Help! I made changes in my department and it doesn't seem to be working.

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You asked, Kristi answered! Check out this week’s anonymous Q&A with Kristi Faltorusso from CS Real Simple. Don’t forget to post your own anonymous question for Kristi to answer next time.

Q: Help! I made changes in my department and when I put everything into practice it doesn't seem to be working. I'm freaking out because the company may lose time and money. What do I do?

Ok, don’t panic. I'm sure that not everything you've implemented is not working, so take a deep breath and a step back and really access the impact and situation. Often time when we implement change we will need to iterate and tweak it to get the results we’ve hoped for, so you need to make a map of all of the changes you’ve made and say this is not working because, and make the necessary changes. The key here is to move quickly. If you know you need to make changes, do it methodically with reason and purpose but start today.

You are also probably stressed about how you will be perceived, but don’t be, not now at least. You need to focus all of your mental energy on your team and the communication and change plan. Worry about yourself later. Communication is key, so make sure you share with leadership and your team, what you’ve done and why, and then followed by the results you’ve seen and the changes you are proposing. Back everything up with data and a plan and be prepared to answer any and all questions.

How you pick yourself back up and pivot from here is super important and will say a lot to your leadership team and employees about the type of person/leader YOU are. Don’t worry about it too much, we learn the most when we fail. Take note and move on!

How to Get Advice From CS Insider and Kristi:

  • Send questions for publication here. (Questions may be edited.)

Q: Dear Insider, how do you get leadership on board with CS? Some leaders still think CS is a cost of doing business rather than a growth department.

I’ve had to navigate this struggle a time or two in my professional career so I understand how frustrating it can be. I wish all leaders just “got it” and that it did not require us to justify our existence every day, but it’s still new and we have to be able to prove the value. That said, I’ve done a few things to help with this:

  1. Share resources and insight! Leaders love data and results, they also want to emulate what has helped other organizations have tremendous success, so share resources, books, podcasts, blogs, and data to help highlight why so many other organizations have made CS the focus of their business.
  2. Run a trial - They always say the “proof is in the pudding”, so take a handful of your customers and run them through your desired operating model; set some KPIs and prove to them that this is the right way of thinking about the business. If you can actively involve your customers in the process even better! Help them see what you want them to see.
  3. Get cross-functional support - There is something to be said about power in numbers, so work with the Product team, the Sales team, the Marketing team, etc., and help them all understand how Customer Success will make them all more successful. If you stand together your voice is louder and hopefully, there is a better chance of being heard.

Whatever you do, don’t give up without a fight; what we do is hard work and it will take time. Stay positive and remember, your customers deserve it!

Q: I'm a woman in CS leadership, and I have the hardest time finding roles with C-Suite leaders that are truly supportive of women. Since I keep encountering this and have not yet been successful in healing the gender discrimination issues, what do you recommend as a plan of action or steps I can take next time I see or experience gaslighting, mistreatment of women/femmes, and general (major) differences in how our male/masc presenting vs. female/femme presenting employees are treated?

First, I am so sorry this has been your experience, sadly this is still an issue and something many of us still face on a regular basis. As a female leader I’ve struggled to navigate these challenges in the past.

My approach to everything is always to assume the best of everyone, so when I am in a situation that makes me feel a certain way, I give the person the benefit of the doubt and address with them privately. What I’ve found is that often, these individuals do not even realize what they are doing or how what they’ve said or done has made me feel. So here is my advice to you if you are navigating a similar situation:

  1. Assume the best - Reach out to the person privately and let them know how they’ve made you feel and while doing so assume that they didn’t realize. Bringing this to their attention will hopefully prevent this from being an issue in the future and perhaps you’ve helped others who may have had a similar experience.
  2. Be vocal - Silence will not help you long term. Stick to the facts and be clear on what bothered you and what you expect or think is appropriate behavior for the future.
  3. Move on - Don’t dwell on what happened. After you’ve had a discussion about it, it’s time to move on. You need to be able to work well with your colleagues, peers and leaders and if you can’t let go, it will impact your ability to work well together, trust me. Plus, letting go is good advice in general.

Every conversation we have to address these types of situations makes us all better. Don’t be a victim; be the change you wish to see!

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