Sean Minter Show Notes Page
Sean Minter had a client that was extremely customer experience oriented. But when he observed his staff trying to deliver a great customer experience on his client’s behalf, he realized they were eager but didn’t have the tools to do a good job.
Sean was born in Richmond, Virginia but moved a lot throughout the east coast and Midwest, when we was younger. His father was an engineer and Sean has lived in VA, NJ, OH, FL and TX. However, once he graduated from college, he stayed in the Dallas area.
As a kid Sean could always be found on the sports field or tinkering on some project.
Ultimately, he graduated with an engineering degree and was recruited to work in telecom networks in Dallas in the mid 90’s. He obtained his Master’s in Business at SMU while in Dallas in the executive nights/weekend program.
He was primarily a technical engineering resource until AT&T recruited him to join their regulatory organization where he spent a lot of time with public utility commissions negotiating and arbitrating the details of the opening of the local telecom markets associated with the Telecom Act of 1996. After successfully negotiating an agreement for AT&T, he and a fellow colleague at AT&T decided to start one of the first competitive local exchange carriers in Texas called Alt Communications.
ALT Communications grew up and finally merged with Birch Telecom and Value Line Long Distance in 1998.
Then he decided to attack the next challenge in the telecommunications, broadband. Sean along with a couple of advisers decided to become the largest provider of broadband services in what was then known as the Southwestern Bell Area which consisted of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas. Sean raised over $200m for this venture from VC firms, GE Capital, Lucent and Credit Suisse. This venture was taken over by Lucent in 2001.
Next Sean decided to take on Voice over IP. He and former executives from IP Communications started Reallinx in Dallas as a nationwide B2B Data Aggregator and VOIP service provider. This company grew and was ultimately acquired by GTT.
In the meantime Sean’s former investors in IP Communications started a Private Equity Firm and bought a BPO called PRC out of South Fl. In the mid-2000s. The company was not doing well so they asked Sean to help out as a consultant. Ultimately, the private equity firm decided to replace the entire executive management team and Sean took over the COO and CIO functions. The company successfully restructured and the new executive team grew the company and ultimately sold it to Alorica.
With the experience he gained, Sean left Alorica and decided there was a better way to supercharge performance for frontline leaders and agents. AmplifAI (Featured in the webinar How to Supercharge Contact Center Agent Performance, Onsite & @Home) was born based on this need. AmplifAI focuses on using data to help drive consistent actions such as coaching from frontline leaders as well as using high-performer behaviors to drive those consistently throughout the organization.
Sean is focused on making sure we develop frontline leaders and employees such that they are productive and can build skills that will last them throughout their careers.
Sean still lives in Dallas with his wife Sarah and his son Lincoln.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“Everybody can become a high performer in something.” – Click to Tweet
“Management is necessary to understand what you need to do, but leadership is necessary to motivate and develop your people.” – Click to Tweet
“A lot of those fears about AI in many cases are overblown.” – Click to Tweet
“The goal is to identify those people that want to do better and give them the ability to get better.” – Click to Tweet
“Create a plan and methodical process to identity the people that don’t want to get better.” – Click to Tweet
“On a daily basis we create a game plan from every frontline leader.” – Click to Tweet
“Humans are not good at organizing things and using data to create a plan.” – Click to Tweet
“Humans by default are scared of change.” – Click to Tweet
“Change requires you to get out of existing habits and create new habits, which requires a lot of effort.” – Click to Tweet
“A tool is only as good as the people and process that use it.” – Click to Tweet
“Technology is not going to solve your problems unless you adapt its use and drive adoption.” – Click to Tweet
“If you’re focused on customer experience today, you have to live in a world where that translates into an employee experience.” – Click to Tweet
“How your managers talk to your agents, in many ways, is how your agents talk to your customers.” – Click to Tweet
“Anything that requires you to do something, you have to start off by making it simple.” – Click to Tweet
“The first step in any implementation is driving the human interaction.” – Click to Tweet
“The number one reason for attrition is agents don’t get the support they need to become successful.” – Click to Tweet
“We don’t want people who are motivated coming in the door to six months from now leaving because they weren’t supported or helped.” – Click to Tweet
“Nobody comes to work every day to do a bad job.” – Click to Tweet
“You go from good to great by focusing on the details and focusing on the people.” – Click to Tweet
“Focusing on the numbers doesn’t make you go from good to great.” – Click to Tweet
“Ultimately, people drive the numbers.” – Click to Tweet
“If you improve the people and drive that frontline development, that’s what takes you from good to great.” – Click to Tweet
“The complexity of contact centers nowadays is much greater.” – Click to Tweet
“If you have a person that fails it’s probably more your fault than their fault.” – Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Sean Minter had a client that was extremely customer experience oriented. But when he observed his staff trying to deliver a great customer experience on his client’s behalf, he realized they were eager but didn’t have the tools to do a good job.
Advice for others
Focus on always improving and never be happy with where you are in the job you’re in.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Being able to delegate more and hand things off more.
Best Leadership Advice
Take action as fast as possible to help people be successful.
Secret to Success
I have the ability to talk to and understand every level of an organization.
Contacting Sean Minter
email: sminter [at] mplifai.com
Resources and Show Mentions
[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]
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 intelligence practitioner, Jim Rembach.
Call center coach develops and unites the next generation of call center leaders. Through our e-learning and community individuals gain knowledge and skills in the six core competencies that is the blueprint that develops high-performing call center leaders. Successful supervisors do not just happen so go to callcentercoach.com to learn more about enrollment and download your copy of the Supervisor Success Path e-book now.
Okay Fast Leader legion today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s going to give us a very unique perspective on what it takes in order to be able to help an organization excel. Sean Minter was born in Richmond, Virginia but moved a lot throughout the East Coast and Midwest when he was younger. His father was an engineer and so he lived in Virginia, New Jersey, Ohio, Florida and Texas, However, once he graduated from college he stayed in Dallas. As a kid Shawn could always be found on the sports field or tinkering on some project. Ultimately he graduated with an engineering degree and was recruited to work in telecom networks in Dallas in the mid 90’s. He obtained his master’s in business at SMU while in Dallas in the executive nights and weekend program. He was primarily a technical engineer resource until AT&T recruited him to join their regulatory organization where he spent a lot of time with Public Utility Commission negotiating and arbitrating the details of the opening of the local telecom markets associated with the Telecom Act of 1996.
After successfully negotiating an agreement for AT&T, he and a fellow colleague at AT&T decided to start one of the first competitive local exchange carriers in Texas called All Communications. All Communications grew up and finally merged with Birch Telecom and Value Line Long Distance in 1998. Then he decided to attack the next challenge in the telecommunications broadband. That along with a couple of advisers decided to become the largest provider of broadband services in was then known as the Southwestern Bell area which consisted of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas.
Sean raised over 200 million for this venture from VC firms, GE Capital, Lucent and Credit Suisse, this venture was taken over by Lucent in 2001. Next Sean decided to take on voice over IP, he and a former executive from IP communication started real links in Dallas as a nationwide B2B data aggregator and VoIP service provider. This company grew and was ultimately acquired by GTT. In the meantime Sean’s former investors in IP Communications started a private equity firm and bought a BPO-PRC out of South
Florida. In the mid-2000s the company was not doing well so they asked Sean to help out as a consultant. Ultimately the private equity firm decided to replace the entire executive management team and Sean took over as the COO and CIO. The company successfully restructured and the new executive team grew the company and ultimately sold it to Alorica. With the experience he gained Sean left the Alorica and decided there was a better way to supercharge performance for frontline leaders and agents. Amplifi was born and based on this need. Amplifi focuses on using data to help drive consistent actions such as coaching from frontline leaders as well as using high performer behaviors to develop those consistently throughout the organization. Sean is focused on making sure we develop frontline leaders and employees such that they are productive and can build skills that will last them throughout their career. Sean still lives in Dallas with his wife Sarah and his son Lincoln. Sean Minter are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Sean Minter: I am. I am ready.
Jim Rembach: I’m glad you’re here. Now I’ve given my Legion a little bit about you but can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better?
Sean Minter: Sure. My passion is to really focus on people and help them evolve to the best capability they can get to. Especially the group of people that’s probably the most ignored in most companies which is the frontline leader and the frontline employee who gets limited resources and generates lots of churn because there develop to their full potential. I really believe everybody could become a high performer in something. The goal is to figure out exactly their skill set and create a development plan that helps them get there.
Jim Rembach: As you’re talking I started thinking about that area of an organization which to me when I say contact center when I think contact center it’s gotten to the point to where there’s a contact center in just about every organization of any size whether it’s two people, two hundred, two thousand. I mean we have to be able to support customers in so many different ways. And the importance of that role just with really in the past five years has just exploded, wouldn’t you agree?
Sean Minter: Oh, for sure. That role is your primary contact with clients, your primary contact for acquisition it’s your front-facing company role organization somehow for some reason is the most ignored.
Jim Rembach: Yeah. Talking about that ignored piece is, that’s one reason why I chose to start the academy at call center coach—to develop that frontline leader. Because even when you start referring to, needing to lead that frontline oftentimes what happens is people just take somebody who’s a good individual contributor and put them in charge and responsible for the development of those people that they were once a peer of. That transition requires, from a leading perspective, a whole different set of competencies that you just don’t develop an individual contributor. And you guys helped to accelerate really the overall performance by and by leveraging some of those leadership skills, is that correct?
Sean Minter: One hundred percent. I mean what we want is for frontline leaders to focus on developing their employees. But in many cases in a lot of companies those frontline leaders have to sit on their desk do a lot of administrative work, look at a lot of reporting, do a lot of things that are not really focused on the development side of their job which should be their primary focus. So our goal is to one, reduce all that other stuff they have to do, so they can focus on the development. And two, help them become better developers. Help their managers understand their development skills and needs. So we’re focused on developing them based on data that we have.
Jim Rembach: For me there’s a big separation. I think oftentimes people get it confused because when I talk about leadership for example people start saying things like, oh, yeah well we give them lean training, like, that that’s not leadership, that his management. People have a tough time separating the two. Meaning that, I have to manage the frontline and everything that we have to do but then I have to lead as well so there are really two different functions.
Sean Minter: Yeah, 100%. Leading has a lot more detail. I mean, management is necessary to understand what you need to do but leadership is necessary to motivate and develop your people. How you talk to them, how you motivate them, the skills transfer capabilities that you have all that as part of leadership.
Jim Rembach: So if you start looking at most organizations that you’re getting the opportunity to work with and you think about the whole leadership maturity level, leadership skill level, how do you find that as an enabler or a disabler?
Sean Minter: Well it’s definitely something that needs to be enabler. But I would say probably in most contact centers it is it is, probably in a scale of 1 to 10, most contact centers are probably sitting at a two or a three. Now like you said, agents have been promoted whether they’re second level management is really focused on developing them or they just get thrown into a fire drill and they have to learn on the job in many cases most of these agents are learning on the job. There’s probably not a preparatory process to prepare them to become leaders, they get thrown in and they get to learn how to do things. Even in that environment, we know that environment is going to be there, so how do we allow these people to be successful in that environment? How do we give them the tools and capabilities knowing the environment they’re in? Changing that environment is a totally different process that requires career pathing and HR and a lot of other capabilities in the backend we’re trying to figure out how to make people who get thrown into that environment successful.
Jim Rembach: One of the things too is that—with the Amplifi and needless to say you have AI and the name of the company and AI is in your product but in today’s world. A lot of times AI is often met with a whole lot of apprehension and fear because people are thinking that, well it puts my career and my future and my job at risk when you start throwing in AI especially in the contact center space. But that’s not how you’re using it, isn’t it?
Sean Minter: No. I think a lot of those fears in many cases are probably also overblown. Computers and technology have been automating people’s jobs for 20 years and it’s not going to stop it’s been happening forever. IVR’s have come into place, CRM’s applications to automate processes so that’s been going on for 20 years, I think it just a continuing trend that’s not going to stop and it’s nothing new. AI isn’t making it dramatically different or increasing that trend at all just continues in its current process. What we’re trying to do is use this new technology, really, which is better at understanding data to better understand people’s individual skill sets. What are good at? What are you not good at? How does that compare to high performers? Could we start laying out automatically a career by a skill transfer path or skill development path for each employee so that the managers don’t have to sit at their desk they can focus on doing the skill development and not sit at their desk trying to figure out what should they be doing for everybody.
Jim Rembach: Yeah, that’s a really interesting. It also have to go back and comment on something you said about the automation of our jobs and that somebody tried to put the hysteria that’s oftentimes in place in perspective and said, hey, the cotton gin took people’s jobs we didn’t have to pick the seed out of the cotton anymore.
Sean Minter: Yeah, exactly. Now we can focus on making more shirts.
Jim Rembach: I do think though from an individual development perspective, and maybe that’s part of where the gap is concern, is that if I don’t feel like I have the opportunity to be developed or it’s not available to me that’s one thing. But then also it requires the individual to say, hey, I have ownership in this. I have to do what I need to do in order to better myself. And so going back to that thinking about organizations and operations that we work with and when we look at the onboarding and the hiring process and all of that, are organizations doing a good job of identifying people who want to do better at what they’re doing?
Jim Rembach: Well, I think no matter what in your hiring process you’re always going to have people that want to do better and you’re going to end up with some people that don’t want to do better. So I think that’s just it, that’s just a given, you’ll never be able to get it 100% correct, 100% right. I think the goal though is to identify those people that want to do better and give them the ability to get better versus having them be motivated because they don’t see a path forward for themselves as well as creating a plan and some methodical process to identify the people that don’t want to get better. If you’re consistently giving micro learnings and coaching to everybody, really understanding who’s progressing and who’s not, why are they not progressing and identifying the people that have a will issue versus fixing the skill issues become the become the key. With Amplifi we kind of help fill that gap. We help give consistent recommendations to managers to focus specifically on a personalized basis with each agent. And then the system is going to track those agents performance and it’s going to tell the manager, are these people getting better or not getting better in that way kind of identifies those issues and creates a workflow and creates a plan for you so you don’t to do it on your own.
Jim Rembach: When I start thinking about performance development, going back to my operations days and contact centers I used to see some of the behaviors from a supervisor and team lead perspective, is that at times, say, doing one-on-ones and doing coaching. There are some operations that I was in where we were responsible as frontline supervisors to do some quality work, scoring great calls and we also had a quality team and we would look against the scoring of those and things like that. But I often find that what happen is we had a certain requirement of one-on-one sessions recordings and evaluations that we had to do and it would always get clumped at the last of the month and we would have to pound them out in order to get them done. The whole aspect of developing people kind of fell to the wayside because we were so busy just doing the day-to-day. How do you help fix that problem?
Sean Minter: If you look at it from an Amplifi perspective what we do is on a daily basis we create a game plan for every frontline leader. In today’s game plan here’s the people that need help with specific areas. Here’s the people you coach last week that haven’t gotten better so you should follow up with them. Here’s a group of people that you coach last week and they have done better, so you should go recognize them. So it kind of creates a positive reinforcement as well as a follow-up of previous coaching sessions as well as new coaching sessions and a plan for everybody. You don’t have to sit—humans are not good at organizing things and using data to create a plan. If you give if you give a bunch of reports to ten different people everybody will read those reports and do ten different things because they understand them differently. Our goal is to take that randomness of action out of the contact center there’s no reason for there to be so much randomness in what needs to be done. If you really look at it it’s a process and it shouldn’t be so complicated for team managers, they should just know exactly what needs to be done, who they should follow up with, who they should recognize, who they should touch base with and do skills transfers with. There’s daily action plan of what they should be focused on is something Amplifi gives them.
Jim Rembach: As you’re talking I started also interpreting potential pain because as humans we get into habits. It’s like, hey, what do you mean I’ve always done it this way you want me to do this which is a radical adjustment? What is that transition or onboarding process for the people who are responsible for that performance management? How does that happen?
Sean Minter: Well, humans by default are scared of change because once they get used to doing something change becomes difficult. Primarily because now your brain has to think about what it’s doing whereas before it was kind of in a mode of—for her that is some cognitive ease. When you don’t have to think of something he’s kind of based it on habit your brain has an easier time doing it and it just continues down that path. Change requires you to get out of existing habits and create new habits which requires a lot of effort from the brain’s perspective and make it happen. It usually won’t happen unless leadership requires you to do it. Which is why I know change management is important and nothing happens unless it’s getting inspected by your leaders.
Site leaders and second level leaders in contact centers have to be bought into this process of we’re going to improve how our frontline leaders and agents work and we’re going to drive these actions until they become appropriate behaviors for them using the recommendations Amplifi’s providing. A tool is only as good as the people in process that use it. Technology is not going to solve your problems unless you’re going to adapt its use, drive process and then drive people to actually use it and drive adoption. I can give you any system you want unless you’re actually going to use what it asks you to do it’s not going to make a difference.
Jim Rembach: I think that’s a really good point. So I also started thinking about how different cultures you can have different outcomes as well. A lot of companies will say, we decide by numbers we’re all numbers driven. Well, there’s a certain backlash that’s associated if you actually are executing in that way and that is the whole dehumanization component. So if I’m putting in a particular solution where I’m saying that, hey, we’re going to become more efficient, more effective, that could be perceived in a different way versus an organization that doesn’t have that type of culture. When you start looking at ideal success—so I’m looking at Company A Company B Company C, different types of cultures and personalities, what do you say what type of organization typically sees the best gain and impact? What do they look like?
Sean Minter: I think organizations that truly want a culture of an employee experience and drives employees to be better which they believe that ultimately drives a better customer experience are the best adopted for this. If you’re focused on customer experience today you have to live in a world where that translates into an employee experience. Because if your employees have a good experience they build skills, they build capabilities, they’re going to deliver a better customer experience. If they’re numbers driven and commodity driven they’re going to be focused on productivity metrics and we focused on those types of things. They’re not going to be focused on the soft skills and the relationship skills because higher managers talk to your agents. Higher managers develop an agent in many ways it’s going to higher agents talk to your customers. If you don’t have that internal ability to develop and manage and drive a better employee experience it’s really hard to translate agents into delivering a good customer experience.
Jim Rembach: I’m trying to get an understanding and I’m starting to think about talent to impact. Because I think a lot of companies when they put in solutions they’re like, okay, when am I going to get my return? How long is it going to take? Then you start getting the whole sustainability piece. The fact is I’ve been in the industry for a long time and being in operations I hear some of these things that are essentially promised and I’m like, yeah, right, I don’t believe that hogwash. Give us a sense of reality as far as transformation, change, being able to enable, implement tools, this could be a significant undertaking. Tell me how what how that looks?
Sean Minter: Anything that requires you to do something you have to start off by making it simple. If you make things too complicated people won’t use it. So you’re not going to go in here and change your entire environment day one. Typically in our implementations with Amplifi the first step is just making it easier for managers and agents to see their data and take specific coaching actions irregardless of whether those actions are driving the performance we want, don’t want the performance we want, which behaviors they slept in the appropriate behaviors, those will all come secondary. First we just want them to use to doing a quantity of activity. Are they doing the coaching sessions they should? Once you can drive quantity then Amplifi kind of helps you then focus on, is the quality of my coaching good or not? Now if you’re only going to do one coaching a week and four coaching’s a month the quality of those four coaching is to be honestly is immaterial because you’re just not touching your agents enough. So first step in any implementation is driving the human interaction and get people off their desks, from leaders off their desks, using Amplifi for all their data needs and actual bidding needs and drive some quantity. And what you find is managers and agents actually start liking doing that job better. When they start doing interactions they’re just having more discussions, they’re having more quantity of activity then all the other tools that Amplifi has can be brought.
A few months later to say, okay, now let’s focus on the quality. We have consistent repetition of quantities of coaching’s going on, now let’s focus on individual team leaders who’s good at coaching in what areas but is not coaching in what areas. Well, behaviors, do somebody need help? Does somebody need help in? So all these details of exactly understanding and frontline leaders, their skill sets, what they’re good at in developing their coaching skills all that comes into place kind of on a secondary basis, post initial implementation. Even during the implementation you kind of focus in a couple of different areas. Some of our clients will focus on the onboarding process first. So new hire agents that have just gotten off the floor in their nesting process how do we get them on boarded and up to scale faster versus existing agents and production. So Amplifi works in both scenarios. We work with clients to be able to drive onboard agents faster and better as well as taking existing in production environment improve performance and skills within there. That’s also an area that we can kind of break things down and start in this very specific place before we move everywhere across the organization.
Jim Rembach: As you’re sitting here you’re talking about this front line, I won’t say micro level, I start wandering I’m like, okay, here’s a guy who was part of the whole telecom act and was in networks and did telecom then moved on and took advantage of some opportunities that existed with broadband then moved over to voice over IP, how the heck did you get focused on the front line?
Sean Minter: Well, I think that’s from my experience of PRC. Being kind of an engineering mindset, I easily identify problems that are that are consistent across large organizations and then the goal is their solution. To be honest with you until about seven or eight years ago Amplifi couldn’t exists. All the new capabilities that have been available from a technology perspective in the cloud, with the Amazon Cloud and then Microsoft cloud and their API’s and their AI capabilities and everything else that they provide, allows Amplifi to be a solution today. Whereas when I was running a BPO ten years ago I couldn’t done this because those technologies just were not available. Now having that technology available lets us create a solution for this problem that everybody knows exists. You talk to anybody that runs a contact center and you ask them, is this a problem? Every single person that you talk to says this is a problem. Everybody has this problem of frontline leadership, of consistent agent development, of how do you drive that in a consistent manner. The only way to do it is to use the data you’re already generating to figure these solutions out, and that’s what Amplifi helps companies work.
Jim Rembach: But as you’re talking though I’m sitting here and also thinking from some people’s perspective they’re like, hey, my turnover rate is 50% why would I have asked that much effort and activity in these people when they’re only going to be here for another six eight months twelve months, why would I do that?
Sean Minter: To be honest with you from our experience in working with clients as we’ve seen where we’ve been able to identify team leaders’ skill gaps such that you can easily identify team leaders are going to drive four to five more attrition on their teams or such team leaders that aren’t. Because the number one reason for attrition is—now agents don’t get the support they need to become successful, they become demotivated, they’d start doing the minimum possible, their performance starts going down, I don’t think anybody gets hired to do a job and comes into training their first day to go into production to do a bad job. Nobody’s sitting there their first day thinking I’m just going to come here, I’m going to do training, I’m just going to go do a bad job. I think that becomes an environment that we end up living in. Our goal is to get rid of that environment. We don’t want people who are motivated coming in the door to six months from now leaving because they weren’t supported or helped even though they wanted to. There might be a small percentage of people that don’t care but I do believe everybody that once comes to work every day wants to do a good job. Nobody comes to work every day to do to do a bad job.
Jim Rembach: It’s funny to say that. I always talk about how when we refer to this whole burnout and turnover issue that, not just the contact center deals with, everybody who has frontline employees that they’re responsible for deals with is that, you didn’t hire them already burnt out so how did they get that way?
Sean Minter: Exactly.
Jim Rembach: Okay, when we’re starting to talk about this though, I mean, this is an easy stuff. There’s a whole lot of, talking about motivation, inspiration, all those things that have to happen in order for you to go through this transformation process. One of the things that inspires us on the show is quotes. So we love hearing quotes from our guests with some of their favorites. Is there one or two that you can share that you like?
Sean Minter: I think I just quoted one of them. One of my most important quotes is, people just don’t want to come to work to do a bad job and it is our job as leaders to figure out. I think some of these also stuff that comes from the book, Good to Great. How do you really go from good to great? You go from good to great by focusing on the details and focusing on the people. Focusing on the number it doesn’t make you go from good to great because ultimately people drive the numbers. If you focus on people if you improve the people you drive that employee frontline development that’s what takes you from good to great. Focusing on numbers doesn’t change behavior what it does is it actually focus on changing numbers.
Jim Rembach: Yeah, I think focusing on numbers gives you some short-term potential impacts that could be positive but long-term they could be very negative.
Sean Minter: One hundred percent. The number are the output I’m not saying you shouldn’t focus on numbers the numbers are the output of the inputs which are how are we doing with our people actually doing their jobs? If the people do their jobs better the numbers will automatically get better. You can always make short-term adjustments by making numbers better by just cutting your top bottom 20% of your agents. By default makes your numbers better but now you have created a different problem for the business. So focusing on numbers and short-term gains may get you the short-term gains but is not a consistent process that you can scale with.
Jim Rembach: That’s for certain. Okay, so when we’re but when we’re talking about you getting to the point to where we are, we talked about that transition going from networks now going to focus in on the frontline as I’m sure there are a lot of humps that you had to get over that really taught you some very valuable lessons. Is there particular story that you can share with us?
Sean Minter: Sure. One of my primary learnings in the contact centers was when I was actually in—and I learned almost everything I need to know about contracts centers from being in the sites, listening to the site directors, understanding their day-to-day work, really being in the sites and I seeing the amount of effort they have to go through to do the work that they need to do. I was in one of my sites in North Carolina back in the mid 2000’s, we had a client that was extremely customer-experience oriented. Very hard on making sure we’re driving on the right customer experience. Obviously, being very dedicated to their customers to make sure we were doing the right things for them. And what I found was I had team leaders and frontline leaders and site directors that were very wanting to do a good job, they were very motivated to do a good job but they did not have the tools to do a good job. So leaving that experience and coming back my thought process was is, how can I enable this group of people that is very motivated that wants to do a good job but just does not have the tools to be able to get there? You can always throw people at it. If you wanted to do what Amplifi does manually you can throw layers of quality people, you can throw layers of reporting people, you can do layers of lots of people that can do some of this activity but the problem is in most organizations you don’t have the ability to throw those people at it. So, ultimately I think in the many cases what I found was giving these people access to tools, giving these people access to stuff, helped and enable them at all levels do their jobs better.
Jim Rembach: When I start looking at the things that you’re focusing in on and I know—talking about growing the business and being able to impact more of these organizations with higher performing front lines, when you start looking at one of your goals that you have, what would it be?
Sean Minter: Well, one of our goals is really focus on two things. Really, it’s the frontline leader but trying to focus is for a frontline leader. It is how do we make the frontline leader more effective by having them spend more time their agents less than their desks? And two, how do we also identify the skill gaps? I think one other issue that most contact centers have that most people don’t think of is they think their frontline leaders, who are responsible for doing 80 to 90% of the skill development and coaching of their agents are experts at everything they should be able to do that skills transfer. If they aren’t experts at it, the complexity of the contact centers nowadays is much greater because with automation and self-service and apps and everything like that going on in the world, the easy stuff is get is the stuff that gets automated. That means a contact center continues to get the harder work. The agents continue to get the more complex calls. That means the managers have to be able, and in the world of universal agent, omni-channel environment, phone, email chat, being able to do everything, how do we expect these frontline leaders to be able to be experts at everything? How do we give them the tools to be able to do skills transfers of them being experts in everything?
Jim Rembach: And the Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.
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Okay, Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump day Hoedown. Okay Sean, the Hump day Hoedown is a 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. Sean Minter, are you ready to hoedown?
Sean Minter: I am ready to hoedown.
Jim Rembach: Alright, so what do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Sean Minter: For me I believe my challenge is also kind of being too much in the details. At the level that I’m at now being able to delegate more, being able to hand things off more. That’s a challenge for any person in any leadership level and that’s a challenge everybody has to address. But not micromanaging, delegating, and then focusing on building skills and strove numbers is probably one of the one of the challenges every leader has.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Sean Minter: I think the best leadership advice I’ve ever received, and this may be sort of kind of a counterintuitive to what we just talked about, once I understand what a person’s skillset is or isn’t if I believe they’re in the right job or not I need to take action as fast as possible to help them be successful. If have a person that fails, it’s probably more your fault than their fault. It’s your job either develop them or move them into a place where they can be successful. So failure is typically the managers’ responsibilities. Anybody under them is typically their responsibility.
Jim Rembach: So what do you feel is one of your secrets that helps you lead in business or life?
Sean Minter: I think one of my secrets in business and life is that I have the ability to associate and understand and talk to every level of an organization. I can sit with agents and team managers and have discussions about their problems and I can sit with CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and talk about their issues. I can go out and raise money from venture capital guys and have discussions with them that are relevant. So being able to kind of work across all the levels and understand people, engage with people, build rapport with people at all the different levels is one of my skills.
Jim Rembach: What would be one book that you recommend to our legion, it could be from any genre?
Sean Minter: I think the book we just discussed earlier, Good to Great has done a lot of tools for leadership. A lot of tools sort of figuring out how to move away from average and really focus on getting significantly better. I would recommend that book to everybody.
Jim Rembach: Okay, Fast Leader Legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going too fastleader.net/Sean Minter. Okay, Sean, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you’ve been given the opportunity to take all the skills and knowledge that you have back with you and go back to the age of 25 and make some changes. But you can’t take everything, you can only choose one, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Sean Minter: The skill or knowledge I would take back with me would be to focus on always be improving and never just being happy with where you are in the job you’re in. No matter what you’re doing, even if you’re a high performer I think humans just have the innate view of sort of being happy with being in a situation they’re in, instead of always be looking at improving. I’ve learned that over the years but I wish I’d learned that when I was significantly younger. Because when you’re younger your ability to impact your future is much greater than when you get older.
Jim Rembach: Sean 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?
Sean Minter: Sure. The best way to connect with me would be on Twitter, @SeanMinter, smentoramplifi.com or just amlifi.com, you can get to me also.
Jim Rembach: Sean Minter, 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 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 a fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.
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