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Fantastic Voyage featuring Ilenia Vidili

Released on NOVEMBER 24, 2023

The iconic 1980 Lakeside hit, Fantastic Voyage, invites listeners to leave behind the mundane and embark on a journey filled with unexpected delights. Breaking free of societal constraints and your own comfort zone has compelling rewards, but only if we’re ready to embrace the journey. Societal constraints extend to the business world, too. Quarterly earnings calls often compel business leaders to follow a path to short-term gains rather than focusing on customer-centricity and the long-term gains of that path.

Ilenia’s Vidili’s fantastic voyage began on the Italian island of Sardinia and took her Spain, the United Kingdom, Southeast Asia, and back to Italy. Along that voyage, she learned a lot about customer experience. Recently, she focused her efforts to write Journey to Centricity, a guide for companies willing to embark on a fantastic voyage that focuses on the most important stakeholder in any business – the customer.

We discuss:

• Her childhood experience growing up in Sardinia

• Her first experience in customer relationships

• Why companies still struggle to understand both customers and employees

• The relationship between Customer-Centricity and profitability

• The power of emotional connection with customers

• Why there is a trust deficit between customers and companies

• The barriers to Customer-Centricity

• A Sardinia-only food you have to hear about

Connect with Ilenia on LinkedIn

Ilenia’s Website

Music courtesy of Big Red Horse


Rob Dwyer (00:02.798)
Thank you Elenia Vidili for being next in queue. How are you today?

Ilenia Vidili (00:10.375)
I am great Rob, thank you so much for having me today.

Rob Dwyer (00:25.562)
Well, I just told you there was no delay and there's definitely a delay. So we'll see how this works. So before we really jump into things, this episode is coming out on Thanksgiving here in the US. So to all my US listeners, I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

And Elenia, I have to thank you for taking the time to be here with me today so that we can talk about all things customer centricity. But before we get to that, I'd like you to tell me a little bit about growing up in Sardinia and how you ended up where you are today.

Ilenia Vidili (01:24.029)
Yeah, good question. Something that I'm actually never asked. So I was born here in Sardinia and I grew up here until I was 19 years old. I think I was quite fortunate to live here actually to, you know, have experienced life in an island, in a small island.

And I am a countryside girl, so I've basically lived in the countryside until then, until when I left. And I loved it. It was beautiful. I have such a great childhood memories with, you know, here in the countryside and with animals and just being in true contact with nature.

Um, it's so different from all the children, like say my cousins who used to live in the big cities and I could, um, see the difference even when I was a child, I couldn't really understand why they were living in such a ugly places, you know, in the city. Um, so I'd say I'm, I feel quite fortunate to, and grateful to have lived.

in the countryside when I was a child. Then I left when I was 19, soon after I finished my high school studies. I left to Spain. I was a bit of a rebel when I was a young woman. So I decided to, yeah, to travel. So I started traveling in Europe first.

and left for Spain. Just doing that, you know, I've always been in love with languages and traveling and different cultures and meeting new people. And I just felt, since I was a teenager, I felt that Sardinia is a small island compared to other countries, obviously. I felt it was too small for me. But not small in terms of like geographies, but small in terms of...

Ilenia Vidili (03:41.43)
isolated from the rest of the world, but also in terms of culture and mentalities. And I just needed to get away, you know, it felt just too, too narrow, you know. So that's what I did. I left for Spain and then I stayed there for like a year and a half, two years. And I was managing a restaurant for

yeah, for about two years. And I loved it there. I learned a language and it was amazing. It was a really, really beautiful experience, those experiences that you do when you are just free, free from worries, just 19, just discovering the world, that you just do anything, because anything else outside of the island, to me, was new. And then...

As a countryside girl, obviously big travels and big cities would scare me, but I wasn't scared at all. I was just really, really excited. Then after Spain, I left, I wanted to study in the UK. I don't know why, but I had this, I was drawn by England and studying in...

in the UK. I'd never been there but I always said, since I was a child, I always said to my mom, Mom I really want to live in the UK. I really want to go there. My mom used to say, but you'd never been there. How, like, why? Why do you want to live in England? You know those things that feels like you've really been there. But no, I was never, I'd never been there. So, and then one day I decided that's it. I'm just going to do it. I was

20 something years old, 21 I think, 21 years old. And then I did a one way ticket, Braksac and then I left to Cambridge. So, left to Cambridge and it was, I stayed there for nine years, believe it or not. I was only going there for like a year. Say, you know, just improve my English and just study English. And then I stayed there nine years.

Ilenia Vidili (06:01.194)
So I joined university, international business. Then I graduated, then I started working for big companies like NEC, Bayer and others. And I always worked in corporate marketing. And that's where my experience in CX started, exactly in NEC, my first job. And then in 2017 I quit my job.

my corporate job and I went traveling again for two years. Actually it was my sabbatical year, my first year off. I traveled in Southeast Asia and then the second year I started my business. So literally my business started in Singapore, oddly enough. And then I decided to come back to Europe because I thought...

Maybe Asia is too far away from families. So, let's grow up a bit. So, okay, back home.

Rob Dwyer (07:03.69)
It's very, it connects with me to hear you say that Sardinia didn't feel big enough for you. You know, I too grew up in a small town, certainly not an island like Sardinia, but a very small community. And I felt the same way when I was in high school, I couldn't wait to get out. And I moved away as quickly as I could.

Ilenia Vidili (07:29.73)

Rob Dwyer (07:31.478)
wanted to live in the big city and really spent many years in much larger cities. And only recently have I actually come back. I came back home. My wife and I both grew up in this small town. And so we kind of came back home. I don't know if it's a certain point of your life where you're ready for that little bit of peace that's away from the big city or what the deal is. But.

Ilenia Vidili (07:58.806)

Rob Dwyer (08:00.086)
that definitely resonates with me a lot.

I wonder that growing up in a. What I would say is a little bit smaller community, right? Different pace of life and probably. I don't know. Did everyone kind of know everyone where you grew up?

Ilenia Vidili (08:05.962)

Ilenia Vidili (08:21.566)
Absolutely yes, yeah. It's a small town of a thousand people, so you can imagine. We have one church and one small.

Rob Dwyer (08:25.262)
Did that?

Rob Dwyer (08:29.15)
Yeah. Does that inform?

Rob Dwyer (08:37.402)
Did that inform your view of customer centricity? Because I know that when you are smaller towns, smaller businesses, you know your customers. I mean, literally know them, know their families, those businesses, some of which have been in business for generations and they know everyone. Did that help inform your view of what customer centricity should look like?

Ilenia Vidili (09:09.386)
Yes. And I wrote about it in my book. So my very first experience in customer relationships was when my auntie

was a shopkeeper of a newsstand. And in summer times when I was a child, I used to help her out. And I was a very chorus child and I loved serving people, like talking to people and just being around and chatting basically. So my auntie...

was the person who taught me the very basic of customer relationships and serving customers. So she knew everybody in the town. So as a new stand, as you might imagine, people going to church in the mornings or people taking the children at school, for example, or just people crossing by coming back from work, they would stop and get...

the latest magazine, for example, or the newspaper, and et cetera, and things like that. Or would even just stop to say hi to my auntie and have a little bit of chat. So it was fascinating to me just seeing my auntie being so passionate about serving customers. She used to know everything about her customers. Because obviously, I mean, as a small community, you would know...

the kind of magazine that they buy, how much they can spend. And you basically know everything about them. And that's basically what my auntie used to do. She didn't have that time, mind you, I was seven years old, eight, you know, I was quite a child. So it was a long time ago. We're talking about more than 30 years ago now. So...

Ilenia Vidili (11:08.678)
she didn't really have any technology. She just had a little notebook and she used to just put things down about her customers. So say customer A, I don't know, Marie for example, she used to write things down about them and she used to remind herself about the customers with this notebook. And it was so fascinating. And then she used to prepare teas and coffees in the morning and

She could say, elevate the conversations with having a little bit of a chat with coffees and teas. And then if, for example, because our town is in between the countryside and going towards the seaside, basically. So a lot of tourists will pass by and will stop to get a magazine or newspaper.

she would always be very kind and very knowledgeable about giving them information about where to go, for example, and just do the extra mile instead of just selling just a product, in this case, a newspaper. She wouldn't spend much time with these kind of customers.

but she was always very helpful and very kind in serving them. So that's where I learned the very basics of customer experience and customer relationships. My auntie used to always say to me, if you want to do this job, you need to know your customers inside out. You need to know everything about them. And that stuck with me. And yeah, that's basically where it started.

Rob Dwyer (12:44.111)

Ilenia Vidili (12:53.994)
a lot before than my experiences in NEC.

Rob Dwyer (12:59.01)
I love that she had the notebook CRM going way back then. It is technology, even a notebook, a piece of paper and a pencil can be effective depending on the scale of your customer base. And it sounded like she absolutely employed that the right way so that she could remember really specific things about her customers.

Ilenia Vidili (13:04.044)

Rob Dwyer (13:27.882)
I'm wondering with your experiences with really large brands now and having worked with brands at scale and knowing that we have technology to get voice of customer data and voice of employee data. Why do we still see that companies are not aligned?

with what customers and employees truly want, particularly with larger companies. Why is that?

Ilenia Vidili (14:07.866)
Good question.

So there is this overload of customer data that companies are so obsessed about. These days we have all the technology available, as you say, they collect a vast amount of data, but they struggle to analyze, interpret effectively the data, and act upon data. So...

Most of the times what I see in companies is this first failure. So, not collecting the right data that we need. So, collecting a lot of data, but not using it correctly and not acting, you know. And a lot of the time we have that data inside us. So, we don't act...

We don't actually share it with the rest of the organization so that every department can use it effectively to enhance and improve their customer experience. That's one of the problems. Another problem is that we shouldn't concentrate too much on the data because there is way too much data. So.

Understanding the data, okay, that's fine, but there isn't much understanding of the people, you know, so the consumer behavior. So there is a lot of data around, but we don't have, we have a lot of data scientists, for example, but we don't have many people who understand people inside organizations. That's another problem that I see. So another problem that we have is

Ilenia Vidili (15:57.386)
It's not the data itself, it's the culture, the customer culture that's missing. And the culture should be the base of the actions that we take, right? So data collection, for example, act upon data, customer data. Okay. Before that, do we actually have the customer-centric culture in place? That's another problem that I see. So...

The culture is a first thing that needs to be set before anything else. And then the last thing I see is an extreme focus on short-term rather than long-term gains. And as we know, customer security is more long-term rather than short-term. So there is a prioritization of short-term rather than long-term. So these are the four kind of issues that I see that

create this misalignment, you know.

Rob Dwyer (16:58.858)
Yeah, one of the things that I think you hit on, probably more than most people who talk about customer centricity, is that short-term versus long-term and the conflict that comes with public companies who are beholden to shareholders, and shareholders are looking for returns. And

far too often companies act in the interest of those short-term gains so that at my quarterly review I can talk about how we performed year over year, quarter over quarter. But that sometimes comes at the expense of that longer-term profitability, that longer-term sustainability.

Ilenia Vidili (17:51.015)

Rob Dwyer (17:56.186)
Can you talk more about how companies can both be profitable and be customer-centric in the long run?

Ilenia Vidili (18:08.558)
Absolutely. Well, first of all, customer centricity is not the opposite of profitability. And so many companies tend to believe that. We can be customer centric and we can be profitable. It's very functional and it happens quite well. So.

We need to be able to, companies need to be able to align business financial objectives with customer centric objective. And we need to have this balance because of course long term, stand-alone like this doesn't work without short term. So we need to have both, not one or the other.

It needs to work in conjunction. Long-term strategy, customer security is more about loyalty and retention, while, for example, other activities like marketing and growth are more about short-term new acquisition of customers and growth of the company. Right. And we all know that companies mostly grow with acquisition of new customers.

And we need to have a strategy that aligns both. It's not one or the other. That's the thing. I have, for my book, for example, I've interviewed Ili Cafe, the CEO of Ili Cafe, Massimiliano Pogliani. And they are the most ethical company in the world by...

the it's a it's a big corporation and they've been listed as one of the most ethical companies in the world. And they are absolutely super profitable. In fact, they are one of the most successful organizations in the world that sells coffee. And so how can we be profitable and ethical? We are ethical if all

Ilenia Vidili (20:19.466)
our behaviors as a company align with our actions. We cannot be ethical, for example, if we say our products are organic, but then our growers are picking raw materials in really bad conditions. So there is a misalignment, for example. So what they do, they...

created, they're actually aligned with a creation of shared value strategy, which means that they don't create value only for the shareholders, but for all stakeholders.

starting from every practice and every behavior they do, from the growers to the employees inside the organization to the customers. And then all the internal facilities are all sustainable in order to consume less, for example. And

less CO2 emissions, they are trying to be carbon neutral by 2030, and they are succeeding in everything they do. So the philosophy is the more we take care of our growers, our employees, and our customers, the more they will take care of us.

That's the philosophy that the more we create value for them, the more they will create value for us. So in terms of the growers, for example, what they do, they provide, obviously as a coffee company, they have coffee growers everywhere in the world, and especially as it happens in developing countries. And that means that, for example,

Rob Dwyer (22:18.66)
Thank you.

Ilenia Vidili (22:21.294)
for particular family of growers, they'll take care of them financially, so they pay them well, they have a good contract so that they can have mortgages, they can pay for the children education, they can, and et cetera, et cetera. And we're not talking about extreme abnormal things. These are just normal things, but that don't happen in many other companies.

Rob Dwyer (22:45.818)
All right.

Ilenia Vidili (22:51.402)
So they take care of the growers and the growers stay with the company for the long term. And that means that is obviously is a virtuous circle. They've created this virtual circle that adds value to all stakeholders. By staying with a company for a long term, of course, they will take care of the company. So they pick up the best coffee, they will do everything they can for the company and...

the company pays the education to the growers as well. Then in terms of the product, the product is organic. So everything that is at the cultivation of the product, the growing process, everything is made organic because they believe that customers are looking at sustainability values as well as the taste of the product and they believe that

Rob Dwyer (23:23.759)
Thank you.

Ilenia Vidili (23:47.462)
if the customer is, the customer values are aligned with the business values, then obviously they will pay more, they will sell more loyal, and they prefer to buy from Millil rather than any other brand. So their philosophy is to create more value for all stakeholders, not just in short term, but short term and long term. It's a long term strategy. It doesn't happen overnight.

Rob Dwyer (24:02.266)
Thanks for watching!

Ilenia Vidili (24:16.102)
And Illy Cafe has been doing the creating shared value strategy for years, for decades, obviously.

Rob Dwyer (24:28.394)
I wonder how important telling that story is in addition to the actual behavior of being customer centric and doing things the right way, because consumers, if they don't necessarily know the story, may become focused on price. We have all.

I think looked for something that is a little bit less expensive or trying to find that deal. So how important is telling your story as a brand when you're doing that to maintaining that kind of success?

Ilenia Vidili (24:59.136)

Ilenia Vidili (25:09.894)
is obviously very important telling the story. So let me go back a bit. Human beings as customers, let's say like that, as customers, we look, of course, at product features and prices and everything that fulfills our really basic needs.

So companies believe that customers only look at these convenient sides of a product, so product features, quality, prices, and etc. when they're making decisions. But human beings are influenced by much more than rational factors like price, quality, etc. So price only fulfills our basic needs, right?

So that's the rational part of our brain. So the left part of our brains understand processes, logic, numbers, and sciences very easily. And that's what we look for. But unfortunately, it's not just that. The instinctive part of our brain, so the right part of our brain, makes instant decisions, which are based on our emotions, our feelings, our dreams, intuitions, values, beliefs, et cetera. And both parts of our brain are extremely important. That's how we make decisions.

rational and instinctive. Instinctive, is that how you say it in English? I hope so. Let's say emotional part of our brain. So the left part of the brain wants things to be easy to understand, convenient, which is what most companies tend to focus on. But unfortunately, they underestimate how to connect to the right part of our brain. So to the emotional side of the brain.

Rob Dwyer (26:39.919)

Ha ha.

Ilenia Vidili (27:01.646)
And when customers feel the emotional connection with a brand, they become not just satisfied, which is exactly where companies stop with the product features, prices, etc. But they are emotionally engaged. And emotionally engaged customers, they create a long-lasting bond with the brand. This is the difference. And of course, when we have...

a brand that connects with us on our values and beliefs, we feel like, okay, this brand really gets me. It's not just a price. Yes, the price fulfills my first need and then the quality and then the features of the product and et cetera. But then why do I choose it? Because it goes beyond and it really gets my internal values and beliefs. That's the difference.

Of course it's important to share it and it's important to communicate it. Unfortunately, what we have these days, we have what we call greenwashing. And that's when companies, they say they behave in an ethical way, but they don't actually follow through. It doesn't actually happen. Or they use tactics to fool the customer.

Rob Dwyer (28:22.49)

Ilenia Vidili (28:27.222)
That's not obviously a customer-centric business, as we know it. And I was reading a study the other day, which said that 76% of customers would refuse to purchase a product that they found that comes from a company that does not support their values and beliefs, for example.

Rob Dwyer (28:51.222)

Ilenia Vidili (28:51.774)
If I believe that, okay, that coffee is great, but the people picking the raw ingredients are treated in really bad conditions, I'm definitely not buying it. And that happens especially for newer generations of consumers, and I'm saying millennials and generation Z, but...

we shouldn't just stop on generational cohorts because new generation of consumers are spreading the consumer behavior to other generations as well. So these days, we're not just talking about generation, we're talking about all consumers. Of course, there are consumers who don't care, who don't have those values and those beliefs, but the majority of consumers want to see change in the way that businesses.

do business.

Rob Dwyer (29:52.146)
You are speaking my language. You know, I just had David Allison on the show, whose company Value Graphics provides data on values across the globe and what people value the most. And, you know, what we talked about was how people make, among other things, buying decisions based on how well

a brand aligns with their values. And it's not about demographics. It's about how well companies align with our values. And so when you're saying 76% of people are going to make it, I would say the true answer is it's even higher than that. It's a question of what do people actually value. And so.

And and how well we're telling the story as a brand about what we value and how we Present ourselves to the market so that people can understand whether or not they align with us Certainly if I value destroying the planet, I'm probably not gonna put that in my marketing materials because then But I'm wondering you mentioned greenwashing

Ilenia Vidili (30:52.256)

Rob Dwyer (31:18.63)
And this brings up trust to me. So how do I as a company ensure that I'm viewed as trustworthy?

Ilenia Vidili (31:33.858)
Hmm. Good question. Yes. And I like the way you phrased it. How can a company be seen as trustworthy? Yes. Because there is a lot of talks of how can we build trust. And I actually believe that building trust is basically implying that you are in control as a company.

but you're not that in control. You need to demonstrate a lot of actions before you build a trust. The trust is not just built in two days, you know. Um, the short answer is trust. You are a trustworthy company when you keep your promises of a consistency and over the long term.

It's an ongoing process that requires a lot of consistent effort, action and dedication. I wrote about in the book, chapter six, I dedicated a whole chapter on trust because I believe trust is a

Ilenia Vidili (32:39.806)
There is a big deficit of trust between consumers, employees and the wider society.

Ilenia Vidili (32:50.43)
Yeah, because, and this is because of the misconduct, corporate misconduct over many, many years. And again, the short term extra focus, narrow focus, the maximization of product of, sorry, profit at expense of everything and everybody. And...

And again, consumers and employees and people in general require businesses to do more than just selling products and just exploit resources. So, so that's the deficit of trust that we are experiencing right now. How do we create this

trustworthy brand. It happens in four ways based on my research and on the research of many other colleagues. It happens in four ways. So two soft traits are integrity and empathy. Integrity as we know it refers to the ability to act under moral values and behave under moral values. And that...

goes, you know, it includes the, our brand purpose as well, which many companies don't have, don't even, they can't really articulate what is their brand purpose. Um, it means being credible through honesty, transparency, and it means conduct business in an ethical and responsible way. So that's our integrity, but we need to show it consistently through our actions every day.

Then we have, as we said, empathy, which involves walking in someone's shoes, understanding their emotions, and having that genuine commitment to improving their customer experience. And going back to our voice of the customer, voice of the employees collecting data, yes, that's amazing, but do we have that genuine commitment to improve their customer experience? And then we have last two traits, which are

Ilenia Vidili (34:58.066)
heart rates, reliability, and competence. Reliability, obviously, is the consistent behavior of delivering the promises made, whether it's product quality or customer experience, customer support, customer service, and the responsiveness of the brand to show up on time and communicate with customers. And that means if I say, in my marketing communication, if I say that

Rob Dwyer (35:22.702)
Thanks for watching!

Ilenia Vidili (35:27.27)
I will reply to you in 24 hours as a customer, I expect a response in 24 hours. And if you don't reply in 24 hours, then I'm not sure if I believe you next time. So that's something that obviously contributes to becoming a trustworthy company.

Rob Dwyer (35:42.107)

Ilenia Vidili (35:49.186)
So that includes, reliability includes responding promptly, for example, to inquiries or to addressing customer issues in a timely way. These little things that don't seem to be so important, but put together everything, all our actions, they obviously create a trustworthy company. Then lastly, we have competence and involves the skills, the knowledge and the continuous improvement of a brand to provide those solutions, even

Rob Dwyer (36:11.19)
Yeah, it's a lot of different things that get woven together in order to create that.

Ilenia Vidili (36:20.966)
even products that align to customer needs and goals. So for example, we have so much customer data, we were talking about customer data earlier, we have so much customer data these days. Do we have though, a robust cyber security strategy and measures in place? And do we clearly communicate the commitments that we have to protect our customer information?

That creates trust with customers, you know. So all these things create a trustworthy company. And trust is so important these days because we don't just differentiate through our products and services.

but we are also differentiating through our customer experiences, which obviously are important, but then trust is a soft skill that many companies undervalue, don't take into consideration, as well as empathy. Empathy is another one, because they see it as soft skill. They see it as an intangible thing that doesn't add any value, any profit, see? Because they don't see the return of investment.

Ilenia Vidili (37:43.01)
That's the problem. But when customers really trust a brand, they believe that the brand acts in their best interest. That's what we want. That's the bond that we want. I wanna go to that company, I wanna buy from that company, even though I spend few dollars more, but because that company gets me, I trust it, and I believe that it acts.

in my best interest and provide what I expect.

Rob Dwyer (38:18.234)
Are we asking the wrong questions or using the wrong measures to understand how customers perceive us?

Ilenia Vidili (38:32.746)
I don't think he's about metrics, I think he's about perspective.

Rob Dwyer (38:41.114)
Tell me more about that.

Ilenia Vidili (38:44.008)
I think companies, they just focus too much on their own perspective, their own internal objectives, their own internal operations and cutting cost and return of investment and maximizing profit. Those objectives that are not quite aligned to the external perspective of customers. See, there is a clash.

Rob Dwyer (38:51.674)

Ilenia Vidili (39:09.918)
all the time between companies and customers. Customers expect and want a way of being served or treated, and companies don't understand how and why and which ways to do it. So it's a different perspective, you see.

The complexity of an organization also plays a huge role here, because every little department, as you know, we are siloed as organizations, and every department has their own objective, their own perspective, their own role.

And that is another problem. So there are lots of problems of why a company struggles to become customer-centric, you know? But I think the main problem is the narrative is upside down. Companies are born product-centric and they continue to be product-centric in the long term. And even though they wanna change, they struggle because obviously there is this string of pulling,

make lots of money, but then customers want this. And then there is this pulling, you know, it's really difficult to make it happen.

Rob Dwyer (40:32.154)

Rob Dwyer (40:38.234)
So I want to change gears a little bit here. And this is probably going to feel like a question from left field. And you may have to help me with pronunciation. But can you tell me your thoughts on casu marzu cheese?

Ilenia Vidili (40:42.03)

Rob Dwyer (40:59.002)
Did I say that correctly?

Ilenia Vidili (41:01.899)
I'm going, are we talking about cheese now?

Rob Dwyer (41:05.726)
Yeah, yeah. Well, this is not a cheese that you can find just anywhere, right? This is a special cheese.

Ilenia Vidili (41:08.192)
I love it.

Ilenia Vidili (41:16.742)
Yes, yes. It's a special cheese that you, I believe you can find it only in Sardinia, I believe. I might be wrong, but I've only seen it here. And not sure I can explain it properly in English. Basically, I remember my dad used to put it on the table. Oh, let me explain what it is first. So, you know, it just...

contextualize a bit better. So it's Pecorino cheese that it's basically left inside a bag for months and it creates mosquitoes inside, so the bacterias create mosquitoes and mosquitoes then...

I don't know which way is actually. So basically it creates bacteria inside the cheese and then it creates, the bacteria creates worms and then the worms create cream because they start moving around. Obviously it's not two worms, but it's many of them, like hundreds and hundreds of worms inside this cheese, this like brown cheese closed up in a bag.

God. And so it creates this, I've never tasted it, because yeah, it's not the best kind of cheese to taste, but apparently it's a little spicy and creamy. So the worms create a cream of really nice, nice bread that people put on food, like bread and...

everything else. So yeah, back to my dad when I was a child. Yeah, my dad was, my dad was very strict when I was a child. So you know, those kind of, those kind of cultures in which you cannot get up unless you finished your food. That, yeah, that sort of mentality.

Rob Dwyer (43:10.906)
So your dad was a friend?

Rob Dwyer (43:32.658)

Ilenia Vidili (43:36.81)
So my dad was quite strict and I remember that after our meal, he used to unveil this bag of cheese and put this bag on the table, open it up and obviously there was this pecorino cheese inside. Open up on top, uncovered. And inside the pecorino...

There was a huge, I don't know, mass of worms and cream and I don't know, like a whole population of worms. Anyway, I'm not sure I'm explaining it, but this is how it was and I've always refused to eat it.

Rob Dwyer (44:30.298)

Ilenia Vidili (44:30.433)
I remember crying when I was a child, refusing to eat it. Yeah.

Rob Dwyer (44:36.73)
I can imagine. I can absolutely imagine that. It seems like something that is very culturally distinct and certainly something that...

Look, if it's still around, there are people who must swear by it and keep making this cheese. So there must be something there.

Ilenia Vidili (44:59.126)
Still around, yes.

Ilenia Vidili (45:04.706)
There are lots of tourists who want to try and...

Rob Dwyer (45:05.674)
If I'm ever there, I can tell you. I am not going to try it. I'm not that adventurous. It's just not going to happen.

Ilenia Vidili (45:13.95)
You might like it.

Rob Dwyer (45:17.878)
I mean, you might like it too. And you had it right there on the dinner table and you refused. So I don't know. I don't know how I can be expected to try.

Ilenia Vidili (45:24.732)
No thanks, no.

Ilenia Vidili (45:29.086)
I've never tried it and I'm perfectly happy.

Rob Dwyer (45:30.266)
So now that I've...

Rob Dwyer (45:36.738)
Now that I've brought back potentially scarring memories from your childhood, I'm sorry about that. Do you have any final thoughts that you wanted to share with the audience that were related to customers and companies and not Pecorino cheese with worms in it?

Ilenia Vidili (45:47.027)
So good.

Ilenia Vidili (45:51.682)
Thank you.

Ilenia Vidili (46:03.103)
I think the takeaway out of this chat, which is actually the main message of my book, it can be summarized in one word, change. Because businesses have been operating in the same way for...

Rob Dwyer (46:22.81)

Ilenia Vidili (46:28.21)
way too long, for centuries. And now customers and employees want to see change in the way that businesses do business. They want to see companies that care more about their stakeholders, their internal and external stakeholders, but also about society.

And when we talked about the deficit of trust, lack of trust, it is especially towards governments and politicians. There is also, and it is less, there is less deficit on companies. The customers believe that companies can actually change things, can contribute to create a better society. So I believe that

If we listen to our customers and we act in a better way, we can create a better business world.

Rob Dwyer (47:29.734)
I love that. Everyone should check out your book, Journey to Centricity. If people want to get in touch with you, what's the best way for them to do that? Because you also do keynote speaking, and if I'm not mistaken, in at least three languages, so you're certainly not limited to English, you've got Spanish and Italian, so all kinds of options.

Ilenia Vidili (47:31.822)
Thanks for watching!

Ilenia Vidili (47:51.984)

Rob Dwyer (47:58.402)
When it comes to language, how can people get in touch with you?

Ilenia Vidili (48:03.51)
So I'm quite active on LinkedIn. I create content frequently on LinkedIn. And if anybody wants to follow me or get in touch with me, I believe LinkedIn is the best way, Elenia Viddili, or via my website,, and or even Instagram, just looking for my name and I pop up.

Rob Dwyer (48:29.55)
Well, Elenia, thank you so much for joining me for this Thanksgiving episode. I'm glad that we could talk about a special food from your home, even if even if I've scarred you and now probably the audience. So thank you so much for being next in queue.

Ilenia Vidili (48:41.486)
Thanks for watching!

Ilenia Vidili (48:52.322)
Thank you very much, Rob, and thank you everybody for listening. Thank you.