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October 24, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

A Winning Service Strategy: Think Rings, Not Trophies 

October 24, 2022 | 3 Mins Read

A Winning Service Strategy: Think Rings, Not Trophies 


By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service 

When I talk with leaders about what stands in the way of achieving success with their service transformation, their business transformation, or their digital transformation, one very common response is organizational siloes. When it comes to providing standout service, these siloes are detrimental to the customer experience. Customers seek seamlessness, ease, and outcomes – the disjointedness that even very individually successful but disconnected functions causes in the customer journey simply does not meet today’s expectations. 

On this week’s podcast, I talk with Bob Feiner, SVP of DELL Technologies Services about how the company’s service organization has overhauled its strategy, structure, communications, and technology use to be more customer centric by creating an end-to-end approach. There’s a lot to glean from the conversation, because what Bob and the DELL team have undertaken is a lot of hard work – but work that in my opinion is very necessary to achieve the level of customer centricity they’re aiming for.

One of the points that Bob made that stands out in my mind most is how he’s articulated the shift in mindset that is required to undertake such a significant change. “My mantra has become, ‘Focus on winning rings, not trophies,’” he says. “I'm a big sports guy, in particular team sports. When you think about team sports, if somebody has a great year and they win the MVP or whatever it may be, they receive a trophy. But when you win a World Championship, no matter what the sport is, the Super Bowl or the World Series or Stanley Cup, every member of that team gets a ring. Because they played together to win that championship, to achieve the common goal.”

Motivating Teams Toward a Shared Goal

In many ways, this analogy has served as a guiding philosophy as Bob has led his teams through a significant reorientation toward the customer experience. “I just think about leading teams that way. What I often tell my teams are, we're actually playing for a World Championship every day. Our Super Bowl is every day. Our World Series final is every day. Our World Cup final is every day,” he says. “That's the mindset we need to have. I think this has helped people look at it from a team perspective and not just, okay, I got this great trophy that I can put on my desk somewhere, or a badge I can show virtually. It's really about getting that ring and continuing to get those rings, as a team. And if you look at folks who were great, even individual athletes, what they care most about are rings. They don't care about the trophies. And they'll say that time and time again.”

If you’ve managed through change, you know that often the mindset – overcoming the human inclination toward what’s comfortable and known – is the hardest part. This is why Bob’s analogy and how he’s used it to reinforce the principle of why DELL needs to evolve its approach stands out to me – it’s a concept teams can understand and get behind. 

Sometimes we rush past explaining the “why” and right on to tackling the how, and this can leave workers feeling confused and frustrated which is never a great basis for acceptance of change. Not only has Bob prioritized starting with the “why,” but he’s found a way to articulate that why that is relatable and a theme he can keep revisiting to reinforce the teamwork and cohesiveness that is crucial to DELL achieving its overall objectives of creating an end-to-end approach. 

Stay tuned to hear more from Bob this Wednesday on the podcast about how he built off of this mindset shift and has made great progress in eliminating siloes within DELL to improve the customer experience.