Category Archives: #BookReview

Book Review – “Customer Understanding” by Annette Franz

Annette Franz is founder and CEO of CX Journey Inc. She’s a respected voice in Customer Experience and Coaching, and has just published her new book “Customer Understanding: Three Ways to Put the ‘Customer’ in Customer Experience”.

The book is written to enable organizations and leaders within them to understand their customers and not pay lip-service. In addressing the either/or customer service versus product development (or any other initiatives we put first in our organization), she sets the framework from the very start to have leaders think about the customer in all aspects, and centrally, of their work. Products and services, in Annette’s words, are being commoditized, but customer experience should not.

Are you ready to put the “customer” in customer experience? In this new book, learn the three ways to do that – including instructions on how to properly execute the journey mapping process! #custexp #cx #customercentricity #journeymapping #voc #personas

Annette break each chapter down very succinctly, which is great to digest in smaller pieces in today’s pace or work. But the most important thing she does in her work is giving great applications and resources to make the change real. Many books give theory with little application, and yet Franz packs a great amount of workable solutions into this book to help leaders assess, plan and implement the next steps on their customers journey.

Customer-centric businesses don’t happen by accident. In this new book, learn how to put the “customer” in customer experience – and at the heart of everything your business does! #customercentricity #custexp #cx #culture #leadership #customerunderstanding

Annette’s writing is very conversational and easy to relate to. She speaks plainly but effectively, and you can easily see how she relates to common obstacles in organizations and guides you through them in her coaching style of writing.

#Customerunderstanding is the cornerstone of #customercentricity. In this new book, learn why and how to put the “customer” in customer experience – and at the heart of everything your business does! #custexp #cx #journeymapping #voc #personas

A great book and practical to provide your customers with what they need to experience the journey of what your company brings to the table. I highly recommend it.

If interested, here’s the link below to get your copy:

Book Review – Management Mess To Leadership Success

Scott Miller is like the rest of us who have attained any level of leadership. Talented but full of flaws.

It is due to the successes – and failures – that he learned throughout his career that gave him the idea to write his new book “Management Mess to Leadership Success – 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow”.

Scott Miller is the Executive Vice President, Business Development and Chief Marketing Officer of Franklin Covey, the company that created the Franklin Day Planner and develops leadership and personal growth in others.

The introduction to the book gives an initial peak as to Scott’s trajectory in his leadership path. Almost immediately, you see a person who pulls back the curtain to reveal the many flaws he committed over the years. When you finish the introduction, you feel a connection to Scott as he has written his book to be (in his words) “vulnerable, funny, relatable, practical”.

Scott has formatted his book with 30 challenges that are meant to be a daily focus of an area we tend to get wrong and how to improve.

Each chapter is short but packed with a failed management principle – some conducted by Scott himself and others real examples of mishandled leadership – and the lessons learned. He closes each chapter with a “From Mess to Success” outline of actionable steps we can quickly implement to improve our leadership impact.

Scott and Franklin Covey have also developed a number of aids that coincide with the lessons taught. One great aid the the Management Mess to Leadership Success companion card deck. Each card highlights one of the 30 principles Scott outlines in his book with the pertinent challenge and the application points on the back as listed at the end of each chapter. It’s a great tool to remind you through the day about the principle and how to apply it.

While the book is designed for a daily leadership focus, this can be changed to weekly or any other frequency that works for the reader. That ability to be free-form and scale to your individual needs makes this book a great resource for anyone in any leadership capacity and circumstance.

This book is poised to be a modern classic. It’s ability to strip down any pretenses in both the author and reader, show the impact of messy management, and to give practical and easy application for improvement succeeds where other books miss the mark in making any significant impact in leadership.

Scott’s work is one I highly recommend and will refer to for years to come.

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Guest Post – The Practice of Hope in Times of Change Matters


Drs. Jeanie Cockell and Joan McArthur-Blair provide this post, an excerpt from Building Resilience with Appreciateive Inquiry from the authors.

Change is a constant for leaders in all walks of life and is often prompted by crisis, financial or organizational. In building the practice of hope and a hopeful view, leaders need to face what is happening and yet inspire people in order to move toward a better future. This practice of hope pulls the crisis of the past into the possibility of the future. One leader we interviewed told an amazing story about hope and how at times, as leaders, we must acknowledge the past and our fears, and still inspire people for the future:


Hope should have filled the air. It was late August, always an exciting time of year as we welcome new students and faculty and kick off another academic year. I had served the college for twenty-six years in a variety of faculty and administrative roles, but this year was my first as president. I wanted nothing more than to walk in to our opening-day meeting and inspire the college community with an exciting vision for the future.


But times were hard. The college was experiencing an alarming decline in enrollment and, along with it, a dramatic drop in revenue. As I thought about what I would say on that opening day, I had more questions than answers. How do I create excitement about the future in a time of tremendous difficulty? Could we survive without layoffs for the first time in the college’s history? How should we change and grow and prosper? What could I say as an old colleague and a new president to inspire hope for the future? People were depending on me for leadership, inspiration, and vision. I felt like it was our time and we needed to move, but how?


One afternoon that summer, as these questions were swimming in my brain, I was enjoying a video with my children. One particular scene in this film seemed to be speaking directly to me. As I listened to the dialogue about a character who was struggling with returning home and facing the past, it struck home for me that we at the college needed to both hold to the past and face the future. Change was coming. We needed a new beginning, a way to collectively envision our future while, at the same time, addressing unprecedented challenges. In the movie, the character thought he was afraid to return to his past, but he was really afraid of his future. In the end, he embraced his future, just as our college had to embrace its future. I had dreams for what our college could become. As the new president, I knew it was vital that I convey my core belief that change is good. Out of this core belief, I came to recognize the intimate connection between change and hope, that hope is nested in change, and within hope is the fuel and energy to move us with passion toward an exciting future.


I told the story of watching the movie with my children at that opening-day meeting, and change became a hallmark of my early presidency. We came out of that financial crisis as a much stronger college focused on the success of our students. Little did I know at the time how a character in a kid’s movie would crystallize for me the importance of change and the connection between change and hope.


This leader’s story speaks to the power of story to inspire people to change in response to a crisis. The president used the story of watching the movie with his children to inspire the members of the institution and enable them to face together what needed to be faced. Hope shared is all the more powerful in its energy.


About the authors

 Dr. Jeanie Cockell and Dr. Joan McArthur-Blair, co-presidents of leadership consulting firm Cockell McArthur-Blair Consulting, are the co-authors of Building Resilience with Appreciative Inquiry. The veteran consultants’ latest book explores how leaders can use the practice of Appreciative Inquiry to weather the storms they’ll inevitably encounter and be resilient.



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