A tool to help us make better decisions and improve business, customer and employee outcomes – Interview with Matt Watkinson


Today’s interview is with Matt Watkinson, consultant and award winning author of The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences. Matt joins me today to talk about his new book: The Grid: The Decision-making Tool for Every Business (Including Yours), why he wrote it, what problem it solves and what we can learn from it.

This interview follows on from my recent interview – The role of voice in the future of customer experience – Interview with Gregg Johnson – and is number 256 in the series of interviews with authors and business leaders that are doing great things, providing valuable insights, helping businesses innovate and delivering great service and experience to both their customers and their employees.

Highlights from my conversation with Matt:

  • Matt’s first book was the award-winning: The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences.
  • The genesis of his new book (The Grid: The Decision-making Tool for Every Business (Including Yours)) came about from a realization that the way that people make strategic decisions could be markedly improved.
  • The book, and the framework within it, allows you to see your business from above, as an interconnected whole and to consider the second order effects of any decision you make.
  • Most of the challenges that businesses have isn’t with their competencies. The challenges come about more through coordination, particularly in larger organizations, where the more specialized people become the more latent risk there is that they’re not considering the broader consequences of their decisions. They’re not really identifying the root cause of a problem, they are just tackling a symptom.
  • Reductionism is a disaster for business because it limits our ability to see things holistically and to consider all of the factors that could affect a desired outcome.
  • This is a danger for customer experience, as a profession, too.
  • However, The Grid can help with all of that as well as helping build the business case for customer experience.
  • Here’s how Matt describes The Grid:
    • The basic starting points for a successful business are desirability, profitability and longevity.
    • Now, what it takes to achieve those three things changes all the time because we’re in a dynamic environment.
    • Against these three areas, we should also consider changes in three key areas: the customer (who they are and what they want), the market (competition, regulation etc) and the elements of your organization.
    • These are then organised as three columns and three levels of changes giving nine factors which together determine the success or failure of every single business: The Grid.
    • Within each area there is a further three areas to consider, producing 27 elements in total.
  • There are three key use cases for the grid:
    • 1. Evaluating a new business idea,
    • 2. Evaluating the performance of your current business, and
    • 3. Making significant strategic decisions.

The Grid detail

  • When faced with one of those situations, go through the grid element by element and for each element write down what assumptions you are making and whether they’re true or not.
  • The Grid provides cross-functional teams a common language and a tool with which to explore decisions from different perspectives.
  • The reason that people, leadership, culture and technology etc are missing from The Grid is that these are means/vehicles to achieve a goal. Moreover, they are all intertwined into many, if not all, of the elements.
  • Given that, The Grid provides a way to strengthen the business case for these type of investments.
  • You can download all of the worksheets and PowerPoint templates associated with the book for free from here: https://www.matt-watkinson.com/the-grid-model
  • To make a success of using The Grid, give it a go but also make sure the question you are asking is clear and specific.
    • For example, “should should we choose Microsoft as a cloud provider“ is a clear question that the grid can answer because you can work out of strengths and weaknesses.
    • “Should we choose Microsoft or Google as a cloud provider” isn’t.
    • You would need to model out those two scenarios separately on individual grids and then compare them.
  • Grab a copy of the book (The Grid: The Decision-making Tool for Every Business (Including Yours)) and download all of the worksheets and PowerPoint templates associated with the book for free from here: https://www.matt-watkinson.com/the-grid-model

About Matt

Matt WatkinsonMatt is an internationally-renowned author, speaker and consultant on customer experience and business strategy.

His first book, The Ten Principles Behind Great Customer Experiences has been described as the definitive book on the subject, winning the CMI Management Book of the Year Award in 2014. Since its release, Matt has become a sought-after keynote presenter, addressing thousands of industry leaders worldwide. His second book, The Grid was released by Random House in 2017, after four years of research and development.

As a consultant, Matt has worked with market leaders in air travel, healthcare, banking, luxury goods, retail, telecoms, snack food, automotive and pharmaceuticals, amongst others. Many clients and colleagues have become life-long friends, hence the name of the consultancy business Matt Watkinson & Friends, which he co-founded with long-time collaborator Ben Smith.

Grab a copy of the book (The Grid: The Decision-making Tool for Every Business (Including Yours)), download the worksheets etc here, say Hi to Matt on Twitter (he doesn’t tweet much despite what the says) @mwtknsn and connect with Matt on LinkedIn here.


Photo Credit: sopasnor Flickr via Compfight cc

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