Who’s the boss?

Who’s the boss?

In order to explain something complex, it may help to use an analogy. Therefore, let me tell you about ancient pillars, keystones, and bosses with regard to the Customer Carousel. I promise you, you won’t be able to perceive the ROUNDMAP™ in any other way after I’ve made my case and that there can be no debate over who’s in charge of the customer interaction.

First, let me point you of a small section of the Customer Carousel™ which is at the core of the ROUNDMAP™ Framework:



We are going to focus on the blue arch: from Awareness to Consideration, keeping Interest in the middle.

Since I have a background in civil engineering, let’s use an analogy from construction. Our operation needs a building. One of the main operational requirements is that the outer wall has to be really transparent ─ after all, we don’t want to lock ourselves in or keep customers out, instead, we want to invite them to communicate with us through the channels of their choosing.

I believe the following building fits our requirements perfectly:



You’ll probably recognize the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheater, in Rome. It is one of the New 7 Wonders and the most popular tourist attraction in the world, with 7.4 million visitors (2018). The Colosseum was constructed between 74 and 80 AD and its structure was so sturdy that is has survived largely for almost two thousand years, despite being battered by earthquakes, lightning, and plundering. With 74 entrances (or passages) the building was definitely ‘open-to-communicate’.

Since the building could house 50.000 people ─ most of which were exposed to the hot Italian sun ─ keeping the outer wall as open as possible was even critical, allowing the wind to cool the theatre. To keep the weight of the wall down, arches were used to bridge between the pillars while each arch was mounted with a keystone in the apex of the arch.


Pillars and Keystones

Ok, now let’s apply this to the ROUNDMAP. If we consider ‘Awareness’ and ‘Consideration’ as the pillars of one of the passages through our ‘exterior wall’, ‘Interest’ is the keystone of the arch that connects the two pillars ─ allowing the passage to remain open. In a schematic drawing it looks like this:


The drawing implies that in order to create a seamless customer journey ─ in which each arch represents one of 8 tension-curves ─ we need to ‘positively charge’ our (potential) customers, meaning, we have to give them enough reason and motivation to want to carry on to the next passage (stage).

However, if we fail to do so, the keystone will vanish, causing the arch to collapse, and the journey to end.

In other parts of our website the pillars are in fact the Moments of Engagement, the brand initiated touchpoints, while the keystones are the Moments of Reflection™ (MoRe).

Customer Carousel™

Just to give you an idea of how this analogy looks like, given the total of all customer lifecycle processes:

You may have noticed that 4 pillars are colored while the others are dark-grey. This is because we believe these colored pillars are most critical to the objectives of a separate department: Awareness is critical to the marketing department, similar to how Confidence is critical to the sales department, Experience to the delivery department, and Significance to the (customer) success department. The black pillars are the most difficult ones, these are the handover-moments: as they involve (at least) two departments (subcultures) much can go wrong and most often does go wrong.

Who’s the Boss?

The thing is that keystones were often constructed larger than needed, often richly decorated. These decorated keystones were called a ‘boss‘ ─ now, how about that!

By adding a face to the keystone (image above), I’m suggesting that the customer is the boss throughout the whole process, as it is their decision to pay attention, show an interest, sense a desire, or take action. Or as Gordon Selfridges, founder of the Selfridges high-end department store on Oxford Street in London, had taught British retailers: “The customer is always right“.

Final thought

Was I wrong in suggesting that your perception of the ROUNDMAP™ has now changed? By perceiving the Customer Carousel™ as a Colosseum-like open structure with 8 passages ─ through which your organization communicates (signals) its value to (potential) customers ─ I hope to have given you a different perspective on what I believe is a key component of the ROUNDMAP: it takes two to tango ─ without a dancing partner, a paying customer, you may still very much enjoy yourself, however, you won’t be able to make a profit.

Selfridges opened its doors on March 15th, 1909. The building itself also has ‘bosses’ above its many pillars. Sadly, despite his many contributions to how we’ve experienced shopping ever since, Gordon Selfridges did not die a wealthy man. His book The Romance of Commerce (1918) is still very much worth the read.



  • Edwin Korver

    Edwin Korver is a polymath celebrated for his mastery of systems thinking and integral philosophy, particularly in intricate business transformations. His company, CROSS-SILO, embodies his unwavering belief in the interdependence of stakeholders and the pivotal role of value creation in fostering growth, complemented by the power of storytelling to convey that value. Edwin pioneered the RoundMap®, an all-encompassing business framework. He envisions a future where business harmonizes profit with compassion, common sense, and EQuitability, a vision he explores further in his forthcoming book, "Leading from the Whole."

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