Crisis Management in Cancel Culture

Crisis Management in Cancel Culture

In today’s world, cancel culture is a phrase all too often used to describe the destruction of a person or business’s reputation, often caused by a public misstep. But, whether it’s a minor mistake or a catastrophic incident, how you approach crisis management in the wake of those situations is crucial, especially when everything feels urgent and drastic.

It is better to have crisis planning or crisis management guidelines and not need them than to be blindsided in the middle of a PR nightmare. A crisis today is not just a mistake blown out of proportion. It can destroy your reputation, cause you to lose your hard-earned trust as a person or brand, and be a costly nightmare that, if not handled properly, can become your professional demise.

First, What Is Cancel Culture?

Cancel culture has become a snowball effect on social media and the news regarding someone or something that has shown little to no regard for their actions, words, or behaviors and how it affects others. “Cancel culture refers to the mass withdrawal of support from public figures or celebrities who have done things that aren’t socially accepted today. This practice of “canceling” or mass shaming often occurs on social media platforms.”

Unfortunately, when a crisis arises, social media users can breed a mob mentality, decreeing the cancellation of a person or brand. If not handled delicately, methodically, and swiftly, canceling that person or brand is likely.

In its simplest form, cancel culture is the manifestation of generalized outrage that comes from a person or brand’s public actions. Normally, the public doesn’t differentiate between ill intent and honest mistakes, although the way you respond to the backlash does have an influence on your chances of surviving the crisis.

Why Having Crisis Management Plans Matter

Cancel culture places the power in the hands of the audience. In contrast, crisis management resumes a sense of control.

A crisis management plan is a contingency plan to help you navigate unexpected issues methodically. Even though you can never know when a crisis will pop up, there are measures you can take when the situation arises.

Crisis management plans outline the organization’s policies in the face of critical events that could jeopardize your reputation, profits, or operations to minimize damage.

Now that most businesses have an online presence, one of the biggest steps you can take when making a crisis management plan is your communication strategy. The policy should outline who will be your spokesperson, what channels you will use, how and when to respond, what types of information you want to express, and who should handle the responses.

Your marketing and PR experts, along with legal teams, will be able to guide you. Even though it is challenging to know what will cause a crisis, having a foundation outlined in a communication policy will help diffuse the situation more quickly.

How to Respond During A Crisis

While you may not have intended to be harmful, your humility shows that you understand your mistakes and take accountability for your impact.

Consumers now interact more with any brand or company than ever before, significantly influencing the market and creating a more complex process for you as the provider. Managing emotions and expectations is the core of responding to urgent problems amidst cancel culture. When you do respond, businesses should consider the following advice.


A little bit of empathy can go a long way. Most of the time, those upset and demanding the cancellation of a brand seek compassion and understanding. They see fault in the actions, words, or behaviors of those they are outraged by and want to know that their feelings and opinions are valued.

Therefore, you must take an empathetic approach during a crisis to respond to the situation. If not handled with a sense of understanding, or at the very least, showing that you are open to hearing why the situation has turned out differently than you intended, you run the risk of being canceled rather quickly.

Counteract With Positive Content

One of the worst things you can do during a crisis is to dismiss the opinions of others or get defensive and try to justify your actions. Receiving feedback from customers is a learning experience. Now, more than ever, customers have the upper hand when engaging with brands, offering opinions (whether good or bad), and using online spaces as a mouthpiece for their customer experiences.

Cancel culture demands an immediate response. Unfortunately, a quick, sympathetic response may get buried in negative feedback and comments. So how do you climb out of negative PR? By taking extra measures toward positive comments and feedback. One way to do this is by creating new content geared toward addressing the situation. Another way is to emphasize positive reviews and feedback.

Another way to address negative feedback is by showing your steps toward regaining trust in your customers. The proper response to your audience’s feedback is to take actionable steps to improve things. For example, brands have pledged transparency in their hiring processes to improve diversity, equity and inclusion as well as reduce the gender pay gaps. And others have committed to recycling or reforesting to make up for their carbon emissions.

Transparency and Accountability

While some brands have many filters they go through before publishing a nationwide advertisement, their message may still miss the mark. A recent example was Ulta’s poorly-phrased campaign regarding Kate Spade, a brand whose founder died by suicide in 2018.

One of the best ways to respond amid the urgency of cancel culture during a crisis is by being honest, acting from a place of accountability, and moving forward from a desire to make amends. Quick turnarounds may be part of the problem in today’s agile business world. But because fast expectations will remain, crisis management requires transparency and accountability.

Society today is tired of letting businesses get away with the same old tactics, and they’re demanding accountability. So your best bet is to create a crisis management plan for not if but when a situation arises is the smartest move you can make.

If you or your team could use some guidance in creating the best crisis management plan for you, book a discovery call today!

Who Is the Chief Transformation Officer, and Do You Need One?

Who Is the Chief Transformation Officer, and Do You Need One?

Change is the only constant you can expect in life and business. And healthy, thriving organizations are those that can adapt to it and embrace it in their quest for growth.

The term CTO (Chief Transformation Officer) has boomed in recent years due to the raising unpredictability of the business world resulting from the pandemic, evolving technologies, and shifting international markets, which has made it essential for businesses to test and pivot quickly to meet market demands.

But who is the CTO and what do they do? Let’s explore this novel role and how they can benefit your organization.

The Role and Responsibilities of a Chief Transformation Officer

A Chief Transformation Officer (CTO) is an executive-level (C-suite) role in charge of leading initiatives for the organization’s growth. The rise in popularity for this role is a result of the speed of technological advancement and the way markets continue to transform. In the case of tech companies, changing customer dynamics and the increasing complexity of the B2B buyer’s journey have also played a role.

At its core, the role of a CTO is to orchestrate the people, systems, and key functions that drive the organization forward. In practice, this looks like leading product development, digital transformation, and change management initiatives with a holistic approach — focusing on both the technology and the people who work with it for truly impactful growth.

Department managers and directors lead day-to-day operations and report to the CTO, who has a full-picture view of any given initiative, especially when there are multiple departments involved.

A CTO may focus on improving customer experience, developing or refining the business’s architecture, or designing new project management methodologies to optimize the use of resources across the organization. One thing all of these areas have in common is the need for employee training to ensure successful adoption. So it is safe to say that the CTO’s primary role is to create a space and give employees the tools for successful transformation.

Chief Tranformation Officer vs. Chief Technology Officer

It may seem like these roles can be interchangeable. And there certainly is an overlap between both functions as they focus on technology advancement and implementation. However, the Chief Transformation Officer takes on a broad set of responsibilities that includes cross-functional teams like product, marketing, and customer experience to effect change. The Chief Transformation Officer is more of a leader that enables their team to evolve and achieve a positive impact.

Conversely, the Chief Technology Officer focuses specifically on technology. In order to excel at their role, a Chief Technology Officer must stay up-to-date on the latest trends and make informed decisions about the new technologies that will help the organization grow. The Chief Technology Officer role evolved from the Chief Information Officer, who used to oversee the management of information and technology. But increasing technological demands made it necessary to divide the CIO into two roles — the CIO and the CTO. Now, the CIO uses data to make IT decisions, while the CTO focuses on the implementation of technology that aligns with and facilitates a company’s goals.

Effecting Change as a CTO

As we mentioned earlier, the Chief Transformation Officer is a C-suite role. In order to succeed, a CTO must have the ability to break down organizational silos to see the full picture of the change they’re looking to bring. A big part of this stems from having a background in cross-functional roles like R&D, revenue operations, customer experience, and business development. Above all else, a CTO is an effective leader who connects with and manages to inspire their team to reach their personal best.

An effective CTO is also an effective customer advocate, as much of their role is to understand customer insights so that the organization can better serve its audience. Likewise, they must be willing to innovate and pivot according to the latest demands, updating company policies and overhauling products, systems or tools to meet and exceed industry standards. It’s this innovation that allows their company to remain ahead of the curve and position itself as an industry leader.

When Should You Have a Chief Transformation Officer?

There is no clear-cut answer as to when or why an organization may need a CTO. No number of employees or yearly revenue will give you that answer. Instead, there are more nuanced reasons to make the decision.

The first sign that your organization needs a CTO is a constant struggle to stay relevant and competitive in your market. If this is the case, it may show that the company is falling behind and failing to adapt to the new demands of its audience.

Mature large and mid-sized companies are usually the ones that benefit most from having a CTO on staff. The reason is simple: This type of company tends to carry cost structures and business models resulting from decades of history — while trying to compete with more nimble newcomers that pivot quickly in response to the same market shifts that may stifle their older competitors.

Another sign that your organization may benefit from having a CTO is that the CEO is already at capacity and needs support from a senior leader who can take charge of large-scale transformation projects.

And one final consideration is whether the transformation you’re seeking affects a single function or multiple areas of the business. For the former, you may rely on that function’s leader, while for the latter, you may benefit from a CTO or a consulting service.

Are you ready to level UP? Book a discovery call now to learn more about my technology and digital transformation consulting services to bring your organization up to today’s speed.

Leadership in Times of Transition

Leadership in Times of Transition

Facing an economic crisis, transitioning between remote and hybrid models, adopting a new technology… regardless of the situation, one thing is certain: Change is an intimidating prospect for most people. So much so that there’s an entire professional field to help teams of all sizes navigate change.

Change management is an umbrella term that encompasses the frameworks and processes a leader can implement to guide their team through an organizational change. Unlike project management or productivity tools, change management focuses on the human side of organizations, lasting from before a project is ideated all the way to its successful completion.

Effective change management empowers your team and brings your organization closer to realizing its fullest potential. And all you need are five simple steps, outlined below.

The Change Management Process


The first stage of project management is initiation. It revolves around preparing the scope, budget, and time for a project to take place. Similarly, the first stage in the change management process is preparing your team for the project and gaining buy-in from everyone involved or affected by the upcoming change.

Many leaders try to force or impose change instead of gaining buy-in, but as the saying goes, “you’ll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” In these early stages, it’s worth focusing your efforts on communicating the challenges you’re currently facing and how the proposed project can address them. Gain buy-in by placing an emphasis on the benefits of the new solution, educating employees about how it will work and how they can use it, and providing support.


This stage of change management aligns with the planning phase of project management in that it is time to delineate strategic goals, metrics, stakeholders, team, and scope for the project.

This stage is crucial as this is the time for everyone to start the collaborative process. At this stage, you will want to listen to skeptics and address their objections. For example, if you’re transitioning from in-person to online training and one of the objections is the cost of this shift, present a detailed budget that breaks down the costs compared to the traditional program. It could also be a good time to present a prototype or demonstration, if possible, to get the team excited and appease their doubts.


Implementation in project management focuses on completing the work on time and up to the project’s success standards. And the same phase in change management emphasizes the human side of the process, empowering your team to stay engaged in the project and accomplish the tasks required to complete the project.

Throughout the implementation phase, you’ll want to monitor performance, ensure that milestones are being met, and celebrate the wins to keep morale high.


It may seem like implementing a project is the final step in the change management process. But in reality, the work is only beginning at this stage. After your project is completed, it’s time to launch, or deliver, the project.

Adoption is essential for project success. And it is where many teams fail. You may have experienced it firsthand at your organization: The marketing or sales team proposes adopting a new project management platform, creates the company account, invites the staff, and migrates projects to the new platform. But only a handful of people start using it, and soon, it is abandoned in favor of old habits.

People tend to revert to old patterns, so adoption is an ongoing effort to ensure that the change is lasting and brings the intended benefits to the company.

To increase your chances of successful adoption, provide resources, training and guidance so that the staff gains confidence in the process. And encourage them to participate in the change and raise questions or concerns; this will help them feel like part of the solution.


A project is considered successful when the original objectives are met. After delivering the project, you’ll need to revisit the objectives you set at the beginning of the project and evaluate the results.

Beyond tangible metrics like revenue, productivity, or customer churn, you’ll want to measure satisfaction, adoption, and whether or not the implemented project brought you closer to organizational goals. From there, you’ll have new insights that will serve to improve future projects.

The Biggest Obstacle To Change Management

The biggest obstacle to organizational change is resistance. Whatever change you’re promoting, you’ll likely face critics and skeptics who have valid reasons to oppose your proposition. People are naturally scared or hesitant to adopt new things, whether it is technology, a working model, or a new process. And it is up to you to address their concerns.

Gaining support from skeptics begins by recognizing their concerns empathetically and understanding where they’re coming from. They may have valid points you haven’t considered yet, so listen to their objections carefully and study the possibilities.

Similarly, you may have doubts yourself despite leading the change, and it is ok to share them candidly. However, you’ll want to highlight the benefits and ensure that the process is perceived as an overall improvement, despite the challenges it may represent. Seeing your openness will help resolve some of the defensiveness detractors may feel and encourage them to share their perspectives.

Is your organization going through or planning to experience a significant transition? Book a discovery call with me to learn more about my change management and technology strategy services.

Increasing Profits Without Scaling

Increasing Profits Without Scaling

If I had a dollar for every company I’ve seen burn through resources and scramble to get more resources…

You’re likely familiar with the concept of having to spend money to make money. Many entrepreneurs take this to heart. They don’t see a way to grow beyond scaling across the board.

Especially in times like these, when companies aren’t quite sure where the next dollar will come from, that’s not the smartest motto to live by.

Most of these companies are focused on the wrong metric. You see, leaders often focus on increasing revenue when, in reality, the goal is to increase profits. They think one goes in hand with the other (more revenue = more profit), but that’s not necessarily the case.

The following approach will challenge your notions about profit and scaling, and help you bring in more money without spending more.

The Principles of Lean Operations

Lean Operations, or lean project management, is a set of principles that focuses on increasing the value for the customer while making the most efficient use of resources.

Lean project management is part of a larger set of practices known as continuous improvement, or Kaizen. Over the decades, continuous improvement has evolved. But the main philosophy remains — small actions that compound to provide great results. This is the polar opposite of what the business world has morphed into — go big or go home —, which is exactly why it can lead you to achieve what you’ve been unable to do thus far.

At its core, lean operations allow you to optimize how you invest your valuable resources (time, money, talent, and materials) to provide the best possible results to your customers at a lower cost of operations.

There are project management methodologies and established frameworks to implement Kaizen in your organization. But I want to focus on how to improve the existing areas of your business in a practical, sustainable way.

Implementing Lean Operations

As I briefly touched on in the introduction, many entrepreneurs focus on the wrong metric when it comes to the financial side of their business. Of course, you need to track revenue in order to know how your business is doing. But most importantly, you need to know how much of that revenue is staying with you. Many businesses, especially (but not only) startups, burn through cash in an effort to grow as quickly as they can, but this isn’t sustainable long term. Instead, you can devise a strategy that makes good use of existing resources, runs effective processes, and delivers the highest standards while reducing your operational costs.

Use these four steps to get started.


The first step to streamlining your business is to evaluate what you’re currently doing. Many times, we operate a certain way out of habit. Instead, I invite you to be intentional about your allocation of resources by taking a close look at your processes.

There are countless methods to evaluate your business’s health. But the main goal is to see a full picture of your processes. From there, you will be able to analyze what is essential, nice-to-have, or unnecessary.


The evaluation step gave you the full picture of your business’s processes. Next, it’s time to remove anything unnecessary and simplify your operations. Lean Six Sigma, a lean project management methodology, categorizes wastes into eight buckets:

  • Defects.
  • Overproduction.
  • Waiting.
  • Non-utilized talent.
  • Transportation.
  • Inventory.
  • Motion.
  • Extra processing.

Removing these eight wastes frees up your team’s time and resources to focus on the real, value-adding areas of your business.


Technology has made it possible to automate countless tasks your team used to perform manually. And it is not as complicated as you may believe.

Tools like Asana, Slack, Notion, HubSpot and Zapier create handy workflows that can save you hours of work each week, not to mention the fact that the output will be seamless and provide a stellar experience to your customers. In fact, there’s a whole field of technology dedicated to providing stellar customer experiences by automating sales and marketing: Revenue Operations, or RevOps, is a business function that automates the processes that make up the customer journey, from marketing to customer service, to make scaling possible for teams of all sizes.


A core principle of Lean Operations is maximizing value. Once you take a close look at your business’s workings, you’re likely going to find tasks, processes, and perhaps even products that represent a cost in your operations but add no value. These are the areas you’ll need to remove to decrease costs (thus, increasing profit). It may seem difficult, but if a certain task doesn’t represent value to your customers or team, why waste resources on it?

Lean Operations Transform Your Organization

It may seem obvious when you think about it. But in reality, many leaders fail to connect lower costs with increased profit because they focus on more, more, more. As you see, doing more doesn’t necessarily translate into making more. On the contrary, focusing on a few core processes and activities that drive the most value (instead of diluting your efforts) is the key to increasing your profit.

I have had the honor to work with leaders in some of the largest organizations in the country. Are you next? Book a consultation now to learn more about the processes and technology that can boost your profit and allow you to grow with ease.

Customer experience strategy: Removing friction from the buyer

Customer experience strategy: Removing friction from the buyer

Let’s play a little game. Think back to the most recent exchange you had with a delivery driver, cashier or waiter. Now, remember the last time you had to contact your internet provider or bank to solve an issue. Regardless of the tangible outcome, I’m sure each interaction left you with an impression — hopefully, a positive one.

That is the power of customer experience.

Gartner defines customer experience as “the customer’s perceptions and related feelings caused by the one-off and cumulative effect of interactions with a supplier’s employees, systems, channels or products.” And it is the most essential component in any business relationship. So much so that companies like Salesforce and HubSpot have devoted their resources to researching just how much good customer service impacts brand loyalty, retention, and revenue. Salesforce’s findings show that 89% of customers would return for a purchase if the customer service experience is positive, while HubSpot reports that 82% of consumers expect an immediate response from a brand’s marketing or sales team.

Considering these statistics, along with the high costs of acquiring new customers compared to retaining existing ones, point to just how important it is to plan for and implement customer experience strategies as a service provider.

Here’s how you can start.

How to create a frictionless customer experience

In the world of technology, friction is defined as anything that has a negative impact on customer experience. Long hold times, difficulty finding the checkout option, unavailable salespeople, and other similar barriers disrupt your prospects’ intent to engage with you and can create frustration and stress, among other negative feelings.

The first goal in your customer experience strategy is to remove friction. This is achieved through careful processes and systems that make it easier for customers to reach a happy conclusion in every engagement with you.


In order to remove friction, you must first recognize it. You can find friction at any stage of the customer journey, from discovery to post-purchase interactions. So, we must begin by identifying every customer touchpoint in the customer journey.

A relatable example of friction in customer experience is when a customer submits a service request. If you’ve had to claim a guarantee, you may have had to call a service number, which likely transferred you to a different department, from which you were told to go to the store, which referred you back to the helpline.

This type of process is incredibly frustrating and puts a damper on the best products because it puts the burden of service on the customer. Brands like Apple have mastered the art of service by centralizing their operations, so no matter where in the world you are or where you bought your device, you can walk into an Apple store and get help. A totally different experience — and one that separates the tech giant from many other brands.


Now that you have a clear view of every customer touchpoint, it’s time to see its role in the customer journey.

Analyze aspects like how many steps there are in the buying process, how clear and readily available is the information prospects need, and how easy it would be for a customer to ask for help should the need arise.

Thankfully, there is a lot of data you can use at this stage. Churn rates, average resolution time, ticket volume, and first contact resolution rate are only some of the metrics you can use to accurately find the friction in your organization and devise the best ways to address it.


Consumers now have a lot more interactions with any brand or company than ever before, which greatly influences their experience and creates a more complex process for you as the provider.

A prospect used to engage directly with a salesperson, but now, they may visit your website, subscribe to your newsletter, and engage on social media before they even talk to a representative. All of these facets must align as each of them is crucial for your overall customer experience.

Streamlining your processes to remove any unnecessary steps helps both your team to provide a better service and your customers to enjoy the experience more. Not to mention that it can cut your costs and increase your profit margins.

Lean Six Sigma is one of the most popular project management methodologies for increased efficiency and lean operations. If you find that you’re dealing with increased customer service demands, higher-than-normal losses, or wasting resources, this methodology may transform your organization.


Friction is not always a bad thing in tech. Some forms of friction, like your bank contacting you about unusual movements, are positive as they prevent users from committing a mistake (like permanently deleting their data) or risking their property (like in the case of the bank). So the goal is not to eliminate friction from everywhere in your processes and systems.

That said, friction must be a well-thought-out component of your customer experience strategy, not a byproduct of inefficient operations.

Together, we can devise a customer experience strategy that removes unnecessary friction, keeps your customers happy and optimizes your organization’s use of resources. Book a consultation now to learn more about how we can make this happen.

Career growth: Preparing for advancement

Career growth: Preparing for advancement

The typical career looked like an entry-level employee going from one role to the next as they “settled” into their field to then land a role that allowed for long-term growth. From there, they’d build a career that spanned 20 or 30 years of growth within the same company until it was time to retire. This was perceived as stability, progression and loyalty. And it came with steady pay raises and regular promotions.

This traditional path is predictable and safe. However, it can stifle employees’ growth. So now, professionals choose to shift roles, go to other companies and even make lateral moves in order to increase their earning potential and advance their trajectory more quickly. There’s also a boom in less traditional paths like entrepreneurship, freelancing or consulting as people increasingly look for alternative income streams.

Whether you’re actively looking for new career opportunities or not, there are some steps you need to keep in mind so that you’re prepared when the time comes.

How to always be prepared for career growth

First, keep track of your professional achievements.

Regardless of your future plans for career growth, it’s essential that you save your accomplishments and measurable results in your current role. This may look like specific metrics that tie to company revenue, increases in productivity for your teams, or successful initiatives you’ve led.

Whatever the case, you can create a success folder documenting the results and praises you achieve in your current role. Memories fade and it’s easy to forget past accomplishments, so you’ll be glad you compiled them when it’s time to demonstrate your authority. This portfolio can help you land a raise or promotion, or it can serve you well as you interview for new roles.

Second, maintain an updated resume.

It’s easier to update your resume periodically as your career and experience grow than it would be to start from scratch once the job search begins. In addition, you never know when an opportunity might present itself, and you’ll want to be ready for it. Do this by updating your LinkedIn profile with your most recent roles, responsibilities, and tangible results, and reflect the same information in a Word document.

Something crucial to remember is that you want your resume to be ATS-friendly. An ATS, or Applicant Tracking System, is the software hiring managers use to run the hiring process, and it culls through countless data to pull the best candidates for the manager to review. Some key pointers include the format (note that we mention Word documents above, not PDFs), keywords (job titles, responsibilities, and industry jargon, for example), and chronological order (as opposed to functional or others).

Third, expand your network.

Your network is the single most important element of your career growth. Knowing the right people and keeping good relationships with them can open doors you may not have realized existed. In fact, research shows that 85% of all jobs are filled through a referral.

Nurture your network by sending periodic messages, inviting acquaintances to coffee or lunch every now and then, and keeping up with their personal and career milestones.

In addition to one-on-one connection, attend industry events and make it a point to engage with people outside your circle. And follow the old adage of treating others as you’d like to be treated by connecting them to potential opportunities or people whose needs and interests align.

Fourth, continue to educate yourself.

Keeping your skills sharp and learning about the latest developments in your industry makes you an attractive candidate and a valuable employee. Especially now that technology progresses so quickly.

Plus, working on your personal development boosts your career growth, nurtures your confidence and empowers you to take on new responsibilities and step out of your comfort zone.

Fifth, keep all options on the table.

Loyalty and stability were prized characteristics of traditional career growth. However, this is no longer the case. Now, people have shifted to prioritizing their wellness, flexibility, income potential, and growth above employers’ well-being.

If you’re having difficulty finding a role or company that aligns with your needs, consider creating your own. Entrepreneurship is increasingly popular, with 3.8 million new business applications and counting filed in 2022 in the US.

While it may be an intimidating prospect, starting a business that supports your vision of the life you want to live is always a possibility.

Career growth is not one-size-fits-all

Traditionalists still consider it the pinnacle of success to work with the same company for 40 years, retire and walk away with a gold watch. But the tides have changed for many professionals who are willing to expand their horizons and embark on new adventures as they seek fulfillment and a lifestyle that aligns with their goals.

The road is filled with risks, as we’ve seen over the past year, with tech layoffs, failed startups, and an uncertain economic landscape. But the higher the risk, the higher the potential for a reward. And just as we see startups fail, we see others rise above the highest expectations. So there’s plenty to look forward to as you prepare for your next step.

Is it time to strategize your next move for career growth? Book a discovery call, and together, we’ll craft a path forward for you.