Ian Golding Show Notes Page
Ian Golding felt like he beat his head for 15 years working in an organization as a champion for the customer. Over the past 6 years he has traveled to over 60 countries and worked with organizations to help support those that thrive on the customer experience to be heard, recognized and supported. Listen as Ian shares insights on the future of customer experience as a discipline and profession.
Ian is a born and bred Londoner with his older brother Mark. Ian claims that he received the brains and the beauty. 😉
Ian’s dad is an accountant. For over twenty years, Ian’s dad had aspirations Ian would be become an accountant as well. Ian decided to rebel!! Ian’s dad was also a committed soccer fan. You would imagine that coming from London, he would have been a fan of a world-famous team – like Arsenal.
Unfortunately, not only was he an accountant, he is a fan of the mighty Leyton Orient. He’s amazed, he turned out ok, really!!
Having obtained a business degree, Ian landed his first job in the financial services industry – the start of a 17-year career in a variety of corporate organizations. In the late nineties, Ian ended up working for GE – a career and life changing experience.
Having ultimately, becoming certified as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, he had the profound realization that every fiber in his body was focused on helping organizations to do the right thing for customers.
In 2012, he finally decided to set up his own business – advising, guiding and teaching organizations, about the tools and techniques necessary to turn customer focus into a sustainable reality.
In almost six years, he has worked in 37 countries with over 90 different organizations in multiple industries. Ian has also become an avid writer in the subject of Customer Experience, publishing over 400 articles – his first title Customer What? Is sure to be his first of many to come.
In 2005, Ian relocated from London to the beautiful Roman city of Chester in the North West of England where he lives with his wife Naomi, three children (Ciara, Caitie and Jack), two dogs and a tortoise!! When he can, Ian runs… a lot… and has completed 28 half marathons and three marathons – one dressed as the pink panther!!!
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“Customer Experience is a science.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“There is such a big disconnection between leadership and the rest of the organization.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“There is always a reason not to do something.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“The way that organizations traditionally have built themselves to interact with others is inhumane.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“The politics of corporate organizations is the biggest single thing that is holding back the science of customer experience.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“Those who eliminate the corporate politics are the ones who will win.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“How many organizations are led by people who stay for the long-term?” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“Customer experience relies on long-term business focus.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“The Customer Experience profession can change the corporate world.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“Around 15% of all organizations have thrivers, but too often their voice isn’t heard.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“The world is very imbalanced economically, but academically it isn’t.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
“What we are here to do is to help as many people as possible.” -Ian Golding Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Ian Golding felt like he beat his head for 17 years working in an organization as a champion for the customer. Over the past 6 years he has traveled to over 60 countries and worked with organizations to help support those that thrive on the customer experience to be heard, recognized and supported. Listen as Ian shares insights on the future of customer experience as a discipline and profession.
Advice for others
Learn to translate your thoughts in to words.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
I’m the world’s worst protagonist.
Best Leadership Advice
Secret to Success
Best tools that helps in Business or Life
Contacting Ian Golding
Resources and Show Mentions
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Show Transcript:Click to access edited transcript
169: Ian Golding This is my reason for being
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: Okay, Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because we have somebody on the show today who actually gives us some practical insights on the global customer experience world. Ian Golding is a born and bred Londoner with his older brother Mark. Ian claims that he received the brains and the beauty—well, wait a minute we have to find out about that. Ian’s dad is an accountant and for over twenty years his dad had aspirations that Ian would be become an accountant as well. Ian decided to rebel. Ian’s dad was also a committed soccer fan. You would imagine that coming from London, he would have been a fan of a world-famous teams – like Arsenal but unfortunately, not only was he not an accountant he is a fan of the mighty Leyton Orient. He’s amazed, he turned out okay.
Having obtained a business degree, Ian landed his first job in the financial services industry – the start of a 17-year career in a variety of corporate organizations. In the late 1990s, Ian ended up working for GE–a career and life changing experience. Having ultimately becoming certified as a Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, he had the profound realization that every fiber in his body was focused on helping organizations to do the right thing for customers. In 2012, he finally decided to set up his own business–advising, guiding and teaching organizations, about the tools and techniques necessary to turn customer focus into a sustainable reality. In almost six years, he has worked in 37 countries with over 90 different organizations in multiple industries. Ian has also become an avid writer in the subject of Customer Experience, publishing over 400 articles, because he spends a lot of time on the plane that is why. His first book, which would probably one of many, is titled, Customer What? In 2005, Ian relocated from London to the beautiful Roman city of Chester in the North West of England where he lives with his wife Naomi, three children Ciara, Caitie and Jack, two dogs and a tortoise. When he can, Ian runs—a lot—and has completed 28 half marathons and three marathons – one dressed as the pink panther. Ian Golding, are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Ian Golding: I am as long as you don’t talk about the Pink Panther.
Jim Rembach: Well I can’t make any promises my friend. I’ve given our legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better.
Ian Golding: My current passion genuinely, and I don’t want to sound sad, the pleasure I get in helping people do this stuff they do the stuff that people think is so easy it’s an intuitive thing I love seeing people realized that they can actually take something like customer experience and make genuine change. So many people are finding it hard to do that when I get a phone call from someone saying, Ian they just told me that this is amazing that is what I wake up for in the morning apart from my family.
Ian Golding: As you were talking, and of course I believe in the family thing too that’s for sure, is that customer experience and the discipline of customer experience for a lot of organizations they’re dismiss again saying no it doesn’t pay off there’s really no benefit for us to go through these transformational processes. But obviously it’s one of those issues where it requires a whole lot of effort to do and it’s not easy. So when you start thinking about the common things that you’re seeing with organizations when it comes to going through the transformation process, for those who were saying, what, this is the way, what are you coming across?
The reality of this it was last year that someone in a training course that I was delivering said to me she realizes now that customer experience is a science and I think it was one of the best slightly profound descriptions of what we do that I’ve heard. She said she’s always learning intuitively as a leader that it’s important but she didn’t realize that actually if you don’t understand the science you’re just talking. You are talking about something to make sense but you won’t actually change behavior and what I’m seeing in organizations all over the world actually. This lady was in South Africa but I see in mainland Europe I see it in Middle East and that there is such a big disconnection or misconnection between leadership and the rest of the organization. As a result what is happening and what has happened probably for the last 20 years is that most customer experience efforts have relied on people like you and me practitioners who’ve been on the inside you have known this is the right thing to do when they started to do it they probably didn’t realize it was a science either they’ve developed that science over time but whilst we’ve been doing that the people still running organizations of all shapes and sizes have not developed their own learning to realize that this thing does make a difference.
Jim Rembach: Okay that’s a really interesting point. I was actually watching somebody present something the other day about their particular niche in industry saying how one of the biggest issues that people had, and I think they were talking about technology selection is what it was or service providers selection process or an outsource relationship something that wasn’t a core part of their business but what they were saying is that people are so absorbed with what they have to do within their own four walls that they often just don’t have the opportunity or the time to do some of that education piece, what’s going on out there? And so when they go to make their decisions and they get pressured—you’ve got to do something you’ve got to move forward they’re kind of stuck with what they already know they don’t know what they don’t know is what the person was saying.
Ian Golding: Absolutely, I certainly agree that to me there’s always an excuse there’s always a reason not to do something. This is a horrible analogy but it’s like losing weight, we always want to lose weight but when do you start? When is the right time to start? Well, we’re going out for dinner tonight, there is tomorrow—no, no actually tomorrow I’ve got a party so we’re doing that—and you never end up changing the habit. I think unfortunately business not just commercial businesses but any organization we have been almost brainwashed into believing that there is a way organizations are run and there are things that people do they have certain tasks they need to perform they have numbers they need to hit. And because that’s the way it’s been done for decades, centuries in some cases, when you start to realize that actually the way that organizations traditionally have built themselves to interact with others is actually quite inhuman and that what we’re trying to do here is to change the nature of the way people think about the things they do. People often will accuse us of being evangelical but that takes it to a different level but it’s true the politics of corporate organizations is the biggest single thing that is holding back the science of customer experience becoming something that truly helps them succeed those who eliminate the politics are the ones who will win.
Jim Rembach: Man you really hit a chord for me on that one. I had this conversation the other day with a particular councilor within an education organization and I had mentioned something about the fact that when it comes to brain science we’ve learned a lot about how the brain works just within the past few years it’s been a very short window because of some of the technologies that just didn’t exist that now exists so that we can do brain mapping and all these other things that we’re slowly getting a better understanding of how that thing works. And I said—if an educator is essentially teaching within the classroom like they were three years ago that’s a problem because we’ve learned so much about how people learn, kids adults all of that, and if we haven’t adapted as educators we’re doing them a disservice. Her reply to me was—well the teachers at our school are actually teaching students how they would become successful in our school. That was such a political response.
Ian Golding: This is the thing. I suppose the biggest challenge for our industry is that if there is a lot of dim and gloom at the moment there’s a lot of people predicting the end of CX is nigh and it’s going to go the same way as this that and the other . I am one of those people. I wrote an article at the end of last year that talks about the 7-year itch. We’ve reached this point but the thing is it’s not all dim and gloom but if we are definitely at a point where people are starting to question does the science really work? Now the science does work there are enough publicly available studies around the world that have proven beyond doubt and the fact that we have to saying that to wear red in the face is quite remarkable. If anyone wants to have an argument about does doing the right thing for the customer make money? Then good luck to them.
The point is that what we have got to try and reinforce in people’s minds that it entail those who run organizations recognize that the best way for them to build a legacy the best way for them to achieve their goals in the long term are to do the right thing for the organization not for themselves. The thing is we have become, I think, especially in the last 30, 40 years even more so as a humanity very greedy and people want to make money and they want to make as much money as they can as quickly as they can and that unfortunately does not align with the principles of customer experience. If you want a successful customer experience and approach to be embedded into the organization if there is even a sense of that happening it’s never going to work. I don’t want to sound like I’m being too brutal about this I am being brutal about it but it’s true. The biggest likelihood of success is if the person who is brought in to drive the approach to customer experience is brought in by a CEO who is going to stay in the organization for 10, 20 years if that’s the case it will work and that’s the problem. How many organizations are led by people who stay there for the long term?
Jim Rembach: I think you bring up a really interesting point. I think they say the average tenure for example just of a chief marketing officer is like two and a half years.
Ian Golding: Absolutely.
Jim Rembach: For many CX organizations that’s who that person reports up to, why is that tenure such that it?
Ian Golding: Some of it is lack of lack of ability to focus. Some of it is because those individuals are very ambitious and they want to make money and they want to move—and this is why my man crush always says it’s Jeff Bezos who probably is the man crush or even it serves the many CX professionals. He is my man crush because he’s the perfect example of someone who created something with the desire to do it a certain way and he’s still we’re, still doing the same thing, however many years later—now the risk to Amazon the biggest risk to Amazon is what happens when Jeff Bezos retires. Already we can see with Apple which is not the most customer centric of businesses but we can see that they have the nature of that dynamic has changed since sadly Steve Jobs passed away. I always say how many truly transformational leaders can you really allow? There are few of these guys. There are so few people who have that genuine commitment not just to make money in the short term but to see something through in the long-term and that’s what sadly customer experience relies on long-term isn’t a swipers.
Jim Rembach: It is true. It’s easy to get a short term gain but can you do it a time after time after time and continue to do it for not just your lifetime but it’s the lifetime of the people and their families it’s a generational impact.
Ian Golding: Absolutely. Some people have actually said to me because money has never been my motivation I know it sounds—no come on Ian that can’t be true—but it’s true. Of course I need to make a living and I’ve got a family that I need to support and everything else but I don’t do what I do for the money I do it because this is my vacation I love doing this. The thing is you get to a point where a few (14:20) someone described me as a philanthropist which I still find difficult to say but they are basically saying almost suggesting that I’m giving this stuff away. They weren’t saying in a derogatory way that’s really interesting that someone sees me trying to do the right thing and they still think that I’m giving something away, do what I mean, right? It’s a difficult thing to describe, I hope you will understand more than many.
Jim Rembach: For me I could see what somebody would say from that perspective if you start thinking about it from a betterment of the world perspective. Philanthropy for me that’s one of the areas that they try to focus on is that I want to make an impact on the world. And really what you just talked about the entire—your bio and everything else and all the works that you’re doing and all the different countries that you’ve traveled and all the different—that’s what you’re doing in.
Ian Golding: It’s so cool. But that’s the point I think now I’m on the other side as you described I’ve spend 17 years as an employee. Seventeen years smashing my head against a brick wall being made to feel stupid, I wasn’t right for a business I now know that I was always right. No, I don’t want that to sound the wrong way there are many times I’m wrong but what I was trying to do was the right thing even though at the time it felt like it was the wrong thing. Now I’m in a position where people are asking me to help them and that is a wonderful thing. Does it sound too much to say that I want to change the world? To some people maybe be but genuinely that I say the CX profession and change the call for world. It’s not just me I think there are many of us who by doing what we’re doing there is no doubt despite the dim and gloom we are having a massive impact on the way businesses, organizations of all shapes and sizes are thinking about the way they work.
Jim Rembach: Okay. I want to really point in or hone in on something you said just a moment ago as far as that head banging on the wall and all of that stuff is that there’s a lot of people in the organizations that are probably going to this episode that are like—Gosh! I just need to get out. I actually want to say that the reason that you have those frustrations is because you’re a creative individual and what organizations do to creative individuals is cause them to bang their heads on the wall.
Ian Golding: Yes, that’s true, that’s true. Interestingly I talk about three types of employees in organizations. It’s a description someone else stated to me but I love the description—I call it the thriver, survivor and nose-diver. There is almost certainly an academic study that will translate those into academic terms. Around 15 % of all organizations have thrivers. People that want to do the right thing that love change. Those people too often their voice isn’t heard or they speak but no one’s listening. And what happens is that 15 % at the other end of the spectrum, the nose divers, the ones who’ve been there for too long they come in just to pick up their paycheck they hate the job but they don’t have a choice those guys try and drag everyone else down with them and you leave that 70% of the masses in the middle who are just surviving. They’re turning up for work every day and they’re hearing the nose divers say everything’s terrible they see the frustration in the thriver, what we need to do?
You’re absolutely right, give this thriver hope. What I see so often around the world, and interestingly I’ve done a lot in Africa and I think to come to where there is not a great deal of disposable income these are these are places that are very different—they are thrivers, they want knowledge they want to know, how can we make this better? When you start talking to them about the science of customer experience their eyes open because they are—right I’m going to do something to this and they go and do it. In a way it’s fascinating to see a country like Zimbabwe there has nothing but it’s got people in there that want to do better they want to take things forward. I suppose one of the things that gives me hope is that the world is very imbalanced economically and academically it isn’t and I’m very much hoping we’ll see some of these smaller economic parts of the world increase in their capability as they continue to do the right thing.
Jim Rembach: That’s why they call them emerging markets.
Ian Golding: That’s right, and they are.
Jim Rembach: Also one of the things that you pointed out is coming from a point of scarcity you end up appreciating things quite differently from a world that is filled with abundance and that’s one of the things—trying to raise kids—when they have all of the abundance of things around them, I jokingly say, I’m going to drop your tail off in a third-world country for three months so that you can actually experience what it’s like to not have all of these things that you take for granted.
Ian Golding: Absolutely. I don’t say that’s my kids just they get back I say that’s the CEO’s. You take everything for granted you need to go and sit not in this beautiful 30th floor office you need to go and see what the real world is like. You need to and sit where your customer’s sitting and see what happens to them. All community knows all of these stuff but at the end of the day we’ve become a society generally that just expects things to come to us. We expect the money to come we expect the customers to come. Yes, people will say the right things until they’re prepared to change that behavior and put other people before themselves we’re not going to see fundamental changes. Does that mean CX as a profession dies? No. What it actually means is that our profession becomes even more important and it may need more and more of us to keep doing the things we do.
Jim Rembach: A good deal. Okay, so what we’re talking about here is just loaded with a ton of inspiration, ton of frustration that emotion is something that we like to point to as for with quotes on the show. Is there a quote or two that you’d like to share that will help us think differently?
Ian Golding: I want to repeat what I said at the beginning because it is the most profound quote anyone has ever shared with me. The lady who said it doesn’t like me telling anyone it was heard had said it and interestingly because she’s a very humble person herself it’s not about her exact words were—I always knew that customer experience was important but I didn’t realize it was a science and behind the science is a heart. For me that is, and actually I have put that quote in my door and albeit without her name that she knows it’s her, that’s the main it sums everything up. We know it’s important but it is a science if you cannot apply the science with a little bit of humanity behind it.
Jim Rembach: That’s a good quote and it’s true I think that’s where some of that philanthropy piece— I can’t even say it.
Ian Golding: I struggle, I struggle.
Jim Rembach: So we’ve talked about a lot of the things that you have that are going on—you’re doing a bunch of travel you’ve hit 38 countries and you said this year that number is definitely going to go up even more and you got a lot of things going on—family’s important—but if you looked at one goal what would it be?
Ian Golding: I think one of the challenges and this is personally me is that—as you can tell I’m so passionate about this stuff this is from a work perspective this is my reasons to be in. What I can’t do is to be in 38 different countries all at the same time and so my goal is to change people’s perception of people like me and the CX community. What we are here to do is to help as many people as possible. To give them the knowledge to give them the tools to give them the guidance this is not about competition. I find it really difficult when people don’t believe me. I say to someone in a different country talk to me and I’ll help you and they won’t because they think I want their business. No, what I want genuinely as a goal this year is a more open community that works with each other and supports each other to take this further. Because as I’ve said organizations need us more now than ever but if we’re not working with each other it’s not going to happen. I’ve never worked out how many commercial organizations there are in the world but I suspect that there are enough to put around the 700 of CCXP’s of them, however, anymore I haven’t got there yet and we don’t need to be seeing each other as competition we need to be urging each other on and supporting each other so that we can help more and more. That is my goal for 2018, to see if I can I can encourage others to believe in that.
Jim Rembach: And the 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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Jim Rembach: Alright here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Ian 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. Ian Golding are you ready to hoedown?
Ian Golding: I’m just pulling my sleeves up, I’m ready,
Jim Rembach: Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Ian Golding: I’m the world’s worst protagonist.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Ian Golding: Be yourself.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Ian Golding: Honesty.
Jim Rembach: What do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?
Ian Golding: My voice.
Jim Rembach: What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners and it can be from any genre and of course we’ll put a link to, Customer What? On your show notes page as well.
Ian Golding: The Catcher in the Rye.
Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to www.fastleader.net/iangolding. Okay, Ian, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to back to the age of 25. And you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now and you can take them back with you but you can’t take it all you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Ian Golding: I think it’s my ability to translate my thoughts into words. The ability to write publicly existed when I was 25 it’ll be fascinating to see where I was today. I didn’t realize that I have the ability to write.
Jim Rembach: Ian it was an honor to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?
Ian Golding: Yeah, I’m delighted for anyone to get in touch with me. I write every week, I’m prolific and irritating some might, but you can find all the information you want about me at my website which is www.ijgolding.com and to get my blog it’s /blog.
Jim Rembach: Ian Golding, thank you thank 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 www.fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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