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2020: The Year in Review through our White Papers

Our 2020 Papers Chart the Most Challenging Business Year we have seen

In 2020 we wrote a range of papers and looking back now, they chart the way the year developed. Things seemed normal in February and March and then came the rush to to get everyone to work from home. That provoked interest in how to at-home work effectively. Mid-year there was a consolidation followed by questions about what the new “normal” would look like. By the end of the year, we were questioning the mechanisms that some had put in place. Looking back, we think many of these papers still have relevance today and we’ve added comments below to that effect.

We know that sometimes these reach people when they are busy, or the timing is wrong. Thus, we have done a brief recap so you can decide which to explore now. If you have read them all already, then we admire your stamina! We’ve provided a summary and added a link to each one using the title of the paper.

As always, we appreciate your opinions on any of these. Of course, we would be more than happy to discuss with you and can be contacted on,

+61 3 9499 3550, 0438 652 396 or email

Summary and Topics

February 2020

This paper investigates whether an investor focus on shareholder returns can align with rewarding senior executives for customer related performance. It illustrates that customer measures and shareholder returns can be aligned if measured in the correct way.

Relevance: Useful thought starters if you are trying to justify strategic customer investments.

March 2020

The paper suggests that the insights to drive customer experience improvements are available within an organisation rather than through customer surveys. It describes the types of diagnostic that can be performed from the contacts that an organisation receives every day. It gives examples of six different assessment techniques.

Relevance: Read this if you want to drive improvement from the data you already have rather than run more surveys.

April 2020

The “ten ways” explained short term changes that could be used to either cut costs or add capacity fast, in the wake of the initial COVID-19 restrictions and their initial economic impact. It included some counter-intuitive ways to free up capacity or cut costs.

Relevance: Ideas to consider to hit budget cuts or spikes in demand.

May 2020

The move to “at-home” work had been rapid and dramatic but many organisations had scrambled to get everyone from the office to home. This paper contains ideas on how to exploit “at-home” work rather than take an “in office” model and set it up at home. This is still relevant today.

Relevance: Now at-home is here to stay consider these ideas to make it more effective.

June 2020

Home working challenged many existing mechanisms that had been used to manage staff. This paper used a “needs hierarchy” to suggest seven areas to focus on and drew on real life examples to illustrate how each one could be applied.

Relevance: A great framework to re-evaluate how you manage all staff that can also be applied to at- home work.

July 2020

This paper explored the idea that the disruptions caused by COVID-19 provided a rare opportunity to make some dramatic shifts in any organisation. It explored five different change levers that had been partially triggered by the COVID crises and how each could be taken further to make a lasting difference.

Relevance: Ways to re-think your operating model for the new normal.

August 2020

By the middle of the year a range of surveys emerged claiming that at-home working was either more or less productive. Most seemed to be based on opinions not facts. This paper suggested a methodology to measure the true productivity impacts of at-home working.

Relevance: Apply these methods to assess your real home working productivity.

September 2020

Our client work in the previous few months had shown us that front line management was harder in a virtualized workplace. This paper set out a range of techniques to apply to management of distributed and virtual teams. It also explored some ways to add workforce flexibility.

Relevance: Provide your management team with new tools and disciplines to manage work in and out of the office.

October 2020

The pandemic drives greater take up and use of digital solutions. Many technology companies were pushing the potential of chat bots or related automation. This paper explored mechanisms to ensure automation delivered positive, customer experiences.

Relevance: Read this before undertaking new automation and to re-think the customer experience impact of recent automation investments.

Transform, Fine Tune or Evolve – summary of the October CCO Forum

November 2020

The October Chief Customer Officer forum showcased some interesting lessons in change management and dealing with the pandemic. This paper shared lessons around driving transformation and levers for change.

Relevance: Some great lessons learnt from how others dealt with COVID and from those who managed disruptive change.

December 2020

The challenges governments had faced over the year reminded us of six problems that were also relevant to business. This paper covered things like handling exceptions in process design, creating scale and flexibility and changing customer behaviour.

Relevance: Six reminders of things to get right in process, change and structural design.


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