3 Ways Customer Success Managers Can Be Champions! #pittsburgpenguins

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I heard a great speaker last week. The title, “Thriving in the Uncomfort Zone” by Jeff Moore, CEO of Moore Leadership. He says the key to success in today’s economy is one’s willingness to compete,”to strive together.” Jeff trains leaders in both college sports and the corporate world develop championship teams, building on his winning experience as a former UT Women’s Tennis Coach. Jeff explained what makes a Champion versus a Winner. This is important to understand in order to see recognize the value of a Champion.

What is a Champion?

Champions are built from the inside out. They ask questions like, “How will this impact who we are?” or “How will we get better?” Champions have a fierce collective spirit.  Champions also focus on competing. People on a Championship team respect each other even before they like each other. In contrast, Winners are built from the outside in.  Winners are focused more on results. Winners compare to each other whereas Champions strive together.  There is a certain personality that comes with being a Champion, being a “striver”.  A striver will always try to reach beyond their grasp and they are driven by a purpose that transcends winning. This will be an uncomfortable place.  Winners have a typical characteristic as well, they are called arrivers. “Arrivers” spend all their time creating a perception of success. They want to always be compared favorably.  This leads to a superficial type of improvement.  “Arrivers”  will show up and say, “I am good at this now, so how are you going to get me to the pros?”.  They more that likely ask, “How long is practice?”. When these questions come up, the answer should be “How long are you willing to play at a competitive level in every practice for the team?”.  

How can you test for a Champion?

You can always change your performance but not your personality.  Jeff has a test which shows if you have a high “Striver” ability.  His approach for the workplace regarding building teams is that workers should have a high SQ (Striver Intelligence) in order to get a high performing team. “Strivers” support each other unconditionally and push each other.  In my own experience as a manager, I have been in a company culture where I was not allowed to push and stretch my direct reports because it may upset them.  In addition, my direct reports were not encouraged to push me to make me a better manager.  I believe this is because managers see the “Arrivers” on their team and they believe they are already good so they promote them higher without challenging them to do better and improve their character.

Can Customer Success Managers Be Champions?

My thoughts went to how this relates to Customer Success Managers for a business. Business cannot just have the appearance of success in comparison to others and be “Arrivers”  but they should strive for success like champions do. Here are three ways Customer Success Managers can be champions:

  1. Customer Success Managers can practice their craft by building relationships in a way that is honest and supportive and challenging. In some instances, let the customer push you to reach new ways of achieving excellence.  Always establish yourself as the customer advocate and problem solver but also ask them for ideas that will challenge you. Hopefully the client will be receptive to your challenges as well, if you promote this by your own example. 
  2. Customer Success Managers need to track relationship progress with clients. Not just renewals and churn rates but specific conversational wins. How did they challenge you?  What was your response? What could you do better next time?
  3. Customer Success Managers should keep their companies and coworkers in check by encouraging the “Striver” mentality. Companies need to listen carefully to their Customer Success Managers and be challenged to become better. Get used to being uncomfortable. This would be a striver mentality and would produce a championship business. Truly understanding each customer’s goals and definition of success will push the customer into making touchdowns! When customers get touchdowns, business will get the retention and renewals needed to keep moving forward.

In conclusion, think about how you can be a Champion in your daily life.  Are you challenging yourself?  Are you part of a team that has a “striver” mentality? Winning is not everything but being a Champion in your daily life is will make a difference.