CX Top Tips

050: Jeofrey Bean: I couldn’t get them to agree

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Jeofrey Bean Show Notes Page

Jeofrey Bean was hired as a market planner to help turn his company around. He was responsible for helping the company to develop products that the marketplace was going to love. The problem for Jeof was that he needed several different departments to work together to accomplish the company’s goals. And they weren’t. Being in a bind, Jeof got an idea that ultimately changed the company culture. Listen to Jeof tell his story so you can get over the hump.

Jeofrey grew up in the Boston area and then his family moved to Michigan where his passion about cars, the companies that make them and the people that buy, use and race them grew.

Jeofrey has had, and still has, many interests including loudspeaker design, documentaries, photography, jazz, hiking, and customer behavior.

While in high school, a friend’s dad was an engineer for Ford Motor Company and would bring home experimental vehicles, many for test driving and comments from drivers and passengers.  One day he told Jeof that the marketing people at Ford recommended that they increase the price on a new Lincoln model they made to compete more effectively with Cadillac and to increase sales.  That was the moment that Jeofrey recalls began his interest in customer behavior and marketing.

Jeofrey’s experience prior to going to college included a customer service position at a high end audio shop interacting with product reps, prototype and new products and customers. This experience increased his passion and curiosity for understanding why people buy what they do and what really makes them happy.

Throughout his career he has worked at small innovative businesses and dynamic Fortune 500 companies in the computer and telecommunications industries (including Sprint and AT&T) developing and marketing products and services.

In 2004, Jeofrey started Del Mar Research assisting companies in making successful decisions about the Internet, marketing and customer service to improve or innovate customer experience.

Jeofrey is the author of Customer Experience Rules! And the best-selling book The Customer Experience Revolution, based on experience, research and in-person interviews with many CX leaders. He is also a part-time Professor of Business Management and Marketing at UC San Diego Extension teaching classes in Online Marketing Strategies and Customer Experience Leadership.

Jeofrey currently resides in beautiful San Diego, California.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @JeofreyBean and get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“It really gets me jazzed when someone gets it and goes and makes a difference” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet

“There’s a leadership evolution…it’s definitely changing and dynamic.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“Know your do-for’s.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“What can I do for you that you’ll value?” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet

“As you get older you want to be relevant and valuable to the younger generation.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“I wanted them to see the product lifecycle for themselves.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“I respect what you know, I think collectively we have to agree.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“Let’s get out of this my opinion, your opinion, and let’s observe them.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“You have to be patient, as far as taking yourself out of the center.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“Even if you know it’s a conclusion you’ve come to, people want to come to their own.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“Don’t be ego invested.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“It’s not about me, it’s about what we are trying to solve.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“Personally and professionally, did I make a positive difference?” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“I want to be surprised by the different answers because I don’t know it all.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“You can know a bunch of things, but are you effective with that?” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

“Knowing things can be over-rated if you can’t be effective and efficient.” -Jeofrey Bean Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Jeofrey Bean was hired as a market planner to help turn his company around. He was responsible for helping the company to develop products that the marketplace was going to love. The problem for Jeof was that he needed several different departments to work together to accomplish the company’s goals. And they weren’t. Being in a bind, Jeof got an idea that ultimately changed the company culture. Listen to Jeof tell his story so you can get over the hump.

Advice for others

Take yourself out of the center and don’t be ego invested.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

The time to meet other leaders and get insights from them.

Best Leadership Advice Received

When Dave Marmonti said, “What can I do for you.” and he meant it.

Secret to Success

Providing an environment where people are truly free to express their concerns and ideas.

Best tools that helps in business or Life

Understanding the diversity of opinions and ideas and disciplines.

Recommended Reading

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded Edition

Contacting Jeof

Website: http://www.delmarresearch.com/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeofreybean

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeofreybean

Resources

Customer Experience Rules! Sample rules book by Jeofrey Bean

 


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Click to access edited transcript
050: Jeofrey Bean: I couldn’t get them to agree

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.

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Jim Rembach: Today I have the opportunity to have on my show somebody who was referred to me from a good friend of mine Carol Burens. Jeofrey Bean grew up in the Boston area and then his family moved to Michigan where his passion about cars, the companies that make them, and the people who buy them, use them and raised them grew. Jeofrey has had and still has many interests including loudspeaker design, documentaries, photography, jazz, hiking, and customer behavior. While in high school a friend’s dad was an engineer for Ford Motor Company, would bring home test vehicles many for driving and comments from drivers and passengers. One day he told Jeff that the marketing people at Fort recommended that they increase the price of a new Lincoln model they made to compete more effectively with Cadillac and to increase sales, that was the moment that Jeofrey recalls beginning his interest in consumer behavior and marketing.

Throughout his career he has worked at small innovative businesses and dynamic Fortune 500 companies in the computer and telecommunications industries developing and marketing products and services. In 2004, Jeofrey started Delmar research assisting companies in making successful decisions about the Internet marketing and customer service to improve or innovate customer experiences. Jeofrey is the author of customer experience rules and the best-selling book, The Customer Experience Revolution. He is also part-time professor of business management at UC San Diego extension teaching classes in online marketing strategies and customer experience leadership. Jeofrey currently resides in beautiful San Diego, California. Jeofrey Bean are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Jeofrey Bean: I am absolutely ready to help you get over the hump.

Jim Rembach: Thank you sir. I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you, but can you tell us what your current passion so that we can get to know you even better?

Jeofrey Bean: My current passion is, other than authoring books, is really teaching at UC San Diego teaching online marketing strategies but also customer experience leadership because it’s edgy and it’s so new compared with a lot of business courses when you compare it with traditional marketing courses. It really gets me jazz when somebody learns it gets it and then outside of the school they’re going and making a difference.

Jim Rembach: One of the things as you were mentioning that is that you talked about new and edgy and you use the word leadership, that’s one reason why we started the show, Fast Leader Show, is because leadership is so critically important when you start thinking about customer focus, employee engagement the whole human centric movement, listening to somebody earlier that talked about the English language being adapted little bit with the way that people use English for chat purposes and they were talking about the foundation of English and proper word sentence structure and things like that, do you think that this is just an evolution of leadership? Or is it really something that’s totally different, a different language of leadership?

Jeofrey Bean: I think it’s an evolution and sometimes it’s an evolution of leadership and sometimes it’s a reflection of how people interact and what they’re interacting with. For instance, if you look at the Google keyword search tool to see what words people are using to find things, let’s say that there were six or seven words or phrases that they were using this month we could look six months from now to see what people are looking for, if they’re looking for the same exact thing those words could be different, so there’s many evolutions taking place there’s a leadership evolution of language and communication then there’s how do we use technology to find what we want kind of thing but one thing is it’s definitely changing, it’s very dynamic.

Jim Rembach: When you start talking about change and also the legacy and the traditions of many new things were talking about is that we often have to look for inspiration, and one of the things that we do on the show is look at leadership quotes to help us with that, and Jeff I know, you have a rich background, living in a couple different places getting of the experience of the East Coast and Midwest and also now in the West Coast, is there a quote or two that helps you get a better sense of direction, can you share it with us?

Yeah there is and I think no matter where I’ve lived and no matter what situation I’ve been in I always say to myself and in the last two years I’ve said it to other people and I say, “Know your do force” it’s knowing what can I do for you that you’ll value. And whether it’s my nieces and my nephews, certainly as you get older you want to be relevant and valuable to the younger generation but also in business and in any situation even transitioning out to San Diego years ago, what is San Diego do for me? What can I do for San Diego? And so, to me it’s understanding those not only in economic level but in an emotional level and thinking more in long-term, what are my do force.

Jim Rembach: I love the way you said that. When I speak of do force there’s so many different things that come to mind when I start thinking about that, different contexts, different situations, I can always keep myself grounded if I would just think about, “Okay, what are my do force.
Jeofrey Bean: What’s my do force talking today? What’s my do force with my wife over the weekend? Students asking me for help or if I give a seminar to company and they’re asking me, it’s not just purpose but it’s really how can I be of value? How can I make a difference at the end of the day does valued?

Jim Rembach: That’s interesting, there’s a couple of words when you were saying and you’re explaining that stood out to me and when I started thinking about do force I originally went there is that in terms of values, talking about virtues and you start talking about the things that are purpose driven for you, and it helps make it all kind of applicable. A lot of times we start like, “Okay, but how can I apply that? And I think do force is a great way of being able to do that, so thanks for sharing.

Jeofrey Bean: You’re welcome great question.

I would dare to say, when you think about having your own business even the story about having the neighbor and the experimental vehicles I know that had to be exciting, but we all have humps that we have to get over and just going to the transitions of life, starting your own business, becoming an author trying to speak and influence others all those things represent a lot of humps that we have to get over where we often have to ask about our do force, is there a story that you can share with us that has helped ground you and helped to establish better do force?

Jeofrey Bean: There’s many along the way but I when I go way back to I’d say the early ‘90s when I was a lot younger but also when I was learning a lot and working at Hazel Micro Computer. We made modems and we’re small company in Atlanta, we also made software. Part of my job is market planner, young Jeff was supposed to help turn around the company, and I certainly had a really good demand side, few debts, just kind of how I live and how I think. You can put as much technology and marketing and all that stuff is front of me but I’m always thinking about how does it link to the outside world? And so, I was kind of in a bind where it was where you’re supposed to help to improve the sales of this company and turn the company around and yet nobody inside the company, particularly engineers weren’t talking to marketing people, we even have engineers who divided themselves up into synchronous engineers and asynchronous engineers and they live in different worlds, and they rarely left Norcross, Georgia where our office was and we also have our manufacturing there, and I couldn’t get them to agree even on, “Now, we need to get rid of some old products and by the way, you’re working on some new stuff that you like to work on, but we need to have you work on things that we can introduce to the market that people will adapt and love.”

And so, one day I got this idea that I want to take these folks to lunch, some marketing people some engineering people some product managers, “Why don’t we go to lunch and then after lunch let’s go this new place called CompUSA in Jimmy Carter blvd. in Atlanta” and this was new at that time to have like a supermarket kind of store like a Staples but it was all filled with computer stuff, with **9:46 and a section in the ** products. And I walked into the store and I said, “I just want to share with you guys, I didn’t want the academic discussion with them about what a product life cycle was and all of that, I wanted them to see where some of the products that they design, put their heart and soul into, I wanted them to see the cycle for themselves. We went to the back of the store where our highest performing, most edgy modems were at that time including software, and at date they were selling from suggested retail, but then by the time we made it up to the front, where the cash registers were, a lot of the products that they’ve work on just two years ago were in this kind of bargain bin and markdown and they were a little freaked out. And I said, “This is where it happens, this is just one channel of many channels now, at that time we were only in two distribution channels and the PC-driven market was nine or ten so the company had to learn that—right products and the right channels for the right customer and what the customer and what the ‘do force’ were for the customers.

And so, it was letting the outside world educate the marketing people who were very data-driven at the time and then showing the engineers what happens in the outside world and let them see that for themselves. We watched people in the buying process and shopping process, whether it was B2B for their home office. I think they got a good idea, the fact that their product was viewed as an entire thing by customers not engineering did this, marketing did this, salespeople did this, this was a whole the modem box the modem was in here there was software in here.

When we got back we’ve some really good discussions based on their experience of what they thought that they observed when people looked at the box and what’s the job at the box in retail for instance or later on in catalogs or now on the Internet. So, that was a turning point for my ability to communicate with people who basically say, “Well, Jeff you work in market planning and you really don’t know what we know” and I said, “But I respect what you know, I just think collectively we have to agree on what is the demand side look like? What do people do when they make decisions about buying our product or the competitor product? And then we need to use whatever each one of us knows for the company and for the customer, so that helped change the culture.

The other thing I did was I started a little silent program, and announced, where I would just bring in people that match our existing customers and I would bring them over to engineering and I’d introduce them and I’d just say, “Hey, I’m giving a tour here and I’d ask one of the engineers to not only demonstrate a product that they were working on, we couldn’t show them anything for proprietary of course, but what I would do is I would say, “Could you now let the customer use that product? Let them open up the communication software and make the connection at the highest rate they could.” What the engineers learned was that they needed to do more testing with people outside that matched either our existing customers or customers we’d like to have. That wasn’t part of the culture at that time it was more like engineers would design this great high-speed modem, back then in the old days high-speed modems were proprietary and then the standards would happen and then many companies would go in, they would basically make modems and an engineer would bring it down the hallway for another engineer, get the approval from a performance standpoint, but not necessarily bring our customers into the process of development.

Even the box, what is the box look like? Like I ask our box people, why is there dog on our box? And nobody knew. So, it was really kind of trying to let them know that this isn’t about what Jeff wants as far as our communication across the departments and our involvement with people outside, from whether we’re trying to fix an existing product, whether it’s the pricing marketing communications we’re trying to develop it but it’s really that whether you like it or not you’re playing in a much bigger world where there’s a whole bunch of people on the demand side that are going to help us turn this company around we need to leverage them.

So, let’s get out of this, ‘this is my opinion your opinion,’ let’s go observe them and interact with them, watch them, appreciate them and then comeback with their own conclusions and exchange, let’s exchange those ideas. For me it was the turning point and—well, I didn’t stay very long at the company after that. I think it kind of architected a basic part of who I was professionally going on, whether it was product development, marketing service development, it was fundamental to have that outside in view and then come to some conclusions.

Jim Rembach: Thanks for sharing that story, Jeff. A couple of things stood out to me, one of the thing that I always mention a lot is that most of the time, not some of the time, you’re not the best one to tell the story. And we often that because we want people to buy into our thoughts and ideas and we want to make a difference and we think that pushing our explanation, our ideas, our statistical analysis all of that is what were supposed to be doing. For me, I learned in that example you learn to be quiet.

Jeofrey Bean: Yes, yes I did. It was difficult at that time.

Jim Rembach: You allowed people come to their own conclusions. There’s also one thing that you mentioned there that’s very intentional practice and activity in the areas of positive psychology. And it’s well worth to educate yourself on appreciative inquiry because one of the practices that they have in appreciative inquiry is around something called ‘unlikely pairs.’ When you start talking about cross-mixing all of these different functional groups and personality types in individuals, what you’re doing is you’re creating unlikely pairs and giving them the opportunity to find commonality and common ground, so you were the orchestrator that, so good job.

Now, if you were to think about somebody who’s in a particular role, and it doesn’t matter where they are in an organization but they’re kind of fighting that whole no silo dysfunction function, if you were to give them one piece of advice, what would it be?

I’d say that you have to be patient as far as taking yourself out of the center and giving information examples that will educate but allow people to come to their own conclusions. Even if you know that it’s a conclusion you’ve come to, I think that in some cases there are people who want to come to their own conclusions, I certainly like to do that, but when you’re in that crunch time where things are little crazy and stuff has to get done or turned around, I think giving examples outside of yourself outside of the company, “Hey, here’s how they do it over here.” “Or did you see what made this successful or turnaround?” and then asking good questions, “Do you think we could do something like that? Do you want to try something like that? I think that would be pretty low risk or it would be high risk but it might be Hail Mary time.” I think taking yourself, don’t be ego-invested, it just take yourself out of it and educate and inform and plant the seeds so that people—they only have this far a short distance to go to say, “Oh! Wow, I think I’ve got an idea or I’m going to come to that conclusion and suddenly things move along. As long as people know why they’re coming to that conclusion to, it isn’t that Jeff being said or Jim said, it’s they’ve seen good company examples or other things. It’s not about me it’s about what we’re trying to solve.

Jim Rembach: I like that way that you say that, for me, I don’t care who gets the credit as long as it moves in the direction that you it needs to go, it doesn’t matter to me. I know you have, of course you’re the first background a lot of experience, authoring, teaching, all that stuff we talked about teaching being something that’s important to you, but when you start thinking about your goals which one is your big ones?

Jeofrey Bean: I think the biggest one is—years from now when I look back and say, personally and professionally, did I make a positive difference? With younger people in teaching it’s really helping to pass along what you know so that they can go and be great leaders and experience makers and change makers, those are the big ones. More near term, it’s helping companies improve their customer experience and meeting people and so forth. I really get charged, I get energized when people, whether they’re working for company and were in an environment whether it’s a seminar or just having a chat, when they get it and go out and do something and they send me an email and they call me up and say, “That really worked!” And it certainly the same thing in the university environment, people are going to leave the university, they’re going to go out in the big world, and I try to tell the students to think beyond just getting a good grade, I want to hear a year from now, two years from now, that you’ve done something credibly marvelous because what we did in this class. And I get that feedback and I it’s the charge, it makes energy a very positive energy.

Jim Rembach: And Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best, Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.

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Alright, here we go Fast Leader Legion, it’s time for the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Jeff, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Jeofrey Bean, are you ready to hoedown?

Jeofrey Bean: I am ready.

Jim Rembach: What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Jeofrey Bean: It’s the time to meet other leaders and get insights from them, where we can learn from each other. There’s just a never ending learning process, so I’d like to meet more leaders, exchange insights and experience. Could you imagine being able to just have all kind of time to that, I would love that.

Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have received?

Jeofrey Bean: The best leadership advice I have ever received is when I walked in to the office of one of the best leaders I’ve ever worked for, a fellow named Dave Marmonte, when I was working at AT&T, and he said, “What can I do for you? And meant it. And I told him, “ I had some things that I needed help with on a project that affected him also but more so I said, ‘Well, here’s exactly what you can do for me, I started to walk out of his office.” He said, “Where are you going?” and he made me close the door right in front of me made the calls, delivered the messages, gave me coaching, and 10 minutes later I walked out feeling like a million bucks and this guy was the real deal. He understood that it was to serve in a good way, and by example from his behavior was also beyond that meeting. But that was a really powerful thing he said to me because he meant it and he did it, so it was awesome.

Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Jeofrey Bean: Providing for the long-term an environment where people really, truly are free to express their ideas and concerns where you’re listening and an environment, whether it’s at a company or seminar or a classroom or just confiding with a friend, I think really, truly being able to deliver that—no penalties as a matter of fact we’re going to gain from this by exchanging ideas. Being able to genuinely provide that and be known for that is something that’s been very special.

Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?

Jeofrey Bean: It’s understanding the diversity of opinions and ideas and discipline. I love the fact that when you ask the same question to people from different places or from different backgrounds, to me I want to be surprised by the different answers because I don’t know at all.

Jim Rembach: What would be one book from any genre that you would recommend to our listeners?

Jeofrey Bean: It’s a tie for me, I like Howard Schultz’s book it’s called “Onward” and he’s just an incredible leader and inspirational fellow. But I also like Don Norman’s, “Design of Everyday Things” it kind of a tossup.

Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that and other bonus information which will include a free chapter from Jeff’s book on the show notes page, that you’ll be able to find at fastleader.net/Jeofrey Bean. Now, I want to make sure that everybody knows that Jeofrey Bean is spelled a little bit uniquely, it’s J-E-O-F-R-E-Y, that’s Joefrey Bean.

Okay, Jeff, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, but you can’t take it all you can only take back one thing, so what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

Jeofrey Bean: It’s understanding, and that being effective and efficient is more important than a whole bunch of other things. You can just get out puking all bunch of things that are you effective with that you know a bunch of things but are you effective with that? As a matter of fact, several CEO’s have commented to me that they said, “Knowing things can be overrated if you can’t be effective and efficient. And I said, “Absolutely.” You try to get more wisdom as you get older and as I’m working on that I think I’m realizing being effective and efficient seems to be coming up as a priority more often. So if I was 25 and knew that, Wow! That could make a big difference that could be powerful.

Jim Rembach: Jeff I think you just explained where the ‘do for’ comes from. Jeff it an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?

Jeofrey Bean: Certainly. Thanks for having me on Jim, I appreciate it, You can check out my website at delmarresearch.com, also contact me by e-mail, jbean@delmarresearch.com or give a call directly at 858-334- 9266, and let’s have a chat.

Jim Rembach: Jeofrey Bean, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot! Woot!

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

END OF AUDIO

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