Next Generation Leadership - Have You Talked to a Customer Today?

Did you talk to a customer today?
Simple yes or no answer.  
According to Frank Pacetta (a hero of mine) and his Blueprint for Success a “no” gets the leader or manager (CEO especially) an immediate failing grade.
Today’s leader is charged with navigating through chaotic and disruptive times.  Employees are anxious, overwhelmed, exhausted, uncertain and have far less trust in senior leadership.  Customers have an evolving set of expectations around the business relationship and brand experience.
Progressive leaders are recognizing this shift in the balance of power, removing barriers, improving access and leading from the front to cultivate a more connected and compelling brand experience for all stakeholders (employees, customers and investors).
The People Economy is here and to thrive amid this transformation true leaders are embracing the transparency that is required, leading from the front, connecting, communicating and collaborating to elevate trust, earn emotional commitment, accelerate innovation and effectively navigate change.
There are examples of next generation leadership all around us.
Consider Dallas Mavericks outspoken owner Mark Cuban who makes his e-mail address public (and has been know to offer it up for fan access on the jumbotron during games).  Don’t like the variety in the Food Court?  Send the owner a note.
How about Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh?  You can follow him on Twitter, check out real time company updates on his blog and employees can stop by his cubicle any time for a high five {forget the corner office…he rolls without walls}.
Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn responded to the recent Forbes article Why Best Buy is Going Out of Business…Gradually via his blog with His Thoughts on Best Buy’s Recent Media Coverage where people are free to comment, invited to connect with him or follow him on Twitter.
Ford CEO Alan Mullaly (notice how he starts this recent keynote!) recently did better than just talking to customers.  He actually delivered a new customers Ford F-150.  CEO service.
These leaders may not always be right.  Their companies may not always win.  But they are real, relevant and represent a shift from the antiquated Command & Control style leadership to a more Collaborative & Connected  approach that is proving far more effective for the time.
How accessible and transparent is your CEO?  Senior leadership?  You?  Worth considering.
This next generation approach to business (Generation Flux) is opening up opportunity for those willing to embrace change, challenge the status quo and connect people to each other and a common purpose.
Change is hard.  It is also the one constant we can count on.
The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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