CEO Christina Kosmowski’s TIPS on ascending to the C-suite

Last week's webinar with Christina Kosmowski, CEO of LogicMonitor, was incredible.
Christina is what we call a Cathedral Builder. She used her background in customer engagement and success to ascend to the C-Suite.  
If you have a similar ambition, below are some powerful tips from Christina (below), along with information about our Cathedral Builder's Initiative (blue box below).
All the best,
1. Check your values.
Are they a match for this profession? Christina’s values, after much exploration, involve the intersection of humans with business and technology. She is especially interested in the human side. This is an area with well-developed research that is often overlooked–tech firms in particular need this knowledge! PLUS, more exciting research in behavioral psychology is on the way.
Customer Marketing and Success provide ideal paths to leverage our growing knowledge of the human animal—as Christina showed us last week.
2. Build a résumé with lots of customer-led initiatives that impact C-level objectives.
More and more of you are moving in this direction, by influencing things like adoption and retention. But stay nimble. Many C-suites are shifting their focus to costs—in part because traditional (and expensive) marketing, sales and support are less efficient and impossible to scale.
Christina and her board discussed this just a couple of weeks before the webinar. Under her guidance, they're moving budget from functions like demand gen to customer events. From support to the customer community. And ramping up customer marketing to get customer stories out there more rapidly. Your firm's leadership is very likely open to such budget shifting too.
3. Get great at influencing without authority.
 The key here is to build your brand as a reliable Voice of the Customer (VOC) throughout your organization. Actually, you want to become the voice of the most important customers (VOIBC?). And your audience includes your C-suite and board. Speaking for the customer enables you to avoid having to say things like, “think we have a problem with our product?” Instead, as she rose through the ranks, Christina would tell stories about the firm's customers. “Here’s how Amazon is experiencing our product," she'd say. "Let me tell you what they’re doing.” So she didn’t come off as bringing people down. Then she might say—even to the CEO if needed, “Hey, would you mind talking to so and so in product?”
See #4 and a Bonus tip, below...
Cathedral Builder: A parable from the Middle Ages.
Many workers on the great cathedrals thought they were laying stones. Others thought they were building walls. But a special few believed they were building a cathedral.
Jeff Ernst (SlapFive) and I (Center for Customer Engagement) are planning a major initiative to help accelerate the careers of the Cathedral Builders in Customer Marketing and Customer Success.
These professionals see the bigger purpose of the customers you work with: to accelerate growth, shape the culture, and in general, Build the Business. Like Christina has done at Salesforce, Slack and now LogicMonitor.
And like Christina, you want to ascend to the C-Suite too.
4. Influencing the skeptics (even senior leaders and the board)
This can be a challenge, but if you can overcome it, it will definitely boost your career as it did Christina’s. She shared her approach: for critical meetings/ conversations, lead with both quantitative and qualitative information. The quantitative (data) includes an objective that leadership is prioritizing. You communicate the qualitative information (emotional, relational aspects) through powerful customer stories.
Then link the two with a succession of measurable qualitative milestones (like levels of engagement, or increasing your MVP count, or elevated commitments from lighthouse customers) that will get you to the quantitative objective. That approach will get respect.
Then you can blow away your previous skeptics with a relevant story!

BONUS: A glimpse into your future?
“And so I said, there's nobody that's better suited to be a CEO than I am, because I've been at the center of every single function that exists in a company. And that's because I'm closest to the customer. And as I became CEO, I said, that my value is never going to change. And that’s always how I'm going continue to lead.” Christina Kosmowski, CEO, Logic Monitor.
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