Forrester Research 2019 has found that the customer experience efforts of more than 80% of organisations are stagnating. Customer expectations are ‘rising slowly but steadily’ while internal constraints make it challenging to know which levers will deliver the biggest impact. Consequently, organisations driving a CX strategy are finding that differentiation is fading away.

Aligning culture to strategy is one of the most important levers for organisations to drive customer experience and organisational performance. Gartner Research reports that culture is increasingly becoming a factor for CEOs in explaining performance and yet the average investment of $2000 per person/year being made in culture alignment efforts is only resulting in an average 30% ROI according to CHROs.

Leaders lack of commitment is a critical issue for aligning culture to strategy. The impact of this lack of buy-in and commitment results in a slow road to addressing legacy structures, systems, processes, mindsets and operating norms that are necessary to be ‘customer first’ and for delivering experiences that drive customer loyalty.

It also has a significant impact on employees; with 69% not believing in the cultural goals set by leaders, 87% not understanding them and 90% not behaving in ways that align with them.

Employees experience a leader’s level of commitment by a combination of what leaders say, how they behave and the way they operate. Gartner has found that while 83% of leaders are consistently communicating about the culture and alignment to strategy, only 29% are behaving and only 19% are operating (ie decisions and actions leaders make and take in relation to processes, budgets, structures and policies) as role models of the desired culture.

The bottom line is that, to get greater impact from culture investments, including CX, leaders need to embrace the commitment equation: SAY + BEHAVE + OPERATE. When leaders do this, they role model the desired culture. This is one of the best levers for getting a better return on your CX investment.