Leading a Purpose-Driven Organization: Putting Customers and Members First at REI


This is gene bliss. We are having a great conversation today with Ben Steele, who is the senior vice president and chief customer officer at REI what you're gonna learn is his career trajectory from agency word to running advertising and marketing and REI to his new role at chief customer officer at REI and the interesting journey that accompany that is already customer focus and reaped in their their courage and their ability to do things differently needs to continue to move forward and grow and unite that organization to build culture on an ongoing basis. I think you'll really enjoy the show is a real joy to do. Hi, everybody and welcome to the chief customer officer human duct tape show. Where we talk to leaders about how they unite their companies to achieve customer driven growth as the duct tape of their organization. I'm your host, gene bliss. So be sure to catch us an IT tune, Stitcher and at customer, bliss dot com slash podcast. Harry. And welcome to the chief customer officer human duct tape show. I'm so happy that Ben steel is with me today. Hey, ben. How are you? I'm great. How are you doing? I'm good. I want to tell everybody who you are you in the executive vice president and chief customer officer at REI. I one of the brands I admire so much you're in my latest book as well. So welcome. Thank you. Thanks so much for having me. Your welcome. I really think people are going to get a kick out of your journey in the work that you're doing not only because of your tenure at REI, but because of the work that you did and your experience to getting you to this role. So take us as far back as you wanna take us a call this the bread crumbs of the story of your life. 'cause you know, it's interesting to see where you had those skills that were really inside of you to make you successful at this. So it's pretty cool Hooley, you know, my mic career started in the advertising world starting in advertising agencies. And I you know, it it's sort of an absurd beginning point. But I in high school took some sort of, you know, career guidance assessment than they basically said, you should be a politician or an advertising person. And I thought well, the only thing missing in terms of people not liking it was lawyers that well, okay? And I actually grip. Boise, idaho. And I managed to talk my way into an internship at an agency there in town. And I was writing was a thing that I loved and the more. I understood the ability to kind of be a writer storyteller in a commercial context, and you know, take on a different set of challenges and learn different businesses. And it really intrigued me, and I I think in some part being Boise Idaho. And also because the writer at that agency laughed almost instantly after my internship again. And I think those run related I'm confident those rollerblading we're gonna talk with her for it. I went from an intern to a working copywriter within a matter of weeks, and why only under a qualified, but was kinda just thrown into the fire and realize, okay, I've got a understand the target, which is about customer empathy. And I've got to think about emotional connection, right Graham, purpose, and I've got to tell compelling stories. And you know, I worked all the way through college summers and winter breaks and then freelancing on the side at different agencies. And then as I got out of college joined a brand new start of agency here in in Seattle where I where I went to school and one of my one of my very first clients coincidentally now who's REI. Began relationship so spent you know, a lot of years in in Seattle and Los Angeles working at agencies have my own freelance business for about seven years working with agencies and working directly with clients. And I was leading a brand agency here in Seattle home Orlando Lander Sohn and one of our clients again was was REI and then just hired a new CEO Jerry streaky and Mike clients at REI introduced me to Jerry as he was looking for a new marketing leader, not because I was a candidate it because I had a perspective on on different leaders, given the global brands we worked with and he and I very quickly connected sharing a lot of beliefs both about the power of brand and the immense potential of the incredible business that was the REI co op and they went from a, hey, maybe I'm going to, cultivate, a new client to holy cow. Maybe I'm going to go on a completely different journey and take a different path than I'd ever taken. And I joined the co op four years ago as their first chief creative officer and about four or five months ago transitioned to chief customer or so, and I've been, you know, delighted every step of the way, it's an incredible company. And I think the journey we've been on in the space that you, and I are going to talk about are pretty closely related, so well, so first of all thank you for the background. And and you're you're being thrown into the deep end of the pool as a copywriter. I I had I had the same experience. It lands end. You know, we were you know, we were small company in nineteen eighty three, and we were all doing everything, and I was writing copy for the catalogue and my copy initially was all this Jarve any words and stuff, and Gary Comber, the founder said to me, gene. Right. Like, you talk. Right. Yeah. But I think that what happened for you is is very cool because it sounds like you found a home. REI, you know, you walk into some of these environments in it it just clicks in your brain. And emotionally walk me through chief creative officer for the first time for years ago. How was the company operating around creative before then because I think this is interesting for these kinds of companies as they grow up. Yeah. I think you know. I meant pains to say wanna say it all the time are has an eighty year old company. A lot of people made a lot of really smart decisions before any of us got here myself in particular. And so I won't pretend for minute that the company didn't understand brand. I look in, you know, some of our flagship stores, I look at some of the work that we done, and we clearly were there that said, I think we were showing up like more of a mass marketer than a real, you know, powerful brand. And I think we had I mean, I I guess the best example it used as we had catalogs that had models in new clothes in the outdoors. And if you spend any time in the outdoors turns out, that's not really what it feels like. And I think they were sort of two things there was the aesthetic of do we look in real? We look like the pair appeal. Look like the people that we are. And the other piece of it was, hey, you know, this different kind of company, and if we're a co op and we've got members, and we don't have shareholders. And we are we demonstrating the differentiation of the brand. So, you know, my remix coming in was to champion the power of brand to do it at the senior leadership level to make brand as primary a decision making access for us as operations or supply chain or as no retail. So. Right. Create that Larry bit limb. Yeah. And and to you know, evangelize that importance and then start championing ideas to demonstrate it. And boy the thing I've been a member of REI since the moment they opened in my hometown. I had as I said before multiple, you know, fortunately, multiple moments of being able to work for and with it. And I and I deeply love the co op the beauty of REI as a creative person is there's a lot of brands you work on kinda have to make up the story. You know, you gotta kind of what's bashful here, and you can do that in a powerful way. But at the co op this eighty year old passion based business member community of seventeen million people. It's like you just turned over a rock, and there was gold there. So the question wasn't what's the story? The question was what's the story that we're going to tell and that was that's about as exciting a crate about paternity and step into. So so you've been in that role for four years and now and now transitioning or you're adding on chief customer officers humility, right? So one through why now and why that role so the creative role originally was kind of a role without a team which was current rate. It was sort of a, you know, you get to be a free radical and have a lot of opinions about, and that's awesome. Yeah. Exactly. Here's what we should do as as over the over the four years might might team composition. This kind of grown and changed. And no today before making the shift to chief creative or chief customer officer at the marketing organization, both creative and Mark com. What we call our brand stewardship and impact organization, which is public affairs, government affairs sustainability and are giving our philanthropic arm, which is a huge part of our business and then customer insights, and as we looked at kind of how customer experience spanned across those different parts of the business, and we hired our first chief digital officer who, you know, Curtis. Cobb me made the decision to bring that organization into into kind of my world, and my my team and in doing so felt like way created doesn't feel like as descriptive or as clarifying as wanted to be. And if creative was about sending. Signal to the organization. Well, okay. What signal do we want to send the organization today, and what convening idea who we want to unite these teams and the answer was pretty easy to get to write customer became the access that we wanted to unite starting with insights and analytics moving two points of incidents in contact with brand does. Yes, the differentiating leads. But with a bigger set of ideas attached to who these people are and what the care about. Well, it was a long answer. Sorry. I, you know, I'm a geek for all this stuff. So I I love the answer. Because the you know, we call this the chief customer officer human duct tape show because what you're doing is creating comprehensiveness for the organization for the customer experience. Or what you know, whatever, you you would say so walk me through how you brought people along on this idea because they were probably people that more now blended in I into this work. That may have been doing things on their own or whatever how did he Nike organization around the work? You know, one of the things that remark about our about REI is, you know, a lot of businesses and brands talk about purpose and big broker space. Can I think you know, we we have that in our DNA from from day one? And so there is. There is less than eating the take people along that I've experienced other points in my career. And the reason why is if the key idea is, you know, we believe a life outdoors is a life. Well, lived okay. What does that mean? That means that we're going to fight for access to the outdoors, and we're gonna fight against the things that stand in your way. So okay, brand was an interesting way to think about that. Because it's about emotional connection. Now, we're going to think about customer and understanding not only what is their life. Look like relative to how they. Inter act with the co op today across all of our all of our services and offerings. But we also need to understand who they are, you know, more fundamental way. And part of the reason there is the way people are interacting with colliding with discovering the outdoors is fundamentally different today than it was even ten years ago. Tell us Florida jarash. Yeah. If you if you, you know, if you sort of said Ari is traditional customer in the past was somebody who looked a lot like me, frankly has you know, a safe north western guy with the beard. My path to the outdoors is probably pretty similar to most of our customers. Where I grew up in a place that had easy access to the outdoors. Discover that through friends and family built a relationship, and then continued that and Ari I was the only best greatest option for for lifestyle. I wanted to live well flash forward and. You may have well noticed that retail is different space than it was ten years ago. And there are some key reasons why. But you think about renovation you think about the role of technology, you think about the most diverse population and generation ever in in millennials. There are a lot of things keeping them out of the outdoors and their path to the outdoors is very very different. So if we don't understand what problem we're solving for them. Just opening another store with the same stuff. And the same perspective isn't gonna solve the problem for them and fundamentally isn't gonna build our membership in the same as it has in the past. So we we really recognize we got a we're gonna understand who they are. And we really have to focus on. What is I mean what this is? You know, not the first time this has ever been set on your podcast. We really have to understand what problem I always all been for them. Not what problem are we solving for her. I'll write problem are we solving for a twenty four year old person living in. New York City. You didn't grow up around the outdoors clues fezzes? The phone right missing the tiny apartment, and they don't have room for a boat and attend a bike and of this. What is the outdoors to her? What is the role of REI to her? And how do we build the love, and then helping able the access that start to build that relationship because our business aside claiming the outdoors they fundamental part of healthy lifestyle and health, and you know, people were now doctors are now writing prescriptions for time outdoors in recognizing that something of lost. When people don't have it. So this is a human right? If this is a fundamental part of what life allege if we're not serving it. We're we're not doing our business any good. But we're also doing our purpose. Any you know, I think that's such a critical thing, which is the clarity of your purpose. Lets you be really deliberate about what you will not do to grow. So walk us through as you. You were thinking through this. And you're building this. Of course, what were some deliberate choices that you're making? And how did you bring me company along in those things? So one of the first things we did in relatively early days was to change our logo back to a logo from the past which sounds like a pretty superficial thing. But we have lost the word op we'd lost the the the the the Construction Co op at some point along the way. And. We felt like I felt like it was extraordinarily important that we said that we were op and in many ways that we don't remind ourselves that we were co on because it means that we serve the member because it means that we even your point around growth. I don't we don't have shareholder base saying growth is the goal. We have a customer base in a member base saying. Enabling life outdoors is the goal. Right. So those are different things. So we put Coa back into the lug. Oh, and in doing so had a galvanizing moment with our employee base had a galvanizing moment with the people who knew us and felt like we'd lost our way a little bit. And had a story platform for telling the story of a different kind of company we then in relatively short order. Did did this thing called off outside which was to close our stores on black Friday. And boy there wasn't a better demonstration of what makes us a different kind of company, and what is our purpose? As a retailer turns out, it's not to sell you the most possible stuff. It actually is about giving you time in the outdoors. And we didn't think there was a more powerful way to make that point then by closing our doors on the busiest shopping day of the year. So those two things in relatively close coincidence and. A couple of other little moves that we made at one point. We put for the first time in the company's history. Something other than product on the homepage. We had a moment where folks could choose where a donation, and we said, we've got perhaps a million dollars into ten he outdoor places you tell us wear, and you know, we have people saying boy the business is gonna you know, the business is going to go under. We can't you know, the sites not gonna sell anything and the opposite happened. You know, we thought it was going to take thirty days to give away all those dollars based on metric. But that how many people could it took thirty two hours. And those things said, okay, we have permission to do some different stuff. We have permission every different conversation. And I think they gave the organization competence to say, let's go do something big like out somewhere. Well, you know, I'm so glad you brought that up because it's it's paradoxical. You know, what you did is the inverse of what people usually think to do to grow. And you know, I've been using this. Word bravery lately because you it's Godsey, and it is brave. So is that the path that you're really on now is taking a series of brave steps to prove and operationalized your purpose. Tell us other things you're doing as you'd leading this. Evolution. Yeah. I'll be a tiny bit semantic in that answer. Which is to say we've got to be careful not to just start with. What's the big brave thing we could do because then you're in the business. And when I when I talked about you'll get caught in that, then it's a balance, and you know, the thing with opt-out side. I don't just say or about that briefly before actually answer your question because I think it's I think it's an important linkage. We started that conversation from a place of what are the holidays? And how do we wanna show up in holidays and the meeting was intended to be a standard? Are we gonna do a buy one get one free? Or are we gonna do? A. Yeah. And you know, we're gonna have a great disruptive promotion. I was I was like three weeks into the business. And I just did what I was used to doing in the agency which is create three creative. Territories asked people to talk about the holidays going more of an emotional starting point than kind of tactical. What's our promotion, and we had the conversation about the holidays that was you know, it's the best time of the year. It's my family. It's this. But then it very quickly got to some stressful time of the year money's tight, and my pants are tied 'cause I'm eating too many cookies parties, I love my family, but holy cow, my family, and we started to talk about black Friday as like it's all this pressure and all the stress, and it's bad for our people. And it's not great for this and our chief merchants Susan Bisgaard who's been in the company twenty years said, we could never do it. But what if we just didn't open our doors on black Friday and said, well why? Couldn't we do it. And we were kind of off to the races. And the reason why I tell that story is we didn't start saying what's the thing. We could do to get along with attention. We started with what's the right thing to do. So, you know, flash forward a year or two, and we had a conversation around gender equity me outdoors the industry, and the space doesn't look as welcoming to women as it does to men. So we watched an initiative called force of nature that was about commitments to hiring practices career path thing understanding pay equity. Do we have the right classes? Do we have as many classes? Do we have? We have is high quality performance gear for women as we do for men or do we have fifteen backpacks for men and one pink backpack for women by we also did something that you know, we didn't tell the world we were doing. We'd just did we took over our entire brand for a year with images of stories of move. As of podcast of women and the women became the face of our brand for a year, but we didn't announce it, and that was a, you know, quote, unquote, brave thing to do in that you backlash is, you know, men saying why are you doing this? It was an easy thing to do because we're gonna tell great stories about people who happen to be women and in doing so we're going to make a bigger point not we're gonna tell a bunch of stories about women, and you know, and push away people who aren't women. And so we were willing to do something disruptive and different hues your were brave because we had a big reason behind, and that's what we think about is. What is our purpose? What is the outcome that we want? What is the problem that we see public lands under threat from the current administration? What are we willing to do? What's the right thing to do to community conversation? It'd be a steward of the outdoors Stewart of our membership. So well, thank you. That's. Thank you, Ben in your role. Are you also getting into the nuts and bolts of the experience of being a member of the co op? Yeah. Yeah. We did something we we talk a lot about. And you know, I would say for all the goodness of our membership today is far more transactional than I think we aspire for me the primary benefit is a dividend. Right. And there's a lot more the thing in the mail. It's a one time thing versus the mail. Yeah. And I think for the people who have the deepest relationships with the call. It's just that it's a relationship. It's about you know, shared sense of values belief in the set of issues understanding of the full sort of suite of benefits for membership today, though, I don't think our membership is exemplary of the best of the call and the way that we need it to be and that's not because teams aren't working harder. Being smart. It's because we haven't declared it as clearly as we need to. So that's a big focus for me, not only membership as an idea but membership as literal bottle. Yeah. Hang our business around. So what are walk us through? If you could and people love tactics as much as you can share feel comfortable. Sure. How are you? What actions are you taking to move the organization, you know, the leadership team you work within the organization to start to embed that. Well, so we really did this year. I think better than we've done in years past was to start our entire planning process from the point of view of the customer and understand. What are we? And I, you know, I'm gonna mix empathetic terms with like business jargon. Terms and apologize for the collision. But. Yeah. Like, you know, what what are what are offerings, right? If our offerings are purely retail. Okay. Well, that's compelling. And we do a pretty good job of that. When. Thanks. Thanks tying stuff. Yeah. Literally if it's buying stuff fine. But that's not the best base to demonstrate values your differentiation. And again, it turns out there some pretty big companies who are pretty good at this. Roughing the way people buy stuff. Yeah. I'll give you an example of something that our business is has been about for a long time. But most people don't know, it we have a travel business that takes people around the world and gives them, you know, life changing experiences and incredible outdoor places the people who know about that are insanely loyal to it. But not enough people know about it. So now you've got resale transaction now you've got experiences we really made the decision. We're going to make experiences as big a part of what people know us for as retailers. Now, that's not going to happen overnight. It took eighty years to get to the retail place. You know, it's not gonna take eighty to get to experiences, but we have to be distortive. We also believe that the kind of content and storytelling space the community space. In the digital place is a profound offering where we're solving big problems. We have body of knowledge online called expert advice, which is free online information about all outdoor activities. The biggest repository of information online and the outdoor space and last year, we put almost half a million people through classes and workshops around the outdoors. So those three ideas continent community, you know, retail transaction, which is gear and apparel. And then experiences we started from that place and said, what do those things mean to our existing customers? What do those things into the next generation of customers when you capture, and how do we build a membership model that brings those things together in a way that has a benefit to you. And with that go ahead. I was just gonna say for interrupting how did you and how have you been gathering information about members and what's important to them? Because this is you know. We're breaking through with all kinds of things that are so much more interesting than what we've done before. So it'd be interesting to know what you're doing. So we have this one of the benefits of a membership model is it is incredibly important for me as a member when I buy something to get credit for having bonded and the result of that is from pure transactional space. We have more data in terms of how you interact with us. Then you know, anybody else. Right. And and like companies would die for the mattress and have the behavioral information. Yeah. Exactly right now. That's great in understanding how you transact with us saying it's not as great in understanding other things when we really started to work hard. And how do we dimensional is that we have I think the best kind of retail employee base in in in the industry and in one hundred fifty six stores at this one hundred fifty seven the people who are those green vest. Those inspired guys have profound relate. Ships customers and literally are doing customer journey mapping and customer problem-solving. I'm like a one to one basis, but we're not capturing enough of it. So we tried to do more of his understand from that incredibly intelligent and impassioned groups tell us the story is the conversations interactions. You're having let starts capitalist. Then we're doing more kind of qualitative ethnographic psychographic research to to understand that journey and then we're really working hard like every retailer in the world to say don't talk about channels. Don't talk about levers talk me about an experience across an entire, you know, an entire customer path and in doing so identify the opportunities and then by the gaps but identify where we're solving problems and where we're not. So we worked hard to kind of dimension allies that I'd had things like, you know, social listening because we have a very kind of. Vibrant conversation happening social space. We have Joe anyway, as you start to put all those pieces together, you end up with more of a multidimensional picture of that says to Humana again, third the buyer. You're kidding another human. How are you? Doing that storytelling in the organization. You know, one of the things that we know is like you said, you don't wanna talk about channels. But you've got lots of people impacting different parts of it. You know, you are the UniteR of that story. How you doing that at REI I'm gonna tell you it's early days and be a little bit just open about the fact that we've got a ways to go. I mean, this is an eighty year old company that. Has cared about the customer for moment. One and probably better than anybody. But in terms of pure customer Centric city, we haven't been this good. We've been more silo them a pass that will need to be. So, you know, some of it's really deliberate choices like in our strategy building customer impact statements into that building literally building a customer perspective into every conversation. We have making customer at the center a mind set that we put on par with operational excellence and the importance of the culture deliberate conversation about that lens or that axes in a way, it's different and in doing so as you've seen for sure in the organizations you've been a part of and lead that just starts to be a part of the conversation. Yeah. And it goes from borne idea. Yeah. People are saying now in meetings with no prompting all the time. What's the problem solving or what's the shared customer outcome here? And an idea is simple assured customer out customer lifetime value, as you know, as a good example of those type of suddenly, I'm no longer talking about retail or digital the longer talking about, you know, supply chain, I'm talking about our total relationship, and we're accelerating there. I think the place where we still have a ways to go is in the measurement and KPI space. We don't have as profound measure for anything that relative to that. We have for transaction. We have to advance those things in the big and bringing it all together to to understand the whole life and connecting it, and you know, I call it honoring the asset. You know, how many people did we bring in volume and value and do we know in this period? How many are lapsed loss volume in value because it's not how many parkas we sold its how many humans. We engaged with or that are engaging for some way. How are you? Yeah. Is there anything deliberate you're doing with this leadership team, which you know, you're you're you're you have such a wonderful situation there because everybody is purpose? Driven purpose connected. Right. But are you finding things that is helping to to make sure it's Brad into the language is everybody going into the store. Are there? Other things you're doing how you're uniting them with you as partners in this work. I'll give you something. We just did. And you know, I'm not gonna pretend for a second. It was you know, I made it happen. It was it was again as our culture is shifting here. We're recognizing these opportunities. We took. We took a something pretty simple. We took a leadership team down to a market and did a marketed in a completely different way than I've seen a student pass. We did a customer based market visit versus a challenge days, or you know. And so we were in a city looking in a more deliberate way through the eyes of the customer with our whole leadership team. What how do we show up here? How does the competition show up your what problems are they solving problems? Are we solving and like let me give you a really basic realization that makes me feel stupid to sail out, but his profound right? Turns out cities are made of neighborhoods and simply looking at a map and saying a score here serves these areas. Well, if you've ever lived in the city, you know, there's places you go in places, you don't. The traffic is bad or it's tough to get to or it. It's just a reminder that when you operate from a headquarters and look at places, you miss the asset this the people you missed the reality of being on the ground. It's also a recognition that you senior leadership team isn't going to travel to twenty five or thirty cities and have all the realization. So we have to figure out what are the mechanisms that allow us to take the intelligence of the field and bring that in and that. Yeah, that's what you've gotta change the model that and say what what do we need to know that is known in the field that we don't what questions. Do we need ask that we're not asking? And then what? Levers of control. Do we need to get comfortable giving up at the center in order to enable customer relevancy and true customer relationship at the point of incidents at the point of contact, right? Yeah. I mean, it's interesting. It's it's it's refreshing for you to you know, really say where you are in the journey and and for everybody else out there. I think you know, we think of these great revered brands like REI and others and often it's two point a lot of really well done things. But now it were customers have so many options in so many choices you do need to become very deliberate at a set of things of making sure that this starting with the customers life is sustainable in innate ship and decision making will and I would I think you're dead. Right. And the thing I would say is we're a million times better at that in store today than we are digitally. You know, you can walk into our store and Beal. Oma grant irrelevant in and understanding of what matters to you. And and and I think the journey were on digital. We have an incredibly successful digital channel as an ecommerce channel. We do really successful customer engagement in the digital space and social in an Email and other places, but we have a different experience in store than we have in digital. And it's not an intentional difference. It's just the difference. And we don't have all the specialness of the brand show up in the in as many ways as digitally so again, not based on. Anything other than the business did where it was designed to do at the boy it was designed to do it. And now, we're recognizing the need to shift and change. So we gotta play a lot of catch up there, and that involves things as mundane as technology debt, and as per pound an exciting as imagining a future state platform that operates differently, but the journey were on is doing both of those and to make them connected and connected to the goals. And the things customers are trying to accomplish company standpoint. Right. Because we we want it to be connected. Hey, we've got I'm going to get to our last question in a minute. This has been, but I want I have I wanted to give you a chance to share with our folks out there, something you're proud of that you've been able to hasten the company along from either from a customer standpoint, a member standpoint oriented ploy standpoint, because you know, we all know what's on the inside shows up on the outside. Is there anything as you're doing this work that you've found? And had to be a Renita to be adjusted for either employees or members. You know, I'm gonna give you two examples. The first is you know, we had we bought our entire headquarter staff together a few weeks ago to to walk everybody through our strategy win something we'd done before. And you know, it it, you know, we've got seventeen hundred people in a in a single room, and you take a half a day to really walk through it. And one of the things that made me really excited is. The question that came in the question and answer period just demonstrate how far ahead of the organization. The individuals already were, you know, I the one of the one of the questions that stood out to me and somebody stood up and said, hey, I get a daily sales report every day in my Email box. One of I going to get every day in the future to show me what the customer feels and what the value of us. Then it was like, you know, that's pretty good question. Man. I wish I had a better answer that was one of those like, hey, great question. If you have any ideas, my Email is nobody was it was a great moment. And there were three or four questions like that. And every one of them showed us. Yeah. Customer at the center is a mindset I'm going to adopt as a person and now I'm really eager, and frankly, maybe even a little impatient for the organization to give me the tools actually doing. Well, then you've gotta keep meeting it back. He got to keep proving it back to the organization. The other thing that I think was, you know, really, exciting and probably even more. Inside baseball was. The planning process that we did this year. And even the budgeting process we did this year with customer at the center as the organizing principle went so much more smoothly and so much more gracefully than I've ever seen. And the reason why is there weren't debate. And there weren't the gaps of like, my success is this and my successes this now extra got to translate them. The shared success was easy to see and to link the two ideas because of that as we rolled out that strategy the feedback that we got from your innovation isn't brought everybody together. It was hell, yes. Let's go not the debating or the or the like just this belief that we have the right half. We have the right north star. We have the right destination. Our biggest concern is how fast can we get there? And that those two things are exciting. They also feel different to me than maybe some of those experiences Makassar where you had the organization kinda say, I think I get this. But what you really mean or I think I get this. But I don't understand what to. Do next. So those, you know, again, pretty tactical answers are indicative to me of what is beginning to feel that cultural change now. And thank you for that. And I jumped in went as you were finishing your last comment. But those are what people are yearning for right? The proof points. Doc witnesses one putting our our mouth, our culture, our operations our actions, you know, in alignment with what we're saying. We're going to do. So Ben we're gonna be right. We're gonna go to this. Last question. I call it the pay it forward question. And it's others thinking about this work doing this work kind of thinking back to your your experiences. What you know now that you wish you knew then. What do I now that? I was no that so coming from the background that I came from. I was probably guilty of two things that I wish I wouldn't have been at a wish gotten to pastor the I was undervaluing data and undervaluing like true insights because as a creative guy, it's great when it can't be measured and all you get to say, they'd Beal's rights, and I probably used that for too many years. I wish I'd known really early on. I wish I'd had more of a background in in understanding just the clarity clarity that can come in in looking at true measurable behaviors in the world. The other piece is and again, I I'm gonna I'm gonna blame my background. So I don't have to take any responsibility for I was definitely guilty of the bias that you can't ask the customer. What the answer is. Because a group of people can't tell you what the future when the old now. Not said by Henry Ford saw right? If I'd ask people what they wanted. They wanted to the fast reverse what I haven't really come to realize it because we're asking the wrong question. You're absolutely not going to get a room full of people to tell you the answer. But if you ask them, what's wrong. And if you ask them what what what isn't working and how they know how to raisin and how they feel. And if you know how to listen you can find the answer. I mean, then the example, I always use is a, you know, a room full of taxi. Passengers wasn't going to invent Uber. But if you listen to what they were telling you and how they felt about the relationship with that business. Boy, you might have been able to invent something. But then became the fastest growing company in in American history that that bias or almost that superiority relative to the customer, I wish earlier in my career. I would have realized I was asking the wrong question. Public listening the wrong way. It's so well anything. Else you want to add for our folks listening out there? No, I think they'd probably heard more than enough of me talking. I appreciate the chance to to connect. And and talk about the co op and the work, we're doing cool. Well, thank you. It's been a pleasure. And thanks everybody out there. Thank you for listening to this episode of the human duct tape show. You can get our show notes are links and any tools we talked about today at customer, bliss dot com slash podcast. And while you're there, let us know if there's a leader you want to hear from on this show. And finally only if we earned it gander over to itunes or Stitcher and tell us how we did today.

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