Frank CicconeJanuary 16, 2019

I Joined Avaya for the Why

Several years ago, I came across a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek where he spoke about a concept he calls “The Golden Circle.” The Golden Circle has three layers…imagine a bullseye. At the core, you have the why. In the next ring, you have the how. And in the outer ring, you have the what. Simon contends that most of us communicate by moving from the outer ring to the inner ring – we state the what and the how, before getting to the why. But to be truly effective–and what the most successful companies and communicators have mastered–is starting with the why first, then moving on to the how and finally the what. It’s all about starting with your purpose.

I listen to Simon’s Ted Talk often, and these words always resonate with me: People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. To a business executive, including sales professionals, this is pretty powerful stuff, and a shift from the traditional leadership and selling strategies from which I was brought up. After reflecting on Simon’s Golden Circle, I quickly learned that we needed to stop talking about products (what) and start talking about what they actually do for our customers (why first then how). To succeed in today’s highly competitive, global and increasingly educated customer world, you need to be purpose-driven at your core. You must start with your why above all else, and you must be inspired to help your customers in a way they didn’t even realize they needed. Help them see what they can’t see, help them disrupt rather than be disrupted. And most importantly for a company, you must actually have a why.

I’m only a week into my new role at Avaya leading our U.S. Sales team, and I came, because Avaya has a why. A powerful why.

I’ve been in the UC and CX space for a lot of years, so Avaya has always been on my radar, but I became increasingly intrigued as I watched Avaya’s transition. The purpose is clear. Experiences that matter is not just a tagline, it’s become the company’s purpose, and we are living and breathing it each day. Our customers are using our products in more meaningful ways and they’re seeing incredible results because of it. It’s not just the experiences we help our customer deliver to their customers, but the experiences we deliver to our customers. A week in and I have already seen that these are not just words on paper but a genuine and passionate belief of the entire company.

According to the 2017 Gartner Customer Experience in Marketing Survey, “Customer experience (CX) is the new marketing battlefront. More than two-thirds of marketers responsible say their companies compete mostly on the basis of CX. And in two years’ time, 81% say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of CX.” Two years’ time? That time is now. I honestly don’t think any company is better positioned to create differentiated experiences than Avaya. So that’s why I’m here. I want to make a difference for our customers, and I’m certain Avaya is the company who can make that happen.

Next week we’ll showcase our purpose at our flagship event of the year, Avaya ENGAGE. I’ve booked my ticket to Austin and can’t wait to meet many of our customers and hear further proof about how our why is fueling experiences around the globe. More importantly, I’m confident that many new customers will be inspired and begin their own journey of purpose with Avaya. It’s going to be quite the ride, and I’m thrilled to be on it.

Frank Ciccone

Frank is the Senior Vice President of U.S. Sales at Avaya. Frank succeeds at creating value for his customers by understanding the business outcomes his clients need to achieve and applying technology solutions to help them reach those goals. Frank lives in Scarsdale, NY with his wife and three sons.

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