The Customer Experience Podcast
The Customer Experience Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

24. How Failure Actually Benefits Your Customers w/ Marc Rodan


Marc Rodan was unhappy with his life in the Netherlands. And he didn't think it was possible to be happy there. He thought he'd have to create the life he wanted somewhere else. 

But one day he realized that, maybe he didn’t need a change of scenery. Maybe he just needed to change his mindset. He realized that he needed to be willing to experiment and to fail. To just start doing things that would change his situation.

This mindset has a lot of benefits to offer us as individuals. But it can also provide some great wins for companies — and their customers, too. 

Marc joined us on the latest episode of The Customer Experience podcast to talk about cultivating a growth mindset and the benefits it offers to your customers. Marc is Co-Founder of Ninjafy, a company that's all about human centric leadership.

You may be in a certain situation, but just making it whatever you want it to be. It's possible and it's just about, you know, having that growth mindset, having that belief that you can. You're listening to the customer experience podcast, a podcast dedicated to helping today's growing businesses restore a personal human touch throughout the customer life cycle. Get ready to hear how sales, marketing and customer success experts surprise and delight and never lose sign of their customers humanity. Here's your host, Ethan Butte. Hey, if you want to learn how to make work and how to make learning more fun, more memorable and more actionable through experimentation, you are in the right place. Welcome back to the customer experience podcast. I've got the cofounder of Ninja Fi with me. It's a company that's all about human centric leadership and a company that was built while it's cofounder was traveling the world. He's taught corporations how to transform to agile through scrum and conbound and other methods. He made bikes to make street food more sustainable and cost efficient. I'm really excited to learn about the experiments and the results from our guest today, Mark Rodan. Welcome to the customer experience podcast. Thanks a lot, happy to be here. Yeah, so I always start with in the same place with everyone again. My my argument is that customer experience is the single most important portant thing we create and delivers as individuals and teams and companies. How do you define customer experience? So, for me, customer experience it's really all about putting the customer first. You know, I've as consulting. I've seen so many instances where teams were just focus on their product or on their yea, their own internal processes, and they didn't even know who their customer was anymore. So for me is just whenever you build a product or whenever you got a company, like I'm doing now, it's just putting that customer at the very first place and whatever you do. I think that's, for me, what customer experience all about. Excellent, talk to me, you know, for context for people. What is Ninja Fi all about? You have this Ninja leadership concept. Talk About Ninja FY, what you're trying to do there? Yeah, absolutely so. What Ninja Fi? We wanted to do something to pull people out of their sort of bad routines. Right. We looked around as and we saw many people that were just stuck in a job that either they didn't like or they liked but they were just going too fast or they were just working too hard or just, you know, yeah, maybe they were working very hard or they can connect and with a company goals. It was just there's always something and that people just kept on doing and maybe sometimes for a year or maybe even ten years, they were just stuck in a bout work situation. So that's what we're trying to change from many different angles. So what we try to do a lot is to look at, okay, we have a big company. How are we going to to help them make that transition to making work awesome? And sometimes that takes particular challenge, but often it's also just about, you know, a smaller setup. So we teach teams and people a lot about what they can do to take sort of ownership of, you know, their work, because it's not up to your manager or to your your bus to improve your work. It's up to you. So we give people the tools, the the learnings and the trainings to do that. That's awesome. One of the things I read in a really great piece that you wrote about this philosophy that that guides you and the team. It's that everyone has nearly unlimited potential to grow and you blend neuroscience, behavioral psychology, design thinking and agile to help people really unlocked their potential to grow. Talk a little bit about about that. Yeah, so we're really big believers in book. I don't know if you've heard of it, mindset by cold wreck. It's a weird thing that almost all of us we think certain parts of our life are just unchangeable. And I was like that, you know,...

...when I used to be living in the Netherlands. Every time I was here I thought like how the heck can I ever have a good life here? I was just, you know, I thought it was not possible. I had to go away. And even quite recently, when I thought I was really working on my mindset to really, you know think that I can change everything, still I thought I could never be happy in the Netherlands and I think, yeah, about a year ago I thought like if I really want to push this, like believe that I can change whatever, I'm going to like have a fun time here. So then I started, you know, just doing things, doing the things that I would maybe do abroad. I started to connect a lot more with people, I started having fun, I started, you know, expanding my horizon of possibilities, and I think that's what, you know, having that mindset is all about, like, you may be in a certain situation, but just making it whatever you want it to be. It's possible, and it's just about, you know, having that growth mindset, having that belief that you can and things will happen. I mean, they will start to change. Yeah, what I love that I'm hearing here is that you are consulting individuals and teams and entire companies on a problem that you experienced yourself. You worked your way out of it through mindset and through experimentation, and now that's what you're teaching folks. Let's go into growth mindedness. Obviously it's critical to the success of an individual, as you've experienced yourself and as you've probably seen in a number of the people and teams you've consulted. But what is the benefit? Well, I guess I'll ask this two ways. What is a growth minded company like? What are some of the characteristics and how can they get started in? And then let's transition to what is the benefit to the customer of working with the growth minded company? How does that growth minded approach of the individuals and teams inside company? How does that benefit the customer from a product and service standpoint? So a growth minded company is a company that had, you know, that sort of embraces failures. It's a company that doesn't feel like they are hiring talent and that's like telling that is just like we have this great people, they're going to make this awesome. It's a company that beliefs in the growth of people. So we do that all the time. When we hire people at Ninja Five, we always look at, you know, their enthusiasm and they're willingness to grow and to really, you know, give it their best jot, instead of just looking at their experience or their skills. So what you get then, as a company, if you look at people in that way, is that everybody is just they start to try things, they start to do things that out of their comfort Johne, they're not trying to please the boss or to, you know, sort of proof that they're good, but they're really just, you know, growing as an individual and helping the company grow. And I think if you want to chieve that as a company. It's really important that you allow people that freedom, that freedom to experiment. Right Way. Talk about experiment, I was permentation a lot, and also the freedom to fail. And actually that is always very hard because it's not something we'd thought I mean ever since we were a little when we were in school, every test that was a matter of like failing or not failing, right, it was always a matter of success, and now suddenly it's okay to fail, like, how do we even comprehend that? So that takes quite no big steps eventually, but leaving that you can grow. It's all about making these tiny little steps, these tiny little experiments forward. So that is really, I think, what that is all about. In Yeah, if you have that kind of company. I don't know that answers your question. They sure you mentioned you know, it takes some big steps, but it starts a course, with small steps. You know, maybe from some of the some of the folks you've worked with. You know if a manager, let's say, who's listening to this show, a manager and sales or marketing or customer success or customer support is listening and they think, okay, I feel maybe a little bit stuck right, or I feel like some of my team members are. What are some of the first steps that someone can take toward being actively and intentionally growth minded? What does that look like?...

What does it feel like? You have any examples? Yeah, so, you mean as an individual or I'd like for that manager. So, but and as a manager of other people. How can they help facilitate that in others? Yeah, so I think one of the first things that you should always start doing is like to just start asking that question why, you know, why do you get out of bed in the morning? If you ask your people that, and why do you get out of bed yourself, and what gives you energy? Are you really happier to work here? What would you change? What could I do? So for a manager, it's about, I think, facilitating that to be able to ask that question, not only to US people but to himself as well, and to get sort of out of that mindset that he should manage people because he doesn't necessarily know best. I mean the people that are in it, they probably know. So we talked about this term servant Leadership Alat so, where your management sort of role turns into much more of sort of a facilitating role, where you give people the space and you give them all everything they need to grow. And of course there's like you don't just step back completely, but it's like sort of the way you go into a conversation. It changes. Yeah, so if you have leaders in team members inside organizations that are that are operating with these questions and being clear on their intentions and motivations, I imagine that this is going to bring them to life. I've experienced the same thing myself. Now let's go back to the customer. What is the benefit of if we get more people inside our organizations thinking and operating this way and more brought to life, what is the benefit to the customer, to the business in general? Yeah, so for the customer, of course, like when people are, you know, willing to fail, it's not just about maintaining the status quo of a company, it's not just about, you know, making profit or doing as good as we did. It's about finding new solutions that help the customer better, because that is eventually why you experiment. You don't experiment, I mean I think there's always two ways to experimentation, right. That's how I see it. Like you have one way to make your own work better and you have one way to make your product better or your service. So I think we should be experimenting always on both levels. We should be trying new things on both levels. But that often goes hand in hand. When you can experiment for product, you can experiment this wall for your own work process, and that's often what we forget. And if you allow yourself that freedom, you often, you know, start you can probably do twice or four times as much in the same amount of time because you you start thinking about automas, automatization or different ways to make your work more awesome because you don't want to do all the Tedious Administration Das or you can, you know, just come up with a whole new way to brand your product or two to be out there and speak to the customer. So I think the benefits for the customer almost endless. Awesome. I love those two layers that you experiment to improve the way you're getting the work done or experimenting to improve what you're delivering to the customer in terms of a product or or service. Before we go, I want to ask you about a particular experience of yours, but before I do, talk a little bit about Ninja. Why Ninja. What are the characteristics of a Ninja that you're trying to bring into the work environment or or bring out of people? Yeah, yeah, so there are a lot of like layers, I think, to Ninja. I really like it. I'm one of course. The first thing is that it's, you know, it's been. It's sort of a counter movement towards all their like boring like Ey and the traditional consultants. So that's why I love the the Ninja work. But of course the first reason, because, yeah, why we went with Ninja, is because of the agility. I mean we live in a constantly changing world. Everything goes so fast just to keep up, to use new phones. There's we are happening, there's blockchain happening.

I mean, what are all these opportunities? How do we how do we go to, you know, use these opportunities? So, of course an agile mindset next permentation mindset, will help you and that's the main reason for the Ninja. But the other reason I think Ninja is a powerful world is worked is because, you know, Ninja, they're sort of like you feel like a focus. They're powerful, they're they're cool and a lot around experimentation is very uncomfortable. It's often about you taking that first step and taking a first step in something that you don't know how it is going to end. It might be success or failure. That's always stuck and I think Ninja sort of, you know, if I'm a Ninja, I make that step. I just do it and that's that's why we went with it. It's great. Now you just touch down agility. They're obviously agile work. SCRUM, con bond and some of these other methods. I think most people associate them with product and with development. Have you seen successful, and we experimented a little bit with, you know, a quasi scrum method on our marketing team? Have you seen some of these applications or ways of working applied in a customer successor in a sales or a marketing environment? or or is it really product indev oriented? No, I mean it's definitely where it originated, right. So it's where scrum and Canada and all those things there were in so for development space. Initially, all these leaders from the support development space made this a gentle manifesto and that's where it's sort of developed from there. But no, I was actually, I think this week I was at a marketing team that it was just starting with scrum. You really see that. It is now being applied in HR as well. So so it really it could work everywhere. But I'm always very hesitant when I talk about these methods because it's sort of it took on a life of its own. When people talk about Kemban or scrum or even lean startup, it's like, you know, that's like the way to success, that's like, if you do that, done, you will be a Jele. If you do that, then it's just it's really bad. I think that happened. So I would never say that scrum, Moor Cambon is the answer. I would say there are things from those methods that can be very helpful for you, but that you should be in charge of experimenting. You should find your own way. So if you're just starting to work agile, I think scrum can be a great way to tell you a way right. So it tells you all the meetings you should have and that can be great for two months as a starting point, but after that I think you should go your own way. So I've seen this applied successfully often, but often after a very long time. So you see, you see these as as very, very useful frameworks, but it's frameworks rather than dogma. The not to be followed to the letter of the law. There there is no law. These just guidelines and processes that you can take and make your own. Yes, absolutely, and I think it's just always simple. Experimentation is about just starting doing something, like agreeing before and how you're going to do it, like determining what your success is, doing it and then this learning from it, reflecting on it an then going for the next. It's just working in these loops. Is that simple. But these frameworks sometimes they make it damn hard to even just understand what's going on. Yeah. So, so before you arrived in in this type of work and consulting and really turning people onto to growth mindedness and agility, you were a pancake entrepreneur in Sweden. Tell me about that. What were you trying to do? What were you trying to solve? How did customers respond? Talk to you about being a pancake entrepreneur. Yeah, so, I also its great that you bring it up. So after my my university, I was like most people. You know, you don't know what you've been do. I mean I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I knew I wanted to be abroad, but I just had no clue. So...

I thought, what the hell, I'm just going to start. I think that's where, you know, that sort of mindset of experimentation start, like if I'm not going to start, I'm not going to even learn. So I just going to start and learn from me. And then, yeah, I had a sweet girlfriend at the time and that's why I moved to Sweden. And I was there and I didn't really have an idea yet, and then she was like yeah, but it isn't you know those pancakes that you have no all, isn't that something? Yeah, yeah, maybe. So I started baking them for some people. People are enthusiastic. And then, yeah, I just evolved and I thought like why the heck not? This maybe not my ideal company, but I'm going to do it and I'm going to learn from it. So then I thought, okay, I need something to bake it with. So I thought first on a restaurant, but restaurants were this way beyond what I could afford. Then I thought a food truck, still too high, but then foot bike, that was possible. So I'll yeah, foot bike. I'm Dutch, so I'm not I created the bike, I know, I designed it, had it shipped over and just went out on the streets and started baking. And Yeah, I I really thought it was fun. It was crazy tough, I mean to get out every day and, you know, do all those things absolutely not easy, especially if you have a mobilecation. But yeah, what I really liked but that experience. It's where I really saw the result of what I was doing. So I was standing out every day on the street making those pancakes. But I wasn't just making pancakes. I was giving people, I have, a moment. I was really providing them with a smile on their face. I was asking about their day, I was asking like hey, how's going? Like I was giving him a bit of a show, you know, and I just saw about people say some with joy, and that's that's why I wanted to get up every morning just for that moment. That's so awesome. It's just such a pure entrepreneurial story in that you wanted to start something. You had to start in order to make anything happen. You walked out all the problems where a lot of people get stopped as I can't do it because this. I can't do it because that you kept going and then and then ultimately arise where you concluded there was in this true human connection, in this personal connection. Do you have any thoughts about where we are with technology and in human connection? Obviously, it allows you and I to have this conversation from where are you right now? Are you in the Netherlands? Yeah, absolutely. Okay, so it allows us to have this conversation and connect facetoface, but but it also keeps us apart from a lot of people to talk about the relationship that you're observing with some of the companies that you work within, your own experience, the relationship between technology and in trudirect human connection. Yeah, so it's funny that you ask because, of course I started Ninja five when I was traveling right, I needed to get out of the Netherlands and and try something new after my consultant adventures. But Yeah, when? The other reason was because I felt like I needed to allow myself to be more online to create those skills, and that's why I started to create a lot more video, a lot more elearning and develop that and that's how I actually met my cofounder now because he saw a video of mine. So we started working together while doing these video calls like we're having now. So the first time I met my cofounder, I mean I felt like I knew him so well already, but it also like me do like a movie star or something. It was really real strange experience. So, if you ask me, like where we are with companies and the relation with technology, it's like we can build businesses without even being now together. It's is that far ahead, and I'm can imagine when we want r gets a bit more in our mainstream, then we wouldn't even feel the difference anymore. So I think it's amazing just the way we can talk right now. So I'm not sure...

...if this fully answers your question, but I think the fact that we can just completely work apart it's awesome. But I have to admit there are a lot of challenges to overcome as well, because that sort of real personal connection, it's almost all ways like you have to meet facetoface as just a different feeling as just yeah, that's where you really, I think, connect and that's where you really see some magic happen, where you really bind people to you and really can do amazing stuff. So I would always recommend that technology is not always the answer. Fully, at least need like quite regularly facetoface, because that's why you get that sort of it's more than just a person then, more than a to d image, is a feeling. You get them. Yeah, yeah, I'm with you a hundred percent on that. That it's about. It's all about that healthy balance and video is really powerful for for building that psychological proximity. Even when you don't have physical proximity, you can have that psychological proximity where you're feel drawn or closer to someone just by experiencing them in that way. Hey, I want to ask you before we wrap up, and I and I ask a couple of my standard closing questions because I just love all the different responses I get by asking so many smart people the same questions. You know, one of the things in reviewing some of your work and your philosophy, you observe that, like a lot of people are working every day, they're toiling away, but they really don't have any idea who they're really working for, that there's this disconnection from the customer. Can you talk a little bit about that like these people are going to their jobs every day and their work, work, work, work, work, work, work, but they have no sight line to the customer. Like talk about that as a problem. Is something you've observed and and maybe a couple ways out of it? Yeah, absolutely. So. Yeah, I think what you describe it as the way it is right like, especially in these big organizations, where there's just teams that are sort of working in a chain where you give you create something, goes to another team, they do something with it goes to another team, especially in when you deal with sort of like banking information or stuff like that, or like tech. So I think that Jil movement also is breaking that a little, because you have all the members in the same team to create something small, but then they're still even then, there are teams that that then are so focused on the product or on their internal stakehold is that they forget about the end person who's really going to use this thing right and it's really about pleasing them. And when I then see that they didn't even speak to those to those people, to their customer day, I mean I often ask I was the last time you spoke to customer day, either never or like two years ago or something, when I started working here, I spoke to customer like I think that's just unbelievable to me. So yeah, there you have already your your answer to your first way out of it. It's like it's an old saying of the Yota as well, like who started this Idel sort of movement? You can speak to your customers. So yeah, that is something you can definitely do to break that and I'm thinking about another way. But since we've been talking about experimentation so much, it's I think, yeah, just sit down with your team and think about what you can do to really and Hans value, because that's why you're working, right, you're doing you're working to provide value to someone else. So and just sit down, think of your first experiment that you can do, the first small step that you can complete in two weeks time to provide more value to that customer, even if it does just, you know, a very, very tiny thing. Almost always seems that like that's just a small step, that doesn't that doesn't count. But then at least you're going you get the wheel spinning and from there you can only pick up moment. Those are great recommendations and in the Toyota reference is great to the just the whole Toyota way is worth studying for anyone who hasn't done it before. And one of the techniques in there's is asking the...

...five levels of why. And as you're asking why, why, why, as you're getting answers to these questions, those are all grounds for theories, right, and then you can test those theories through experimentation. So relationships are our number one core value here at bombomb and here on the customer experience podcast. So in closing, I always like to give you the opportunity to thank or mention someone who's had a positive impact on your life or your career and to mention a company that's doing customer experience really well. All right, well, I mean, I think the person that that is going really having the biggest impact on my life it should be Niels, my cofounder. I I met him only like a year ago, and like a year and a few months ago. That's when we we connected on Linkedin and since then has been sort of this crazy roller coaster of a personal growth and learning to work together, because I hadn't found it a company with someone else before. And you know the fact that through everything and through all the heart work and all the heart like problems that we encountered, we're still there for each other, like constantly every day. It's I think it's it's something invaluable. So if I would like to thank someone, it's absolutely neils and about companies that I look up to that are really inspiring me. I mean this should come as no surprise, but another guy who really started to get out there a lot more is Tom Bill, you with impact theory. He used to have quests before. He's now a lot more active and in Bacterian. Yeah, he's always like talking about how you can grow as a person's he shares our mindset, our beliefs. I think the book mindset that back Outdrek is his Bible. So yeah, that's absolutely a big inspiration. And Nielsen. I talked about his podcasts a lot with other successful people and I just think it's great that such programs as podcasts are being made. So, yeah, absolutely awesome. I'll drop links to those into the into the post that I write around this one. This has been an absolute pleasure. Mark, if someone wants to connect with you or with your cofounder or with Ninja Fi, what are some ways that people can connect with you online. Yeah, so I most active on Linkedin. If you go to Linkedin and find Mark Rodan, I should pump up somehow, and of course we are. Are Website Ninja Fi? Doubt me. You kind of read all about what we do there. Awesome, and that's m a arc Urda, and look for them on Linkedin. This has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you so much for your time and really enjoyed it. Thanks a lot of it, and so did I. You're listening to the customer experience podcast. No matter your role in delivering value and serving customers, you're interrusting some of your most important and valuable messages to faceless digital communication. You can do better. rehumanize the experience by getting face to face through simple, personal videos. Learn more and get started free at bomb bombcom. You've been listening to the customer experience podcast. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit bombombcom. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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