Brad Cleveland knows of what he speaks. So much so, and with enough confidence that he isn’t going to add any excess, linguistic varnish or high-handed condescension to the way he communicates with you. While a seasoned professional within his field, Cleveland speaks to the reader like a peer – with the kind of irreverence and lack of pretentiousness that adds a kind of personalized, almost familial touch to the dryer, slightly more exclusionary concepts he presents for the rising young professional. His new book is titled Leading the Customer Experience: How to Chart a Course and Deliver Outstanding Results, and like the extensive simplicity of the name charts from A to Z the basic tenets to remain flexible and malleable corporately-speaking to the changing trends and interests informing the so-called ‘Customer Experience’.


“Many organizations follow the ‘you get what you reward’ school of thought,” Cleveland observes in one of the book’s overview chapters. “To boost innovation, they offer incentives – stock options, cash, or a percentage of the idea’s value. In his book, Drive, researcher Daniel Pink warns that rewards don’t always work the way we think they do…many employees value ‘autonomy’ over extrinsic benefits.” With Cleveland, the kind of mentality a corporate endeavor needs for the sake its customers’ ensuring loyalty and longevity is dependent upon the investment each and every employee of said enterprise has themselves. It’s a similarly holistic kind of mentality that many are starting to advocate for in the forms of CEOs, company presidents, and other incarnations of corporate leadership.

A company that does not have unification in its interior programming is less likely to please its customer base on the outside. All recipes for success, Cleveland articulates, have their nexus points deeply embedded with the enterprise’s framework. “…engaging customer experiences don’t happen by chance…,” Cleveland writes in this vein. “You’ll need to help employees understand the power they have every day to make a difference.”


It’s funny how flipped the traditionalist views on business and success have become. Now, if anything – thinkers in the field like Cleveland indicate truly great and innovative leaders don’t lead from the top down. If anything, they fundamentally lead from the bottom up…

Garth Thomas