AT&T: Leading with Listening and Four Key Pillars Supporting Transformation – People, Process, Technology and Culture

Originally published on

The first blog in the series discussed how companies need to invest in creating Transformational DNA. The second blog defined the five characteristics of Transformational DNA.

At its core, any service organization must embody humility. This means leading with listening. It’s been critical to ensuring adoption across our organization.

As leaders, we think we know what the problems are and we even may know how to solve them, however, to achieve sustained performance, the organization has to be a part of the solution and own it. Listening carefully and consistently is the only way to make that happen.

Leading with listening generates great raw material. Then the task at hand is to separate the signal from the noise – testing the hypothesis by taking it through the filter of data analytics and comparing to scientific practices.

As noted in our Adept at Adapting white paper, we’re always listening to our employees, both sellers and operators, and our customers. Leading with listening is essential to understanding our performance and areas of opportunities across the various dimensions of operations.

We listen to the voice of the customer – through millions of surveys, advisory boards, and direct interactions. And we’re using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to anticipate customer needs – identifying issues before the customer tells us.

And we listen to the voice of our employees – both sellers and operators – through hundreds of frontline and manager interviews. We perform deep evaluation of roles and hold extensive process and system reviews to ensure delivery of the best customer experience.

Every transformation initiative we create is founded on four key pillars – People, Process, Technology and Culture. Like the legs of a stool, all are needed to maximize the value of transformation. There is a great deal of interdependency between these pillars, hence it’s important to build a playbook that brings actions across the pillars, together in great harmony.

  1. People– Restructuring roles to be customer-centric and taking full advantage of process re-engineering and technology innovations.
  2. Process– Always looking to eliminate redundancy, so we’re building strong process re-engineering and re-architecture disciplines.
  3. Technology— Deploying the full arsenal. From RPA solutions on one end, to SaaS-based solutions on the other and everything else in between.
  4. Culture– Breaking down silos, enabling borderless collaboration, continuous learning and of course it all centered on the customer.

The “ease of doing business’” starts internally and radiates out to the customer. If employees are experiencing friction, the customer will feel the effects. Therefore, we believe that enhancing employee experiences is just as imperative as effortless customer experiences. We define success as positively impacting and improving the experiences of the customers, sellers and/or operators. If an initiative is not striking value, the initiative is rebuilt.

And our strategy is bi-modal. We needed to transform the business while delivering operational excellence to customers. Both gears are turning at the same time to improve the experience of the customer. As we’ve realized hundreds of improvements, the organization has delivered hundreds of solutions to customers.

After defining Transformational DNA and discussing the importance of leading with listening, how can you put it into practice? Tune into our next blog that will discuss how through our transformation, we had already set course for our destination… it’s just that COVID-19 crisis accelerated our time of arrival.


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