Book Review: Roar!

by Jeannie Walters

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Ever think about how the individual motivations of people and departments impact the holisitic experience for your customers and the results of your organization? How about the way these individuals within your organization use a specific lens to see operations and goals? These are the questions posed by Chris LaVictoire Mahai in her new book Roar: Strengthening business performance through speed, predictability, flexibility, and leverage (available March 15, 2012 via Amazon.)

Opportunities start with a customer need.
The need might be hunger, getting from city A to city B, learning a new
language, work collaboration, financing a new purchase or a million
other possibilities. Any of those needs can be solved with a variety
of products or services. When we start the performance chain with
the product, we miss that first opportunity to think broadly about
the customer and how to connect with them beyond the specific
thing we do: fly a plane, rent cars, produce food, build and install
technology, or offer loans.

From Chapter 1: Performance Chain

This book tackles the idea of the performance chain – and how each unique perspective both adds to and detracts from the entire experience. Effective operations must be a priority, but not at the sacrifice of the experience. The interviews with those who have lived through large organizational change are compelling and sure to provoke some thought about your own organization. My personal favorite was regarding the San Diego Zoo, an especially complex organizational and environmental ecostructure with stakeholders who range from California Condors to the munipical government of the City of San Diego.

When considering your organization, Mahai challenges that departments must acknowledge the lens being used and at the same time consider the other lenses. This leads to complicated, yet worthy, exercises in quality assurance, experience mapping, and understanding not just the strength of using these individual lenses but also the weaknesses. The animal analogies used are helpful and surprisingly relative.

Cheetah often expend so much energy while speeding along to catch prey, they overheat and must cool down before they can enjoy their kill. This is a vulnerable time for them when larger or more aggressive predators like lions or hyenas move in to steal the meal. If another animal touches a cheetah kill, the cheetah will not fight but instead moves on to run down another prospect.

From Chapter 3: Speed

We’ve all worked with a cheetah, right? He’s the guy who loves to be first but doesn’t have the energy to finish the execution of a project. While speed is critical in some respects, it should not be at the sacrifice of predictibility, flexibility or leverage. This approach is taken when discussing the elephant, the coyote, and the ant on the team.

The photographs, animal stories and interesting perspectives make this a quick, thought-provoking read. It’s not just for customer experience professionals, though they will certainly benefit from it, but for anyone who is in a leadership position which impacts the overall experience.

The one missing of this story is probably how best to manage the cheetah or his counterparts. This book is definitely a macro view and leaves the daily tasks up to the reader. It’s not a management book, per se, but more of an overall guide book.

I finished up by thinking if more leaders understood what lens they are seeing the world through, as well as understanding the importance of the others, the overall experience would be more integrated, holistic and successful. I thoroughly enjoyed Roar and think you will, too!

Disclosures: The Amazon links here are affliate links and I received an early e-copy of the book to review.

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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