was working for a family friend in Hawaii, which is where I’m from, I was actually on the island of Maui, and we were opening up an indoor video arcade. So there was a point in time where videos were not on your smartphones, they were actually like at an arcade where people had to go to the arcade. And we were opening up this store, it was probably 16 or 17,000 square feet. I mean, it was a massive sort of store it had a restaurant games, you know, gave away teddy bears, it had sort of very much this indoor carnival feel. And so the top of the roof of it was replicated kind of a big top tent in a carnival, if you’ve ever seen one, right, lots of light bulbs, and really that feeling like wow, I’ve walked into something super special. So we duplicated that, you know, indoors to sort of give that same feel. So the woman who was the owner of the business, who really mentored me, very early in my sort of development into business, walks in, you know, what, it’s sort of a couple hours before the opening, and she’s kind of going down the line and saying hello to everybody. And she gets to me, I’m last in the in this line of employees. And she literally looks at me and says nothing and points up. So in my head, I’m like, Oh, I’m number one. Or, you know, look up like you know what, I didn’t know what sort of what the communication was really about. And so she kind of you know, this is in a split second, right? So she walks away and my eyes sort of gaze up and in this 1000s of light bulbs in this big top tent we had replicated indoors, one light bulb was out. Just one and that’s what she was playing. So you know, we got the displays ready, right 1000s of light bulbs, all the games, the teddy bears, it was clean, like everything was humming along, but one light bulb was out. And so that one lesson like I’ve told this story, probably 100 times right was all about creating these experiences and how the little things matter. And so you know, when I I advise companies and, you know, I always sort of reflect in my mind, what is that one thing I could point out to them that they may be just completely overlooking, because it’s kind of so basic like that one light bulb, right? But he has implications to what what customers think about what you think about your own organization, right? If you’re not willing to care about those things, then your employees aren’t willing to care about those things. And in turn, your customers feel that, you know, you don’t care enough to do them.

 

Scott D Clary  05:28

I love that. I love that story. And I think it’s actually so impactful, because I think that every company at a much larger scale than this one particular smaller setup does have those light bulbs that are out that’s that’s always the case. And I was actually watching, you know, to prep for this. I was watching some of your your past talks. And I think you were doing one on the growth IQ, which was your first book. And you were saying, like, all the parameters for growth, and you showed a chart, or these things. And like it was like the most basic stuff like, like, candidly was like the most basic things that a company obviously knows to focus on. But they don’t or there’s there’s misalignment, or they have or they’ve missed something or there’s like stuff that’s fallen through the cracks. So I’m super curious as to you know, your first your first book was your first book wasn’t it completely focused just on E X and CX, I think it was more on the customer experience, if I’m not mistaken. And then the second book that you’re actually putting out is more on the employee experience. And I think there’s a conversation between the two, but how, what do customers actually what do companies Miss? What do companies miss and and through your experience, your life’s like, because even as you wrote your first book, you were looking at what companies miss in a certain perspective. But that’s evolved, obviously, which is why this is the second focus on the second book.

 

Tiffani Bova  06:46

Yeah, it’s a great question, because this is a little bit of a mia culpa. Right. I mean, I may have COPPA, I mean, ultimately, those 10 paths to growth. To your point, Scott, were nothing earth shattering and new, that nine first paths were like, you know, sell more to your existing customers launch a new product go into new markets, I mean, none of that stuff. It was really a spin on the ANSOFF matrix, which is the fourth sort of two by two that really helped companies from a strategic standpoint. But what I did was I took those tried and true strategies for growth, and I modernized them using social mobile cloud, big data, AI, you know, all the tools that we now have at our disposal. We’re not, you know, not even a glimmer, you know, in the 60s, when the ANSOFF matrix was developed, yet, the strategy of selling more to your existing customers or products you already have, is everybody still does it, and then sell new products to the customers you have. Everybody still does it, right. But rethinking that was what was so important, and kind of getting back to the basics and understanding the connection between the decisions that you make when it comes to growth. So that was kind of the foundation of growth IQ. But the very first growth path was customers, I called customer experience, kind of your True North everything should be revolving around what your customers want, what they need from you, and still a true statement. But what I missed in that in any depth in the entire book, was that the keepers of your brand promises, best products, best customer service, you know, best offices, you know, best field service technicians, whatever it might be those brand promises are delivered by your employees. So if your employees are not happy, engaged, committed, enabled, trained, all the things I sort of talk about in the new book experience mindset, you know, it will be amiss, because the greatest strategies are delivered by people and when things you know, the push comes to shove your Excel spreadsheet or your you know, Salesforce report, whatever it might be, does not come run to your aid. Like, it’s the people of the organization that do right. So if the if there is a disconnect between what employees need in order to develop those great products, deliver those great experiences, you know, go that extra mile for the customer, then it’s all for naught. So it was really a miss for me to not include that as one of the quote unquote, growth paths. But, you know, lo and behold, two years later, I went down a path of doing a lot of new research. And it led me to the fact that this connection is so tight that there’s it’s just almost not possible to deliver great CX without having great UX.

 

Scott D Clary  09:29

You know, you worked with some of the biggest companies in the world. I’m going to name names and like they’re the names that every like, so Microsoft, Cisco, Salesforce, Hewlett, Packard, IBM, Oracle, at&t, Dell, and Amazon. Those are the top of the top you can’t you can’t really find maybe you can if you look hard enough, but that’s pretty much on the list of every large organization of where you should go to to look for who’s doing business properly, and whatnot. Now if you ask all the leaders that those companies are going to say that they focus on their employees, they’re all they’re all going to say of course yes, employees are you know, The most important part of our business, it seems like such a, but are they really are the biggest companies in the world, actually focusing on their employees at the level at which you think is required to actually deliver the most impeccable CX because I would even say that you look at the companies that were disrupted and and like the classic example is like Blockbuster, I’m sure blockbuster thought they took care of their employees. But there was a miss, there was a miss there. And then there was an Mesilla to, you know, lack of a lack of understanding of how the market was shifting and a lack of understanding of how their model is being disrupted. And maybe that’s because there wasn’t enough voicing of this problem internally with the employees in terms of product or how they saw the company moving. I don’t know, but how do you actually gauge whether or not a company does have an optimized e x? Because they’re all gonna, they’re all gonna say it till they’re not they’re all gonna say it till they’re disrupted, right? founders, CEOs, business owners, listen up for a second. If you’ve built your business into the millions, or 10s of millions, this is for you. It’s gotten quite complex, it probably feels like you’re running in a whole bunch of different directions. You have to build out systems processes and new software that’s going to give you your life back. So NetSuite by Oracle has announced their best offer, I’m going to drop it in the seconds that you can take advantage but NetSuite is the number one tool that you can use for your business. It gives you everything you need to see what’s happening all under one roof, significantly fewer manual processes, heightened efficiency, precise forecasts, productivity searches across all departments. 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Tiffani Bova  14:18

Yeah, so what happened was, I was standing on stage in Canada, a number of years back and I said that I didn’t think it was a coincidence that Salesforce was one of the best places to work around the globe. You know, we’re not number one, we’re sort of in the top five ish, right? Pretty pretty much globally. We’re one of the most innovative companies in the world. And we’re the fastest growing enterprise software company in the cloud specifically, for sure. Those are not sort of accolades that Salesforce stood up one day and said, these are the things we are this is really sort of what the market has, you know, given us from awards and things like that. So I didn’t think it was a coincidence. So then I said, Look, I’m not the first one to say it. Herb Kelleher, you The former CEO and founder of Southwest Airlines was like, Well, I take care of our employees, they take care of our customers. If we do that, right, it takes care of our shareholders and it comes back and we can take care of our employees. Right. And it’s sort of this flywheel effect. Richard Branson has said it right take care of our customers, they take care of our employees, we do that we can grow. Nothing new, they’re going back to almost what we were just talking about with growth IQ. But I hadn’t seen proof, I hadn’t seen proof, sort of from growth rates on those companies that do those two things really well, how much faster they grow than the rest of the market. So we did a very small us only based project, Salesforce and Forbes insight. And we took publicly available information of like net promoter scores, and Glassdoor ratings and customer satisfaction scores and churn rates. And then revenue and revenue growth, right, we took it had to be publicly traded, for obvious reasons, because we just wanted to go out and try to prove this out. And sure enough, what we found was that companies that did employee experience well saw a lift in KPIs on customer experience. Okay. When we looked at customer experience, we saw a lift in KPIs for employee experience, right. So if you have happier customers, right, they’re not yelling at your employees, your employees don’t feel like eight hours a day, they just get yelled out on their customer service line, right, or something like that. But when both of those things happened, one of them was sort of a 1.3 times growth rate. One was a 1.4 times growth rate, when you got those two things, right, it was a 1.8 times growth rate. So for a billion dollar brand was a $40 million impact. So we knew we were onto something. Now, if you do ie strong, you still get a good growth rate. If you do see strong, you still get a good growth rate. So I’m not saying you can’t get growth if you’re not doing both well. But what I’m saying is you can get a faster multiplier, if you will, a greater multiplier of growth rather, if you do both, right. So back to the original front started that question you had. Yes, executives intuitively understand this. And I would say that most through the second body of research we did said if it’s so obvious, why isn’t everybody else doing it? Yeah, like, it’s really obvious. Tiffany, like, this isn’t anything new. I’m like, I know, however, like, tell me who owns employee experience. So many executives will say, of course, employees are super important to us. I care about my people, I care about my employees. And through the research, it showed that that’s what they would say. But in the same breath, they would come back and say, however, we ask our employees to default to the customer above all else. So this default of I am interested in the success of my employees. But we’re always going to say that our customers are a true north, we’re a customer centric company, it’s customer first sort of whatever route, you know, sort of mantra you want to have internally. And you know, I’ll give you sort of one example. You know, the most customer centric company on the planet. That was their mantra. Who was it? Do you know who it is? I don’t know, Sam, is Amazon, Amazon. Okay, so that was their statement, we want to be the most sort of customer centric company on the planet. And did they grow? Absolutely. Like, did they, you know, knock out industries? Absolutely. Did they create entire new categories? Absolutely. Fair, right. But then what happened, the pandemic hit, and who wasn’t happy anymore? Employees. And the second that happened, it was really right. When Jeff Bezos was stepping down as CEO, it sort of was added that we want to be the greatest employer on the planet. So now you have this balance right of if we’re going to do this, we have to do that. And when employees, that sort of unhappiness, if you will, with employees really showed itself during COVID. Right, great resignation, quiet, quitting, unionization,

 

Scott D Clary  19:05

even Amazon in particular, a lot of negative stories about how they treated them,

 

Tiffani Bova  19:10

and now they want to unionize, right? And they’re not alone. So you have Starbucks, really well known and held up as a very strong customer company, right? I mean, no complaints, really from customers. But then what happened, employees started to get unhappy, then what happens right, then they want to unionize. And so I can say that it’s not a bad thing to be customer centric. Obviously, I’ve been touting that one statement of being customer centric for, you know, almost 18 years. So So I would say that that is a good thing. However, it sort of starts and stops with you have to make sure that the employees are equally engaged and having a good experience.

 

Scott D Clary  19:47

And you actually touched on a point there and you didn’t go into it. So I’m actually I’d like you to go into it. Okay, when you ask the question Who owns the employee experience in an organization? So I want I want to break it down for somebody who’s a smaller company as well. Have a CEO that’s just struggling to, you know, get to make it a little bit more than a million because that point is just like a glorified job instead of trying to get the $10 million. And they have a small team a little bit, outsource a little bit internal, they have some full time double w two hires all the way through to and maybe just walk through the different levels of what, you know, EA X looks like, all the way through to Fortune 500, fortune 100, who owns the customer experience throughout that journey as the company evolves? And then I’ll actually I will ask you a two part question even though I shouldn’t, but I will. I want to know what good UX looks like a different level. Yeah, it

 

Tiffani Bova  20:37

is a great question, right? Because I think this is where I tried to work pretty hard in writing the book to make sure that I wasn’t advocating for a new C suite role. So many years ago, I was part of the team prior to joining Salesforce, I was a research fellow at Gartner. And I was part of the team that made the prediction that the chief marketing officer would spend more on it than the Chief Information Officer. And when we said that it was sort of 2008 ish. And everyone thought we were crazy. But lo and behold, Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP all went out and bought companies that were in that marketing technology stack to get a hold of those budgets that the CIO may no longer be in control of. And if the marketing Chief Chief Marketing Officer was going to become the buyer, how do they create sort of that, you know, narrative to attract that new buyer to that technology that they now have, okay. And it was really also about trying to get the CMO at the seat of the executive table, not sort of reporting under the CEO or, you know, maybe under someone else in the organization, but really getting them a seat on the table, because we believed that experience was going to become that new battleground between brands, especially when it is highly commoditized transactional, like what makes it different, it’s going to either have to be a better experience, or a better designed and developed product. And so the product development may be too expensive and out of reach for some. So if I can make sure my people are better trained, and my customers have a better experience, I could win there. Okay, so in this scenario, in this case, rather, for the experience mindset, I did not want to advocate that I need a chief employee experience officer. Because especially for small companies, a CEO is playing eight roles. Like he’s the CEO, cmo CRO CHRO. Like, he’s kind of everybody or he or she is everybody. So what I want to have happen regardless of size organization is when a company makes a decision to reduce the effort for a customer in order to increase the experience for that customer. So, you know, in 2000, we were arguing about making sure that you could it’s three clicks to get to the cart to buy online. In 2000. We were arguing for three clicks to buy. It’s been 23 years and still I show up at sites and it’s like six clicks.

 

Scott D Clary  23:05

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Tiffani Bova  24:00

yeah, just let’s pick that up. Right. So back then in 2000, when we were reducing the amount of clicks for the customer to buy in the background, the effort for the employee actually went up because back then it wasn’t automated, like we didn’t have Yes, power of these one click shopping carts and, you know, payment with things like PayPal or Venmo, or Apple Pay or whatever it might be, you know, ultimately, we didn’t have those things. So we had to kind of manually get things done. So what do we do? Decreased effort for customer increased experience, unintended consequence, increased effort for employee, decreased experience for employee and over the last 2020 years or so that has gotten even further out of balance where we’ve so over pivoted to customer, we’ve kind of left employee behind. So if you are a small business entrepreneur, medium business, large business and you are making any decisions that impact customer, I just want you to Pause for a second and say, okay, hold on, I think this is the right thing to do to do for the customer, what is the implications to the employee, and I don’t care what size you are right? Or I don’t care what role you’re in, if you’re going to change a process, if you’re going to add a new application in the environment, if you’re going to pick a new vendor, and it’s really good for the customer, how good is it for the employee? And that’s why I called it experience mindset, because I need you to shift your mindset away from exclusively focusing on customer and giving a little bit of pause to make sure you’re not negatively impacting employee, will it be 5050? Probably not. But if I can get you to just stop and say, Hold on. What’s the implication to the employee we change this have we trained them? Did we change the processes, if we given them five more things to do a day, versus, you know, reducing things, if I can get you to do that, regardless of size, then it’s been a success.

 

Scott D Clary  25:57

And that also, so when you add on a new process, you work with a new vendor, that could also mean hiring somebody to support. So that’s not always so so you can optimize for customer experience, as long as you basically scale out or optimize internal processes, so that your employee does not suffer that much considerably, you have to make sure that their day to day does not vary is basically what you’re setting the goal there, if they’re maxed out, right, that’s the goal. So the max capacity, you know, if I mean, of course, in some, in some cases, it’s going to be you can actually increase the workload slightly, because maybe they do have a fair amount of free time. And they’re not really optimized as an individual, but that’s okay. But if they are optimized as an individual, then you’re either hiring someone else out to support them, or you’re upskilling them, or there’s something that you’re doing within the organization that basically let this new process land softly on the people that are actually going to be responsible.

 

Tiffani Bova  26:48

Absolutely. Right. And so if someone is at 100% capacity, you can’t just add more and expect them to do more. Right. And so, you know, the long argument is, oh, AI is going to replace, you know, employees and we had counted is going to reduce, and all of those things, you said something there, where if someone wasn’t at capacity, you know, what do you do? Well, if you do rescale, and retrain them, so that they’re doing more challenging work, and offload some of the mundane, repetitive tasks to technology, so that they can get that career development, because that plays a huge part in their employee experience. It’s not just about technology, it’s not just about pay. It’s not just about training and opportunity. It’s not just about, you know, trust within the organization, it’s not just about like, I know what I’m doing every day, and the C suite is telling me and I see them living it. And so I have, you know, something to model after it’s all of those things. And so, you know, you have to make sure that it’s not just about automation, it’s not just about technology, it’s not just about, you know, making time, more efficient. We don’t want to just focus on productivity of the human, because then if you do that, then you really make the mistake of saying, well, productivity, if that’s what it is that automation is King than AI is king, the machine learning is king and bots and all the things that can quote unquote, even chat GPT, right, replace humans in some capacity, I think that there is opportunity to really bring the employee base along this journey as we start to embrace more and more different kinds of technology.

 

Scott D Clary  28:22

And there must be other pieces to employee experience as well. So it’s also about I’m assuming growing them and like not just upskilling them for that immediate project that they’re working on. But also you talked about career growth, you help them upskill as an individual. And that’s an that could be in terms of like, like ongoing education or subsidizing things that allow them as a human, to get to the next level of where they want to be. So there’s like a whole back end component. It’s not just about making sure that their day to day is not more difficult, that’s great, you’re already you’re being a good person by not doing that, then there’s all these other things that an individual you may we crave in our life. And I do believe personally that businesses should be responsible for offering some avenue to get to where you want to go as an individual, as a profession. Yeah,

 

Tiffani Bova  29:07

that’s why who owns employee experience can’t be one person. So let’s sort of deconstruct what you’ve just said. So we talked about systems and tools and processes, the average enterprise uses and once again, I’m at the enterprise level. So if you’re a mid or small business, this number will be significantly lower. Although I would argue that the percentages are probably pretty close to being the same. But the average enterprise has some 900 unique applications in the enterprise. Everything finance, HR, sales, marketing, product Dev, like all all the applications, only 27 to 29% of them are integrated. Now there are some that will never be integrated, right? Finance may never be integrated so people can see what’s going on in the books. HR may not be integrated, for obvious reasons. But so take some of those off the plate. You know, this this discussion, but that still means there’s a tremendous amount that is not integrated. If you’re a small business, that even BP a higher percentage, right, because you don’t have the internal IT staff to do that integration. So if you have seven applications that your employees have to work in and with every single day, it’s highly inefficient, right versus having that integration sort of thread through. So process and technology you could argue is the it responsibility. So you know, as you become bigger, it becomes a CIO. But it could be an IT manager could be a value added reseller, or systems integrator, like helping you right, but that person is the technology arm of it, then you have learning, onboarding, all the things, we were talking about career path development, that tends to be HR, right. So that’s sort of an HR element to this. And then the third is who is responsible for the customer. So if you don’t have a chief customer officer, or customer experience officer or chief marketing officer, like, Who is the person either customer service or marketing that is responsible for what’s happening to and with the customer. Now you have this triangulation of these three roles, tech, HR, marketing, or sales, right, whoever’s got that position, you could even add a fourth and save sales, and then it’s all four of them. Those four leaders, they have to agree on what you’re doing across both of those elements, the customer and the employee. Now, the smaller you get the CEO is the four. So that’s why I said, you know, just pausing and just making those decisions with just one more question. Okay, what is the implication to the employee, and as you get bigger and larger, you’ll have more individuals handling pieces and parts of that. That’s where collaboration and communication, cross functional alignment is super important.

 

Scott D Clary  31:42

Now for what are you going to say to a company that has not focused on E X for their entire their entire life? And you already know that alignment across all those different orgs within within a company is difficult, all those different business units. So so how do we how do we get somebody to understand the importance of this, we have them we have the numbers there, but what are like very tangible takeaways that they can immediately do even at an enterprise level, where they can start to see some progress. And then again, get the internal flywheel going as to getting people to buy into this, because it will take a lot for those four to support this initiative they want. Yeah,

 

Tiffani Bova  32:20

so the first thing I’d say is that I would challenge companies who have done anything in relation to customer journey mapping, experience, you know, NPS scores, customer advisory boards, anything like that to understand, I want to know what’s happening in my customer organization, right? I want to make sure we’re aligning our narrative and our products in our roadmap and all those things to our customer, I challenge you to do the exact same thing for your employees, and employee advisory board, employee Net Promoter Score, it’s called enps. Right customer effort score, do you have an employee effort score? So almost matching KPIs with if you have customer KPIs? What are your matching employee KPIs? That’s a simple fast way to say, you, maybe you don’t do all of them, right, obviously, because if you’re small, it gets more difficult. But what’s your top one, and one or two and two, or three and three, and then you say, if we just start there, it will be better. But what I started saying around customer was, I don’t know, when when clients would ask me and when I was at Gartner, you know, what should I be doing? What do you think? And I’d always I used to answer let me back up, I used to just answer. And sort of the first three years, and then I realized I was probably doing a huge disservice that I should actually ask back. I don’t know, what are your customers want from you? And then tell me about your last customer survey. And then we start digging into that. And then those surveys are giving me the signals I need to help advise the customer and how to improve that go to market, right, either whether through partners directly, online, offline, all those things. So I challenge the same thing on employee, I don’t know what you should do first. Yeah, ask your employees. Now one of the things we found in the survey was, everybody’s pretty much serving their employees, pre pandemic was kind of once a year. Now, it’s much more frequently. But what we heard pretty consistently is even though they’re collecting that data, nobody is doing anything with it. So you’ve asked your employees what they want to be more successful, happy, engaged, satisfied, etc. And they’re telling you and then you kind of go well, we checked the box, we did our employee survey, let’s move back to customers, right to do that hard work that’s required on the employee side. And if you look at the Gallup employee satisfaction scores over the last decade, they’ve not moved but two or three points and they’re in the 28 to 32% range of employees are satisfied. And it’s remained almost flat. But if you look at net promoter scores, everybody’s NPS is going up customer satisfaction is going up, right? All these things because that’s where all the focus is. So I’d say start with KPIs. Align what you have in customer with employee to do the survey, do a small survey to your employees, especially if you’re small, and start fixing one thing at a time. I’ll give you an example of an entrepreneur who I used as a story in the book. Um, Michelle Romanov. She was the CEO, co founder of a company in in Canada. She was a shark tank. A dragon. clearbank. Yes, sir. Yeah. Okay. So Michelle Roman. And I did something together. When I was up in Canada a number of years back and we were having this conversation. She said, You know, I had sick, I think she had like, 60 or 80 employees at the time. And you know, she’s a double unicorn. So, you know, there are people who are single unicorn status. She’s a double unicorn, and she’s not even 40. Right. So she knows, she’s very good at what she does. So she opened an email box and forgive my language, but it was sort of stupid shit we do at and the company name. And she just asked her employees. Hey, what’s the stupid shit we do? And so employees would say something like, you know, I have to do these three things before I can do this. If we just eliminated these two, it will be much quicker. And they just knock those off really quickly, right? Because it was stupid things that the company got a little to process oriented processes were in conflict, new companies were acquired, new people got hired, things got changed. And no one was going back to make sure that the house was still cleaned. And so that one question opened up maybe 30 or 35, things that very quickly got fixed. And now what did that do? That showed that we asked, we heard you, we fix things and the things they did not fix? They gave a reason why not? Now, you can’t do that if you have 1000 employees or 5000 employees, but you could by group by team by division, so it’s more manageable. So it doesn’t have to be something complicated, and let’s plan it and we’re gonna do it. You know, q3, it’s like,

 

Scott D Clary  36:51

people overthink this. I’m hearing the people overthink this a lot that

 

Tiffani Bova  36:56

they just overcomplicated. And I think, you know, we could go for hours into how we’ve overcomplicated it for customers. But you know, we’ve really overcomplicated it for employees.

 

Scott D Clary  37:06

Now, do you run into issues with artificially inflated positive KPIs for employee satisfaction because of the fact that they’re scared for their jobs? Or they’re scared that their manager is going to chastise them? Or? Or do something if they don’t respond in a positive way? Yes. How do you solve for this?

 

Tiffani Bova  37:22

So I use this example and growth IQ and I sort of pulled it into experience mindset as well. But if you’ve ever watched the television show Undercover Boss, that to me is a masterclass in what we’re talking about here. That I don’t know why they spend the first five to seven minutes of the show, talking about the executive and then putting, you know, makeup to disguise the executive. So when they go amongst their people, they won’t get recognized. I’m like, I think it’s a waste of very expensive television, you know, prime time, first five minutes, because no one would recognize them anyway, because they never leave their office. So if you are a leader, the way to make sure KPIs aren’t being artificially inflated, good or bad, right, is to actually talk to your people, town halls, management by wandering around, you know, very, Tom Peters In Search of Excellence. You know, there are many ways in which you can stay connected, right? Email, someone, say, Hey, I’d like to hear your opinion on what we just did. Or how easy is it to do your job, like, you become very available, transparent, you’re empathetic. And then you’re listening better, you ask better questions. And lo and behold, you start to get the pulse of things that is not in a survey that is backward looking, right? Because the survey may take three months, and now you’re backward looking. And so the way to stay forward looking, is to stay on the front line of what’s happening in your business. So a lot Undercover Boss, right? You’ve never worked in your kitchen, you’ve never worked in your warehouse, like you’ve never delivered your own products. Like you’ve never seen someone get hired or what their training are like, the fact you don’t know those things, is exactly why we’re in this situation where employees are saying, I’m done. Like, you know, either you’re gonna do this for me, or I’m gonna go find somebody who will. And they’re making very different decisions because of the lack of right investment, empathy and consideration many executives have had for the people who remember deliver on their brand promise. They’re the ones that do the work every day, right? They’re the ones that bring business in the door. Executives, unfortunately, most of the time managing their four walls and that just gives them such a disconnected view on what’s happening for customers, as well what’s happening for employees.

 

Scott D Clary  39:39

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Tiffani Bova  41:37

Yeah, Costco has always been that, you know, the previous CEO would walk around the floor, he was in a Costco location somewhere in the country six days a week, you know, into his seven days, you know, all the way up into retirement, everybody knew who he was, there was no way that you know, he would walk on the floor and people didn’t know, you know, you could say Herb Kelleher, right from Southwest, you know, Southwest is just had a really tough 120 days. And unfortunately, on the employee side, and the customer side, kind of both simultaneously, it was sort of a perfect storm. But you can look at chewy, doing great things for employees and great things for customers, right employees, like draw little pictures of clients, pets, when it’s their birthday, or when they pass away. That’s the employees, you could say, Zappos continues to be amazing on both E and C, you’ll have zenith in our Zurich, I’m sorry, in in Europe, doing amazing things for customers, as well as employees. You know, there, there are a lot, but But what I’d say here is, unfortunately, like everything, it’s like they might be really humming on E. But then c is paying the price, they might be really honing in on C and E is paying a paying the price. And that’s why this kind of Balanced View. And operating mindset is super important where you try to keep those two things as close as possible. As I said, They’ll never be 5050 You know, in a perfect world, right? So you could say, wow, you know, a particular brand is really doing a lot of stuff around employee. Right? And so, and then you and they’ve always done stuff that’s really great for customers. And so those sudden you start to see both kind of really begin to improve. And so that’s always the tricky question. Because one bad thing, like, you know, look, I wrote the book, I did a whole case study on Southwest, you know, I put the last period in the book, and then boom, right? Holiday weather, you know, technology meltdown, you know,

 

Scott D Clary  43:36

but that’s a good point, though. It’s not like a one and done no, correct. It’s it’s, it’s in perpetuity, you have to it’s like an ongoing, it’s an ongoing mine. So that

 

Tiffani Bova  43:44

that’s why I said like, it doesn’t matter what size you are, you know, if you’re listening to this, the next time you run a team meeting, you know, ask the question, how difficult is it to do your job every day systems? So people process technology, and then from an executive level, the culture, what does the culture reward? To your question, right? Is it just KPIs and people are sort of faking that nothing’s really happening, or KPI we surveyed our employees check, you know, who owns employee experience? As I said, it is not one person. But are you even at the executive level, having conversations besides, what is our pipeline of new talent look like? And who are we losing? Like, that’s an important metric, because it’s a number and you can really manage that if you will. But it doesn’t tell you all the things around it of why are people applying? Why have the applications declined? Right? Like, we just don’t have a good pipeline like people aren’t applying. Well, why not? Well, because all the people who left trashed us on Glassdoor because we didn’t do all these things, right? Or, you know, why is this happening in the customer? Oh, well, you know, have you sat in the call center and listened to, you know, call center calls over the last, you know, if you’re an executive, a leader sit in the call center at least once a month for a day. Go on sales calls once a month, at least for a day, sit in your marketing department at least once per day, your product dev like that should take up eight or nine days a month. What is more important than that right to really understand, going back to Michelle, Roman, Claire, co right. But she’s a great example, you know, not to sideline this on that story. But she stepped down as CEO because they were in hyper growth mode, and they needed a different kind of leader to take them to the next level. So even highly successful, right? Being really self aware of where I can add value and where I need to bring someone in who can add value, both for the customer and the employee. Sometimes it takes executives and leaders to step aside and bring the next you know, sort of generational leader aboard

 

Scott D Clary  45:44

what was the what was the the turnaround story from BestBuy walk me through what they did?

 

Tiffani Bova  45:50

So you know, listen, Uber, Joe lay is a friend of mine, he was the former CEO of Best Buy, and he came in and really well, what he did was almost what I just said, he spent a full week in a Best Buy store, I think it was in Minneapolis. And he was like chief listener, that was sort of his name badge. I love he just listened to employees and listen to customers and watch the floor and watch what was happening and saw a lot of inefficiencies saw a lot of opportunity, and really dug stop doing some things that were happening in previous regime. Right and and started focusing on thought people and really saying, how do we make sure if we’re going to make this turn as an organization? We’ve got to reskill, we’ve got to reapply what we’re doing. We’re not going to quote unquote, win against Amazon. So how do we create an environment where if someone comes in to us, we can price match and do those kinds of things so that we keep the business and we don’t act? Like it’s not happening? Like, because the employee is like, Look, I just worked so hard with this customer for two hours, they were about to buy they got on their phone, well, now they’re gonna go home and order it. And so, you know, I think that a true focus on the people made a huge difference on the performance of Best Buy. And you could argue Unilever’s probably another one, another story that I that I used where it was sort of training at the management layer, and they saw that it was so effective, that sort of second and third tier managers wanted to learn how to be a better manager, they opened it up to everybody, and they just saw retention rates increase, satisfaction increase, people were applying for stretch rolls, and they were getting the opportunity because they had this foundation of training. So you know, it’s important. And often I’ll hear from small businesses, we can’t afford to make those investments. So what if we invest in people, and they leave?

 

Scott D Clary  47:41

Right there? I was gonna say, that’s way more expensive, it’s exponentially more expensive, versus if they leave if they leave versus if you invest in them, and they stay. But okay, go ahead. So

 

Tiffani Bova  47:50

what if they invest in them to train them, and then they take that training, and they leave? Right? And that’s a lot of fear, if you will, at the CFO level, or even the executive level, right, that we’ve made all these investments from a career perspective on learning new technology and new systems, or, you know, we paid for their MBA, I mean, there’s lots of ways that you can invest in your people. The response that I say is, well, what if you don’t invest in them, and they stay? Right, because if you don’t invest in them, and they stay, then they don’t have what they need to be successful, then they’re not having a great experience, their customers are not having a great experience. So there is this fine line between proving ROI when it comes to the soft skills of humans that actually have the greatest impact on that connection. During that moment that matters. When an employee touches a customer. That’s what I’m talking about is when that moment happens. That’s the experience mindset. It’s not all things HR, and it’s not all things customer, it is really when those two things come together, either virtually in person via technology, a hybrid, I don’t care, right, just human and customer, or brand and

 

Scott D Clary  49:02

culture, I’ve actually found, you know, did that point, I actually, I’ve always found that when I invest in people, they don’t leave. And that’s there’s no data to back that I’ve just found anecdotally, when you invest in somebody and you care about them, and you and you help them progress to the next level in their career, they’ll they’ll, they’ll be a good employee for a period of time. And maybe if they do leave, that’s it is what it is. But I can guarantee you like while they’re there, the ROI, never measured it. But it seems to be exponential in that person. Versus if you hire somebody and you don’t invest in them at all. I feel like they feel like they’re a commodity. They’re there just for a particular purpose. And then they’ll just go to the next paycheck because if you’re not investing in them, why would they feel emotionally attached to that business? It’s just, you know, money that comes every two weeks and that’s it. But when you invest in somebody, I mean, I’ve had people that as as a you know, I’ve been in several leadership roles where I’ve hired people and people have followed me through my career. So yes, I’ve invested in them as a leader and then find They take the next job. But in five years from now I have an incredible person that comes back to work for the next door that I’m into. So there’s all these benefits of just investing in people. And I’ve never found it to be a detriment. I’ve never I’ve never put somebody through a course, or spent extra time with somebody and been like, Oh, that was such a waste. I wish I didn’t do that. Yeah, 00 out of 10 times that. Yeah.

 

Tiffani Bova  50:18

And I’d say, you know, for small business, they may be I can’t, I can barely afford to do all the things that are being asked of me as an entrepreneur, entrepreneur. So does it need to be something that costs money? Could it be you mentor an hour every week with, you know, a handful of people, and that changes every quarter, that you spend time with them? Right? You help them and mentor them and coach them, not about how to do their job, not about how to use the technology, but more, you know, what it’s like to run an effective meeting, how to write a better executive email, like what have you learned, when you faced, you know, challenges with collaborating or communicating with others in your organization? How do we overcome that, you know, those kinds of things can be helped with mentoring. And that’s where to your point, you know, you make those investments, if some, especially for small businesses times get tough, let’s just say the pandemic, and you have to close the doors and no one’s working. But you say, Hey, listen, just hang on for four weeks, I can’t pay you, people will be like, That’s okay. Like, I know, when we come out of the end of this four weeks, or we come on the other side of this, I’ve taken a pay cut for six months, they want to come on the other side of this, I trust that they have my back, because that sort of employee experience is so strong and is a competitive weapon for you, in keeping and retaining top talent, attracting top talent, and then those two things happen, then you get great customers, you’re able to grow the business. And then that’s where to the point, right? That sort of flywheel of benefit between that greater employee experience leading to a greater customer experience drives growth.

 

51:52

I love this, I would even say that, you know, you probably have data to back this up. But post COVID, with everybody comfortable working remotely is is probably even more important than ever. Because if you don’t invest in these people, it’s not even like they have to get a job. And in the same commuting distance from their house, it’s very easy to switch companies, if they feel the company does not support them, and does not treat them, well. Let’s

 

Tiffani Bova  52:14

just pick so let’s just pick when the pandemic happen, it’s a stat I use in the book. And I’m going to do this right off the top of my head. So forgive me if I’m often percentages, okay, was sort of when the pandemic hit, and many went to work from home, that the number one sort of software application that was just the hottest thing to acquire at that time, was employee tracking software keystrokes, video, what are you doing? You’re not in my four walls? And what did that say? Well, you trusted me to be an employee when you can see me but you don’t trust me when you can’t see me. And you know, some call centers were actually requiring customer service representatives to keep their camera on eight hours a day while they were there. So they manager could see they were sitting at their desk with their headset on talking. And they were watching keystrokes to make sure what they were doing. It was like a 3,000% increase in the sale of employee tracking software, or just tracking software like forget just employee. And that sends a very terrible message, right? Like, you know, I mean, I’ve worked home for going on almost 19 years now, you know, so this was nothing new for me. But not many people are in that situation where they’ve, you know, worked for a fortune 500 company and worked from home this whole time. And so I would say that, that says everything about and trust was one of the things we found was a key indicator to employees giving that sort of giving their all and being satisfied in work is that they trusted and they were trusted. That that has huge. That sends a huge signal in the wrong direction. So to your point, right, that so much changed during COVID of the employee employer relationship. And employees for the very first time, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, took over customers for the first time in 10 years as the number one stakeholder to long term success. And for the 10 years prior it was customer. And so that’s no coincidence, right? Employee, all of a sudden, everyone was talking about an earnings call. Everyone’s talking about the great resignation and everyone was talking about, I can’t open my doors because I can’t find talent. I used to be open 12 hours a day. I’m open eight hours a day, sorry that the flights are delayed. We don’t have baggage people sorry that the rooms aren’t cleaned. And we can’t do it because we don’t have anybody to clean the rooms in our hotel, and on and on and on and on. Where did all those people go? Where did they go? Like, they had to go somewhere? They just clearly didn’t come back to you. So what does that tell

 

Scott D Clary  54:45

you? Yeah, yeah. Okay, um, before we wrap this up, just anything that you’d want it like one last lesson, we covered a lot of different things. And honestly, I even had some points that I pulled up from, like the first book that we didn’t even go into but I feel like that could be like Another hour. So I’m not going to start down that path. I’m just going to have you back in the future. That works. That works. So because that could be a whole other podcast. So for this particular topic, some some last thoughts that we didn’t go into any questions that I didn’t ask that I should have just lessons that you want to teach over to the audience, and I’ll get all the socials and whatnot. But yeah, go I

 

Tiffani Bova  55:20

can’t think of anything. I mean, really, we covered off on a lot. Yeah, we’ve covered a lot. And I wanted to read the book, too, you know, so, yeah. I mean, I think, you know, I tried to make sure I said Small, medium enterprise, it wasn’t just, you know, big companies with lots of people. I tried to give, you know, advice across the size and spectrum of, of organization. So you’re

 

Scott D Clary  55:40

good. You’re good. Okay. So if people want to reach out to you, what are the socials? And also where do they get the book outside of like the Amazons and all the other normal spots? Where should they go?

 

Tiffani Bova  55:50

So you know, if you want to keep in touch with me, you can follow me on LinkedIn. I’m actually at a connection so there’s no more connections to be had, unfortunately, like maxed out. I don’t know how that happens. But anyway, they’re like, no more. So you can follow me on LinkedIn. At Tiffany Bova. You can follow me on Twitter at Tiffany underscore Bova, Instagram and Facebook are at Tiffany Bova. You can get growth IQ pretty much anywhere. There’s an audible version, you’d have to listen to me for a little more than, you know, five hours yourself didn’t myself as a whole experience. And I’m about to do the new one in a couple of weeks. And then it’s on Kindle. It’s translated in 10 languages. But she’s about four and a half years old now. So now, you know, I think the US might be the only version that we can get our hands on, because that one keeps republishing reprinting rather, and then experience mindset you can buy at your favorite bookstores. It’s all on sale today, preorder, and it comes out on June 6.

 

Scott D Clary  56:49

Awesome. Okay, last question. I asked everybody, before we wrap this up. You know, you’ve had an incredible career worked with some of the largest organizations in the world. You’ve released several books. Now, after all of this, what does success mean to you?

 

Tiffani Bova  57:03

I would tell you that success means something very different to me than it meant 15 years ago, or let’s call it 20. I’ve been in tech now for almost, almost 20, almost 30 years, I shudder to say I guess it is almost 30 years, because I was 27. And I just turned 57. So it’s been almost 30 years. And and I’d say that success for me used to be you know, what’s the title? How much money am I making? What am I doing? And then it kind of was like, Okay, what kind of impact can I have in a more broader scale? Right, let me write a book. Let me advise companies, those that you sort of rattled off and 1000s of others. And then when it was time for me to make a career switch after Gartner I came to Salesforce for a couple of reasons. But the number one reason was, you know, whenever I went to a Salesforce event, as an analyst, I would leave those events wanting to be a better human being. And that said a lot to me if I take a third of my time now, and in some way give back to I lecture at Columbia University or, you know, Texas a&m to USC, Wharton, you know, do I lecture do I do things for you know, women in tech at the UN? Do I speak at the World Economic Forum to not for profits on how they can do things like yes, all of those things. So I try to spend, you know, a third of my time doing that, how can I have greater impact in areas that maybe don’t have visibility and opportunity as much as others and that’s really what I now measure my success on, which is different than what I measured my success on a decade ago.

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