Cultivating a Collaborative Culture to Achieve Common Goals

Last Updated on April 6, 2022 by Owen McGab Enaohwo

Organizational goals are more attainable when teams work together in one accord.

As the chief operating officer at Frontpoint, a do-it-yourself home security system, Derek Carder set up systems to foster collaboration and prevent the formation of silos within the team. He adopted a servant leadership style to understand employees’ pain points and identify loopholes in their operations.

Derek Carder is the guest in this episode of the Process Breakdown Podcast. He sits down with the host, Chad Franzen, as they talk about the importance of cultivating a collaborative culture and understanding employees’ pain points for success.

Listen to the audio interview

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Key Resource List  

SweetProcess — Sign up for a 14-day free trial. No credit is required. 


LinkedIn Derek Carder 

The Effortless Experience by Matthew Dixon, Nick Toman, and Rick DeLisi 

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh 

Show Notes    

[0:26] Intro    

  • Chad Franzen mentions some of the past guests who have been on the show including David Allen of Getting Things Done and Michael Gerber of the E-Myth. 
  • Chad Franzen introduces SweetProcess, a workflow tool that helps businesses to streamline their operations even in life-or-death situations.    
  • SweetProcess offers a 14-day free trial without a credit card.  

[1:25] Chad Franzen introduces the guest, Derek Carder. 

[2:00] What does Frontpoint do as a business? 

  • Frontpoint is a do-it-yourself home security and automation company.  
  • The organization provides home security systems for keeping families, their homes, and their belongings safe. 
  • With its headquarters in the Northern Virginia area, Frontpoint has more than 200 employees. 

[3:26] Derek talks about his day-to-day activities as COO at Frontpoint. 

  • Derek works with the leadership team and the different team members across the organization’s centers to add value to their customers.  
  • He liaises with the entire team to expand their workforce management and quality assurance. 

[4:25] As the team at Frontpoint works remotely due to COVID-19, what challenges does it pose to Derek as the COO? 

  • Working remotely offers some benefits when coordinated properly.  
  • You have to be purposeful in setting up sessions and interactions; otherwise, it leads to siloed behaviors. 

[5:57] Derek recommends strategies for remote teams to work effectively.  

  • You need to carve out time and find ways for brainstorming sessions. 
  • The organization wants to create opportunities for the staff to chat with people within the executive and senior leadership teams and ask questions about their journey. 
  • The leadership team is implementing a workforce task force to get ideas from the staff. 

[7:56] What’s Derek’s leadership style? 

  • Derek describes himself as a partner and servant leader. 
  • He likes to understand the employee experience so he can understand how to optimize it.  

[9:00] Derek explains why it’s important for a leader to understand the employee experience. 

  • Understanding the employee experience creates opportunities for improvement.  
  • It helps leaders to understand the employee pain points.  
  • The organization gives new employees a new security system and gets their feedback to understand the system from their perspectives.  

[10:27] What are the common interactions that the leadership team has with new employees? 

  • The management team ensures that the new hires properly set up the system so it’s working effectively.  
  • They also help new employees with testing the system.  

[11:28] How easy is it for an organization with more than 200 employees to break into silos? 

  • It’s easy for such organizations to break into silos, especially when they work remotely.  
  • The team has to work together to achieve common goals, regardless of their positions, to break down silos.  

[13:13] Derek talks about ways to prevent team members from falling into silos, i.e., operating in a bubble. 

  • You need to develop cross-functional work groups for particular objectives. 
  • The entire team has to work together collectively to achieve set goals to keep people on track. 

[14:41] Does the team have a voice of the customer program? 

  • The organization is developing a voice of the customer program.  
  • They have relationship-based surveys at different intervals to get customer feedback on their actions.  
  • The team has structured and unstructured data to better understand its customer needs.  

[16:23] Derek talks about the progress the team at Frontpoint has made in building its customer program. 

  • The team has a clear objective of what they want to obtain from a data perspective and what they want to do with it. 
  • They plan to review the various inputs and start inventorying the additional inputs that they need. 
  • They are working on evaluating their unstructured data to find ways to make it more structured upfront. 

[17:47] How can people find out more about Frontpoint? 

  • You can visit the Forefront website to get more information about the organization’s services. 

[19:06] Derek mentions his favorite books that have influenced his career. 

[20:34] Outro

About Derek Carder 

Derek Carder of Frontpoint

Derek Carder is the chief operating officer at Frontpoint, a do-it-yourself home security system. With extensive experience in entrepreneurial environments, he helps organizations unlock their potential in leadership development and delivering an exceptional customer experience through the entire customer journey. 

Before joining the team at Frontpoint, Derek served as vice president of customer experience and technical operations at Geotab, a leading commercial telematics vendor worldwide. 

Transcript of the Interview

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks, and giving your employees all the information they need to be successful at their jobs. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Chad Franzen: Chad Franzen here, co-host of the Process Breakdown Podcast, where we talk about streamlining and scaling operations of your company, getting rid of bottlenecks, and giving your staff everything they need to be successful at their job. Past guests include David Allen of Getting Things Done, and Michael Gerber of the [inaudible 00:00:41], and many more. This episode is brought to you by SweetProcess. Have you had team members ask you the same questions over and over again, and this is the 10th time you spent explaining it? There’s a better way, and a solution. SweetProcess is a software that makes it drop dead easy to train an onboard new staff and save time with existing staff. Not only do universities, banks, hospitals, and software companies use them, but first responder government agencies use them in life or death situations to run their operations. Use SweetProcess to document all the repetitive tasks that eat up your precious time, so you can focus on growing your team and empowering them to do their best work.

Chad Franzen: Sign up for a 14-day free trial. No credit card required. Go to, that’s sweet, like candy, S-W-E-E-T, Derek Carder is an accomplished operations executive leader with extensive experience in entrepreneurial environments. Derek currently serves as chief operating officer at Frontpoint, a do-it-yourself home security system. Previously, he served as vice president of customer experience and technical operations at Geotab, the number one commercial telematics vendor worldwide, where he ran global support operations and the digital customer experience. Derek, thank you so much for joining me today. How are you?

Derek Carder: Doing great, Chad, thanks for having me.

Chad Franzen: My pleasure. So tell me a little bit more about Frontpoint and what you guys do.

Derek Carder: So Frontpoint is a do-it-yourself home security and automation company. And so, we provide home security systems, really, for keeping families, their homes, their belongings, safe. And so, the really cool thing about our system is that, it arrives to you, it’s a very quick install. There’s not a bunch of massive instructions, you’re not having to get out a bunch of equipment to install it yourself. You don’t have to have a bunch of tools, and then you can be up and running, keeping your home safe, in a very short period of time.

Derek Carder: And it allows for active monitoring, as well. And so, if you do have an incident, and somebody’s trying to get into your home, or you have something where you’re away from home, the event will contact the authorities on your behalf. So the company itself, fairly small, we’re just over 200 employees. Our headquarters is out of the DMV, Northern Virginia area. But I think, as many companies are right now, we’re working remote, so we have individuals who are working from our fulfillment center, and those out of Salt Lake City for our sales staff, but majority are actually working remotely right now.

Chad Franzen: As chief operating officer, what’s kind of your day-to-day process?

Derek Carder: So right now, I’m still fairly new to the organization. I’ve been with Frontpoint going on three months now. And so, my day-to-day varies pretty heavily, but typically, I’m working with my leadership team and different team members across our [inaudible 00:03:44], which is our support organization, our loyalty team, which is focused on adding value to our customers. And if they are looking for different providers who are looking at other solutions, seeing how we can continue to add value and how we can work with them, as well as our fulfillment team and operations. And we’re starting to expand our workforce management, quality assurance, and looking at the end of this year for knowledge management and implementing knowledge-centered service, as well.

Chad Franzen: You talked about how everybody’s kind of working remotely right now. Had you had experience in that kind of environment before, and what are some of the challenges that presents as a COO?

Derek Carder: Yeah, it’s interesting, I have had experience with it. And in my past organization, I think, like many, it happened all of a sudden, where as you received the order as different things were shutting down due to the pandemic, it became a very quick pivot to working remotely. And so I have that experience with it. I mean, it’s a benefit when you have your staff that are working out of cloud-based tools, where it’s not a requirement to be on premises. So joining the Frontpoint team, I had that have familiarity. I think that we’re still establishing better ways to work remote and simulate the experiences within the office.

Derek Carder: You don’t have those same serendipitous interactions that you do when you’re working on site, the coffee chat, just seeing somebody in person and saying, oh, I forgot to tell you about that. Let’s start talking through this project. And so, you have to be very purposeful in setting up sessions and setting up ways to simulate that interaction, carving out time to have impromptu conversations with people that you might not interact with on a day-to-day basis. Because otherwise, you stick to your same group, and it can almost lead to more siloed behavior because you’re not having the same day-to-day interactions that you were within the office.

Chad Franzen: So what’s kind of a recommendation you have for doing that? You said, just kind of carving out time?

Derek Carder: I think it’s being purposeful, carving out time, finding ways to have open brainstorming sessions. One of the things that we’re doing is, we’re going to be opening up the ability for team members to book coffee chats with anybody within executive leadership and senior leadership, even when they’re not within your department, just to really pick their brain, talk about their leadership journey, ask them questions. You may have people that are on our care team that, this is their first job, but they want to get into finance, and they may want to meet with our chief financial officer. And so, we’re going to open up opportunities to do that that is story worthy, but it’s also the ability to really connect with individuals that you wouldn’t on a day-to- day basis. I think everybody’s, at this point, sick of virtual happy hours. I think that you have to find new ways to simulate the discussions and the interactions you would’ve had within the office.

Derek Carder: We’re also having open sessions where people can join just to ask questions, especially newer hires, so that they can get experience from more of the tenured staff, ability to screen share during those so that you can simulate walking up to somebody’s computer and watching them do it. So just things like that that we’re taking a more purposeful approach and implementing. And then, last point on that, we’re also implementing a workforce task force so that we can get ideas from the staff. Because I think that, like many organizations, the executive and the leadership team is all talking about, what do we do? What do we do? We’re in this hybrid environment, how do we continue to evolve, but really involving the staff in that? And so, we’ve done surveys, but we’re also going to get a task force together, where we’re just talking it through. Because we’re all really navigating this together. This is unprecedented for everyone, and so we want to make sure we’re not making decisions in a bubble.

Speaker 4: What would you say is kind of your leadership style?

Derek Carder: I’m definitely a partner leader. I’m a savant leader. I am the type that initially wants to get my hands dirty, and jump in and learn the process end-to-end. And so, next week, I’m actually joining our new hire training class, going through the entire support and product training, so that I can take some active phone calls. So if we have any Frontpoint customers out there that are calling, not next week, but the week after, you may reach me by phone. So it’s been a bit of time since I’ve done that, but I think it’s really important, and that’s part of my leader style is just ensuring that I have a good understanding of what the day-to-day looks like for those on my team, all the way to the frontline staff. What are the customers experiencing from a friction perspective throughout the journey? And then, what is the employee experience look like, and how can we optimize it?

Chad Franzen: Why do you feel like that’s important?

Derek Carder: I think it’s critically important that … we have team members who are taking thousands of interactions over the quarter, and the goal for us is to make those interactions more complex. Nobody wants to take the same phone call back-to-back. You mentioned this earlier on answering the same question over and over and over again. Nobody wants their day-to-day to be that. Having it more of a problem solving and working together, and partnership with the customer, that’s what we’re focused on.

Derek Carder: And so, going through that process is important to improve the employee experience, but living it through the customer, as well. And I’ll just give you an example, as soon as you join Frontpoint, we give the [inaudible 00:09:44] home security system out to each of our employees, and we ask them … I mean, it’s an employee benefit having this system, but we ask them to go through it and see it through the eyes of a brand new employee, because we have the individuals the same way that our customers. This is the first time that they’re getting a security system, and so, it’s really important to understand their nomenclature, understand what they’re seeing as pains in the process, because otherwise, we’re, again, making decisions that may not have an ultimate impact on the customer experience.

Chad Franzen: So when the employee receives the security system, what are kind of the common interactions you would have after that?

Derek Carder: I think that with the do-it-yourself environment, one of the most common questions is, have I done this correctly? I think people want assurance that I set it up correctly, that it’s working correctly, because you’re protecting one of the most important things to you, your family, yourself, and your home and your belongings. And so, we get questions about, have I set this up correctly, can you help me with testing? And walking them through the process, and then common product-related questions, ensuring that they have the best answers to ensure that the system’s set up for them, that it’s working and monitoring correctly. So I would say those are the most common, and the natural part of the initial process when they’re getting the system.

Chad Franzen: As an operations leader, how easy is it for a company of 200, like the one you run operations for, to kind of break into silos?

Derek Carder: I think it’s pretty easy, to be honest. People tend to get into their day-to-day, and work through what’s most important to them. And I think working remotely and not having that same cross-pollination can lead to more of the siloed experience. And so, I think that one of the activities, like I mentioned, going through that customer journey mapping, it helps to break down the silos. And I’ll give you an example, as I mapped out that feedback about my experience with the product and challenges I had, and when I would’ve contacted our support team, or where I would’ve liked to see more marketing communication, we had a cross-functional team that got together, all working through it, and we really just broke down those silos.

Derek Carder: We said, it doesn’t matter who’s doing what function, it doesn’t matter who’s in what position. Ultimately, we’re here to serve the customer. This is the individual that we’re working to improve. And so, we kind of broke down those walls, and we all just kind of rolled up our sleeves, developed some action items, and now we’ve got a path forward to improve several areas of the project, just because we all kind of put our thought leadership together and said, forget about the different work streams, let’s just think about what’s going to improve the entire customer journey.

Chad Franzen: So everybody kind of has the eyes … everybody is able to kind of see your product through the eyes of the customer as you work there. How do you ensure that, once you get past that point of experiencing the security system, how do you ensure that you don’t just kind of fall back into your silo?

Derek Carder: I think it is developing those cross-functional work groups for particular objectives. And one of the important activities that our CEO, Michael, has really brought the entire executive team together on, is developing what those goals are for 2022, having us all as an active part of the process, but then bringing our leaders and our team members into that process, as well. And they’re not driven by, marketing is going to do this, operations is going to do this, sales is going to do this. It’s, across the company, we’re going to do this to make sure that we’re successful, and whatever work groups are involved, and then sub activities we have within it.

Derek Carder: Yes, those are going to define some of the individual goals, but that consistent meetup with the work group in consistent view of, hey, this is what our target is for 2022, will keep people on track. And I think it’s an important activity that … sometimes people take for granted, you have to go through that journey with every level of leadership, and all the way down to the employees, so they understand the impact that their day- to-day has. That one call you’re taking, what that does to the ultimate loyalty goal that we have, or ultimate quality goal that we have across 2022.

Chad Franzen: So everybody gets to have kind of a customer experience. Do you have kind of like a voice of a customer program?

Derek Carder: So that’s a great point. We’re starting the development of that now. And I’m glad you brought that up, Chad, because we have so many different inputs right now. We just … actually, right before this, I was in a meeting. We had our marketing leader, we had our product leader, we had our leader from support, and we were all talking through all these different inputs. Customer reviews, we have transactional customer satisfaction surveys. We have relationship-based surveys that were going out at different intervals. When a customer does choose to end agreement, we have a feedback form that we end up gathering from them. And all of these are things that we are not really looking at in aggregate. We’re not looking at the overall journey when we’re surveying them, and we’re also not looking at what we holistically want to do in the future. Where are we missing input?

Derek Carder: And so, we’re developing that program right now. The great thing about it is, we have so much data. We have so much, not only structured data, but unstructured data, and everybody is hungry to understand what the customer is saying, and what we can do on it. We just have to build a better process around it. And so, it’s really inspiring to me to see the group that is just, we really want to take ownership of it. And that’s the starting point, when you can get everybody excited about it, and the rest will come, but you do have to build something systemically so that it’s sustainable and you’re not acting on little corner cases, too.

Chad Franzen: Can you tell me about some of the progress you’ve made in terms of building that?

Derek Carder: Yes, I would say that the initial groups that we’ve started talking with, we have some true owners from each of the different departments, that have a pretty clear objective of what they want to obtain from a data perspective, and then what they want to do with it. And I think that’s one of the biggest starting points. You have to have people who are bought in, and you have to have a clear intent, so you’re not just capturing data that’s not going to be inactive. And so, we’ve started that.

Derek Carder: We’ve started a regular cadence, where we’re going to be meeting to review the different inputs, and start inventorying what additional inputs that we need. And then, we’re starting to look at, how do we farm through that unstructured data and find ways that we can make it more structured up front, and then establish owners to each of the items that are going to really lead to that customer obsession. We want this to be a regular activity, where anything our customers are providing us as an input, we find some tangible way to enact it and treat it as a deliverable for us, so that we’re just constantly improving and evolving.

Chad Franzen: I have one more question for you, but first, how can people find out more about Frontpoint?

Derek Carder: So that’s a great question. They can visit our website, … or, sorry, And we have a couple of different points on there. It talks about … let me just pull it up right now. Yeah, will redirect to it. But you’ll see some of the packages that we offer. I talked about the professional monitoring. There’s a lot of great information there. I mean, ultimately, keeping families safe, keeping their home safe, keeping their belongings safe, it’s hard to put a dollar value on that.

Derek Carder: And it’s inspiring for me working for an organization that is teaching that front and center. That is what we’re aiming for. Everything we’re building to keep our customers happy to build that loyalty, is around ensuring that they feel like we’re meeting that mission. We’re keeping their family safe. And so, you can find more information there. We have some packages that are available, but ultimately, I think it comes down to what’s going to work best for the home, so there are ways to build custom packages on there, as well.

Chad Franzen: Okay, great. Final question for you, are there any books or podcasts that you have found particularly valuable or enjoyable as you’ve kind of gone through your career?

Derek Carder: Yes. I’ve going to butcher the name, so hold on, let me just make sure I have this correct, to make sure … I always get the second part wrong. Okay, it’s The Effortless Experience. And so, one of the books … I actually received this from Dave, who is our head of talent at Frontpoint. He gave this to me on my first day joining. I’ve read some similar books, but this one was a very interesting one, talking about customer loyalty really, as the differentiator, they call it the battleground in the book. But it did resonate with me. Another one that … this is an older book, but I still go back to it from time to time, Delivering Happiness. This comes from my days working with, and talks about building that brand loyalty, but through the development of culture, and really keeping your team engaged, treating your care and loyalty teams like rock stars, and ensuring they know. I mean, they have one of the most difficult jobs, but it means so much to the organization when they’re delivering an amazing experience.

Chad Franzen: As you talk about those books, and remembering what you told me about your process, I can see how those things fit together and how you have kind of utilized those. Hey, Derek, it’s been great to talk to you today. I really appreciate your time. Thanks so much.

Derek Carder: Yeah, thank you so much, Chad. I appreciate it, and if anybody ever has any followup questions or anything, they can feel free to reach out to me. I’m on LinkedIn, as well, so always happy to connect.

Chad Franzen: Okay, great. Thank you so much, Derek.

Derek Carder: Thanks, Chad.

Chad Franzen: So long, everybody.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the Process Breakdown Podcast. Before you go, quick question, do you want a tool that makes it easy to document processes, procedures, and/or policies for your company, so that your employees have all the information they need to be successful at their job? If yes, sign up for a free, 14-day trial of SweetProcess. No credit card is required to sign up. Go to, sweet, like candy, and process, like Go now to, and sign up for your risk-free, 14-day trial.

Speaker 4: Hi, this is Owen, the CEO and co-founder here at SweetProcess. If you’ve enjoyed listening to this podcast interview … actually, you know what I want you to do? Go ahead and leave us a 5-star review on iTunes. That way, we get more people aware of the good stuff that you get here on this podcast. Again, go on to iTunes and leave us a 5-star review. We look forward to reading your review. Have a good day.

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