Business Strategist’s Game-Changing Roadmap to Rapid Cultural Transformation for Unheard Of Customer Success and Employee Engagement
Published in March 2017 and written from over three decades of customer strategy, business coaching and innovation-leading success by Robin L. Lawton, Mastering Excellence: A leader’s guide to aligning strategy, culture, customer experience & measures of success grabs the attention of leaders with high expectations and provides them with an elegantly-simple framework that will transform their organization and their role within it. The old ways of achieving and sustaining excellence are no longer relevant, and Lawton is ready to help any leader get inside the hearts and minds of their customers, measure their deliverables and tap into success that has so far only been a pipedream.
Sarasota, FL – No CEO is alone in their desire for rapid and highly visible results, employees that are chomping at the bit to deliver world-class excellence and a loyal customer base truly excited about what an organization offers. However, the 21st century is the “knowledge age”, and old methods for achieving and sustaining long-term success are limiting and ill-suited for service and non-manufacturing organizations.
It’s a trend shift business strategist Robin L. Lawton has been observing and helping companies adapt to for over thirty years. Following the runaway success of ‘Creating a Customer-Centered Culture: Leadership in Quality, Innovation and Speed’, Lawton returns with ‘Mastering Excellence: A leader’s guide to aligning strategy, culture, customer experience & measures of success’. It’s a comprehensive, holistic blueprint to dramatic change that few would think possible.
MASTERING EXCELLENCE LEADERS GUIDE is for leaders with high expectations, a vision of the possible and urgency to improve the lives of many others. Mastering Excellence provides you with a new way to think about work and customers, an elegantly simple framework and tools you can immediately apply to transform your organization and your role in it. Based on the author’s 30 years of work with organizations of all kinds and sizes, including multi-nationals, small start-ups, government agencies, healthcare, education and defense, you get an engaging and practical roadmap to dramatic change you would not think possible.
There are many approaches to change. Most emphasize process improvement. They use tools that are mathematical, analytical and operational in nature and assume that the absence of things gone wrong is equivalent to achieving excellence. That focuses on minimums, not optimums. Virtually none provides an integrated strategic system that begins with articulating purpose from the customer’s perspective, uses linguistics to reveal and destroy the ambiguities we allow to persist, and redefines knowledge and service work in tangible, countable ways we can design for excellence. This book does that and far more.
As the CEO, executive change leader or consultant to leadership, you want customers that are enthused, employees that are engaged and fast, highly visible results. Eye-popping savings, customer wait times cut by 90%, strong revenue growth and an avalanche of customer kudos are the kinds of sustainable and continuing results many Masters of Excellence have achieved. This provides the means and rewires your brain to understand how.
“Organizations need to realize that we now live and work in an era where the internet boundlessly empowers end-users, yet most companies are left scratching their heads over who their “customer” really is, how to get to the core of their desires and how to tangibly cater to those desires in a way that can be measured,” explains Lawton. “When you can cut through this ambiguity, amazing things can happen; that’s the focus of this book.”
Continuing, “The end goal is growth and sustainable results that are visible within the organization, to its customers and to the wider public. Culture truly is everything and, through some rewiring of thought processes and working practices, it is possible to achieve success beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.”
Robin Lawton follows his first book, 5-star ranked on Amazon, with MASTERING EXCELLENCE. This engaging, practical and thought-leading read is for leaders seeking a strategic systems approach to customer-centered organizational transformation. Many examples of eye-popping results are paired with how-to’s the reader can immediately apply. Released March 2017.
About the Author
Robin Lawton is an internationally recognized author, speaker and expert in creating rapid strategic alignment between enterprise objectives and customer priorities. He has developed and deployed powerful but easy-to-understand principles, strategies and tools to improve and measure strategic excellence, service, knowledge work and customer experience. They were outlined in his first book, now greatly expanded in depth and breadth with his latest, MASTERING EXCELLENCE.
Rob loves to inspire, challenge and equip those driving excellence to both think about and do what they never thought possible. His jargon-free approach has the feeling of simplicity and common sense. It hides his technically sophisticated underlying system, making his ideas highly appealing to executives and individual contributors in every field of knowledge-intensive endeavor. He is a top ranked speaker by those attending his thought-leading keynotes and presentations sponsored by industry, government, healthcare and others. Thousands of change leaders have been trained in his powerful, easy-to-understand system.
Robin Lawton coined the term “customer-centered culture” with his first book and his methodology, now known as C3, has enabled many organizations to achieve strategic business growth, raving customer fans, savings of $millions from reduced complexity, 90 percent reduction in customer response time, winning awards from peers and more. Rob’s clients come from multi-nationals, Fortune 100, healthcare, education, government agencies from Alberta to Vermont, non-profits, international firms and others from virtually every industry, large and small.
If there were only 5 reference books in my business library, Mastering Excellence would be one of them. No other reference provides the system, methods and tools to align the culture of an organization with customer priorities. Contrary to popular belief, this is not an easy undertaking and, over three decades, I have frequently seen an inordinate focus on the organization’s needs while customer-desired outcomes remain unknown or misinterpreted. I refer to Mastering Excellence as “C3” short for creating a Customer-Centered Culture, the essence of what Robin Lawton refers to as the underlying leadership system.
C3 provides a road map and methodology to clarify customer priorities: Outcome Definition – Product Identification – Customer Role Definition – Expectation Identification – Process Design – Measurement. Volume 1 has over 20 application exercises, referred to as Leader’s Actions. Lawton tells you early on which ones are essential and I second that opinion. Don’t skip them.
C3 is a system for transformation, complete with the tools and instructions to get the job done. The daunting challenge for leaders is to figure out what your priorities should be, what needs to be fixed (or where the focus should be) and then having the discipline to follow through. If you have the discipline to make these first commitments, then C3 is an invaluable source to drive sea change improvement. Even reinventing or improving the simplest of products proves to be easy! At NABI we’ve applied C3 to everything from pizza’s to phone booths! And what we especially value is that C3 often delivers insight into gaining competitive advantage that actually has nothing to do with the physical product. (e.g. it’s the pizza delivery that you care most about). Entrepreneurs often overlook that products are the sum of how a customer acquires, experiences and uses a product.
My first encounter with C3 was in Lawton’s first book, (Creating a Customer-Centered Culture, ASQC, 1993) in 1994, shortly after it was published. As a life-long management consultant and business coach, devoted to guiding and inspiring small businesses to levels of performance, C3 immediately resonated with me. With an extensive background in market research, it dawned on me that maybe there were better ways to approach the challenge of deeply understanding customers and markets. My next step was to connect with the author to begin exploring how concepts and systems could be practically applied. Rob Lawton is a pleasure to work with! He walks his talk!
Mastering Excellence builds on Rob’s first work with the addition of rich examples and the extension of ideas. And the good news is that the expanded concepts are just as good as the originals. While I’ve always appreciated Rob’s efforts to include tools to help deliver concepts, his new work is an order of magnitude gain. And it’s backed up by a lot of online resources and tool sets.
There are many authors who write about customer satisfaction, experience and value, but Lawton is one of the few who really deal with the subject completely from the strategic to tactical level. Mastering Excellence is written by the master on this subject. Frankly, others dabble in the topic but Lawton owns the category.
In my world as a practicing management consultant and 12 years as the Managing Director and (head coach) of a long standing mixed-use business incubator, we apply C3 principles and tools almost every day with our clients. For new client intake, we like to ask Lawton’s Strategic 5 Whys (explained concisely and illustrated with great examples in Chapter 11), focused on desired outcomes. It seems the rest of the world likes to address the old-fashioned 5 Whys, addressing problems and their root cause. As every leader knows, it’s always a wise move to first look out the window to see where you are headed. Otherwise, you’ll be looking backwards at the skid marks to figure out when you began to leave the road. Lawton’s pithy and entertaining writing style gets and keeps you on track to greatness.
I’ve been fortunate to apply C3 to both large and many small / startup organizations. C3 works for them all. For the larger ones – a system of transformation, such as preparing a large utility to revise its core department services to dramatically improve customers satisfaction.
While it seems that almost every organization apparently cares about customer satisfaction (we all do satisfaction surveys), if I had one wish it would be that every organization that does a customer satisfaction survey would just STOP what they are doing, read and embrace Mastering Excellence and completely rethink their approach to the BS process they are currently using to drive and report on customer satisfaction. The current survey approach is like teaching pigs to sing: you ruin your voice and really annoy the pig. Mastering Excellence can quickly turn this situation around, delivering real insights into customer satisfaction, reduced wait times and greatly improved business processes.
Having only recently read Robin’s 1993 book “Creating a Customer-Centered Culture” I was anxiously looking forward to seeing what was different. As the title indicates, it’s all about alignment. What products do we produce (including services, with many great examples/stories) for which customers, and how well are we meeting their expected outcomes? It sounds so simple given how long the quality transformation has been underway, but as the United Airlines violent bumped passenger removal video of early 2017 reminds us, many organizations still have a long way to go towards putting customer experience at an equal level of priority with the organization’s internal priorities.
As someone who focuses on organizational processes, I was surprised to read Robin’s admonition that the focus needs to be on products and their users’ intended outcomes. That is, deliverables from processes are often nowhere near what the customer (external or internal) really wants, and making the processes more efficient at doing that is not a good use of resources (note to Six Sigma professionals!). By getting more in tune with the outcomes the customers want to achieve (versus just the features of the product/service) the more dramatic the improvements can be.
Perhaps the best feature of the book is that it walks the reader (who ideally would be a leader wanting to transform his/her organization, or a change agent working with such a leader) through the process step by step, and includes Leader Actions (e.g., assessments, plans) that will put them on the path to creating alignment between strategy, culture, customer experience and performance metrics. If that alignment matters to you, this book will help you get there.
New & Exciting!
Supporting Leadership Tools for Purchasers of the Book
Leader’s Actions Excel-based tools for MASTERING EXCELLENCE: A Leader’s Guide to Aligning Strategy, Culture, Customer Experience & Measures of Success are available in our store. Check out our companion electronic workbook!