Josh Anderson – MedFlight

Nick Glimsdahl 0:06
Josh Anderson, Josh has spent his career in it. And most recently, the CIO at a mid-sized bank. Welcome to the podcast, Josh.

Josh Anderson 0:15
Thanks, Nick. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me today.

Nick Glimsdahl 0:19
So I always try to do a little bit of insight of, of my guests. And I was looking online on LinkedIn, and it said that you are a Certified Ethical Hacker, what does that mean?

Josh Anderson 0:33
Well, thanks for the question. So Certified Ethical Hacker a CH, is, I would say, along with the CISSP, one of the earlier certifications, to really ensure that you had a robust methodology to any kind of penetration testing and just security practitioner as a whole. It is a little bit more technical and a little less academic maybe. But it was one of the most interesting and daresay fun certifications I’ve ever taken. Very, just kind of a very well-rounded test. And a lot of technical questions go along with some high-level things. And I did it a long time ago. I’m not sure if I remember anything on the exam, but a lot of fun.

Nick Glimsdahl 1:18
Yeah, that’s awesome. So is that technically a euro white hat? Is that right?

Josh Anderson 1:23
It? it? Yes. That was it gave legitimacy to, to the overall profession. Some other things have come along some testing methodology. Since then, I think we’re quite well, but it was it was one of the early ones.

Nick Glimsdahl 1:36
Well, it’s interesting. You know, what is your experience with when it comes to customer service or customer experience?

Josh Anderson 1:46
The thanks, you know, it can be defined in so many ways. But I started off as a 16 year old kid working as a lifeguard and at a golf course. And as you can imagine, in both of those professions, it customer service customer experience was was kind of paramount to, to, you know why people came to you. And so it’s always been under the hood, and always been a little bit ingrained in what I do. Interestingly enough, I got into what I thought technical professions and information security to get away from people and to get away from the customer experience in and I think the more time I’ve spent at it, the more I realized that’s really what it’s all about and and that, you know, whether your customers, you define them as an internal employee, someone who’s, you know, consuming your services in an infrastructure capacity, or they’re the customers of the business that you’re operating it, it really is what it’s all about. And so my attempt to work at a desk all day and not interact with anybody failed miserably. But it brought me to some security leadership roles and in general it leadership as well. And every day, I’ve realized how wrong I was in the first couple of years.

Nick Glimsdahl 2:59
They, the people will always find you I think that was the the moral of that of that answer.

Josh Anderson 3:05
It is and it’s usually usually when it’s good, and well, it’s usually when it’s bad, unfortunately, and sometimes when it’s good, but now that’s that’s very true and great summary.

Nick Glimsdahl 3:17
Yeah, so tell me about a time when you focus on the customer service or customer experience.

Josh Anderson 3:24
Yeah, so So this, this, this, this story has highs and lows, um, you know, I most recently have been CIO at a midsize bank and coming into that environment, it we really needed to build and define a roadmap and live by that roadmap and deliver it, we had some disparate pieces of our infrastructure and some other things. And really, the end goal was to have the best products, the best customer experience out there. And that was the why we went through a lot of things. And oh, you know, the success came in, in a lot of, you know, slow and deliberate work, it was defining what we needed to do. You know, what cost savings, what benefits would come from some, some big internal change, and then embracing, and committing to some of that change. And you know, the whole time, we knew that there was going to be an outcome at the end, but the time in the middle would kind of stink for customers. And so, for me, the focus was limiting the change, having heavy communication during the times that you were going to do that. And to be very deliberate about kind of an all-hands plan in how to deliver that transformational change. We’re really proud of some of the things we did a conversion of our core processor changed out a large business partner condensed we can consolidate it or eliminated the complexity of about 17 vendors into one in one particular case. And so anytime you can introduce some just simplicity and eliminate complexity, you’re going to make things better, you’re going to make it better for your employees. And ultimately for your customers. What was interesting about this, though, is a year later, we were getting ready to, you know, kind of show the next year of this plan. And one of the big traditions was taking our annual roadmap and sharing it with our board of directors, showing them the progress we’ve made in the last year, showing them you know, what was to come in the next year. And I was going into this very pleased with the team, very proud of the work we’ve done, I knew the path we were on and, and I dare say, I got a bit rattled when one of the directors looked at it. He said, Well, I’m a customer, and I haven’t seen one screen change yet. You know, it really puts you back into that, you know, why are we here? What are we doing? And why are we doing all this? And so, you know, the lesson I took from that was focused very much on that end user focus on what the use case is. Focus on what, you know, the What Will someone notice, and, and so I think that’s one of the toughest things about it is, is there’s work you can do all day, and no one will ever see it, no one will notice, they might if it breaks, but, you know, ultimately, you have to have that, that end product in mind, you’re known for what people see, you’re known for what they interact with. And so I think that’s pretty true of, you know, whether it’s service, whether it’s retail, whether your bank or utility, it’s, it’s that screen that people see in the way that they interact with you or that phone call that they have. And so really, to come full circle on this, we had one more piece, which was our online banking product. And that was in the roadmap for the next year. And so with this lesson in our pocket, a couple of my team members who give tremendous credit tremendous credit to, as we went to kind of validate our decision and what product we were going to use, we were down to two, and we had some some contentious dialogue about which one might be better and which way we might go. And they said, well, let’s you know, rather than showing people or putting someone in a room and having them interact with the product and your feedback, let’s bring the two products together, head to head, and let’s show them to some of our fringe users. And let’s show them to our core users. And let’s really go out and solicit some feedback. So we put the two products side by side to come very common functions that you you know, might perform in your online banking product. And really got into that view of the customer and and understood it as they would. And we simply put screens in front of and said Which one do you like better? And we were shocked at how unanimous The decision was. And it validated the work we’ve done all along. But what a different confidence and mentality and just validation to know which one people like to have the two. And so I think always very important to make sure that that you know that that end screen that anything that someone’s going to interact with, is is really what you’re thinking about all through. And again, it’s easy to get caught up in the technical details of something that configuration how you’re going to network it. But ultimately, that’s not the stuff that people notice.

Nick Glimsdahl 8:05
Yeah, no, I would agree. When it comes to technology, sometimes it’s fun to kind of geek out on on the new and fun technology or something that that it person is specifically excited about. And they’re like, hey, let’s run with this one. But then the day, did you ask the question did did the customer ask for this? And if the answer is no, then maybe we should transition to something else, or reprioritize are what’s important to the customer. And so I love how you’re saying how you took these 17 applications and reduces the effort for the for the employee to because you know, which is simplified and standardize your your technology stack?

Nick Glimsdahl 8:50
know, well, speaking of technology, like, what, what trends Do you see? Or maybe in technology or innovation that you’d be that you don’t believe gets enough attention?

Josh Anderson 9:02
Oh, that’s a great question. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna cheat and maybe give you two here. They’re boring. So I’ll try to sneak in a second one that the first one I’d say is authentication architecture. Some products have come to market that will fix or bolt on, you know, having disparate technologies in how you authenticate. But I think one of the simplest things you can do is to have very strong architecture and very strong architectural standards for your products, and make that sign in experience easier. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on a phone with an airline or somebody where they say, hold on, I’m signing into this system. And I just think, well, if I worked there heatmap it would be different. But if you think about how much time people spend on password resets or you know, calling to you know, just out of confusion of what I need to use. I think if you get that architecture, right, you have happy team members that can create happy customers. And so you know, that’s one of those things that cascades it’s boring. stuff but it’s there. On the other one is just asking for feedback I had, I can tell you, I’ve made several people cringe at saying we need to do surveys, we need to solicit feedback. But there’s nothing to me more powerful than, you know, I know Disney always gets brought up and examples of great service. And while sometimes great service, but nothing like walking around the park and getting that message in the app that says, How are you doing right now? Like, just just click, you know, tell me how you’re feeling right now. And if you know we in technology had, first of all, we were audacious enough to ask people that question, and wanted to hear the answer.

Josh Anderson 10:38
in the middle of the experience. That’s exactly right. I think that’d be very valuable. So you know, it’s not asking people how it’s going when they get that ticket closed. Because you know, you can be selective about that. And so it’s really only one voice, but it’s really getting a sense of how things are going. So one trend that I’ll bring up is just the old kind of management by walking around. I would love to walk in other offices walk into branches, and just say, how’s it going today, and you get a very different, you get very different feedback from the people that are using your tech all day. And so it can help you identify systematic problems. And it’s one thing to look at your data, but it’s another to just say to somebody, how’s it going?

Nick Glimsdahl 11:20
Right? No, I think the authentication one is definitely key, I know that some of the innovative technologies around authentication start even at voice biometrics, and it’s actually a higher rate of authentication than it is from your iris or your thumbprint. So it’s, it’s amazing on what’s next, and what’s coming down the pipeline. So, and I don’t, I would see in that there’s a ton of value of a C suite, a CIO, specifically taking the time and listening and saying, Hey, what do you guys seeing, you know, not just specifically in the customer service department, but around to the banks and the locations saying, what kind of pain points do you guys have? And, and, you know, maybe the three questions you could ask is, you know, what should we start doing? What should we stop doing? or What should we continue doing? And I think that that would definitely open up a can of worms, but then you could prioritize, and that’s what’s most important to them?

Josh Anderson 12:21
Absolutely. And I think the best part of dialogue like that, especially a start stop continue, is it’s very personal. And, you know, the your team is going to have the best ideas, and you get so much innovation from from those thoughts. So no spot on.

Nick Glimsdahl 12:37
Yeah, yeah. You know, when it comes to technology, well, it’s some of the best investments that you’ve ever made.

Josh Anderson 12:44
Um, hopefully, you know, investment usually means means spanned, and I’ll steer clear that and just say, it’s been living by roadmap, it’s been to come in and build a roadmap. So so the investment really is the time the relationship to get the right things into that roadmap. But then it’s, it’s, you know, to just live and die by it, I mean, either you deliver it, or you have maybe a line of your business that decides to change it. And that has to be a conversation to change it as well, as is, you know, hey, we’re not going to deliver it, or it’s going to cost more. But, you know, I think to truly feel like you’re a part of the business and to truly be that business partner. And to earn that trust, you have to have that kind of agreed to list of what’s important. And I think, Long gone are the days where it just would build stuff and deploy it. And very much, you know, ahead are having that integrated roadmap and having candid conversations between your lines of business, if you’re lucky enough to manage more than one to make sure that you know, you’re not competing in ways that are less than than productive for the organization as a whole. So think it drives great dialogue, and it sets some some standards for delivery. And the last thing I’ll add to that is it’s very important to have it be one of those lines of business. So to get, you know, your internal product projects and products and the things you need to roll out here as part of that to get that acknowledgement that, you know, we’re not we’re not back here in the back office or a server room. We’re, you know, regular with the arm and arm and it creates great common ground for for delivery.

Nick Glimsdahl 14:20
Yeah, no, I think that’s a great point. There’s a really cool book. And I can’t remember the author, but the book is called traction. And it talks about are you in the right seat, you’re facing the right direction, maybe even rowing in the right, along with the organization, I think comes back to roadmaps and then they have stand up meetings and kind of keeping each other accountable. And are you on track or off track and i and i love that because then the organization as a whole knows where they’re going. And then they break it down per department and say, Okay, now here’s my role in the overall objective. And, you know, in it specifically, it’d be very helpful to see where they At and how that achieves the business outcome.

Josh Anderson 15:03
Absolutely, absolutely. And I think any communication, methods to use has to work well. And I think the stand up meetings are, I don’t know, maybe one of the hardest things for frati people to, to embrace but but tremendous value. And I recently been an organization that implemented that really across the, across the entire organization, to the point where everyone that worked, there was in a stand up meeting daily. And it was really refreshing to see a technique like that work for more than a day or a week. And to really see it be an ingrained part of the culture. And it really opened up that communication for what the issues are. And I think it took some of the the natural human element to, you know, maybe delay something or to be overwhelmed, or to procrastinate, it just leveled all that, and it made progress be the focus. So So very, very important. And that’s, I’m glad you mentioned that very, very, very significant.

Nick Glimsdahl 16:08
Yeah. And I think the roadmap obviously starts at the top and, you know, transitioning to the next question. Speaking of kind of a leadership role, what is the hardest part of being a CIO?

Josh Anderson 16:22
Well, this, this varies on different days. I think that’s the hard part. But but to try to boil it down, I would say, you know, for me, it’s balancing people. It’s balancing some some process focus, and the technology element altogether, you have to have that mix, right? Sometimes mix is different on certain days, it’s different on, you know, different when the organization’s achieving have different objectives, maybe periods of you know, change, things like that. But ultimately, it’s it’s keeping that balance, because none of those work without the other two in place. And I think just creating that harmony is probably the hardest thing. But I would be remiss to say being a CIO is a hard job. I’ve seen people do hard work, and this is probably one of the more enjoyable things you could do with your time. But But in terms of the difficulty of it, and and, you know, you can’t deliver all the things that technologists get excited about, if you don’t have people process and technology aligned. And so, so I think that is probably the truth day in and day out. Ask me another day. And the answer might be different, though.

Nick Glimsdahl 17:39
I’ll ask you tomorrow outside the podcast. So, you know, when it comes to, you’ve been in the industry for a long time, you know, when it comes to it, obviously, you started off and you’re a Certified Ethical Hacker you you’ve done, security work, you’ve done CIO work. You have all of this experience, what would you tell your future self, you know, of the next role or the next, you know, whatever that timeline looks like?

Josh Anderson 18:08
Yeah, great, great question. And in very deep. You know, I think as it relates to kind of that, that experience piece and just, you know, your clients, your customers, but I think you could probably stretch this into technology as a whole. I’ll go back to when when some of the state privacy laws came out, they really took care of us mentioned mashes Massachusetts, specifically because we were operating in that state in the organization, I was at a time and Massachusetts went as far to say, who your customers are. And they delineated you know, your customers are the people that consume your resources, your customers are other businesses that you trade, you know, basically b2b relationships with their your own internal employees. And within the organization, you might have, you know, different customers as well. And I would say that, one of the greatest things you can do is come in and really define as a group, whether it’s a helpdesk, whether it’s a network team, really define who your customers are. And you’re never, if you don’t know who they are, they’re never gonna have a great experience, right? It’s, it sounds silly, but to me having that enumeration and being sure that what you’re delivering to one doesn’t affect the other has been very, very helpful. And so, you know, honestly, what I do, and sometimes it’s as simple as keeping, you know, a visual diagram of this, but I like to make notes on how long it’s been since I’ve talked to one or since we’ve gotten good feedback from one, and it can help you maybe Place your chips a little differently. You know, as you go about your day or your week, check in with people, things like that. So to me, it’s being very deliberate with every group and you know, you could break that down to the individual, I guess, but figure out who your customers are enumerated and really build that into, you know, kind of what Your goals and objectives are for a given year. And I think if you do that it, it’s it’s impossible to succeed without doing that. And it gives you a really good chance to succeed if you do.

Nick Glimsdahl 20:12
Yeah, no great point, you don’t weigh in at the same time, it’s impossible to succeed without your customers. And so building that relationship is is vital. Sometimes you kind of get through and run through the motions and kind of have that tunnel vision and say, Well, here’s what my timeline is, here’s what my leadership is asking for, here’s what the board is asking for. So I need to get my head down and focus on that this, but the end of the day, it comes back to the customer, they’re the ones that the company will write the check, but they received the money from the customer. And so they’re not specifically spending time with these people, and checking in on them. And so I love that scheduling time and actually saying, hey, when’s the last time I spoke with them? When’s the last time they provided us feedback? When’s the last time they it was positive feedback? So I love that. So at the end of every podcast, I asked my guests two questions. And so hold on your chair. It’s not nothing too crazy. But the first question is, what book or person has influenced you the most in the past year? And the second question is, if you could leave a note to all the customer service and customer experience professionals in the world, because they’re all going to listen to this podcast. How what would what would you say? Yeah, so

Josh Anderson 21:29
so the most influence, it’s a little bit of a funny story. I was at it was I was at a Gartner conference, it was late in the day, my phone had died, I had no background to the talk, I was going to and I was just paging through a good old paper agenda. And I sat down at evening keynote, and this guy came out and he was just very captivating right away, commanded the room. And I just right away, started to speak to me directly. And I just really enjoyed hearing him speak. And I thought, well, this is going to be my guy, I’m going to go read his book if he has one. And it’s going to be my secret, found out a little bit later than it was Clayton Christensen, who is regularly voted the top professor at Harvard Business School. So my secret was not really just mine. But I’m here, I had a chance to hear him talk about his jobs to be done theory. And, you know, it’s something that doesn’t usually creep into the minds of it, folks, or at least, what I call technical, you know, the technical side of it. But there’s so much truth to jobs to be done. And it’s simply, I wouldn’t try to explain it here. But it’s he gives a great example, in the book of trying to increase milkshake sales at McDonald’s. And they were hired by McDonald’s to figure out why their shake sales were sporadic throughout the day. And they went and looked at the data and notice that a large number of shakes are sold between seven and 9 am. And they went into the jobs to be done theory of why is someone hiring this product? Or why is someone hiring this milkshake, you know, simply to keep them alert at the wheel while driving to work? And they found that they were close to highways and some other things. So if you look at really why, and what I think is interesting about jobs to be done is you can apply it to the smallest call to help desk you can apply it to, you know, a network upgrade, you could apply it to the selection of a product, you could apply it to change in, you know, the large vendor service provider is really why am I hiring this thing, or this service or this product? And it places that focus in a very customer-centric direction, by asking the question, he has some other great books, but to me, jobs to be done is one of the quickest wins if you can understand what he’s, you know, how it works, and how to ask the questions. There have been lots of, you know, short, brief iterations of how to do it. And I think it’s one of the most useful and it’s one of the most adaptable, so Clayton Christensen anything but jobs to be done. In theory is, is good, and he’s on a number of the delivered it. Lots of other places. I think one of the more riveting was to Google employees at one of their lunch talks. So it’s, it’s out there and great information. Um, you know, the other question that the second question and to me, and I know this happens to everybody a little bit, but it’s, it’s noticing when I have great experiences in the real world and when I go about my day, and then really noticing when I have bad ones and asking whether or not I do that same behavior with my team or myself and it could be a cashier at you know, a retailer, it could be you know, one of my favorite moments was I had we had a couple of very incredible retail banking leaders Come into the organization and I, we had a road trip very early on in meeting them with one of them. It was the first time I met him. And we just had a few conversations. But we were checking into a hotel. And just it was nothing terrible. I mean, no one was injured or anything. But it was just a very rough check-in process. And we were standing there seeing all these things that were happening. And I just, I knew I would get along well with him by observing and quietly, commenting. We saved our chuckle for later. But I think the ability to see those things happen and see when somebody’s not getting great service. turn that around. And you know, reflexively look at your organization, your team say, Do I ever do that to somebody? I think that is very powerful. And, you know, we all interact with so many people in a given day, maybe not in the last couple of months. But it’s something that, you know, is very useful, and you can correct a lot of behaviors before maybe somebody calls you out on it. And so I think that can be very, very powerful.

Nick Glimsdahl 26:03
Yeah, it’s great. I, you know, one of the previous podcast guests, his name is Roger Dooley, he wrote, wrote a book called friction, he calls himself a friction Hunter. He’s like, How do I look at everyday life and see where there’s friction and ways to eliminate it? Or at least significantly reduce it? So it sounds like exactly where you’re, you’re right on track. You know, how can my listeners connect with you? is there is there a way that they can connect via LinkedIn or what’s the best way to get ahold the FAA? They want to learn more they want to bring you on board and have you be the the the head of certified ethical hackers Association. What does that look like?

Josh Anderson 26:47
So is a as an information security professional, early my career, I steer clear of a lot of social media. But I do I do indulge in LinkedIn, I think it’s a good blend of, you know, kind of practical, professional connection as well as social and so LinkedIn is the place in fact,

Nick Glimsdahl 27:03
that’s awesome. Great. So it’s Josh Anderson. It’s exactly how it sounds. Josh, thank you so much for your time. I really appreciate it.

Josh Anderson 27:12
Nick, thank you appreciate the opportunity to spend some time with you today.


The Press 1 For Nick podcast is both educational and engaging, and each episode offers listeners a dynamic blend of insightful stories, best practices, and invaluable lessons.

Nickโ€™s guests – each with a unique wealth of knowledge – include leaders from a variety of backgrounds and industries. Some of his guests include:

  • Customer service & customer experience leaders
  • A hostage negotiator
  • Award-winning authors
  • Home Depotโ€™s Senior Director of Customer Care
  • Former VP of Disneyโ€™s Magic Kingdom
  • Lyftโ€™s Head of Partner and Customer Engagement
  • Deputy Chief Veteran Experience Officer from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs

On every episode Nick asks his guest two questions:

  1. What book or person has influenced you the most in the past year?
  2. If you could leave a note to all the Customer Service and CX professionals, what would it say?

You can find all the podcast guests’ answers under their episodes below.

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