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Leadership Freak Dan Rockwell on Fast leader Show Leadership podcast

008: Dan Rockwell: I’m afraid I won’t matter

Podcast Show Notes with Dan Rockwell (Leadership Freak)

Dan was identifying himself by others and as a people pleaser he eventually became lost with needing to define himself by others. Then Dan had an epiphany where things became clearer and he realized he had more in him and he began to turn to his strengths, talents and gifts. Listen to this episode and learn how Dan Rockwell transformed into the Leadership Freak.

Dan Rockwell is a farm-boy from Maine who lives in Central Pennsylvania with his wife of 39 years. He says she is the joy of his life.

He prefers country to city living. He thoroughly enjoys looking out the window and seeing deer in the field. He has three children and four grandchildren. He believes Grandchildren are one of life’s compensations.

Dan’s leadership career began with a leadership position in the nonprofit world at the age of nineteen. His experience, over thirty-five years, includes business ownership and fifteen years as a Workforce Development Consultant for a regional Penn State Special Affiliate.

Dan’s contribution to the leadership community includes writing the highly recognized Leadership Freak blog. Leadership Freak was the most socially shared leadership blog in the world 2012, 2013, and 2014. Leaders in every country on the globe gain encouragement and insight from his writing. Over 300,000 subscribers have opted into Dan’s social media channels.

The American Management Association lists Dan as one of the Top 30 Leaders in Business (2014). INC recognizes Dan as one of the top 50 Leadership and Management Experts in the English speaking world (2014). INC also recognizes Dan as a TOP 100 Leadership Speaker.

Currently, Dan coaches leaders, consults with organizations, and delivers corporate and community presentations.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Check out @LeadershipFreak sharing his story and fears on @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“The logical extension of Servant Leadership is being a coaching leader.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“There are some misconceptions about being a coach.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“Once you make a decision curiosity ends.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“A coach is a person who maximizes the talent and skill of another person.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“When you tell someone what to do you enhance their helplessness.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“You are going to maximize your performance and I am the person to help you.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“If you’re going to talk about it, do something about it.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“Don’t talk about it if you’re not going to do something about it.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“Are we moving toward action and behavior or are we just chasing our tail?” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“You are not the person to find the answer, they are.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“Wanting to please people is a good thing; needing it is not so healthy.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“Love people and serve people but don’t do it to gain their approval.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“When you are a deep people pleaser it’s hard to disagree.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“What you see now is a drive to matter.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“I made a lot of mistakes, so I have a lot to write about.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“I want to matter and I’m afraid I won’t.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“My word for this year is extend…my service to others.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“How can I find new ways to serve people?” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“Stay curious and open your heart.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“Seek other perspectives and be a learner.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“You got to pour more into yourself than you pour out.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“Success doesn’t depend on me, it depends on them.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“My performance is really about their performance.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

“When I was young I thought it was all about me, now I realize it’s all about them.” -Dan Rockwell Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Dan was identifying himself by others and as a people pleaser he eventually became lost with needing to define himself by others. Then had an epiphany where things became clearer and Dan realized he had more in him and he began to turn to his strengths, talents and gifts. Listen to this episode and learn how Dan Rockwell transformed into the Leadership Freak.

Leadership Epiphany

Needing to get approval and pleasing people is not so healthy. Wanting to please people is a good thing. Needing it is not.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Insecurity and the fear of failure, and the need to succeed.

Best leadership advice ever received

If we do it your way we’ll end up with nobody. Stop cutting people out.

Secret to Success

Being a learner. Pour more into yourself so you can pour more out.

Best resources in work or life

Listening to others

Recommended Reading

The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

Contacting Dan

Leadership Freak blog: https://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com
Via email: dan [at] leadershipfreak.com

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

008: Dan Rockwell: I’m afraid I won’t matter

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach:   Thanks Kimberly. Okay Fast Leader Legion you’re going to want make sure that you go to iTunes and that you subscribe, rave and review this episode so that everybody gets a chance to hear it. Because I’m going to introduce to you today a farm boy. Not just any ‘ole farm boy he’s a farm boy from Maine and lives in central Pennsylvania with his wife of 39 years, and he says that she is the joy of his life. He prefers country living than city living because there’s nothing like looking out the window and seeing a deer running in the field. He has three children and four grandchildren. And he says the grandchildren are one of his life’s compensations. When he’s not enjoying good books and his family he delivers keynotes, workshops, and coaches’ leaders and he writes—and man he writes a lot. I have Dan Rockwell on the show. That’s right the leadership freak himself. 

Dan’s contribution to the leadership community includes writing a highly recognized leadership freak blog. Leadership Freak was the most socially shared leadership blog in the world, three years in a row. Leaders in every country around the globe gain encouragement and insight from his writing. Over 300,000 subscribers have opted in to Dan’s social media channels. The American Management Association list Dan as one of the top 30 leaders in business. INC recognizes Dan is one of the top 50 leadership and management experts in the English-speaking world. INC also recognizes Dan as a top 100 leadership speaker. Dan Rockwell, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Dan Rockwell:   Let’s rock ‘n roll. 

Jim Rembach:     I love it okay. So, I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction can you please tell us what is your current passion so that we can get to know you better?

Dan Rockwell:      My current passion is developing coaching cultures in organizations. I believe in servant leadership. I believe that the logical extension of servant leadership is being a coaching leader and that means developing the organizations that are embracing a coaching culture where people understand what it means to be coached and what it means to coach.

Jim Rembach:    It’s really interesting that you say that in the context that you say it because I think oftentimes as a society we get very confused between the difference of training, counseling, coaching, mentoring—for you when you say coaching, can you help us a little bit more to understand what that means?

Dan Rockwell:     I think there’s some misconceptions about a coach. I’ll tell you a quick story. I coach my wife, and I used this story when I talk to people about how to coach. As soon as I say I coach my wife, the eyeballs roll the eyebrows go up it’s like, “Wow, that must be an interesting kind of experience.” And the reason our eyeballs roll and we go, “Oh, wow.” It’s because we still have this idea that a coach is a person who knows more than I do, a coach is a person who has all the answers and can tell me what to do, that’s not the case all. Think about Tiger Woods, Tiger Woods has a golf coach that golf coach is not a better golfer than Tiger Woods. So, when it comes to coaching I think about—a coach is a person who maximizes the talent and skill of another person, helps them find their strengths and helps them figure out what their path forward is to exceptional performance.

Jim Rembach: I think there’s some really important things for me that’s resonating when you’re talking about that. One is discovery, being able to discover. Interpretation being able to interpret. Encourage being able to do that and apply, four critical components right there when you start talking about coaching as you defined it. What else would you say?

Dan Rockwell:    I think it’s important in a coaching culture that the people who are being coached understand the process. There’s a traditional view of what it means to be a leader. And so now here comes the coaching leader and the traditional view would be—‘Well, tell me what to do and I’ll go do it.” And so now if a leader comes and was the coach an employee through a process to find their maximum performance the person being coached is like, “What are you after? Why you asking me these questions? Why don’t you just tell me what you want me to do? We experienced this kind of resistance in organizations where we try to help develop the coaching culture because people want to be told what to do. But here’s the thing, when you tell someone what to do you really are enhancing their helplessness and their dependency.  So what we want to do when we think about coaching is maximize your strength and focus on your abilities and put responsibility for performance in your lap, not in the leaders lap, not in the coach’s lap in the sense of you’re going to make the decisions you’re going to maximize your own performance I’m the person who was helping you do that. 

Jim Rembach:   That was fantastic advice thank you for sharing. Those insights are so valuable to help us get better definition of what is coaching and what isn’t. Now, Dan I have to say that I’m quite intimidated to ask somebody like you my next question but it’s something that’s important to us in the Fast Leader show because inspiration we all need it and we look to leadership quotes in order to help us. 

Some people have passages or things like that, but I’m sure you’re volumes of things that you’ve read, because people who write a lot typically read a lot, is there something that stands out to you as a reminder that you always hear in your head and it replay’s like a song that never gets out that gives you inspiration and drives you from a leadership perspective? Can you share that with us please? 

Dan Rockwell:    Wow, that’s a tough question. The first thing that comes to mind, I’m not sure it’s a quote anywhere—if you’re going to talk about it do something about it or say it the other way, don’t talk about it if you’re not going to do something about it. I just get so frustrated with all this conversations that are not going nowhere and so that for me is a sort of a guiding principle, I keep that with me a lot. I’m listening to myself talk and I listen to conversations and I’m asking myself, are we moving toward action and behavior? Or are we just chasing her tail?

Jim Rembach:    Oh, I love the quote. It resonates for me so much but I have to share with you and be transparent and say that that’s one of the frustrations that I have as a husband. I wonder if there’s a gender difference when it comes to that because my wife often tells, “Look, I don’t necessarily want to do anything about it, I just want to tell you about it.” And so, sometimes for me like I’m like, “Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know because I’m going to do something it.” Do you see that fall on gender lines or is it more of personality traits?

Dan Rockwell:   Well, in building a relationship with my wife I know what you’re saying. I’m glad you brought it out because there is this bias to action that if you’re not careful it short-circuits just some of the necessary conversation that needs to happen. I would say this though, I think back to—I been married for almost 40 years now, I got married when I was 19—“it is by the way I hear you, let’s talk through, let’s just listen, let me just listen” and part of coaching my wife, she says she can tell when I’m trying to fix her and when I’m just listening, so there is some value there. 

But I think also I love to ask the question, like say we have maybe a tense conversation, I love to ask a question toward the end of it well “what do you want? Let’s think about what you want?” and kind of put that in behavioral terms. So maybe the fixing thing is not so much she doesn’t want me to fix her but let’s work on what the relationship looks like behaviorally, but anyway I hear you it’s good thing to bring up. 

Jim Rembach:     I want that you brought up that coaching concept piece and the framework and all of that that kind of helps me a lot because I need to make sure that I’m putting that hat on sometimes and just really listen do a better job of active listening. 

Dan Rockwell:     I’ll give you a tip. It comes to me from John Stoker who wrote overcoming fake conversations, he’s a coach, and he taught me that the way to tell whether you’re trying to fix or whether you’re just listening and being a coach and helping someone else find their way forward is that sense of tension, anxiety or frustration you feel in your heart. As soon as that starts to bubble up you know you’re trying to fix.

Jim Rembach:   Gosh, I feel that often. [Laughter] 

Dan Rockwell:    I know, and I’ve learned to just monitor my own emotions and as I see it start to heat up I realize breath let it go, you are not the person to find the answer, they are.

Jim Rembach:    Again awesome, sage advice. Just to let you all know, we go through and we pull out a lot of the different tidbits of information and put them in quotes on our show notes page and Dan has already dropped so many, I wanted to make sure that you know that. You can find those on the show notes page which will be fastleader.net/Dan Rockwell. Okay Dan, life we know is not always a piece of cake. We often have humps that we have to get over and there’s so much teaching and learning and probably coaching that goes in those moments, can you think of a time where you’ve had that hump to get over and you found a situation where it kind of define you or help you set a new direction, can you share that story with us?

Dan Rockwell:    I think the story of life is that we start off identifying ourselves by others. There comes a stage in life where you start to move away from that and start to define yourself by yourself and who you really are, that’s a long process. I’m a people pleaser and so a large part of my life has been spent pleasing people and identifying myself that way. 

About five years ago I took a month off, or maybe six years now, I remember the day it was one of those midlife crisis moments—and I’ve had many midlife crisis I’m a huge fan of them we all have lots of them—and it was then that some things came clear I just said to myself “you have more in you” and I realize I was defining myself by others. And it was in that moment that I said, “You know what, I don’t need any of these. I don’t need any job that I have. I don’t need any of it.” It doesn’t mean that you turn mean and nasty, what it means is you turn to your strength, you turn to your talent, you turn to your gift and you begin to bring that authentically versus doing it to get approval and pleasing people. I still love to please people and so do you and it’s a good thing but needing it is not quite so healthy.

Jim Rembach:   So, can you tell us about the situation as it occurred? What happened?  

Dan Rockwell:    I think our lives kind of drop in to ten-year segments, I think it’s more of a timing thing than a specific situation. For example, when you go off to college, 18, 19, 20, you’re going to have a crisis an identity crisis. And then somewhere around the 30’s probably got married and so there’s going to be some of that and then the kids come. Researchers showing that you really almost on the decade markers, and for me it started just before the 50’s or just around the 50’s and it was about a two or three-year period of frustration then it they finally boom it just came clear for me and then things changed.

Jim Rembach:    So, what did you do differently?

Dan Rockwell:    First of all there’s an attitudinal difference and that’s the biggest thing. You still love people and you still want to serve people but you don’t do it to just gain their approval and so there’s great freedom. I think there’s freedom to serve and there’s freedom to speak your own heart and mind kindly when you disagree, for example. When you’re deep pleaser it’s hard to disagree so you stuffed down some of things really think. So for me one of the changes is to kindly speak to have candor. I just talked to Jack Welch last week and he said his mom taught him to be authentic early on, he’s known for candor and I said, “Tell me is this the foundation for candor?” and he said, “Absolutely.” Just knowing who you are and sticking with that it allows you to be candid. So, anyway, one of the things that change for me is freedom and the kindness and candor that comes out and then I started writing Leadership Freak, I tie that to that experience as well so I started writing Leadership Freak and then rest is history.

Jim Rembach:    So, that refocus and rededication—when you start talking about writing of Leadership Freak and the proliferation of it is just amazing to me how much volume and variability and in that content that you actually can generate. With that change did there also come a different sense of discipline, focus, habit that you can allude to being more concrete, structured then, ‘Hey, I just did something different?’

Dan Rockwell:     Yeah. I’m a farm boy from Maine and so I know what it means to get up and work hard and I would get up before school and work and work has been part of my life all along. I get up very early to write the Leadership Freak blog and that’s a little bit of my nature but I think the thing that’s driving this proliferation, as you put it, is a need to matter. In those years, in those darker years the part of that is I felt like I could matter more and I was disappointed in how far I’ve come and so what you see now is the drive to matter. A lot of people don’t like to hear this but I’m just going to say it to you, people ask me, “Why are you writing so much?” First of all, I’ve made lots of mistakes and I got lots to write about because I made lots of mistakes, but I want to matter. I’m going to put it to you in the negative languages well, I’m afraid I won’t. And there is in my own life some of this fear that I won’t matter. Also sometimes when I think, ‘You know what, why don’t you just sleep today?’ and there’s that voice that says, ‘You know what, you bring it down there’. It’s not the noblest thing in the world but that’s part of the story.

Dan Rockwell: But is the human story. And that’s one of the things that we could go for and really pull out here on the Fast Leader show. For the longest time you and I had talked about this—leadership and leading, I think almost hijacked. And it was hijacked by folks that said that this is only for the elite, this is only for the high potential folks this is only for the people who are above this point within an organization or in this age group. I call hogwash on that. We all have the opportunity to lead if at least it’s ourselves and there’s no way we can ever have followers if we don’t do a good job of that. I think you shared through your story a lot about that self-leadership component which has allowed you to impact so many leaders and others. 

Jim Rembach:    I thank you for sharing that and really appreciate it. I know that all of the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the best. We want to know what your goals are for the future.

Dan Rockwell:    In the short-term my word for this year is ‘Extend.’ I practiced a word for the year, there’s a book called One Word, I don’t really like the New Year’s resolution thing but I do practice one word, and this year my word is ‘Extend.’ I want to extend my service to others. I want to extend my speaking engagements, I’m becoming a little more cognizant of that type of thing. In the long haul, I’ve really enjoyed coaching and that’s important to me. I just look forward to opportunities to serve people that’s what extend means to me, how can I find new ways to serve people.

Jim Rembach:   So, based on everything that you shared with us so far—extending and all that, what is one piece of advice you would give to our listeners?

Dan Rockwell:   Stay curious. Open your heart.  I think leaders can be quick to make decisions and once we make a decision curiosity ends and then we start defending that decision. I would encourage leaders, especially young leaders, to be curious. What that means is to bring the outsiders in, to seek other perspectives and be a learner.

Jim Rembach:    So, when you start talking about part of the future and give them back there’s also a business side to it. What is one thing that really excites you about the work that you’re doing today? You mentioned the coaching, what else?

Dan Rockwell:    The opportunity to do keynote work for an organization is a wonderful opportunity and is a good business opportunity as well because you get to learn about what they’re doing. The keynote obviously is not going to radically change an organization but a keynote presentation, you gave to align with where that organization is going and speak into it and feel that fire, so I do enjoy the keynote opportunities.

Jim Rembach:    That’s fantastic, the entire Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Alright here we go Fast Leader listeners it’s time for the rapid part of our show, and that’s the, Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Dan, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Dan Rockwell, are you ready to hoedown?

Dan Rockwell:   I’m ready to hoedown.

Jim Rembach: Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?

Dan Rockwell:    Insecurity. The fear of failure and just the need to succeed. 

Jim Rembach:    What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Dan Rockwell:    If we do it your way we’ll end up with nobody, it can be hard on people. I had a friend of mine look me in the eye and say, ‘You know what, you’ve got to stop cutting people out.

Jim Rembach:     What is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Dan Rockwell:  Being a learner. The ideas is you’re going to pour more into yourself than you pour so keep pouring in yourself and then you have plenty to pour out.

Jim Rembach:   What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?

Dan Rockwell: Listening to others.

Jim Rembach:     What would be one book you would recommend to our listeners, and I know that’s tough, but give it a shot.

Dan Rockwell:   The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. 

Jim Rembach:    Thank you very much. Alright Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that information as well as to the Leadership Freak blog, if you haven’t subscribed already, and other bonus information by going to fastleader.net/Dan Rockwell. Okay Dan, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again but you’ve been blessed you have all the knowledge and wisdom and you get to take it with you, now your job is to manage a team that is underperforming and disengaged. Now you get up in the morning you go to work, what you do now?

Dan Rockwell:    I realize that success doesn’t depend on media it depends on them and that my performance is really about their performance. When I was young I thought it was all about me and now I realize it’s all about them.

Jim Rembach:    Age does have something to do with that? But we’re hoping that at the Fast Leader show  that are younger listeners can hear that sooner and it’ll click for them sooner and that’s really what the Fast Leader show is about—it isn’t about doing things quickly it’s about doing things right. Dan Rockwell It’s an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you? 

Dan Rockwell:    If you go to Google and type in Leadership Freak you can’t miss me. And if you’d like to email you can e-mail Dan@leadershipfreak.com.

Jim Rembach:    Dan Rockwell, thank you for sharing her knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. 

Thank you for joining on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over to the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

END OF AUDIO 

 

 

chuck udzinski leadership podcast fast leader show

007: Chuck Udzinski: I’m like a hair in a biscuit

Podcast Show Notes with Chuck Udzinski

What Chuck believed when he was given the responsibility to drive customer satisfaction as high as possible was that the rest of the organization would pay attention to the customer results. Join me as Chuck tells the story of what he and his team decided to do when the organization decided to focus somewhere else. Learn how they moved forward and obtained success.

Chuck Udzinski was born the oldest of six children and from an early age was instilled with the responsibility to protect and care for his younger siblings, which he still is dedicated to doing today.

Chuck has been working since the age of 14. Other than that job, as a paper boy, Chuck has had a career of jobs where he was responsible for helping others run their business.

Chuck says his best job was working for a decade for a McDonald’s franchisee, because he was able to get the opportunity to experience all aspects of a business, from P&L management, people management, and technology and process.

He retired from Black & Decker but he’s not done. He is currently a client success manager with Oracle, helping customers of Oracle receive the most value from the application they purchase.

Chuck is most proud of the fact that he’s been part of raising a son and daughter that are positive contributors to society and being a Pop Pop to his grandsons Corbin and Aiden.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @ChuckUdzinski getting over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“We’re not saving babies here, it’s just stuff, let’s get to it.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“If you’re through changing, you’re through.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“If you don’t keep reinventing yourself you’ll fall to the wayside.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“You must invest in yourself in order to keep moving forward.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“It’s a constant evolving to make yourself marketable, in an ever changing marketplace.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“Until you’re dead, you’re not done.” Jim Rembach Click to Tweet

“I put my elbows out this morning and they didn’t touch wood, so I got out of bed.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“I really just want to feel like I’ve made a difference at the end of the day.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“We cannot control what’s happening above us.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“You must believe that the folks that work for you want to do a good job.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“No one gets up in the morning to come to work to do a bad job.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

“I’m like a hair in a biscuit, you just can’t get it out of there.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Chuck was the head of Customer Care for Black & Decker with a directive to drive customer satisfaction but was met with the challenge of trying to move the rest of the organization to be more customer-centric. After several attempts and mass frustration Chuck and his team decided to end the frustration of trying to control things that were outside of their control. That’s when Chuck and his team began to move onward and upward faster. Listen to the show to find out how Chuck and his team found a better way, so you can find your way faster.

Leadership Epiphany

We were going to focus on what we could control and that was the attitude of the folks that worked for me and we focused on the goals and opportunities that we could achieve on our own.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

My ability to understand that I can’t change everything I think needs changing.

Best Leadership Advice Received

To stay focused, believe what you are doing, and don’t let the noise that surrounds you get in the way of reaching your goals.

Secret to Success

I just cannot stand when someone says we can’t change that or we have always done it this way.

Recommended Reading

A Carrot a Day: A Daily Dose of Recognition for Your Employees

Contacting Chuck

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/pub/chuck-udzinski/2/a67/765
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chuck.udzinski
Via email: cudzinski [at] gmail.com

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Show Transcript:

Click to access edited transcript

007: Chuck Udzinski: I’m like a hair in a biscuit

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, breakout performance faster and rocket to success.  And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach:     Thanks Kimberly. Okay Fast Leader legion, the person who you’re going to get a chance to meet today is somebody that, really we all wish we had in our circle of friends, or in our family, and we’d even more blessed if it was, that’s Chuck Udzinski. Chuck is one of those folks that you become instantly connected to. He was the oldest of six kids born and lived in the Baltimore area, pretty much all of his life, and grew up with a strong set of family members. As the oldest child he is instilled with taking care of others that he still really and really does today. He was a Maryland state duckpin champion which to me is one those fun family games that I can see how that connects when you start talking about Chuck and his life and his family. 

 

He’s also Orioles and Ravens fan, but I’m not going to hold it against him. He’s working since he was 14, but all this job since that one which was being a paperboy, led to or was part of helping others run their businesses.  He says that his best job was working for almost a decade for a McDonald’s franchisee because he got the opportunity to see all aspects of a business, everything from P&L management up to the people management to the technologies and all the processes.  He retired from Black & Decker but he’s not done yet. He’s currently a client success manager with Oracle but what he’s most proud of is that fact that he’s been part of raising a son and daughter that are positive contributors to society. But he’s most proud of being a Pop Pop to Aiden and Corbin. Alright, Chuck are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Show Transcript: 

Chuck Udinzki:       I am ready to light this candle. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Alright.  We’ve given our listeners a brief introduction but could you please tell us what your current passion is, and I may have given it away, but we want to get to know you better.

 

Chuck Udzinski:    [Laugh] My current passion truly and the reason that I get up every day in the morning is to set a great example for my two children who are grown at this point, 37 and 35, but also sharing my values and my enthusiasm for life and hard work in general with my two grandsons. 

 

Jim Rembach:     They say and I aspire to get to that point Chuck ‘cause my kids are still young, I got 11, 9 and 6 at this moment. Everybody says, it’s awesome being a parent but it is even more special and fantastic to be a grandparent.

 

Chuck Udzinski:    Well, that’s absolutely true. I tell love young parents all the time that being a parent it’s the greatest job in the world and the worst job in the world but once you get grandkids it’s a lot more fun it’s like being a father but without all the rules.

 

Jim Rembach:   Well Chuck, you’re one of those people who I’ve always looked to for some inspiration. You and I, oftentimes, we get in the weeds about some stuff that frustrate us but we always kind of pick each other up. You’re one of those people that when you start talking about your career you’ve always help others, you help others in a lot of ways. I know there’s got to be some inspirational quotes or passages that kind of help keep you moving forward and redirect to yourself—get out of the weeds. Could you share one of your favorite with us please?

 

Chuck Udzinski:   What I’m going to share to you Jim what I try to remind myself every day that I’m not Dr. Ben Carson doing complex brain surgeries on pediatric patient. I often tell folks, ‘Look, we’re not saving babies here, it’s just stuff let’s just roll our sleeves up and get to it, we’ll go to bed at night and get up tomorrow morning and go at it again.” The other one is—is one that I’m very fond of—if you’re through changing your through. And I try to remind myself that every day because I am of a certain age now that I’ve had to reinvent myself. I went from working for a manufacturing operation such as Black & Decker to working for a high-tech giant like Oracle, and believe me, every step along the way of my 40+ work history I’ve had to keep reinventing myself and if you don’t do that you’re just going to fall all the wayside.

 

Jim Rembach:    Wow. You know, I think that is so true. When start talking about savings for example, people will tell you, you always tend to pay yourself first, right? The same applies with what you just said when you start talking about reinventing, when you start talking about learning new things you have to invest in yourself.

 

Chuck Udzinski:      I couldn’t agree more. And whether that’s through formal education or reading or just associating and learning from other individuals with like-minded goals and values you must invest in yourself in order to keep moving forward. 

 

Jim Rembach:    So, for you when you start thinking about that reinvention and having to do that, I know you haven’t had many jobs per se in your career, you’ve been long tenured with a lot of the folks or organizations that you’ve worked with, but do you find yourself, kind of I guess you’d say maybe going through a process or a systematic approach to do that reinvention?

 

Chuck Udzinski:     It’s a constant metamorphose. Let’s just take a look some of my examples. Ten years working for the McDonald’s franchisee that we mentioned earlier, my next position after that was in a manufacturing setting working in a factory that produced steel drums. I went in on a leadership side part of the management team. I have no experience in manufacturing and now I find myself working with individuals much older than me in a unionized environment and that was a total paradigm shift that I had to learn how to cope with. 

 

I’ll give you another one. When I’m in Black & Decker I started as a call center agent and it became apparent to me that I was just woefully unprepared from an educational standpoint to move up if that’s what I wanted to do. So, at the age of 50 I went back to school. I went back part-time at night, it took me six years going part time, but I finally did get that piece of paper that said that I had successfully jumped through all the hoops and canal claimed to be college-educated. It’s just a constant investment as we mentioned earlier and constant evolving to make yourself marketable in an ever-changing marketplace.

 

Jim Rembach:   As I listen to your talk Chuck there’s a quote that kind of stands out for me listening to you—and that is until you’re dead, you’re not done.

 

Chuck Udzinski:   [Laugh] I couldn’t agree with that more. You talked about favorite sayings I tell folks—you always get a question, how you are doing? So I just tell them, ‘Well I put my elbows out this morning and it didn’t touch wood so I got out of bed.

 

Jim Rembach:     What kind of reaction do you get from that? To me I think everybody can resonate with that—no elbows hit in the box I got to go. 

 

Chuck Udzinski:     I’ll tell you what, they pause for a second or two and then it dawns on them, Yeah, that’s right, let’s get going. The reaction is always fun to watch but it does resonate with everyone.

 

Jim Rembach:   When you start looking at what you currently do today, what really excites you about the work that you’re doing?

 

Chuck Udzinski:  I think it applies definitely to this job with Oracle, but it applies to every job that I’ve ever had in the past and possibly even those jobs that I’ll have in the future. I really just want to feel like I’ve made a difference at the end of the day. In my current role, I call on clients that have purchased Oracle applications and my job is to go in and make sure they’re getting value out of what they purchased. And if I can help them see that values through various actions that I take then I feel like I’ve made a difference for them and I’ve made a difference for Oracle. The money is great, we all need the money to take care of ourselves and our family but, the money, the titles, really don’t matter that much to me what I’m really striving to do is be able to say, I’ve made a difference.

 

Jim Rembach:   What goals do you have for the future?

 

Chuck Udzinski:   Well, goals for the future—I’m not sure I’m done yet, I’m definitely not dead. I still feel I have something to offer Oracle and if not Oracle then others out in the marketplace that are looking for someone with strong leadership ability and a sense of doing what’s right. Beyond that I’ve got my, again  I’m of a certain age, that I’m starting if I squint real hard and possibly retirement down the road at some point. Even in retirement, I don’t know if that’s going to be a great fit, I fancy myself teaching, perhaps at some point maybe, just at the community college level or possibly in a university or college on a part-time basis. I am always looking to spend more time with my tools and woodworking equipment that I’ve amassed over these many years. And then there’s travel and travel would include taking my grandkids with me as well.

 

Jim Rembach:    Well Chuck, the entire Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Chuck, you have such a positive outlook and attitude and you talk about constantly focusing and transitioning, however, there had to be a time where you had a hump to get over and getting over that hump to find who you were and who you are and those strong Udzinski family values, can you tell us about a time in your life when that occurred?

 

Chuck Udzinski:   Well, I think those moments occur often throughout one’s life journey, whether they’re personal humps or perhaps career humps. I’ll talk about a career hump first and that would have occurred at Black & Decker. We were always trying to push the envelope in the contact center, by the way I mentioned I started as a contact center agent but evolved up to the position of leading that organization or the majority of my time working for that organization. The hump that was coming up at Black & Decker as the contact center leader was that—we had this directive to drive customer satisfaction as high as possible. We engaged with the company Customer Relationship Metrics to help us with that project, that was fine, that was good these guys were experts in that field definitely were the right partner for us but the hump was trying to get the rest of the organization and, as you might guess Black and Decker’s a global organization at that time 30,000 people strong, but trying to get the rest of the organization to pay attention to the results that we were seeing in the contact center. Quite frankly, the hump that I got over and the rest of my team got over was we said, “You know what, enough is enough we cannot control what’s happening above us.” So what we’re going to do is focus on making the change right here in the contact center. We’ll report the numbers up but were not going to be asking for direction, or opinion, we are going to focus on what we could control and that was the attitude of the folks who worked for me as well as the goals and opportunities that we could achieve on our own.  I’m proud to say that we got over that hump but it was an Aha moment. Once we had that moment the road to success became ever clearer every day and we truly realize the value of our partners Customers Relationship Metrics.

 

Jim Rembach:    Just be transparent to everybody, yes, I know Chuck because of my relationship and working for Customer Relationship Metrics, and Chuck thank you for that—the appreciation, and believe me, it’s mutual. It’s been a joy to get to know you and carry on, our relationship will be on your time or regardless of where we work I should say. Now when you start thinking about the advice that you would give to our Fast Leader Legion and that story, what advice would you give them?

 

Chuck Udinzki:    The advice—the main thing, the main take away is, you must believe that the folks that are working for you want to do a good job. The big, big disconnect that I saw  in my team at that time and since then in organizations that I’ve had the privilege to go in and out of in one capacity or another, is that most time the agents do not know what’s expected of them. And they have no way of figuring out what they have to do, to do a better job. It’s really about setting expectations and then holding them accountable to those expectations and leading them in a positive way to success. 

 

I strongly believe that no one gets up in the morning gets ready for work, deals with the family issues in the morning as everyone’s trying to get out the door in our busy, busy work-a-day lives handles the commute whether you’re driving, walking, taking a bicycle, riding a train whatever it is you do to get to work, to come in sit down for eight hours and do a bad job, I don’t believe people are doing that by nature they want to do a good job. Once you understand that and then define what that good job means believe me your halfway home. 

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s great advice Chuck and thank you for sharing. Alright now it’s time to move to the fast part of our show and it’s the, Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Chuck, Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Chuck, are you ready to hoedown? 

 Chuck Udzinski:    I am ready to hoedown. Let’s do it. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today? 

 

Chuck Udzinski:    My ability to understand that I cannot change everything I think needs changing. That really does get in the way sometimes. It’s all about filtering out picking your battles and then going out them with a zest and commitment.

 

Jim Rembach:     What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Chuck Udzinski:   To stay focused, believe in what you’re doing and not let all the noise that surrounds us get in the way of reaching those goals, single-mindedness toward your ultimate goal.

 

Jim Rembach:  What is one of your secret that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Chuck Udzinski:  I’d say I’m like a hair in a biscuit, you just can’t get it out of there no matter what you do and I think that sums up how I approach things. I just cannot stand when someone says, “Oh, we can’t change that or we can’t do this or we’ve always done it this way,” if one thing doesn’t work then let’s drop back figure something else out and will go try that eventually will get it right. 

 

Jim Rembach:  So, for me what I heard was resilience.

 

Chuck Udzinski:  Resilience is a great word.

 

Jim Rembach:   What you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Chuck Udzinski:   Publications by others. One of the ones that I’m particular fond of  and I’ve always had it on my desk is a real fun read, it’s A Carrot a Day, a daily dose of recognition for your employees, it’s by a guy named Adrian Gostick.

 

Jim Rembach:    Thanks for sharing that Chuck. What I will do is put a link to that book on our show notes page which you will find at fastleader.net/chuckudzinski. Alright Chuck that leads us to the final question in our Hump Day Hoedown. I want you to imagine that you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old all over again but you’ve been blessed to get to retain everything that you know, all the experiences come with you and you get to use that in order to manage a disengaged and underperforming team, now you get up, you go to work, what you do now?

 

Chuck Udzinski:    Well, the first thing that I would need to do is to tap in to why they’re disengaged, I think I would be able to get to that point much quicker. Then I would look at what is defining a good job for them. Again I’ll come back to, most people don’t know the answer to this, and they had no ideas of the goals of the organization as a whole all the way down to the goals and objectives of the group or team that they’re working in. 

 

Once that would be defined a process would be started to measure their performance on metrics that they control—I just have to elaborate a little bit Jim—again my background for the most part is the customer service and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ll go in and agents will be held accountable for things such as abandonment rate or average speed of answer or service-level attainment and when you think about those very, very common metrics, agents have little to nothing to do with that these are metrics that the management team is responsible for influencing not the agent.

 

Jim Rembach:    Alright, Chuck it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?

 

Chuck Udzinski: Oh, sure. You can reach out to me on Facebook, you can friend me on Facebook. I’m also on twitter@cudzinski and you can also e-mail me at cudzinski@gmail.com.

 

Jim Rembach:     Chuck, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom that Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fast leader.net so we can help you onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO 

 

 

Carol Borghesi on Leadership podcast Fast Leader Show

006: Carol Borghesi: I’m the man my parents wanted me to marry

Podcast Show Notes with Carol Borghesi

What Carol perceived coming out of business school was that she needed to take a tuff stance. Join me as Carol shares her story of learning how to become a path paver for women and a transformation expert of organizations. Learn how Carol found herself with having no consideration at all with executives to having a seat at the executive table. Learn how Carol found out how to become a catalyst for change without the use of force.

Carol is a graduate of the marketing management program from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT).

She has 31 years of experience telecommunications experience spanning three continents, Carol‘s career has taken her from TELUS in Canada to British Telecom (BT) in the U.K. to Bharti Airtel in India, and back.

Carol concluded her career at Telus as the Senior Vice President – Customers First Culture.

In this role Carol was a passionate advocate across TELUS for their Customers First in 2010 and was the driving force behind the evolution of TELUS’ corporate culture to deliver on the future is friendly® to clients.

Carol has held senior roles in sales, service and business unit management, and has successfully managed change through deregulation, labor relations, consolidations, acquisitions, and rapid technological innovation.

As the past Chair of the CCA (U.K.’s contact center association), Carol is a recognized expert in contact centers, customer service operations and customer experience leadership in complex, multi-channel environments.

In her career she has had responsibilities leading more than 50, 000 employees that has served well over 150 million customers.

She is currently writing a book about how to put customer first for profit and FUN, speaking internationally and working with like-minded organizations that believe the age of customer capitalism is now.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @cborghesi getting over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow http://goo.gl/eB393z #Leadership #diversity Click to Tweet

“Much has been done to create greater diversity, but we have a long way to go.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“Customer Experience is a team sport.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it! –Goethe Click to Tweet

“I continue to learn now at a greater pace than I ever did in my career.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“I have dipped in and out of believing my own press.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“It’s not okay to be right if you’re all by yourself.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“Customer Service is the drip tray of the organization.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“Nobody is exempt from the team sport of customer experience.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“Individual responsibility is what builds the company responsibility.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“Bring more of who you are to your work.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“Armed with data, I would then go talk to everybody.”-Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

“What people tell you that they do and what they actually do can often be different.” -Carol Borghesi Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Carol was the head of Customer Experience for a large telecommunications company with an enterprise change issue. Sitting in customer service she was in a position that had no seat at the table. After several attempts and years Carol finally got it. Customer experience, which includes customer service is a team sport and nobody is exempt from playing.  That’s when she got traction. Listen to the show to find out how Carol learned how to become a path paver and catalyst for organizational change, so you can become one faster.

Leadership Epiphany

There is no darn way a company could be filled with such customer oriented executives and not be customer focused.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Bring more of yourself to work.

Secret to Success

Voracious and eclectic reader. “I read economics book for pleasure.”

Recommended Reading

The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t

Often Purchased with:
Good Boss, Bad Boss: How to Be the Best… and Learn from the Worst

The Bully at Work: What You Can Do to Stop the Hurt and Reclaim Your Dignity on the Job

More Resources

Customer Experience Big Data Dysfunction  Better understand and plan by completing the customer experience big data dysfunction self-assessment contained in the ebook. The assessment is a simple and effective way for you and your team to identify the areas necessary to realize increased performance while reducing guess work.

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

006: Carol Borghesi: I’m the man my parents wanted me to marry

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach: Alright Fast Leader Legion hold back on that camel, we’re going to have a great day today, Carol Borghesi’s with us. She has really a depth of knowledge that I hope I can continue to tap in to for the next decade or so while she still wants to have time with me. But I get to share her with you today and it’s going to be fun. Carol is actually a graduate of the Marketing and Management program from the British Columbia Institute of Technology. She has 31 years of experience in telecommunications spanning three continents. She concluded her career at TELLUS as the Senior Vice-President of their Customer First Culture. In Israel, Carol was a passionate advocate across TELLUS for their Customers First in 2010 and was the driving force behind evolution of TELLUS’s corporate culture to deliver on the future is friendly to clients. 

Carol has held several senior roles in sales, service, business unit management and has successfully manage change through deregulation, labor relations, consolidations, acquisitions and rapid technological innovation.  Carol is a recognized expert in contact centers, customer service operations and customer experience leadership in complex multi-channel environments. In her career she has had responsibilities leading more than 50,000 employees and has served well over 150 million customers. She’s currently writing a book about how to put customers first and profit for fun, hopefully we’ll get in to little bit fun piece. And she also speaks internationally and loves working with like-minded organizations that believe the age of customer capitalism is now. Carole Borghesi were glad to have you, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Carol Borghesi:     I have never been more ready for anything in my entire life. Buoyed by that Las Vegas show lounge kind of introduction, Jim, my gosh I’m exhausted listening to my own career [inaudible 2:21]

Jim Rembach:  As you can see, you know why Carol and I love to have conversations, we have a good time it’s something that always leads to another interaction that’s going to be even better. Alright, Carol, I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction but can you please tell us what your current passion is so that we can actually get to know you a little bit better?

Carol Borghesi:     Well, what I want to say actually, listening to the background on the career I’ve had there’s three things that I wanted to really call out to the listeners. One is that, given that I’ve been working for more than 30 years, I started at a very young age obviously, one of the things that I ran into Jim, was I was often the first women to be in a particular role. I was first women that was on manage reports and so I want to call that out because I think that that’s really important to today’s world of work as well.  That much has been done in the past to create greater diversity and focus but we still got long way to go and I really benefited I think from being an early pioneer which really it sounds, interest me even more pioneers circle the wagon. 

The second thing that really characterized my career for me, was transformation.  I was in an industry that has transformed beyond recognition going from monopoly to a very, very competitive and I tell you, I got the bug around managing change, managing change respectfully. Pretty up early on in my career, it’s something that continues to excite me and invigorate me, and I would add to that that I am so excited by the developments that I’ve seen in social media, as well as the why’s and rise of the millennial generation. I think that people coming up in world of worker or just [inaudible 4:10] 

The third thing is that, I have been really lucky because I’ve worked in sales, marketing and service and those are the kind of the usual suspects when it comes to the work that I do, which is around customer experience. And I’m thrilled to tell you that I think a lot of the customer experience as a team’s sport which involves the entire organization need be on those three functional areas is really coming to its own right now, and that’s what getting me excited and passionate about running Customer First Culture, the little company that I founded and the principle core.

Jim Rembach:     I almost have to say to myself, Carol is turning back the clock a little bit ‘cause we definitely need you as that path paver for many other women. You really were a pioneer. I know you were in the wagon, you’re not that old. However, you have been one of those who’ve been on the forefront in a lot of ways and that’s why I’m so glad to have you on the show so that you can continue to do just that, help pave the path runners, teach us how we can get ahead faster by learning from you. 

With that we often find in the Fast Leader show where we need some inspiration, we like looking to leadership quotes in order to get some of that inspiration. Now I know you are an avid reader, you always seek to move things forward and you probably have had a lot of influences in your life. But is there one quote that kind of stands out to you as a driving force, a kind of always plays over in your head that know you enjoy, could you share that with us?

Carol Borghesi:     I certainly can. I did a little bit of research on a quote that I’ve got to say has guided and probably influenced my career and approach to work many, many years ago and that is, whatever we can do or dream you can do begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it and that was back in the olden days attributed to Goethe, which is Johann Goethe, a famous and very, very prolific as well as terrific, writer, philosopher and poet but it actually was coined by W. H. Murray who works as spots man and it was in connection with mountain climbing which is what his particular passion was. 

I think that its relevant today, certainly in the pace that I am in my career, as it was when I was a young [inaudible 6:48] getting started. It is action focused. I love that it reflects boldness. I love that it opens, went out to the possibilities. I know the feeling of being the only one in the room that can see it where you can get a mirage or you can see it but no one else can. And sometimes that’s kind of lonely but I’ve going to say that it’s immensely rewarding. It has also spurred me on to learn and continue to dream and to grow. I may have been a path finder for women back in that day but I can say that with absolute clarity and conviction that I continue to learn at a greater pace now than I’ve ever been in my career, probably because I know now what I don’t know. 

Jim Rembach:    That’s a really interesting point that you have made there as far as the velocity of the learning. What would you necessarily attribute that to, is there something that kind of stands out to you that says: “Ah, that’s one of the reasons why it is that way, is it just because we’ve had so much information or is it something else?

Carol Borghesi:     I think that it’s certainly reflection of the society, the advents of the Internet, the explosion of the information society that we’re in but I also actually think it’s personal. Some people are life-long learners and I think however, when you get to be the age that I am, I  am so old I think they’ve discontinued my blood type for crying out loud, but it is almost a life stage kind of thing where I now realize that there’s so much happening and so much to learn from. I’d see there’s humility in that Jim and I can’t always frame that I was the most humble leader. I have occasionally victim in out of believing my own crust [Laughter] and that’s generally what’s prevented me from creaking out my ears and learning from others.  

Jim Rembach:     I think we’ve all had a taste of that to some degree, I don’t think there’d be any forward movement if we didn’t experience that. There’s a lot of humps that we all have to get over, we call them humps here in the Fast Leader Show, as I chat with you before our mission is kind of redefining what leadership is and what it means. I think you just in telling your story at this point have really made it very clear that a lot of it entails leading yourself and if you think about it just from that perspective, we’re all leaders. The nature of work today requires that we all become better at that. The individual who’s sitting there out on a proverbial island having to take care of certain responsibilities for organization has to do a lot of leading. Leading of self, leading of project timelines, leading of their own career advancement. A lot of times I had talked to employees and the like, ‘what are going to give me as an employee/as a company to help me get ahead?’ And I’m like, ‘First of all, you need to fix your mindset and think, what do I need to do? And stuck handed to you, you have to take your own initiative take your own strength from that and move forward, so, that’s an important point. I know there’s a lot of humps and you talked about path paving, you talked about a lot of different things within your career, but is there a particular story that kind of stands out that was a defining moment that you could share with us?

Carlo Borghesi:    Yeah. I did learn early and often that it’s not right that you’re all by yourself. To say that I had a very excited opinion  of my own intellect would be characteristic of one of my wonder years, let me say, but that the hump that I really wanted to share with you today is—I spend a lot of times working in customer service. Customer service as I’ve said to you Jim before is the drip tray of the organization. It ain’t somewhere that you got a lot of credit or kudos. Your mom and dad didn’t say, ”Gee, I hope he goes to school and becomes a customer service professional.” And I puzzled over that for the longest time. I really, finally kind of realize that I can spend all day long trying to yell ever louder at a customer service organization and wouldn’t get anywhere, kind of like how you raise your voice volume when you’re trying to somebody who doesn’t speak English as though that’s the problem. So it dawned on me that I had an enterprise changes here on my hands and that’s really daunting because seating in customer service your particular function in the organization, not necessarily always at the table and it wasn’t until I reach the last company that I worked with that I really saw the way through to overcome the issue. 

First and foremost, I wanted to say that when I finally got it, that customer experience which includes customer service is a team’s sport that was when I really started to get some traction. And I took an approach which said that nobody is exempt from the team’s sport of customer experience and I seriously mean that, I don’t care if you’re an internal audit or the security guard you can’t find your way back to customer experience in the way that you impact that.

The second thing that I realize and was able to work on, was that the frontline of an organization has as much to contribute to the executives of an organization as the other way around. The other thing about executives being the liberators of those that work in jobs that are closer to the customer and generally not a [inaudible 12:33] What I saw was really understanding that, instead of trying to get the executive to preach to the frontline, I brought the executive to the frontline and actually let them teach the executive a thing or two about the reality of what’s it’s like to be with customers when you don’t have all the tools and information that you need. 

The third thing that happened was kind of strengthen that conviction. I’ve worked with an extremely talented guy on a framework called Likelihood to recommend and I talked to you about this Jim before, you remember that. But the reason I wanted to bring this up is because I got a lot of stick over the Likelihood to recommend framework which is incredibly a simple notion. It’s based on the fact that Likelihood to recommend is kind of the highest order intermingling the customer and a company’s brand so that if I’m going to recommend you that’s really putting my reputation on the line as well. The problem arose when dealing with a lot of ingenuity finance traits that they now let me put it that way, behind the framework that I’d created, was honestly subject to what could be amounts to ridicule. 

I’d walked through that and stand my ground it was really helpful. I’ve learned a lot about being able to manage information that was performance base as well as customer information and employee information. The good news is that singular focus of Likelihood to recommend and understanding what drives, like we have to work then, really did carry the day. 

And the last thing and the most interesting thing, once I realize that there’s a big difference between how we perceive others, which we generally perceive by their behaviors, which is how we perceive ourselves, which is generally by our intentions. One of the things that I learned first-hand was that in asking this group of executives to spend some time with frontline, after they’ve had that experience ask them two questions. The first questions was, to what degree do you think our company puts customers first? About 41% of the executives, remembering these are the guys that run the place, said 42%, so I thought that’s not really good, less than half. But when I ask them to what degree do you personally put customers first? A whacking 82% claimed that they in fact put customers first. Big moment because that really helped everybody understand, there’s no darn way that a company could be filled with such customer oriented executives and not be customer focused. So that individual responsibility is what builds the company responsibility and that was an incredibly exciting breakthrough that I got with the last company with it. 

Jim Rembach:     Now, I know that force is not something that a woman who’s sitting there with probably a bunch of old telecom engineers running a business and trying to talk to them about customer service is something that would work. So how were you able to essentially ‘crack the nut’, get over the hump with them? How did you actually move things forward? What did you do specifically as a person, as an individual? What things did you learn throughout the course of your working on different continents that you had to do or do differently in order to really have that impact and effect?

 Carol Borghesi:     For listeners of my vintage, I’m sure they won’t be surprised to know that I did try the ‘force approach’. What I perceive coming out of business school was kind of a touch down and so on. Since I’m often referred to them as the man my parents wanted me to marry, I guess it’s not totally surprising I take on the male approach. I got over that, but you know, what really worked in the end, was I realized that the CEO of an organization is a really critical player and they often look to the CEO to provide direction. What I notice is that CEO’s are not waiting for their teams to take up the goblet particularly of customer’s experience. And I learned that understanding and meeting the uncertainties and concerns that the CEO’s or the [inaudible16:59] had, was really important. That led to, believe it or not, critical mess and I think that that in the end is what I’ve learned is that critical mess—you got a momentum Jim that starts to turn the tide in an organization. Does it helps to have the CEO on site? Absolutely. But in the end you don’t need force you need to tap into what arguably is a very popular concept with people right across any organization and to really start to make that a tipping point. You don’t need to force anything. I suppose in that too you realize that anyone person really isn’t going to make anything happen in any organization through [inaudible 7:43] however much we’d like to think of it that way. 

 And when you see that bringing people on and giving them the opportunity to express their views and create that informal network in an organization, Bingo! that’s what made the difference. 

 

Jim Rembach:     You have mentioned something about the current work that you’re doing, can you share a little bit about that with us?

Carol Borghesi:     My next assignment is really, really terrific it’s in the U.K. I’m going to be working on developing a customer contact operation for a business that represents 23 manufacturers and 74 dealers in the automotive industry. It’s a juicy lemon in a sense there’s a lot of complexity in trying to manage various staff and many stakeholders who have varying degrees of customer relationship management system. Everything from back of a cocktail napkin to a very sophisticated but equally a way territorial and protective of customer information. I think that I’ll be spending a little bit of the spring and summer in the U.K.

Jim Rembach:     Oh, there could be things that are a lot worse than that. We wish you the best and we hope that goes well for you. Now we transition to the rapid part of our show and that is Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Carol Borghesi, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us a good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Carol, are you ready the hoedown?

Carol Borghesi:     I am ready to hoedown. 

Jim Rembach:     Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being yet an even better leader today? 

Carol Borghesi:     This may be considered oversharing ladies and gentlemen but the absolute honest truth—procrastination. It is something that is a personal trait of mine, 2015 is about working on procrastination for me. 

Jim Rembach:     There you go, onward and upward faster, right? Okay, what’s the best leadership advice you have ever received?

Carol Borghesi:     Bring more of who you are to your work.

Jim Rembach:     What is one of your secret that you believe that contributes to your success?

Carol Borghesi:     I am, as you mentioned earlier a voracious and eclectic reader. I read across a very broad spectrum of topics, my family despairs because I read the economics book for pleasure. I do have the usual suspects, the Economist, the Harper Business Review, novels and pretty weighty Thomason, neuroscience—it’s pretty broad. 

Jim Rembach:     Well, we don’t want to necessarily constrict you to one particular John Roe or topic type, but is there a book that you would recommend to our listeners? 

Carol Borghesi:  Yes there is. This was very easy for me to think of but it’s very difficult for me to convey because we have a family show. The book that I want to recommend to your readers has an extremely rude word in it. The book is by Robert Sutton. He’s an organization behaviorist professor and quite prolific. He wrote a book called ‘The No A rule’ and so you can fill in the gap there. The reason that I think that’s the best business book that I ever read is it calls oath  categorically the definition of a person that couldn’t, frankly, earned that secular title and the reality is that according to Robert Sutton when you’re in the presence of one of those, you come away from that interaction feeling somehow diminished. I love that definition. I strive not to be labelled in that itinerant way but it may be pretty savvy for spotting those that are in the organizations and dealing with them accordingly. 

Jim Rembach:     Unless of course you’re one of my three brothers and then that was my nickname growing up. [Laughter] Alright. Thank you very much Carol I appreciate that. We’re going to give links to that book and a couple of others on our show notes page. If you want to find out where that is, I’ll give it to you its right here. It’s at fastleader.net/carolborghesi. Alright Carol, now we come to the last question on our Hump day Hoedown. 

Imagine you woke up tomorrow and you are 25 years old again, and there’s no more wagons, and you were supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team that is underperforming and disengaged but you have retained all the knowledge and skill that you currently have, your job of course, is to turn them around. So, you get up, you head out to work, what you do now?

Carol Borghesi:  Well, there’s three things that I would do. The first of which is to look at the operational data of the team that I’m responsible for. You may think that’s not very people-ly but I tell you that three areas that I would look up for operation information is the performance data of the function, what we do and what’s our output and what’s the costing. 

The second would be the customer feedback whether that’s an internal team or external facing team. And the third would be any engagements information that I can clean. Armed with that data I would go up and talk to people. I would talk to absolutely everybody. And I would take the time to do it probably as one of the most important skills that I learn which is to listen carefully and openly. Having the data in my head and in my hands means I can ask some interesting questions to start to understand why we’re maybe be having the issues that we’re having in teams performance. And then the last thing I would do, is I would observe. I’m going to walk my business, I would look up what’s going in. And the reason that I would that is because what people tell you that they do, and what they actually do can often be different. So with those three elements together I can put one the first few days of my time with my meeting.

Jim Rembach:  I think all of those contribute to what…you even mentioned that you were a voracious one, and that’s reading. You’re reading the business, you’re reading the information before you take an action. Carol Borghesi it was an honor spending time with you today. Can you please share with Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you? 

Carol Borghesi:     You certainly can. I am available at clborghesi.gmail.com and I’ll even give my mobile number that’s okay, 771-778-86690, I’m also on Linkedin and would love to hear from your listeners.  

Jim Rembach:    That’s awesome. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. The Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast leader Show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe—if you haven’t already, head on over to fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

END OF AUDIO

 

 

Chris Lah on leadership podcast Fast Leader Show

005: Chris Lah: Focus, delegate, and ignore

Podcast Show Notes with Chris Lah

Are you putting a lot of effort paddling and steering in the wrong direction? Join me as Chris Lah shares his story of a failed technology implementation project where he tried to do too much. Learn how Chris found himself drowning and what he ultimatly did to sail forward. Learn how Chris found clarity about his mistake six months later and how you can learn from him to prevent missing that important pitch.

Chris is currently the Senior Director of Revenue Cycle Customer Service at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He began his career at the hospital in 1983 as a Financial Counselor while he was finishing his undergraduate degree. In 1994, he left the hospital and managed the business operations and call center for the Mayfield Clinic. In the summer of 1998, he was recruited to lead the project management office for Anthem (now Wellpoint). He returned to CCHMC in 2000 to help centralize customer service operations. His service teams have achieved J. D. Power & Associates certification 6 years in a row and have won national team awards for excellence on three different occasions.

Chris has his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati and is currently completing his MBA at Xavier University in Ohio. He is strongly committed to helping with Children’s Hospital related charities and has been a fund raiser for the Catholic Inner-City Schools Education (CISE) as well. In his spare time, he is a Program Director for TEDx Cincinnati.

Chris currently lives in the suburbs of Cincinnati with his two sons, Evan and Joe. He is most proud of his 2 year old grandson Jack and swears he’s the cutest kid on the planet!

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Check out @ChrisLah1 getting over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Good captains steer in the current, they don’t try to paddle against it.” –Gandhi Click to Tweet

“Don’t get in the middle of a whirlpool and find yourself trying to steer against it.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“Every lemon you throw out there hopefully you can find a way to make lemonade out of it.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“Focus, delegate, and most importantly ignore the things you need to ignore.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“The embarrassing thing about failure is I wish I had the epiphany while failing.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“Some stuff just doesn’t need to be acted on.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“If I had just stepped back and got myself out of that churn I might have had an epiphany.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“You can’t live your leadership life looking in the rear view mirror.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“You need to have a balance outside of your work.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“Exhaustion is the biggest way to repeat mistakes or make major mistakes.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“You need to be fit as a fiddle when you go in everyday to lead.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“They need you at your best.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

“My worst decisions were made when I was sleep deprived.” -Chris Lah Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Chris was the lead of a radiology information systems implementation project. By his definition and his bosses’ definition the outcome of the installation project failed. Chris unfortunately was unable to focus, delegate and ignore the things he needed to ignore to properly steer the project. Listen to the show to find out how Chris learned about how his very own leadership led to the failure and what he needed to do in the future to prevent it from happening again.

Leadership Epiphany

Some things just don’t need to be acted on.

Best Leadership Advice Received

You need to not complicate the simple.

Secret to Success

Family balance.  My grandson gives me inspiration every day.

Recommended Reading

Chris mentioned a book still being written by Tom Chi, Google X co-founder, on rapid prototyping. See Tom’s Ted Ed talk: http://youtu.be/d5_h1VuwD6g

More Resources

Brain Writing Tool – A tool used to help separate divergent and convergent thinking in the innovation process. This tool is used by small and medium sized groups to move the creative thinking process in a more structured and expedited manner while improving collaborative idea development.

Show Transcript: 

Click to access edited transcript

005: Chris Lah: Focus, delegate, and ignore

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we explore convenient yet effective shortcuts that will help you get ahead and move forward faster by becoming a better leader. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach:     Thanks Kimberly. Okay Fast Leader legion. I’m so excited to get the chance to speak and meet with the guest that I have to introduce to you today. Chris Lah been a long-time friend somebody who I have looked up to. He is just a wealth of knowledge and one of those people that always finds that shining light in a sea of darkness. Chris Lah, are you ready to help us over the hump?

 

Chris Lah:    Looking forward to it Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Awesome. Chris I’ve actually given our listeners a brief introduction, but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?

 

Chris Lah:     I had to laugh at that cause I am what you consider a died in the wall Aquarius by definition. We are obsessed with making people happy and I try to live up to that title.

 

Jim Rembach:     You know, I didn’t know that we even shared that. I’m an Aquarian as well, although I can say that you’re probably more of a master at doing what you just said than I am, and you know what, it’s true. You execute on that and everybody recognizes it. But you know even behind that piece of trying to make people happy and somebody who I feel is an excellent leader. When people like us who look for inspiration, who try to help others, who try make people feel better about themselves and create that better environment oftentimes I linked to leadership quotes. Leadership quotes are one of those things that to me, trips or trigger a lot and provide some inspiration. Now do you have a leadership quote that guide you, helps you and that you think is one of your favorites?  Can you please share with us?

 

Chris Lah:     Thanks for asking that Jim. I’m probably going not to Gandhi complete justice on this, I’m going to paraphrase him, but it had to do with the [inaudible 2:23] about what a good captain does, typical Gandhi, it going to be somewhere between allegory and a metaphor. But good captains steering the currents they don’t try to paddle against it. So there’s a lot of good leadership quotes that are out there. For some reason the one with Gandhi just for me it applies to most situations that I need to step back, I need to take a look at a project and issue whatever you’re steering in to. There’s a lot like a current that your better versed thinking of how to anticipate and try to project what’s going to happen and don’t get in the middle whirlpool and find yourself trying to steer against it.

 

And I do use this, not so much that read the quote out loud but I always think about it in the back of my head when there’s some type of a problem or some type of project, there doesn’t even have to be a problem, it can be a project that you’re trying to anticipate what you’re going to be up against I fall back on that one more frequently than I do anything else. 

 

Jim Rembach:      Oh, that’s a great quote and that’s also great mindset. I oftentimes talk to people about just one-on-one interactions with somebody even if it’s a sale situation or customer service situation,  is to try to find a way to get alongside the person instead of trying to hit them head on. Oftentimes we have just things that we do habitually, like I say, when you say yes but, when you’re responding to somebody that’s exactly what you’re doing, your butting heads. So you have to try to find that path that allows you to swim with the current swim with them so that you both have forward momentum. I love that quote, thanks for sharing that with us. You talked about how you apply that, how would you say that you weave that into you—you talked about the day-to-day—can you give us really a little bit more of a specific example where you’ve used that quote, apply the quote?

 

Chris Lah:     So many times you draw on failure rather than success. [Laugh] But I’m a big proponent that for the old—every lemon you throw out there hopefully you can find a way to make lemonade out of it. But on a personal story and inside my career I do draw on an important failure where I didn’t apply my own credo. I didn’t even know Gandhi’s quote back then that’s what I think this one story I’m going to tell you probably actually help prove it. 

 

It was back when I was early in my management career in a position that was half technical and half customer service, and I guess maybe Yogi Bear which has play half something else at the same time, but I was in the radiology information system implementation and it’s really one information systems were relatively new so we’re going back in to the early 90’s on this. And retrospectively, I look at a failure on the outcome of the installation of that project, and it was a failure not by only my definition but I think by at my bosses and maybe even my staff. Retrospectively, I look on that the communication, the middle ground, the relationship with people, the current that I in not realizing them, I didn’t find that middle ground between my bosses, my staff and my customers because I wasn’t acknowledging, not anticipating what I was in the middle of, it led to the failure to the actual project and that I retrospectively was not able to focus, delegate and most importantly ignore the things that I needed to ignore to be able to better steer.

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s very profound when you start talking about things that you should ignore. A lot of times we try to look at every single thing instead of being aware that we need to ignore certain things, that’s pretty important note that you point out. So getting over the hump of what you’re talking about, can you give us a little bit of a specific example on when that epiphany occurred for you and knowing that you needed to do just that—ignore certain things?

 

Chris Lah:     Well the embarrassing thing about failure is just I wish I would’ve had the epiphany while I was going through the failure, I probably could’ve prevented it. But it was about six months afterwards, oddly enough—I’m a baseball fan—and so many good things I think sometimes come out of baseball for examples that you could use—but am a big Reds fan—and I remember being frustrated a Red’s game and they were in the losing streak and I was watching their hitters get up to the plate and they were swinging at the first pitch over and over and over again and not having what I thought was, “My God, you got to have an strategy when you go up to the plate you just can’t get hack at the first pitch you’re out over and over and over again”. And then I thought, “Oh, this is what I was doing, I was jumping in to this situations” the subsets to the project that I was working on and I wasn’t being methodical and that was something like a Gandhi approach on it. I was getting up there and I was jumping on the first thing trying to answer it, trying to satisfy everybody and I was going to the churn and burn of it not realizing that some of the stuff it just didn’t need to be jumped on it didn’t need action I was hacking at the first pitch over and over again.

 

It was my epiphany I was sitting up there in the cheap seats at a Reds game getting frustrated realizing that shoot, I thought I’ll go down there and grab in these guys going, let me tell you about my real experience maybe you guys need to take a couple of pitches before you swing, and that was my epiphany. 

 

Jim Rembach:     It’s amazing that oftentimes things are totally unrelated to the hump that were trying to get over permits us some insight into getting over it. When you start thinking about we thing…We all can whiff, right? Whiff and miss.

 

Chis Lah:     It is true that really it’s the unrelated things a lot of times they cause you to have the epiphany. When you’re so caught up in the moment you’d be using that extreme example you start drowning in it. And maybe it’s when you can look over your shoulder, you’re out of that moment and it’s something totally unrelated that helps you connect some of the basic things that you know all these things you learn in kindergarten, you learn in third-grader, you learn from your parents and everything, you  start draw or baseball, in my case, you start drawing together and say, ‘should have I just step back and gotten myself out of that churn, I think I would’ve seen it a little bit more clearly and maybe I would have had epiphany before that project failed but that’s the wisdom that goes with it. I haven’t had a failure like that since I’m happy to report.

 

Jim Rembach:    Thank you for sharing that with us. Now if you were to give one specific piece of advice to our listeners to help them get over the hump and regards that story, what would it be?

 

Chris Lah:   That’s a really good question Jim because it’s hard to boil things down, I think, into one piece of advice that applies to all situations. But I learned a lot of it does have to do with the approach, where you see like a rapid coming up ahead or whatever. You need to try to recognize that. You can’t keep on with using another metaphor. You can’t live your leadership life looking in the rear view mirror, you’ve got a look ahead and you’ve got to coordinate all the signals and the best way to do it is you need to have a balance outside of your work. You need to have that balance. You need to be well rested. You need to understand your own personal signals. And for me, exhaustion is the biggest way to repeat mistakes or to make major mistakes. You need to be fit as a fiddle when you go in every day to lead. Your staff deserves that most importantly, your customers deserve that they need you at your best.

I think a lot of that has to do with being balanced outside of work and being well rested going into work. It sounds really corny but a lot of my worst decisions were made when I was sleep depth or I was like going back, I was not ignoring—there were sweating, the small stuff and it was taking away from the energy I needed to make my big decisions. And I think people have to be really cognizant of that when they’re going in to meetings. It’s not being prepared by looking at pieces of paperwork it’s being mentally prepared by being rested and having the energy to be able to—you decipher the signals that you need to be up to decipher—you can’t do that when you’re worn out you just can’t do it. 

 

 Jim Rembach:     Yeah, I think that’s great advice and we do hear more and more that now where the science are coming out and proving the point that is true, from what you’ve just said. It affects your IQ when you are fatigued.  And for us at the Fast Leader Show we’re trying to redefine leadership. At a minimum we lead ourselves and so even when we’re fatigue we can’t lead ourselves very well. It doesn’t matter if you are working in an organization or a nonprofit you’re part of, your own business and you’re an entrepreneur or even a domestic professional, we all have to lead. We lead self, we lead teams, we lead groups, we lead projects and we lead interactions with vendors—we all lead. And we all have to pay attention to how well we do cause it going to affect the result. 

 

So Chris, tell us a little bit about what you currently do and the passion that you have for that?

 

Chris Lah:     For the past 15 years I’ve been in the role where I’m leading the nonclinical aspects of customer service at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, which is recognized as a top three hospital, really not only in the United States I think in the world, it’s a very, very important place.  And the nonclinical aspects of customer service are so important because they can unfortunately disintegrate from the overall patient experience that were trying to put on the table here for our patients and families. So the role that I have is to make sure that none of those—we call the revenue cycle processes—take away from what we hope ends up being a very satisfying clinical experience. 

 

It’s something that we built, it’s not just me, and we build it with quite a few people and senior management over the past 15 years. I think we’ve taken it from being unrewarding experience and department to work in that we weren’t actually helping families to being a little bit, using the buzzword, were proactive a little bit better about that anticipation here as well to try to actually help her families out. So, it’s important that we’ve grown from about 17 people to 48, as we focusing and on improving that experience. I’m happy to report that I think we’re doing pretty well. We were J.D. Power, a certified seven years in a row, for customer service excellence, but it is more than a trophy and a certification. A lot of our people are very passionate about wanting to help families so we change the mindset over here that it’s not just that reactive model. We got some people that are wanting to help people from the minute they pick up the phone.

 

Jim Rembach:   Thank you for sharing that and for the work you guys are doing and the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. 

Alright, here we go Fast Leader listeners it is time for, Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Chris, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insight fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and you goal is to give us a robust yet rapid response that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Chris are you ready to hoedown?

 

Chris Lah:       I’m ready to hoedown. Put me on the hoedown hot seat. 

 

Jim Rembach:      Alright, here we go. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader?

 

Chris Lah:     I still find using that analogy I gave you before. Sometimes I still find myself swinging at that first pitch instead of taking a deep breath and waiting for maybe a few other pitches to come to me. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Perfect. What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?

 

Chris Lah:   Oddly enough from an economics teacher, who I think had a good 360 on me. After only teaching me for a few classes he pulled me aside and said, “You need  to not complicate the simple” I’ve remembered that one almost as much that Gandhi quote that I gave you before.

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a pretty good one. What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?

 

Chris Lah:    I would say the family balance. Specifically what I found is—I have a grandson and I look to him and he gives me inspiration every day and I take that right into my leadership role. I think of him in the background and it helps me out. 

 

Jim Rembach: Awesome. What would be one book you would recommend to our listeners? 

 

Chris Lah:   That’s such a tough question because there’s so many good books out there. I think the best book out there is actually being written right now, I’m aware of it being written. I talk with the gentlemen by the name of Tom Chi, he was part of the Google secret lab, the guys who develop the car the drives itself, the Google glasses. He’s a proponent of what they call advanced prototyping using the process of writing a book that’s going to have leadership elements in it, I can’t wait to read it. It hasn’t even been written yet but I know he’s working on it and I know it’s going to be great. 

 

Jim Rembach:    We’ll see if we can try a link to that when it becomes available and thanks for sharing that we’ll lookout for Tom’s work. So Fast Leader listeners, you can find links to other information that’s associated with the things that Chris shared with us as well as quotes to Twit on fastleader.net/Chrislah. Okay, Chris, my last Hump Day Hoedown question for you. 

 

Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again, you are supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team of people that is underperforming and disengaged, but you’re lucky you’ve retained all of the wisdom and skill that you currently have. Now your task is to turn this team around. You get up, get ready, you head out to work, what you do now?

 

Chris Lah:    Deep breath on that one. The knowledge that I have now taking back to 25 years old again is for me to get my staff more directly involved with my customers, focus groups, surveys, feedback, engagement. If I had flaws when I was 25 the first time, I wanted to do things textbook, I want to follow my gut, I should’ve followed my customers. I immediately get their feedback, I get everything that they need, everything that they’re feeling, everything in the 360 and I incorporate that into the goals of my team especially if they’re underperforming, I think that it would at the very least help, it would help get them reengaged.

 

Jim Rembach:   Good advice. I think we can all use connect with your customers. You know what your customer? To be a lot of different people, who you’re serving, who you’re trying to help. So, Chris Lah, it was an honor to spend time with you today, please share with Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?

 

Chris Lah:    I try to make myself as accessible as possible. I will be happy to share my e-mail address, my work e-mail, is the best way to get a hold of me. So they can get a hold of me the e-mail at chris.lah@cchmc.org, my direct office phone, I never turn down a good phone call with a good question, its 513-636-8904.

 

Jim Rembach:  Chris thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot! 

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net, so we can help you move onwards and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO

 

leadership podcast with mohamed latib

004: Mohamed Latib: I was left all alone

Podcast Show Notes with Mohamed Latib

What would you do? Join me as Mohamed Latib shares his story as a teenager in a boarding school in the Himalayan Mountains. At the age is 14, at the end of the academic school year and facing 3-months of winter vacation Mohamed found himself in a situation that none of his fellow classmates had to face. This moment shaped the course of his life forever.

Learn what Mohamed did as he shares with you his story of perseverance, resilience, and peace.

Mohamed is the form Dean of Gwynedd-Mercy University’s School of Business and Center for Lifelong Learning. Prior to that, he was Vice-President for Program and Strategic Development at DeSales University where he headed the MBA Program and led the University’s international initiatives that resulted in the implementation of programs in Romania, Italy, Peru and India.

He has conducted executive and corporate training programs for over 35 years across the USA and Globally. He has designed custom programs on many topics. Some sample topics include strategic thinking, leadership, teamwork, effective communications, multi-rater feedback, conflict management, change management, customer service and listening.

He has also served as a consultant, mentor and coach to senior executives in global corporations such as Siemens, Air Products, Dominion Textiles, Swift Textiles, Pennsylvania Power and Light and Smithfield Meats. He is certified in Myers Briggs and other assessment tools and has used them to counsel senior executives in their development programs.

Mohamed has traveled extensively across the globe, lived on three continents for extended periods and has even hiked in the Andean range, and the Amazon and Sub-Saharan jungles. He is familiar with eight languages at various levels of fluency and is a keen golfer and yoga practitioner.

Mohamed is currently the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of PeriscopeIQ. He leads the company’s practice in employee and customer engagement. In this role, his task is to explore innovations to that are grounded in scientific methods so that executives get reliable and valid actionable insights for making decisions to drive business performance.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @cxwhisperer will help you get over the hump on @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“My experiences over three continents has allowed me to be who I am.” -Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“You are a leader as long as you have followers.” -Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“Take not away my happiness when you give me prosperity.” -Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“When you give me strength take not away my sagacity.” -Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“When you give me glory take not away my humility.”-Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“When you give me humility take not away my dignity.”-Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“Take not away my grace when you give me authority.”-Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“Leadership has a responsibility.”-Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“Maintain your grace with the authority and responsibility that comes with leadership.”-Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“In order to be an effective leader it begins with self.”-Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“I need to always challenge my assumptions.”-Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“The interpretation of the world we are in can be problematic.”-Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

“The dignity of human beings should be fundamental to leadership.” -Mohamed Latib Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Mohamed traveled the world at an early age. As he traveled the world there were several experiences that shaped his disposition towards the rest of the world. Mohamed shares a story where he wished the ground opened up and swallowed him up. Listen to the show to find out what Mohamed did and what he learned.

Leadership Epiphany

The dignity of human beings shall be fundamental to any form of leadership responsibility that he would have in his life.

Best Leadership Advice Received

If you follow me you will always get ahead because together we can conquer lots of obstacles.

Secret to Success

A disciplined lifestyle

Best Resource

Meditation

Recommended Reading

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Outliers: The Story of Success

More Resources

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Show Transcript:

Click to access edited transcript

004: Mohamed Latib: I was left all alone

 

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, break out performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach:    Thanks Kimberly. Welcome Fast Leader Legion todays show’s is going to be one that is going to be from a person who has a global view on leadership, has a phenomenal sense of humor and is somebody that we all get a lot of good tips from when it comes to leading ourselves and others, and his name is Mohamed Latib. I’ve known Mohamed for several years, but for you, you want to know that he was the former Dean of Gwynedd-Mercy University’s School of Business and Center for Lifelong Learning and prior to that he was Vice-President for Program and Strategic Development at DeSales University where he headed the MBA program and led the university’s international initiatives that resulted in the implementation of programs in Romania, Italy and India. 

 

He’s been the developer and facilitator of executive and corporate training programs for over 35 years across the US and globally with topics that include strategic thinking, leadership teamwork, effective communications, multi-rater feedback, conflict management, change management and customer service. 

 

He has also served as a consultant and mentor and coach to senior executives for such global brands like Siemens, Air Products, Dominion Textiles, Swift Textiles, Pennsylvania Power and Light and Smithfield Meats. 

 

Mohamed has travelled extensively across the globe, lived on three continents for extended periods and even hike the Indian range and Amazon sub-Saharan desert jungles. He’s familiar with eight languages at various levels of fluency and is a keen golfer and yoga practitioner, you may have to figure out how all those languages has fit into the golf play I may need to learn a language in order to get better. 

 

Today he’s actually a beaming grandfather and the Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of Periscope IQ. Where he leads the company’s practice in employee and customer engagement.  Mohamed Latib, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Mohamed Latib:     I am indeed, Jim, and it’s a pleasure to be with you thanks for the invitation. 

 

Jim Rembach:     The honor is ours for sure, especially mine.  Now I’ve given our listeners a brief introduction about you but can you please tell us little about yourself so we can get to know you even more?

 

Mohamed Latib:     Well, I think the introduction is fair. I think what I would weave in to that introduction is the fact that I have lived on three different continents over my life and as a result of being on three different continents from very early in my childhood to where I am today, the experiences that I’ve harness over the years has allowed me to be who I am. And part of the agenda for this show is indeed to share with your listeners anything that I can convey via the experiences I have had.

 

Jim Rembach:     Definitely. We’re looking forward to that. All of us, I think, are inspired by quotes. And on this show we like to share some of the most favored leadership quotes by the people who were getting the opportunity to learn more about and learn about their stories and ways they’ve gotten over the hump. So, I’m sure you’ve had literally thousands and thousands to choose from throughout your career. Is there a leadership quote or two that maybe stands out, let’s try with your most favored, and see where we can go with that. 

 

Mohamed Latib:     Jim, that’s an interesting question and I’m not sure that all the years after having read as much about the leadership phenomena in the literature as well as in my experience, that I had a favorite quote. However, I will tell you that the best definition of leadership that I came across that was not in the textbooks that I’ve read is one that is practiced at Gore and Associates, W.L. Gore and Associates, well-known for having produced Gore-Tex.

 

I visited the company many years ago and was fascinated by the fact that they treat leadership as a fluid phenomena, and that’s manifested in their definition of leadership which is simply this, “You are a leader as long as you have followers.” Which simply also means that once your followers cease to follow you, your leadership status has changed, I find that quite fantastic. I should say to you that only recently did I come across a series of observations that resonate very well for me and I think they’re important for anybody that’s interested in being a leader. 

 

And so if I may, let me share that very short poem, if you would, or perhaps even in some cases a prayer for many. And it goes as follows, it says: “Take not away my happiness when you give me prosperity. When you give me strength take not away my sagacity. When you give me glory take not away my humility. When you give me humility take not away my dignity. And take not away my grace when you give me authority.” And that last piece I hope resonates for your listeners because leadership has a responsibility and this automatic authority, if there’s anything that should resonate for the audience is the importance of maintaining one’s grace with the authority and responsibility that comes with leadership. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Thank you for sharing that because one of the things that we’re trying to do at the Fast Leader Show is kind of redefine what leadership is in today’s society. And the fact is that we all have to lead, and that includes ourselves. And even what you were sharing with us there’s so many things associated with me being true to myself and the things that I have to do in regards to being graceful to myself and you have to do those things first before you actually could even have any followers. So, thank you so much for sharing that I think that will resonate with so many different people who is part of the Fast Leader Legion. 

 

Now, when you talk about that quote, and again, many of the learnings that you’ve come to pass, there’s probably some really good opportunities were you can say this particular moment and that hump that I had to get over defined who I am as a person and really helped me go down a path that led to where I wanted to go. And so, can you take us back to a time where you’ve had a hump to get over and what actually happened?

 

Mohamed Latib:     Jim if I may, can I vary your question slightly without losing the substance of what you’re looking for by sharing a thread of my life where there were seminal experiences that influenced who I am as a human being. And I’m sure you and your listeners would appreciate that in order to be an effective leader it begins with self, an awareness of who we are, an awareness of our values, an awareness of our disposition towards the rest of the world. 

 

And I hearken back to my days as a teenager when I was in a boarding school in the Himalayan Mountains of northern Pakistan. I was there as a foreign student because I originate from South Africa. So I was as young lad at 14, at the end of the academic year when we were packing up our luggage and our clothes and the school was closed and we’re going to be on three months winter vacation. We drove down in the school bus from the mountains with all of my friends and colleagues and we arrived at the destination where every one of my friends family, friends, relatives if you would, were  there to receive them with all the hugs and love and happiness. So there was this merriment about saying goodbye and it didn’t take long for me to realize that all of them had left and I was standing there alone at the bus parking lot with my luggage wondering what it is that I would do. It was an important experience because it forced me to begin to become aware of the urgency and importance of developing resilience, developing inner strength, coming to terms with one’s values being decisive because I literally packed up my staff, got into a cab and found myself in an inexpensive hotel to ponder further what my next day was going to be like. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Wow, that’s very powerful. And so, such of a lesson to learn at such a young an age, please share with me some more. 

 

Mohamed Latib:     I then go back to another, if you would, an aha moment that has reminded me  ever since then that I need to always challenge my assumptions because unless one has validated one’s assumptions, the interpretation of the world that we’re in can be problematic. So here’s my story. I was moving around with some friends and we were having conversations and an old man with a white beard came to us begging for money. I responded with tremendous disrespect in English and made the heroic assumption that the individual I was being disrespectful to didn’t understand me, except to learn very quickly and much to my shock, when this old man turned around and said this to me, he said, “Sir, you have every right to say no to me but you have no right to disrespect me.” You cannot imagine how I wanted the earth below me to open up and just swallow me up because I had, in fact, violated such an important human principle by making the assumption that he didn’t understand English language and he clearly felt disrespected. I had vowed that the dignity of human beings should be fundamental to any form of leadership responsibility that I would have in my life.

 

 Jim Rembach:     Even here in the past couple years as you and I have had the opportunity to get to know each other a little bit more, it seems to me like you’ve also started to do that more for yourself meaning have more dignity for self and you share with us something a little bit more recently, I’m thinking about something specific but I don’t want to bait you, please bring us up a little bit more up to date. 

 

Mohamed Latib:     I’m not sure what you are going to bait me about Jim, I’d welcome that because then I’d know what to talk about.  So, I’m going to take the license to interpret what you’re asking for [inaudible 11:27] and share with you what to me is very important these days despite my years of seasoning in various professional roles. I am seriously committed to very personal issues such as my health. I am particularly concerned about my health and so I exercise regularly. I eat exceptionally well and I am a fanatic practitioner of yoga. I think the combination of those habits, if you would, allows me to continue to ponder about excellence. And I think if I am ready to embrace the challenge of being a healthy human being both physically, emotionally and psychologically, I could continue to journey down the paths of leadership responsibilities.

 

Jim Rembach:     You absolutely hit what I wanted you to share, so thank you so much for doing that. Alright now, what we want to do is pick up the pace a little bit and have a little bit of fun and get ready for the “Hump Day Hoedown.”  Okay, Mohamed, the Hump Day Hoedown is a time where I ask you a lot of questions fast and you give us robust answers fast to help us move onward and upward faster. Mohamed, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Mohamed Latib:     I think so Jim, let’s do it. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today? 

 

Mohamed Latib:     The opportunity to play a lot more golf so that I can interact with my friends and take their money. 

 

Jim Rembach:     [Laugh] I love it. Maybe I’ll get there someday. Alright, so what’s the best leadership advice do you feel that you have ever received?

 

Mohamed Latib:     If you follow me, you’ll always get ahead because together we can conquer lots and lots of obstacles. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Oh, the togetherness, I love that piece. Alright, so what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Mohamed Latib:    Discipline. I cannot emphasize the urgency and importance of engaging in a disciplined lifestyle.

 

Jim Rembach:     What do you feel is one of you best resources that helps you lead in business or life? 

 

Mohamed Latib:     You know, I cannot hearken to any book or piece of literature because I think they all contribute tremendous value. I can simply go to the fact that I believe in awareness and continued exploration of who we are as human beings. So part of my ongoing discipline is to meditate every day. 

 

Jim Rembach:     So, meditations a good resource. 

 

Mohamed Latib:     Yes, Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Now, I know you’ve talked about not necessarily having one book, but is there kind of one that kind of stand out that you would actually recommend for our readers?

 

Mohamed Latib:     You know, I love to read Malcolm Gladwell’s books, even though they’re not particularly on the topic of leadership. But they offer you lots of stories and I think stories are very powerful metaphors where leadership lessons are woven. 

 

Jim Rembach:     We have on the Fast Leader Show. 

 

Mohamed Latib:    Yes indeed. 

 

Jim Rembach:   So we have some links to a couple of your favorite Malcolm Gladwell books on our show notes page which you’ll be able to find at fastleader.net/Mohammad Latib. Alright, Mohamed were down to our last question for the Hump Day Hoedown, so here go. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again. You are supposed to begin a new job as a manager of a team that has been underperforming and disengaged but you have a blessing you’ve actually retained all the wisdom and skill that you currently have. Now your task, of course, is to turn this team around. So you get up, you get ready you head out to work, what do you do now?

 

Mohamed Latib:     Wow Jim, how much time do we have you’ve just given me the license to dream and be wishful, which fortunately, we never have to pay for. And so indeed if I were to turn the clock back with all the wisdom I have and be a 25-year-old that’s going to oversee a bunch of disengaged human beings I would find that extremely exciting and I would bring the entire package of lessons that I’ve have been able to garner over years. And actually express my leadership style to get them engaged through all of whatever we shared which is to really begin to express my values around human dignity. People are fundamentally good and I think if you treat them well they will step up to perform. 

 

Jim Rembach:     So true. Thank you very much for sharing that. Mohamed Latib it is an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?

 

Mohamed Latib:     Indeed. Please feel free to have your Fast Leader audience connect with me via email at mlatib@periscopeIQ.com, they can also go to our periscope IQ.com website where they will find me and all of my contact information and they’re certainly invited to reach out with me at any time. And of course, they can check me out on Linkedln where I actually extend an invitation for anybody to reach out to me. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Perfect. We’ll also put a link to those on the show notes page. Mohamed Latib, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!

 

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader Show today. For recaps, links from every shows, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO.

 

 

Dee Kohler on the Fast Leader Show

003: Dee Kohler: You got to trust in this

Podcast Show Notes with Dee Kohler

What do you trust in? Join me as Dee Kohler shares her story (more than one) about trust, finding your place, and how you can model a very important and powerful behavior that is most often overlooked in work and life.

Learn how Dee found greater success and peace of mind in her career and self.

Dee is a wife, mother, grandmother and a long-time customer contact management executive. She is a J.D. Power & Associates award-winning operations professional with experience applying contact center best practice principles across multiple industries. And is a creative problem solver offering solutions that meet the needs of the client.

Dee has over 20 years’ leading the customer experience in corporate, not-for-profit, and government settings, with companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska, Prime Therapeutics, and Boys Town.

Dee has established herself as an industry leader. Her commitment to excellence in team performance earned her company the J.D. Power and Associates excellence award three years in a row. Dee specializes in improving the experience of both internal and external customers through the integration of strategy, people, process and technology.

Dee shares, “I am having the time of my life.”

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @kohldee getting over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“You love it, you embrace it, and you deal with it every day.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“Things will change or things will change.” -Ron Rhoades Click to Tweet 

“Are you going with the flow or are you helping being a change agent?” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“Trust, but verify” –Ronald Reagan Click to Tweet

“Find an organization that will accept me for who I am.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“You are who you are, but you need to be adaptable.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“You need to be adaptable to be the most successful.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“Know who you are and be able to best present that best person.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“Steady wins the race.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“You got to trust in yourself that you know what you know.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“Old fashion communication is probably the best when it comes to success.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“People, phone, paper. Prioritize people face-to-face.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“I made sure I was physically present.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“Role model how important it is to be present and available.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“Holding me back is taking appropriate risks.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

“Change management has changed my leadership.” -Dee Kohler Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Dee was sought after for bringing the energy to the meeting and projects and not necessarily the content. And so over time Dee began to feel that she was being over looked for having the ability to bring the answers. Dee was in a dilemma. Listen to the show to find out what Dee learned and what she did.

Leadership Epiphany

Steady wins the race and you’ve got to trust in yourself while verifying with your network.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Love what you do. Work, play, or otherwise.

Best Resource

Her daily devotionals.

Recommended Reading

Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership

Often Sold with this Book

The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and for Life
Jesus, Entrepreneur: Using Ancient Wisdom to Launch and Live Your Dreams

More Resources

Where is Dee Kohler poster; like Where’s Waldo.

54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.

Show Transcript:

Click to access edited transcript

Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, break up performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.

Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, today you’re going to get a treat. You’re going to hear somebody that has both energy and wisdom, and it’s a good friend of mine by name of Dee Kohler.

Dee has been leading Customer Care Operations for different organizations for the past twenty years primarily in the health space. She has so much insight on health care that we could really spend hours talking just about that particular issue alone. But she’s led both the people and the operations and the strategy for companies like Blue Cross, Blue Shield in Nebraska as an executive. She’s a speaker, writer, advisory board member, been an internal and external consultant. But one thing about Dee is that she brings a very unique energy and insight to the innovative and creative process that helps organizations get things done. And I’m really glad that we have her today on the show. So, Dee are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Dee Kohler: You bet, yeah.

Jim Rembach:  Alright Dee, I have given our listeners a little brief introduction about you. But could you tell us a little bit about you, so that we can get to know you better.

Dee Kohler: Sure. You’re right, a lot of my customer service and operations had been in health care. I also managed one of the crisis lines innovation, the Boys Town national hotline, so that was quite an experience. And sales and retentions, so that kind of wraps up the industry on the professional side. Married got a couple of kids, they’re grown and grandkid. I don’t know about any of the other folks that are out there but my kids, both of them had been boomerang kids, so dealing with the juggling of aging parents and having a grandkid running around the house. But you love it you embrace it and you deal with it every day.

Jim Rembach:  And you know you’re one of those people—when you tell about somebody who just continues to roll and persevere, to me you’re someone that I look up to in regards to that. I know I can always find some inspiration in a lot of ways through you and the things that you share with me. We oftentimes swap and share a lot of leadership quotes, because for us they kind of ground us. And so do you have, I know you have several, but is there kind of one that stands out for you?

Dee Kohler:   Yeah. I think one of my favorites was—the person that I kind of look to that snagged me into the service industry is Ron Roach. So give a shout out to Ron Rhoades, so give a shout out to Ron. He’s managing [inaudible 2:55] senior director in the Philippines right now, with a major outsourcing organization. Ron use to take the time and we’d literally take walks around the building, I don’t mean inside the building I mean outside the building. And they were walks of just talking and understanding and sharing his experiences and being able to take those. One of the things he used to always say was, “things will change or things will change”, it was just his way of offering that different inflection and emphasis if you will on the words and the phrase that book you up and that was a little bit of a reminder. And for me, it made me reflect, am I being change agent or am I going with the flow. And then as I’ve adapted that quote, if you will, over the years now it helps me remind my team—it’s kind of a time check or a gut check for your team members. Are you going with the flow? Or are you helping being a change agent.

Jim Rembach:   You know that’s a great quote because the words in itself are real simplistic and some was oxymoronic because they’re the same, but it’s still the inflection which will give a whole different meaning and it really causes you to kind of pause and take things in and absorb, I think that’s a great quote. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. Now at the Fast Leader show, we really get also inspiration by having people tell us their stories on what they’d had to get over for a hump. Things that they’ve learned in the process so that hopefully we don’t go through the same frustrations and really come to some conclusions faster by learning through others. I know, because we shared many of these types of stories that you have, some that you can draw on. Is there one that kind of stands out for you as the defining moment that has kind of shaped you?

Dee Kohler:  I actually have two real quick ones. One I can think of is—it comes back to I think it was Ronald Reagan that said, ‘trust but verify’. So, I was responsible for a startup and responsible for bringing in the service organization, make sure we were staffing it correctly. And with that start up I was trusting others for the data to help me in forecasting the staff, and I didn’t verify. And so we get started and I’ve got 14 [5:32] sitting out there. And hindsight the data that I was given was for a mature organization, not a startup. The number of calls that we were going to be getting was 125% of orders being received not 20% which was in that mature organization. What I learned from that is just that, it’s the trust but verify, you really need to—and that was 15 years ago. And so now that’s been a lesson that I’ve learned along the way that you’ve got to really do your homework. Yes, trust the resources that are giving you the data but verify it in a number of other resources to be able to be sure, especially if it’s something you’ve not done before, you can’t pinpoint your experience on that. So that’s probably one quick story.

Another is probably more self-retrospective of self-reflective–I hope my energy’s coming across on the phone. I’m just a very energetic person and sometimes a little bit over the top and I have to dial it down in certain meetings, certain things and even in certain cultures. I was promoted to an executive role and oftentimes I think I was looked to in those meetings for bringing the energy to the meeting and not necessarily the content. And so overtime if you’re not being aware of yourself and how others are perceiving you and your level of energy and what it is that you’re bringing to the table, you can become to a certain extent overlooked and that you’re not that person that they’re looking to for the answers.

I came to that through a number of ways, I was working with a professional coach who was very, very great to work with and just really helped ‘unpeel that onion.’ I’ve learned a lot then in that you have to make the decision on whether or not that’s going to be that long term relationship. Is it the culture that you are going to have to dial it back so much that you’re not yourself? Or do I need to make a culture change? Do I need to find an organization that’s going to accept me for who I am? So, that’s I think the thing that was my biggest learning is that, you are who you are but you need to be adaptable within the cultures in organizations, and with clients and in speaking engagements to be able to be the most successful. And so it’s really, really knowing who you are and being able to present that best person.

Jim Rembach:   You know that’s really important for all of us to kind of recognizes and realize the adaptability component, the flexibility component. Being too rigid can cause some serious problems for a lot of us when we’re trying to move things forward to get ahead or even be part of a group. Thank you for sharing that with us. You had mentioned something about two quick stories, so do you actually have one that gives us a little bit more detail and some specifics that you have in mind that you want to share?

Dee Kohler:     I guess no. I just wanted to fill the time I thought of those two as we were preparing for it. Of the two of course, the one with the more self-reflective carries not only across here on my professional life but gives me that courage even in my personal life. If there’s a stranger that you meet in the airport or in the airplane or whenever it might be, to be able to have that random at the finest or whatever it might be to be able to make someone else’s day a little brighter.

Jim Rembach:     All often times we have what is called an aha moment, I can refer to them as epiphanies. Those epiphanies can come in different places and different time, so when you start talking about those two stories that you shared with us, is there some moment, that epiphany that you can reflect back on, can you share that with us? How did that happen?

Dee Kohler:     I think probably the biggest thing was the teamwork when being part of Blue Cross and we’ve earned our first J. D Powers. When we got that first one, I cried, I truly cried. It was because I was happy that the work that we had done for the two and half almost three years before that, was so successful. I guess the aha moment was when it’s [inaudible 10:14] wins the race, and you’ve got to trust in yourself enough that you know what you know. Going back to my trust but verify is that you reach out to those network that you create. Jim you and I we reach out, “Hey, Jim have you ever experience this? Or I call Ron or I call those people in your professional career that you can reach out to. And all of those reach outs during that period of time paid off. And so I think that was—is that you’ve got a strong network and that you trust and that you just slow wins the race and stay the course.

 

Jim Rembach:     For me as a person who’s kind of wired to be impatient, I have to keep using that as a reminder myself. You’re right, you have to use that network, you have to use that circle a lot of times in order to really keep you from being too anxious. Because when you’re too anxious that also will affect your ability to think properly, and we know that, that’s been proven. I actually read a study where it talked about people’s IQ actually drops when they have to go to the restroom. You know sometimes we’re just sitting in the meeting—I got to go, I got to go, that IQ drops because what are you doing? You’re focusing on the fact that you’ve got to go instead of what’s happening. [Laugh] I think that’s kind of comical but we just don’t realize that, but it does happen.

There was a situation a couple of years ago, when you and I are chatting about—to me also  something that’s often forgotten in today’s, let’s just say, remote working or virtual world and that was some of the findings and work that you were doing around a word called, proximity. I think that’s very important concept for us to remember and to talk about. Can you share with us a few things that you learned about proximity?

Dee Kohler: I guess when I think about proximity, of course, we all think of something close to me or something that’s—whether it’s a group or a team or whatever it might be. I was working from home and I was consulting and I found out that I’m not wired for that, I’m wired to be around people all the time. So the proximity that I had with people and the teams that I was working for, it was virtual and it was all working out great I was doing it exceptional, I was making sales, I was exceeding client expectations, but me myself I wasn’t being fulfilled because I needed that long term relationship and the opportunity to develop people. And I think that’s I guess another self-realization, another aha moment. Okay, I gave us a try and it wasn’t working so it’s when I put myself back in the market and the neat thing was I was able to really, really be conscious in how it was that I was picking that next organization that I wanted to be a  part of for that next part of my journey. And I’m just having the time of my life developing people and working through that and being in the proximity of others to be able to influence and them influence me and be a better person.

Jim Rembach:   And you also use that in part of your project work. I remember, for me, it was a story associated with some work that you were doing when you were a Blue Cross/Blue Shield Nebraska where you were studying this thing, about proximity. The thing meaning–often times we just shoot a quick email, we have a conference call, we do these things and we have all this project work. But that really having that one on one time, even in the group settings shouldn’t even say one-on-one probably, but having people look at each other in the eye. Normally if you’re doing it from a video conference, what did you find out about that?

Dee Kohler: Well, I think what we found out about it is that, we kind of had this rule, it’s the three email rule. If you’re going back and forth through the email or something like that, pick up the phone and then if the phone isn’t working then walk down the hallway. And so it was just a matter of making sure that you’re understanding that the old fashion communication is probably the best when it comes down to success. And the other thing I use to always work with my leadership team that I was grooming is the three piece—people are always first, then I’ll come to the phone and then I get to the paper but you’ve got to prioritize, and that people and that face to face is so important. Talk about proximity, I was juggling two offices in two locations just in Omaha and they were only 8 miles apart, trust me I knew every which way to get from here to there. But that was important to me—the proximity—that I made sure that I was physically present at either of those offices, try to be once a day. And it was the only time I can tell you during work that I’ve got my tickets. [Laughter] I was trying to be in close proximity to my team but I wish I had it but the marketing team, it was kind of a joke, and they did a where is Dee poster. It was just hilarious at how my team, they understood that I was trying to make sure that—a role model, how important it was to be present and to be available to your team.

Jim Rembach:   Dee, so much wisdom and a lot of truth that you’ve shared with us, and the whole proximity thing is again something that we just don’t talk a lot about but we have to be more aware of that. I love the three piece and I look forward to sharing those things on our show notes page. And for you listeners you’ll be able to find that at www.fastleaders.net/deekohler.

Now we come to the fun part of the show, Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Dee, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us a robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Dee Koehler, are you ready to hoedown?

Dee Kohler:     You betcha!

Jim Rembach:   Alright. So Dee, what do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader?

Dee Kohler:     Holding me back is taking appropriate risk. Sometimes I’ll be too risky and sometimes not enough, so it’s finding that balance.

Jim Rembach:   What is the best leadership advice that you have ever received?

Dee Kohler:     I would say that it is love what you do. Whether its work, play or otherwise, just love what you do.

Jim Rembach:     Sometimes you have to find that love, right?

Dee Kohler:    That’s exactly right.

Jim Rembach:    So, what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

Dee Kohler:     I would say the good old manage by walking around, that is it. This morning even though I was getting prepared for this I take the time, my team knows if I’m running late or anything though, they know because they know that’s my morning routine.

Jim Rembach:     What do you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?

Dee Kohler:     One of my resources is my daily devotionals, it gets me started in the morning. I love it, I just get up I open my devotional book and just take a few minutes with me and the Lord above.

Jim Rembach:     Alright. So what would be one book that you would recommend to our listeners?

Dee Kohler:     On that same line, I love Jesus CEO, I’ve probably read it three or four times and that’s by Laurie Beth Jones. And I love it because it’s a daily little work out, that’s exactly what it is, it’s a work out. [Laugh]

Jim Rembach:     That’s great. Alright, so Fast Leader listeners we are going to find links to that book and several others by going to www.fastleader.net/deekohler. Dee we’re down to our final question on the Hump Day Hoedown. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old again, you’re supposed to begin a new job as a member of a team that is underperforming and disengaged, you actually had to lead this team, you were blessed because you have retained all the wisdom and skill that you currently have your task is to turn the team around. You get up, you get ready, you head out to work, what do you do now?

Dee Kohler:     Oh! I just think that that piece was scary, [Laugh] I guess what comes to mind first is, I would be afraid that I would just overwhelmed because I would know so much more than I did at 25. I think the biggest thing would be right now is that I would step back and I would start executing and implementing change management. Change management is probably the other biggest thing that I would turn to that has changed my leadership–is being able to incorporate change management on what it is that we’re doing.

Twenty five years ago I would have been the bull in the China shop and just said, do it because I just said so. [Laugh] And now I recognize that there’s a different, better way to be able to bring about change when we need to improve performance or we’re having to just move you to a different cubicle. It could be that what we might think of a simple change but to that person that’s a big deal, they’re moving spots, “I don’t want to go seat over by that window because it’s cold over there or it’s hot” or whatever, change management was the one thing that I would probably start with instead of just because I said so.

Jim Rembach:  Dee Kohler, it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with Fast Leader listeners how they can get in contact with you?

Dee Kohler:     Certainly. They can get in contact with me, my personal email is deesmission@gmail.com.

Jim Rembach:   Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom, the Fast Leader legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!

Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. Recaps links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

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