page title icon People Leadership: How the Employee Experience Impacts the Customer Experience

How we are as an organization, how we treat each other as peers, shows up in the customer experience.

We have all heard the maxim, “The customer is always right.” Top companies like Amazon lays the foundation of their success on customer-centricity and customer-focus. As customer experience leaders, we believe that a happy customer is the heart of any organization. But how do you make them feel valued? It relies on your people leadership – your employee experience.

According to a report by Gallup, a global analytics firm, engaged workers have significantly higher productivity, profitability, and customer rating than disengaged workers. There is no doubt that leadership is important in creating wonderful customer experience.

In this episode, Jonathan Raymond shares how you can lead your people and develop that people-centric culture in your organization.

Jonathan Raymond was born and raised in the suburbs of New York on Long Island. Growing up as the son of an entrepreneur and a psychologist, he learned from an early age both the value of taking risks and working on yourself along the way.

As a youth, Jonathan could be found playing endless games of three-on-three in his driveway with a close group of friends. From early on, he had a deep drive for justice and struggled to understand why the world always seemed to favor the people who already had enough.

After a failed attempt at living life as a ski-bum in Colorado, Jonathan went to NYU Law School and began his career as a corporate lawyer at a large Manhattan law firm. While it was far from fun, during this time, he honed his skills as a writer and the ability to analyze a problem from multiple perspectives.

He left the practice of law in 1999 in search of something more. Over the next ten years, he dove deep into various personal growth and spiritual traditions, studied to become a yoga teacher, sit silently on long meditation retreats, and did deep work on his inner emotional world.

In his professional life, Jonathan developed a knack for business development. He took on business growth roles for a few tech startups in San Francisco before co-founding a wind energy company that won the first-ever government contract for wind power in British Columbia.

In 2011, Jonathan became the CEO of EMyth, where he found the sweet spot that would become his life’s calling — working at the intersection of personal and professional growth. After leading a three-year full-scale corporate transformation, he decided to strike out on his own to create Refound and write his first book, Good Authority: How to Become the Leader Your Team is Waiting For.

Good Authority won the Axiom Award for Leadership in 2018. Seth Godin wrote: “Good Authority is a modern classic, and it will redefine what it means to be the boss.” In 2018, Jonathan was named one of Inc. Magazine’s Top 100 leadership speakers, and he’s become a trusted advisor to CEOs and Presidents who are navigating high-growth.

Jonathan lives in Encinitas, California, one of the last towns left in Southern California that retains its 1970’s surfing vibe. He’s blessed to spend most mornings before work on his stand-up paddleboard catching waves and connecting with nature. He’s married to his wife of ten-years Aleksandra, and is a proud dad to two girls, Livia, who is sixteen and stressed too much about school, and Ella, who is almost four and is beyond ready for her happy birthday.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Jonathan Raymond get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“So above, so below.” – Click to Tweet

“What’s happening inside the company shows up in the customer experience.” – Click to Tweet

“You don’t get to look good and grow at the same time.” – Click to Tweet

“We teach best what we most need to learn.” – Richard Bach – Click to Tweet

Advice for others

People are far more forgiving than you might think, if you give them the opportunity.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Trusting people to the next level.

Best Leadership Advice

Make space in your day where it’s not blocked out.

Best tools in business or life

Nature. Find a way to connect with nature every day in some form.

Recommended Reading

Good Authority: How to Become the Leader Your Team Is Waiting For

Skinny Legs and All

Links and Resources

Refound website: https://refound.com/

The Accountability Dial video course: https://academy.refound.com/

Special offer for you: http://refound.com/fastleader/

Jonathan’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jonathanrefound/

More episodes on leadership: https://www.fastleader.net/why-leadership-is-important/

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Show Transcript

Click to access unedited transcript

Jim Rembach (00:00):
Okay, fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today. Who’s actually going to be presenting to us, you know, some, some uncommon solutions to some common problems. Jonathan Raymond was born and raised in the suburbs of New York, on long Island. Growing up as the son of an entrepreneur and a psychologist. He learned from an early age, both the value of taking risks and working on yourself along the way. As a youth, Jonathan could be found playing endless games of three on three in his driveway with a close group of friends from early on, he had a deep drive for justice and struggled to understand why the world always seem to favor the people who already had enough after a failed attempt at living life. As a ski bum in Colorado, Jonathan went to NYU law and began his career as a corporate lawyer at a large Manhattan law firm.
Jim Rembach (00:54):
While it was far from fun. During this time, he had honed his skills as a writer and the ability to analyze a problem from multiple perspectives. He left the practice of law in 1999 in search of something more. Over the next 10 years, he dove deep into various personal growth and spiritual traditions studied to become a yoga teacher, sit silently for long meditation retreats and did deep work on his inner emotional world. In his personal life. Jonathan developed a knack for business development. He took on business growth roles for a few tech startups in San Francisco before co-founding a wind energy company that won the first ever government contract for wind power in British Columbia. In 2011, Jonathan became the CEO of E-Myth, where he found the sweet spot that would become his life’s calling, working at the intersection of personal and professional growth. After leading a three-year full-scale corporate transformation, he decided to strike out on his own to create refound and wrote his first book.
Jim Rembach (01:51):
Good authority, how to become the leader. Your team is waiting for good authority. One, the Axiom award for leadership in 2018 and Seth Goden wrote that good authority is a modern classic, and it will redefine what it means to be the boss. In 2018, Jonathan was named one of Inc magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers, and he’s become a trusted advisor to CEOs and presidents who are navigating high growth. Jonathan lives in Encinitas, California. One of the last towns left on the Southern California coast that retains its 1970s survived. He’s blessed to spend mornings before work on his standup paddleboard catching waves and connecting with nature. He’s married to his wife of 10 years Aleksandra and is a proud dad of two girls Livia who is 16 and stretched out and stressed out too much about school and Ella who is almost four and is beyond ready for her happy birthday, Jonathan, Raymond, are you ready to help us get over the hump? I am Tim. Thanks so much for having me on the show. You know, I’m glad you’re here today and I’m looking forward to our conversation. We’ve kind of started it a little bit before, and so now we’re going to complete it. And so I really, uh, before we get into that discussion, we’d like to get an understanding of how, what you’re going to share with us today can improve the customer experience. Hmm.
Jonathan Raymond (03:08):
I think, you know, one of the things that we often forget, although when we think about it in hindsight, we think sort of like, duh, of course, that makes sense. Is that how we are as an organization, how we treat each other as peers, how we work with our employees shows up in the customer experience, right? And we often will say as a BA as above, so below, right? It’s like as interior as inside what’s happening inside the company, it shows up now it’s not always easy to see how we are showing up internally. Exactly. One-to-one sometimes there’s an art and sometimes there’s a science where you can see the way we show up. But if you think about, you know, just really simple a retail experience, although even during, you know, during COVID our retail experiences are, are fewer. You go into a shop and you have an interaction with someone who’s who’s customer facing.
Jonathan Raymond (03:54):
You can learn a lot about the company culture. You can learn a lot about how people are treated, how people feel about their jobs. Do they have a voice? Do they feel respected? That happens on a much larger scale when you’re dealing with a customer service ticket, even if you never meet that person and you may be only corresponding with them over email, you can, if you, you don’t even have to really pay much attention, but you’ll start to see these threads between how people feel, how much passion they have, what sense of ownership do they have? What kind of decision-making rights do they have? And that’s all informed by the way we organize and behave culturally and as leaders.
Jim Rembach (04:27):
Well, and, and so when we’re talking about this, you know, really we’re talking about how we’re leading those people who are having those interactions, you know, and going up within the organization, how ultimately we’re sending that message, creating the systems, creating the frameworks, putting in the KPIs. I mean, it’s very multifaceted and then talk about, you know, one skill being the most important that can impact your business and your life, and that we need to develop this skill. What skill is that?
Jonathan Raymond (04:56):
Let’s go, let’s approach it the other way, but the skill that we have overdeveloped, uh, most of us, uh, but most of us bordering on all of us has the ability to fix things and solve problems. This is what our school systems, generally speaking teach that may be changing a little bit on the margins. These days I will get to that, but this is the way most of us were raised by our parents, in our communities. We were raised that, that the thing that we did that was of value was our ability to fix problems and solve things. And that’s, that’s fine. That’s good. That’s a good quality to have those are important skills, but when you get into an organizational situation or inside of a group that can very quickly and does become a liability and that skill or that strength that we actually need is the ability to ask questions and to create space for others, to solve problems and fix things.
Jonathan Raymond (05:44):
And it’s that tension as leaders to figure out well, is this a moment where I need to fix this and solve this sometimes, but more often than not. And the more senior you become as you grow as a leader, the less that skill is actually the right skill for the moment, the right skill for that moment, it’s more and more asking a question and creating space. And, and there’s a, we can say a lot about not just asking the question where, you know, the answer and everybody knows, you know, the answer, but genuinely asking an open-ended question and waiting for other people to exercise that voice, to actually show up in that moment of autonomy and to create space for that. That’s what we see over and over again, whether it’s fortune 100 or small companies, that’s the skill that leaders have underdeveloped and is the skill that makes an enormous impact on your people, your customer experience, your profitability, all of those things.
Jim Rembach (06:37):
Well, and when you, when you say that, I’m starting to think about the skill that goes with that, which is vitally important is the skill to wait through that uncomfortable pause that happens.
Jonathan Raymond (06:48):
Yes. Yup. Yeah. It’s huge. You know, we’re, we’re not, uh, we don’t train that skill, right? We don’t train mostly as human beings, especially in the Western world. Uh, we talked to, you talked a little about in the intro about meditation and yoga and, you know, you can say a lot of things about a lot of those traditions, but what, they’re, what they’re really teaching you, how to do the skill and the you develop the discipline is how to bear discomfort, right? How to bear the discomfort of uncertainty or ambiguity. And that is a skill that is not, uh, uh, well trafficked in our world, right? That’s most of us really struggle with that. And now we have, you know, a bunch of engineers in Silicon Valley chopping up our attention into little micro bits, making it harder and harder. So we have, we have all the tools at our disposal to avoid discomfort and ambiguity in every moment. We’re just, you know, just pick up the phone, right. And so that skill becomes both in more rare supply and also that much more powerful when we do it,
Jim Rembach (07:45):
That has so much depth. And it’s so profound and a multitude of different levels. I mean, as you’re talking, I start running through all these kinds of different scenarios that I have had throughout my career, even personally, when there’s been times where two things, you know, first of all, I haven’t done it. And then I know my frustration because space wasn’t a created because it wasn’t done to me.
Jonathan Raymond (08:08):
Yes. Yeah. And that’s really, you know, we’re, we’re, um, you know, I remember when I started out in the practice of law, the reason why I left is, uh, there was a senior partner is a really nice guy. His name is Stanley. He was probably in his seventies at the time. And he had an, and I went into his office. I was a junior, you know, piano. Like I was nobody in the organization. It’s a really nice guy. And he said, Hey, can you swing by? I wanted to ask you a question. So I went into his office and I was in his office for 30 seconds and the phone rang and he looked at me and he picked it up and he said, I’ll let me hold on one second. And he looked at me and he said, Hey, Jonathan, I’m really sorry to have to do this in the old days, I would, uh, sat you down.
Jonathan Raymond (08:44):
I would have said, Hey, come sit down and listen to it on this call with me and maybe take some notes and see what you pick up and see what you learn. But that’s not the way we do it anymore. We don’t, we don’t have those mentoring moments because it’s all about the billable hours. It’s all about the efficiency. And he knew that was wrong. He knew that it was long-term, that was a bad thing for the organization. And it was a bad thing for profitability and, you know, me getting smarter, but we had, because the organization had become, so short-term focused. And so even though he might have even known how to do it, the organizational mandate was like, no, you can’t do that. You can’t create space. And so of course, not only did I not get that space, I didn’t learn how to do it for other people while I was in that job. And that was a big part of why I left was I didn’t want to work in an environment like that.
Jim Rembach (09:27):
And that makes so much sense. I suspect that there’s a lot of people who are watching or listening who are kind of shaking their head. Oh my God. Get it. And so for me, it’s almost like, okay, then we have to be the ones that kind of stop that behavior. Yeah. And also talking about the pressure. Right. You know, the pressure is the uncomfortable pressure that I may not be performing, you know, and hitting my KPIs because I am doing the investing in other people. I mean, at some point we kind of have to say, you know what, um, developing people’s more important.
Jonathan Raymond (09:58):
Well, there’s the, I forget who it is. I can’t remember if it was a Drucker or somebody who, you know, someone said, well, what if we invest in them? And they leave and said, you know, and I said, wait a minute. The response was, well, what if we don’t invest in them? And they stay right. Uh, but let’s rewind for a couple of seconds. Or we started talking about this in one of our other chats, is that those moments you, it’s not, I don’t want to set people up as like, Hey, you, every moment is a learning moment. And you have to create space all the time. Right? You have to choose those moments. And, and, and there is enormous value to say to somebody, your team, Hey, this is a great learning moment, but not today, right. To say, Hey, what just happened on that client call or, and that customer experience, like, we need to unpack that.
Jonathan Raymond (10:36):
But right now we’ve got to get this out the door. So tomorrow when we have our one-on-one or Thursday or whatever it is, I’m putting that on my agenda. Don’t let me forget. I want to talk about what happened there so that we can use it as a learning moment. Right? And so you don’t, you don’t have to stop the speed of business, but you have other opportunities in the week. And imagine you’re on the receiving end of that as an employee, even if you’re somebody really senior, if you’re, if your manager or your boss says, Hey, I want to talk about that. But not now you feel seen you say, Hey, wait a second. My boss has actually cares about me. He cares about my he, or she cares about my, my growth opportunity. And then I’m going to learn, okay, I’m good. I can wait until Thursday.
Jim Rembach (11:15):
Well, I know as you’re saying that, I’m seeing all this talking about that trickle down effect and how it impacts the customer. I think the same thing applies. I mean, it may be, it may seem like a simple example, but I just remember a couple of weeks ago getting something for my son at a fast food restaurant. And I spoke the order. And as soon as I finished or a few seconds after she asked me to repeat the order, I repeated the order. I got to the window. And ultimately he got something that was wrong. Yeah. So I, I think, you know, if we’re worried about getting people through the line and in a contact center environment where I do a lot of, a lot of work, getting them off the line, how many times are we creating a customer disservice? How many times are we creating a repeat contact? How many times are we creating an escalation? Because we don’t learn, you know, how to properly just ask questions, better questions, and then also have better active listening skills. Yeah.
Jonathan Raymond (12:09):
And, and th you know, think of those, those, we do this all the time, right. As human beings, we are, we love recommending things, right. We love talking about experiences that we had that were positive. Right. We also love talking about experiences that we had that were negative. Right. And not in my, I have a different sort of brand vision for refund, but in another iteration of my career, I said to my team, I said, that’s the only criteria I have. The only criteria I have is to people go, wow, that was really cool. How did they do that? I said, that’s our brand promise. I want people to organize an entire business global business around one concept, which is, I want P how do we know where winning is? If our customers come back to us either directly or through people who maybe buy from us. And they say, I don’t know how they do that, but it’s, it’s amazing.
Jim Rembach (12:55):
Check it out. Okay. So I’ll tell you that story, which was a good one, because it came on our local news where they were talking about COVID and having to manage, you know, all of the, uh, you know, injection process and people making sure that having to wait forever. And what they did was they asked a local manager from a Chick-Filet to come to actually get from line faster. And it cut times down by almost like 10 times. Yeah.
Jonathan Raymond (13:24):
Yeah. Amazing. Nice. That’s great.
Jim Rembach (13:27):
So those things do happen. Okay. So now in the book, you’re really talking about three core principles that we need to focus on developing, and they are that the deepest purpose of a business is to change the lives of the people who work there to the role of leaders and managers is to show people how professional and personal growth are inseparable. And then three, the way to get to be engaged is to be more engaged with them as people to be engaged. And then you actually take us on a journey in the book, and the journey is three parts of the book. It’s why should I care personal growth and work, and then, and more Yoda and less Superman. And I’m looking forward to that discussion when it comes up here in a little bit, you know, but you say it’s not a business book, but I’m thinking 20, 21 that really isn’t everything and business about chips.
Jonathan Raymond (14:21):
I probably, uh, you know, I wanted to, um, share those principles in a way that really got people thinking about, you know, if nowadays it’s especially post COVID, it’s really, uh, I wrote the book back in 2015 and it, and it was really, I was also at a time in my life where I was kind of like in the wilderness, so to speak relative to, uh, you know, the work that I do today. And I had, you know, as I started to have more and more conversations, being a CEO, myself, and talking other CEOs and really understanding what moves them, of course, CEOs are focused on profitability, on the numbers and growth opportunities and competition. Of course, we’re always focused on all of those things. And the moments when you actually scratch below the surface, you hear these stories of, you know, what this person on my team was able to buy a home for the first time in their life or this, they were able, they’re doing this work in the community.
Jonathan Raymond (15:14):
I’m so proud of them. Like CEO’s below the surface. They, they, they have these unbelievable stories have meaning to them. Although of course they want to capture market share and all the things that are obvious. And I wanted to give leaders permission for that to be okay to say, Hey, you know what? That’s actually okay, that you do that. And what we’ve seen in the last couple of years, and this trend is accelerating. And I don’t even think it’s going fast yet, but it’s accelerating where the boundaries between personal life and professional life have eroded. Now, now we could say, well, there’s a problem. And there is right. There’s a problem that people would feel are working, having to work all the time. And they can’t sit there. That’s the sort of the downside of it. But the silver lining is we’re now doing something that people have been talking about for at least four decades, which is to use work as a place or a vehicle or a venue for personal transformation.
Jonathan Raymond (16:05):
People have been talking about that since the sixties. So many of the things that people were talking about in the sixties, right? They’re mainstream. Now this is, this is becoming mainstream thought. And when I wrote this book, I wanted to be a push in that direction to bring these ideas into the mainstream. There’s nothing about a human being right. And who they are and what matters to them that you can’t find a way to make that relevant inside of a business. Right. And nowadays people, employees, and also all of us as customers, we’re looking at businesses and we’re saying, what does this business align with my values? Am I going to put my dollars in there in the pocket of this business? Well, I don’t know. Um, let me see what the CEO says about, uh, this cultural trend or that, you know, I, you know, whatever down to like, you know, every single week, you know, this week we’re looking at GameStop and, you know, wall street bets, and like, well, what does CEOs think about this?
Jonathan Raymond (16:56):
And what side are you on? Right. But there are these opportunities over and over again, where we’re seeing how people feel about a business, whether it’s a business they shop at, or the business they work at it’s personal. Right. And this fiction that it isn’t, it was never really true, but it’s, but these days we’re really seeing how, how deeply people want to feel aligned with the places that they shop. And again, there are some downsides we have to be careful. Uh, but, uh, that’s to me is the greatest positive of this time we’re in right now is people want meaning they want their values to be aligned. And they want a company and a manager who recognize,
Jim Rembach (17:36):
Arguably that wasn’t as easy as it is today. In other words, I felt trapped as a customer with a certain business, or, you know, maybe even a certain product, because I didn’t realize that I had choice, but now, you know, with the information highway being what it is, you know, I can very easily say, okay, I, that’s not okay with me, you know, or going to, you know, find something or someone or somebody, or, you know, things differently that do align. So I think we’re kind of, we’re seeing that in all facets. I think that’s the reasons why we’re having such the issues that we’re having with our government and the duopoly, you know, I’m not happy with Republicans or Democrats.
Jim Rembach (18:18):
So when I think about, um, you know, fixing the employee engagement problem, cause I get that question, how do I fix my employee engagement problem? Hmm. You know, going back to being in customer service and customer care, I saw firsthand when my team felt engaged that my customer was taken care of. And so I kind of focused in on now, the way I was described when I was managing a very large staff of people that I was from, but I was fair. I had an expectation, but I always helped people to try to be successful. And, and I, and I had, you know, expectations on myself and I had expectations of them. And so I always had scenarios where I did have a high performing team, but they weren’t engaged high-performing team. It wasn’t where I was burning them out and they were taken off. And at that time I really didn’t know how I was doing it. I probably didn’t know. And so I wanted to continue to study because it was something that was important to me. So I began as an engagement specialist, I became certified as an emotional intelligence. Uh, I, you know, created a virtual leadership Academy to help develop skills for contact centers called call center coach. And, and I’ve always been focused in on that, but this problem is not going away. Right. Increasing. So we need to do about this employee engagement problem.
Jonathan Raymond (19:39):
We, we really need to ask different and better questions. Uh, what most organizations do when they get a, you know, engagement survey, regardless of what tool you use. You know, I talk with CEOs and CHRs all the time and they say, well, the data is, data is clear. We’re not good at this. And I said, okay. And, and so, but what we, what we find is that people throw solutions way too quickly and they don’t actually ask, well, what does that mean? Right. Oh, CO’s so people don’t feel like they have a voice. Great. That’s good. That’s a good data point. What do they mean by that? If you have a hundred people there, you’re going to get a hundred different answers. If you ask now, there’s going to be common threads between those. But what rarely happens is organizations to stop and actually do a deep dive on that data.
Jonathan Raymond (20:24):
Getting the data is not difficult, but coming to understand that data and to actually use that, to start a conversation, most people use that data to end a conversation and they say, Oh, the engagement data says this, uh, we’re going to buy this service that, you know, creates bonus points or whatever. Right. And they throw these like these very linear solutions at nonlinear problems instead of to understand like a good manager, like a good CEO, like, well, we would never treat our customers this way. Right. We would look at our customer, say, Oh, there’s a customer behavior. We would go at wait, wait, why are they doing that? Why are they clicking on that button? Why are they buying that? And not that let’s really try to understand the market. Let’s get, let’s understand the behavior behind the behavior. We do this with our customers all the time, but then we look at our culture and we think we know the answer because we saw in a spreadsheet.
Jonathan Raymond (21:10):
It’s ridiculous. So it starts by asking different questions, by stretching out, by getting, you don’t have to get a hundred people together, get a group of people together and ask them some different questions. Hey, it’s really simple in the survey, we heard something around people not feeling like they have a voice. Can you say more about that? What does that mean to you? Do you see that differently in different parts of the organization? What would it look like if you had a voice, can you give me some specific examples and actually engage, you know, to the third principle, you want people to be more engaged, engage with them, ask them questions and, and act like you don’t know the answer because you don’t so show up that way. And then you’ll start to get underneath the engagement problem and you’ll get some easy things and you’ll get some really difficult things and then you’ll figure out, okay, what, where can we call it in? How do we best solve this problem right now?
Jim Rembach (22:01):
But the fact is, is that a lot of people can’t verbally convey the things that are really affecting them. And a mentor of mine, um, really helped me about these key concepts. And you can call them pillars if you want around engagement that start, you know, from a data perspective, you know, being consistent. And, and we, I talked to them, I talk about them being the seven keys to employee engagement that is feeling valued, conflict management, ownership, openness, motivation feedback, and then difference management, which is very different than diversity. And I would dare to say, when you start talking about things that people can convey fall in there, things that people can convey fall in there, and it could be everything like, you know what? I just don’t feel like I have all the tools that I need in order to do my job. So therefore very valued. All of these things start coming into play and people from their perspectives start talking about them quite differently. So it’s you take the data and interpret it by any stretch of imagination.
Jonathan Raymond (23:01):
And I think one of the common mistakes that managers or leaders make is they, they assume that people want so much more than they actually do. What, what people want is often really small. It’s often really simple. And when you, if you talk to people, they’ll say, look, I know how busy she is. I know she has so much on her plate. And I respect that. And I, you know, frankly, I don’t know how I would do in her job, but if she would just do this, it would make such a difference to me. It would make my life so much easier translate. I would become more engaged. I would be more productive, like all of those kinds of things. And I think we flew ourselves into inaction by thinking like, Oh, employees want the moon. They never, they’re never satisfied and blah, blah, blah, blah. And it’s actually not the case. People want, they they’re, they are, they do want certain things, but they’re not nearly as big as we think they are. When we make up stories.
Jim Rembach (23:52):
Your employee is not the enemy. It’s your customer. Just kidding. But I think when we hear these frustrations that come back from a leader level, HR level, wherever they may come from in the organizations where they’re trying to make some differences is you start hearing and you talk about five myths that we often hear. And those five myths you say, I can’t find good people. Nobody cares as much as I do. I can’t afford to invest time. And in someone who is just going to leave anyway, I’m not a therapist. I don’t have the skills to help them with their personal problems. And we just need better systems and more communication. And I think you addressed this by giving people what you call the accountability dial. So what is it?
Jonathan Raymond (24:45):
The accountability dial is a framework for conversations and there they are conversations between managers and direct reports. They’re conversations between peers. Uh, there are conversations between folks more senior. And one of the, the lessons that I learned as a CEO when I was struggling, uh, early on in my CEO career, where I realized that, uh, we were talking about accountability. We were talking about personal ownership. We were talking about responsibility, but the way we were going about it was really binary. We were actually doing mostly command and control. We were, whether we win no matter, even though however nice we said it, we were telling people what to do. And then we were getting mad at them when they didn’t do it. Right. And the accountability dial is a way to engage people to that third principle, much sooner, much simpler, and a much softer way than most managers typically do what the accountability dial.
Jonathan Raymond (25:39):
We approach it this way was designed to solve a specific problem. And the problem is what I call spontaneous management combustion and spontaneous management combustion is I see something and I don’t like it, but I don’t know what to say. I see it again. It’s becoming a pattern and I’m getting annoyed, but I don’t really want it. I don’t, I know that person’s going to get defensive. So I don’t say anything. I can see it impacting the business, but I’m going to make a work around instead of actually having an on and on and on until I get so frustrated that I lash out and that lashing out, sometimes it takes the form of yelling, but that’s rare. It often takes the managing around somebody subtly undermining them in a meeting, talking over them, not taking their ideas seriously. That’s that spontaneous moment where we’ve decided a person’s no good.
Jonathan Raymond (26:23):
Right? And then we’re all in those myths, right? I can’t find good people while they just don’t care. And it’s baloney. We miss the moment as managers and leaders to say, to go to that person and say, Hey, something happened this morning that I, I wasn’t sure what to make of it. So I just wanted to raise it with you before, before it went any further in my head and it made up a story about it. So what we, the mention in the accountability though, and what you’ll find is nine, nine times out of 10, you misinterpreted the data or the action and it doesn’t mean they did it, right? And you’re, you’re, you’re right about something. There’s something often what you saw, but the story you made up in your head about why that action was awful, was wrong. So we take people through, we train leaders, whether you’re a CEO, first-time manager or, or a mom or a dad doesn’t matter.
Jonathan Raymond (27:07):
Anyone can use this tool to structure your conversations, to start small, to ask a question about something that you’re concerned about, or you have a worry about, or you’re not sure. And then see how they respond again, nine times out of 10, your, your insight or your intuition, there’ll be something to it, but you’ve misinterpreted the data. And then the person will give you a new data and then you can respond, right? And the only mistake we make as leaders is we don’t say anything. We let that frustration build. We let that emotion build. We’ve got five direct reports or 10 direct reports and a team of a hundred and the department of a thousand, whatever it is, right. And it builds and builds and builds and builds. And everybody’s feeling it, everybody’s looking at us and being like, Oh, well that person’s not in a good way.
Jonathan Raymond (27:48):
So the accountability dollars, a way to deescalate, ask questions, have those conversations, pull them through into your one-on-ones so that people feel like they’re getting the feedback to one of your pillars. They’re getting the feedback that they need to make changes. People want to change. They want to have an impact. That impact is different. People’s psychological needs are different. If they’re, you know, frontline, hourly worker, what, what having an impact means to them is really different than a VP of sales, right? But nevertheless, there’s a common denominator. Humans. We want to feel like we’re having an impact. We want to feel like our work matters. And so the accountability dollars, a way to engage with people at whatever level they’re at, so that they have that experience that you care, that you’re invested in their growth at whatever level makes sense. And you’re looking out for them and you’re helping them see ways that they may not be bringing their best self to work without ever being like a therapist or trying to be a GRU or trying to, you know, create some kind of weird environment just by asking questions and having current,
Jim Rembach (28:49):
You know, as you’re talking about these, uh, there’s skills associated with giving feedback, there’s skills associated with, with receiving feedback, uh, and the whole willingness to be able to do it is vitally important for an organizations. Let’s just say their velocity. And cause if I’m dealing with, uh, a lot of issues where I can’t get to that point and have those conversations with the people who are coming in, it’s going to be a boat, anchor, anchor for everything. Are we going to have to actually take what you’re talking about and also change the way we we profile and hire and bring people into the organization as well? Absolutely.
Jonathan Raymond (29:26):
You know, the, the, the most common way we do this today, although we’re, we’re seeing a lot of our clients putting good thought into changing. This is we, we have people with a technical capability on a team, the leader of that team leaves or gets promoted. And we tap the person who we think is the best technical person to lead that team. Right? We haven’t tested them for capabilities or competencies in leadership and feedback and coaching and making space for others. And we probably made the problem worse. Twofold. One is we put a bad manager in charge of that team. And the other is we took our best individual contributor. We took them away from their individual contribute contribution. So they really don’t. And, but it makes sense, right? Because, well, we know them, we, they they’re, they’re aligned with our values. They have, they are respected in a certain way.
Jonathan Raymond (30:13):
What we’re seeing organizations do do now is we’re saying, Hey, wait a second. That’s not enough. If you want to lead a team, it’s 51% or more. Isn’t how you run that team. It’s fine. But like, cause I can, I can run an engineering team and I’m not an engineer, right? It’s not about that. Does it help sometimes. Right. But there’s a, but you got to know the basics, but you got to understand people. And so what we’re seeing organizations and, and I’ve actually seen, uh, fortune 100 companies better at this than smaller businesses. It’s, it’s an interesting way that sometimes big businesses are better at this is they’re starting to build into comp frameworks and performance reviews are saying, Hey, wait a second, we’re going to start scoring you. We’re going to start putting into your comp these qualities, these competencies. And I think if we fast forward to, we listened to this interview in 10 years, people are going to be like, Holy cow, this that’s how you measure a manager and a leader. And it’s a slow moving process, but it’s changing. And it’s changing fast because people leave when they don’t have that with their manager. And that’s really expensive two years and two X someone’s salary to replace them when they leave because of a disengaged, you know, because of disengagement.
Jim Rembach (31:17):
Oh, and you know, the, the data, I mean, that number can vary quite greatly. Uh, and if you’re talking about people who are interacting with a customer, it’s not just that replacement cost, you know, there’s a whole lot of opportunity costs. There’s a whole lot of lost customer costs. There’s a whole, there’s, there’s a wealth of costs that are associated with it. And the thing is, when you start talking about the complacent complexities in the customer experience, world is the interactions that are happening are more difficult than they’ve ever been because customers are self-serving. So that costs that impact to the business. Oftentimes I find is just grossly underestimated. Yes, indeed. Okay. So, uh, we’ve talked about, um, re-imagining micromanagement in our previous conversation as well. So now you’re saying we need micromanagement, we don’t need micromanagement, or we just need to look at it differently. We just need,
Jonathan Raymond (32:12):
Can look at it differently. Google did a great survey internally. They’ve done some amazing, uh, kind of research on it because they have a huge population and what they found, uh, as they said, people load being micromanaged on their tasks. People hate it,
Jim Rembach (32:27):
But they
Jonathan Raymond (32:29):
Desperately want and value micromanagement when it comes to their career and their own development. Right? So we got to separate micro-managing tasks versus micromanaging development. We want to be micromanaged when it comes to developing our skills and getting better and being more, have more value. We just don’t want you emailing us saying, Hey, where, where is that report? Right. And so it’s, it’s not, uh, it’s not a difficult distinction to make, but it’s easily forgotten. And you know, when we ask organizations, we are always doing organization. When we come into an organization, we ask people, we ask this to sort of two-part question. We say, you know, do, are you getting feedback right? And people say, yeah, I actually get a lot of feedback. Second question, are you getting developmental feedback? Nothing. Right. So the distinction is it’s dramatic, right? People are getting feedback all the time. It’s, it’s a, it’s a red herring. Well, you know, we want to have a culture of more feedback. I promise you, there’s plenty of feedback in your culture right now. It’s mostly unconscious, it’s mostly hostile or passive aggressive. And very little of it is developmental positive psychology based about the growth of the human being. So don’t worry about it, about creating more feedback, create the right kind of feedback and the spaces for personal growth.
Jim Rembach (33:50):
Okay. So there’s a couple of things to kind of recap, a few things you talked about, you know, motivation and, and these systems that are put in place in order to handle or try to address a complex problem. And, um, Susan Fowler, who’s been on the show a couple of times talks about that being motivational junk food. When we try to ice, you know, people to be engaged with the organization and warden that we mentioned that because people should check out Susan’s work. It’s fascinating. And also Michelle Borba, who’s been on the show, uh, talks about, you know, the younger generation and being totally self-absorbed and I’m not getting, you know, that type of interaction and engagement and feedback and that when they get to the workplace and now they’re getting to the workplace and mass number, they’re not even used to having discussions about their own personal development. So how do you address that?
Jonathan Raymond (34:38):
Uh, it’s, it’s interesting, you know, there there’s, uh, I would say it’s really, uh, the time we’re in more than generational in my experience, I think that this is, you know, this is a little bit of a by-product of our world. We don’t have, our social contract is really frayed, right. In terms of our willingness to support community, to work outside of ourselves, to be aware of our, of our, of our impacts on other people. To me, that’s the pandemic, if you will. Uh, even though, uh, I do think COVID is real and, uh, and we should deal with it and hopefully we’ll get better at it. Um, but that, uh, it goes to the second of those engagement myths, right? And we say, well, you know, people just don’t care as much as I do, or, you know, I just can’t find good people.
Jonathan Raymond (35:19):
I don’t find, I’m not funny. We’re not really asking good questions. Right. We’re not really sitting down with that person and, uh, and talking with them. And so, you know, let’s, let’s accelerate. Let’s, I’ve got somebody on my team and maybe I missed something in the hiring process or the recruiting process. And they seem to be, you know, all about them. Right. They’re only, they’re only interested in their own thing. Well, that’s a conversation to have with somebody. Right. And what, what you’ll find, uh, which, which I find, you know, 50 times a day is when I take a moment to have a conversation with someone about a behavior that I see in them that I think is self-defeating or organizational defeating, but let’s say self-defeating and I raised their awareness about it. Almost always people say, Oh my God, I didn’t want to be, I don’t want to be that way.
Jonathan Raymond (36:05):
That’s not, that’s not how, Oh, wow. Thank you so much for telling me that. Now again, that’s what the accountability doll is designed to have that conversation in a way that yields that type of response. Right? So if I go into that conversation and say, well, you know, you just make everything about you, right. I raised the issue, but I raised it an issue that has an extremely high likelihood of creating defensiveness and shut down and conversation going nowhere. Right. But if I flip that around and I say, Hey, there’s something that I noticed. And you know, this is a little bit of an awkward topic, but I want to take a little bit of a risk with you. I’ve noticed that, you know, when we’re in meetings, you seem to be really focused on, you know, how it impacts what the implications are for you. And I get that. But part of your evolution I think is maybe, you know, looking up and seeing how does it impact other people? Um, you know, I’d love for you to take, uh, take, take that on as a challenge, right? People are gonna respond really differently to that type of a mention than to one that’s coming from a you’re screwing up and you must change.
Jim Rembach (37:04):
Oh, very important information and insight. Because I think as I, as I mentioned already, a lot of this does translate into that interaction that happens with the customer. Uh, there was a story that I was telling about the time when I was still at university and I was working while I was in school. And the manager that I worked for always used to say something as like a phrase while working there long enough, I started saying it myself as well. And I was working with the customer and I said, that phrase will that upset the customer. And so he went playing about me, you know, you, my boss. And so I wonder what he was thinking when he was like, Oh my gosh, you know, I taught him that. Right, right. But we don’t realize how, what we do as a leader and what we model as a leader. And what we say as a leader will get taken on, you know, as their own, you know, response.
Jonathan Raymond (37:59):
It makes me think of something you said earlier where, you know, in terms of the, the level of complexity and the level of context that’s required to do effective customer service has gotten higher because there’s so many odd, you know, some automation options to sort of gobble up the low hanging fruit of those transactions. How are people going to innovate? Because what you need from them to that moment is innovate. They’re innovating in a conversation, right? They’re digesting context. They’re trying to look at it from multiples. How are they going to do that with no role modeling inside the organization? How are they going to do that with your customer, if you don’t do that with them. And I think that’s really important.
Jim Rembach (38:36):
So a lot of people would say, Oh, well, you know, we have this artificial intelligence, self guided system that would actually help them and give them presentations of information and responses. And I don’t care what you say cannot add the color and connection and being canned. It just can’t,
Jonathan Raymond (38:52):
There’s a, uh, Adam Grant who probably a lot of your listeners know is a really popular, you know, leader. There’s a, he wrote an op-ed recently. And it’s funny cause he’s a leadership guru. Uh, you know, he’s in this, in this club. And, uh, I thought it was interesting. It was, it was humble of him to say this, but he was actually having an experience talking about vaccines with a friend who was very, you know, anti certain thing or whatever. And he would a certain perspective. And he realized, even though he’s a very well-regarded leadership thinker and is written, you know, countless books, they didn’t know how to have a conversation from a place of curiosity. Right. He just knew how to logic. And so his friend said you’re a logic bully was the phrase that he used with him. And so I, I don’t know, I don’t know Adam Grant, but I don’t know if he did anything with that, but that’s a lot of times, that’s what it feels like for employees, right. Is like, well, you’re just being, you’re, you’re a logic bull. You’re not actually listening. You’re not actually asking questions. You’re not willing to look at the subtlety and the nuance of this interaction by, um, disengaging.
Jim Rembach (39:54):
Well, with my 15 year old son, we’ve had some dialogue along those lines. And I said, well, okay. So if I’m giving you all the, all the fact-based information, so you have all the data in front of you and you choose to defy it and make a different decision. I said, you know what, they call that. And he goes, no. I said, Trump, now I don’t care what your political affiliation is, but we have to acknowledge too, that evidence is there. Yes, you do have to make a better decision. Right.
Jonathan Raymond (40:24):
Or in this case, evidence is not there in which case, uh, we should be a little bit more sophisticated or
Jim Rembach (40:30):
Exactly. Okay. So needless to say, when you start talking about transformation, when you start talking about, you know, going through and making and taking the right behavior to get the right outcomes, I mean, there’s a whole lot of things that are associated with that, that require us to focus and give important attention to them. One of the things that we use on the show to help us really give focus and inspire us are quotes or two that you liked that you can share. Um,
Jonathan Raymond (40:59):
I’ll, I’ll give one from good authority because it’s one that people mirror back to me often. And I think it goes to our conversation, which is, uh, you don’t get to look good and grow at the same time. And so that’s, uh, all, that’s just one, uh, from mine, uh, that I like and people reflect back and say, it’s uncomfortable. Sorry. I think, you know what you’re asking of me, I get it. I want to be that I want to do that. I know that that’s my journey. That’s uncomfortable.
Jim Rembach (41:24):
Great. Um,
Jonathan Raymond (41:26):
And then I would say the other one is we teach best what we most need to learn, which I put at the front of books, Richard Bach, who wrote Jonathan seagull for, uh, folks of a certain generation, uh, we teach best what we most need to learn. And I think if you, you know, if you find yourself in a teaching role, which I don’t know anyone who isn’t these days at any kind of manager or leadership role or in any part of our world, um, why, why do you need to learn about that for yourself? How can you be more humble? How can you take a more vulnerable perspective and say, Hey, I, you know, I’m teaching this, you know, how can I also be a student of it? How can I also be a learner of it? Um, and there’s, uh, everyone, probably everybody has seen this video, this ad on YouTube from the older grass Tyson, who’s kind of like the, every man’s a astrophysicist and he there’s a quote in front of his masterclass. And he says, you know, the I’ll probably butcher it, but he says, the secret is to know enough about a subject, uh, to, to know that you’re right. Uh, but not enough about a subject to know that you’re wrong or given you got the idea.
Jim Rembach (42:28):
Well, no, that’s good because actually that quote and a picture of Neil is on my Facebook profile profile because it is so profound. And oftentimes in this world, you talk about how we’re conditioned is we’re conditioned to not have that vulnerability. We’re conditioned to you, right. We’re conditioned. And it’s like, look, you, you need to know that staying at a holiday Inn express is not going to make you a genius or a surgeon it’s just not right. Um, and, and understanding that limitation is critically important, especially when you start talking about developing, you know, folks that we need to develop. It’s our duty. As we age, we get more wise. It is our duty to give back in that way.
Jonathan Raymond (43:13):
And there’s no skill. That’s more crosses that boundary between personal and professional growth, then the skill of being able to support other people without fixing their problems for them. Right. And that skill crosses the divide into family and relationships. Anyone who’s listening, who’s married, you know, that, you know, if there’s any skill that anyone who’s married needs to develop is to not try to fix your partner’s problems, but to support, to listen, to be curious, right. To hold space, same exact thing we need to do for people.
Jim Rembach (43:44):
No, very true. Okay. So there’s times where we don’t do that, you know, their learning experiences. We talk about getting over the hump. I had the opportunity to go through and read your book and hear about your story and your journey. And, you know, we talked about a little bit in the bio, but is there a time where you can give a little bit more specifics about the time where you’ve had to get overwhelmed?
Jonathan Raymond (44:04):
The, the, the biggest one for me was, uh, really, you know, an arrogance that I held, you know, I really thought that I was good at this stuff. Right. I really thought that I was good at the leadership thing and that I was developing people and that I was creating space. And I came to a place in my career. This was back in 2013, you know, kind of seven, eight years ago where I had to take a real hard look in the mirror. And I said, I was at a place where, uh, the business that I was running, it was okay, but it, but we weren’t able to, we weren’t hitting them hitting the Mark the way I wanted us to do, we were still kind of stuck in neutral a little bit. And at the same time that was happening, uh, you know, things weren’t going well at home.
Jonathan Raymond (44:43):
Like I was just, wasn’t in a good place. My wife and I were just like, we just, we just kinda lost the, the thing. We lost the thread of why we loved each other so much. And, and my kind of my whole world, I didn’t have any health things at the time, but, you know, that was kind of, it was one of those moments where I felt like everything was off at the same time. And I had this like, and I, and I was still like, up until the last minute, I was still kind of telling myself that I had it figured out well that I knew what the answer was. And I knew what the way through was when there was a real dark night of the soul where, you know, a couple of people in my life, some who said it nicely. So who said it not nicely, really held up the mirror to me and said, you’re, you’re missing it, but like you are off, you’re not looking at this the right way.
Jonathan Raymond (45:25):
And it really was a confrontation with self that I hated. It was horrible. It was terrible. I was embarrassed. I was humiliated. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me. And to, to really just be kind of like on the floor in a puddle of being like, what am I missing? Like what I’m like, how can this all gotten so screwed up? And so sideways, you know, I thought I was good at this stuff, right. And that was the time in my life where, um, I really opened up to something larger and something bigger than my own ego and my own ability to control things. Um, and it’s not that I’d never had moments like that. Uh, but, but I never went back, uh, from that moment, uh, and got over that hump and crusted that Hill and, and changed, you know, as a human being and never went back to that older, uh, less evolved version of self
Jim Rembach (46:14):
For me. Well, I mean, for some of us, especially men, they may call us call that our midlife, right? At that time, you also see it from a career perspective. You had mentioned something about that technical expert that gets put into a position of authority and power. And therefore, you know, they don’t can’t figure why they can’t get any higher, right. They hit the suit and there’s so many people in that role that become tech, technical experts that need and require. And as you get higher, they need to flip to be a human expert. And it just happens.
Jonathan Raymond (46:46):
I’ve seen a really amazing emergence of communities, of engineering leaders, for example, who are the last people, you know, stereotypically, you would say, well, engineers don’t care about that. They don’t care about soft skills. They’re just, you know, they just want to be on the, and you’re seeing a sea change of engineering leaders, engineering organizations, basically saying, Hey, that’s not enough. That’s not enough. If you want to be a leader in our organization, have a small team or a division or an area. It doesn’t matter. You got to work and you’ve got to invest on the, on the communication and your ability to hold space and to be able to, and to be a coach. Otherwise we can’t give you that job, or we can’t keep you in it.
Jim Rembach (47:21):
Well, needless to say, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done in a lot of different places, and you’re doing some good work. And the fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now, before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor. And even better place to work is an easy to use solution that gives you a continuous diagnostic on employee engagement, along with integrated activities that will improve employee engagement and leadership skills in everyone. Using this award-winning solution is guaranteed to create motivated, productive, and loyal employees who have great work relationships with our colleagues and your customers to learn more about an even better place to work visit [inaudible] dot com slash better. All right, here we go. Fast leader Legion. It’s time for the home. Oh, down. Okay. Jonathan, the hope they hold on 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 and rapid responses are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Jonathan, Raymond, are you ready to go down? I hope so. All right. So what is holding you back from being an even better leader today? Uh, let’s see, uh, just trusting in people
Jonathan Raymond (48:22):
Well, to that next level, what is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received make space in your day where it’s not blocked out period. And what would be one tool that you believe helps you in business or life nature connect. Find a way to connect with nature every day in some form, even if it’s a two minute walk in what would be one book you’d recommend to our Legion and it could be from any genre. And of course, we’re going to put a link to good authority on your show notes page as well. Uh, I would say, uh, we’ll put, we’ll do, we’ll say one that’s out there, which is a skinny legs at all, which is one of my favorites from a Tom Robbins. Okay. Fast leader Legion. You can find links to that. And another bonus information from today’s show by going to fast leader.net and doing a search for Jonathan Raymond. Okay. Jonathan, this is my last question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. You can take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you, which you can take it all. You can only take one. So what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why people are far more forgiving than you might think.
Jonathan Raymond (49:40):
If you give them the opportunity, Jonathan, I had fun with you today. Can you please share with the fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you? You bet you can find us@refound.com. That’s Ari F like Frank O U N d.com. You can send us an email. We have human beings that respond to emails within a day, maybe even faster. Uh, and if you go, do you want to start our video course on the accountability dial? You can go to academy.refound.com and we’ll also have a link to refound.com/fast leader, which I’m sure you’ll put it in the show notes. Uh, and that’ll give you some discounts and some other ways to interact with us as well. Jonathan, Raymond, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom in the fast leader, Legion honors you, and thank you for helping us get over the hump.