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009: Diane Magers: I had to go back and pick them up

Podcast Show Notes with Diane Magers

Diane was hitting the wall and leaving people behind. Her strategic skills were rendered ineffective because people were not connecting with her. While Diane was able to connect the dots quickly she was not connecting them for her team. Join me as Diane tells her story and shares much more about how to connect with people where they are.

Diane Magers has more than 20 years of building and growing CX focus. Currently with AT&T’s Office of the Customer, she is responsible for building and innovating customer and associate engagement.

Prior to AT&T, Diane launched Customer Experience Catalysts as a consultancy and thought leader for companies who were launching or progressing their CX frameworks. She also developed and led Customer Engagement at Sysco Corporation.

Today, she is laser focused on driving business results through improved customer experiences. In addition, she frequently presents at CX industry conferences and events and works with various CX associations on thought leadership content.

She holds an M.S. in Psychology and an M.B.A. She is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP), and Promoter Score (NPS), Voice of Customer (VoC) and Customer Experience Management (CEM) certified.  Additional affiliations include CXPA (founding member), LUMA Institute, Board member for CXPA Certification and active volunteer for the Autism Society of American and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. She resides in Dallas with her family.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @DianeMagers helping people get over the hump. Click to Tweet

“At the end of the day, have you made a difference?” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“It’s not about you.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“Make it about the person you’re with.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“They get satisfaction knowing that somebody understands me.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“When you are in a tough spot and you’ve built rapport, they will follow you into the fire.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“It’s not money that really drives people it’s about value, recognition, and their growth.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“When I stopped focusing on milestones and looked at how I could move people, it all clicked.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“It’s really critical to make that first move to open the door with people.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“Where can I really get to the heart of that person?” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“We’ve got to care for people and pay attention to how they’re feeling.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“Innovative sessions in the day can just pump people up.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“Use moments where you know people hit the wall as times to innovate.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“While I could see the big picture, I need to start where they are.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“I had to go back and pick people up in the race and walk with them.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“Making associations with everybody is critical because everyone is important.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

“Stop thinking about all the things that can go wrong, just go for it.” -Diane Magers Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Diane was going through an 80-hour week implementation project when the cross-functional team she was part of was totally exhausted. That’s when Diane knew an interruption to break the tension was needed. That’s when the focus and the energy of the team lit up and they got over the hump. From then on Diane began to make sure emotional conversion became part of her routine practice. Listen to the show to find out how Diane applies her knowledge in psychology so you can find your way faster.

Leadership Epiphany

You have to take risks and pay attention to where people are and help them to move from not feeling so great to I feel so much better.

Holding her back from being an even better leader


Best leadership advice ever received

It’s not about me, it’s about the people that I am with.

Secret to Success

Asking the tough questions nobody else wants to ask.

Best resources in work or life

The belief in the human spirit.

Recommended Reading

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Contacting Diane

Via email: dimagers [at]

More Resources

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

Show Transcript: 

[expand title=”Click to access edited transcript”]

009: Diane Magers:  I had to go back and pick them up


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

Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Alright Fast Leader legion, I have a major with us, no not in the military it’s Diane Magers. She has more than 20 years of experience helping to grow customer experience focused organizations. She is currently working with AT&T in the Office of the Customer. She’s responsible for building and innovating Customer and Associate Engagement, we know that one drives the other, so I’m excited that she’s playing both of those critical roles within the customer experience. Prior to AT&T, Diane had her own consultancy with the Customer Experience Catalyst. She helped lead organizations that were launching or progressing in their customer experience or costumer centric frameworks and strategies. And she develop and led customer experience for Sysco Corporation, another technology company—the food company. 

Today she’s laser focused on driving business results to improve customer experiences. And she’s a mentor, a leader to a lot in the industry as well and sits on the panel of experts for the Customer Experience Professional Association. Diane holds a Masters in Psychology and also has an MBA. She’s certified in a whole slew at different things. But I think probably her most important role would be that she is a mom of four, three girls and a son, ages 14 to 22 so you can only imagine how crazy that house is. Another interesting point is that she has known her husband since kindergarten, I think that is just incredible. So, Diane Magers are you ready to help us get over the hump?

Diane Magers:    I am, I am, let’s rock.  

Jim Rembach:   Oh! That’s awesome. There are so many things that I would just like to ask you and have you share but I really want to start with the things that inspire you. And I’m sure many of you who’ve had the opportunity to listen to our show we really focus in on leadership quotes and how they drive us. Diane is there something that stands out to you in the leadership quote that helps give you that extra drive when the day is long?

Diane Magers:    Yeah. The CEO of the company that I worked for, he use to tell me at the end of the day have you made a difference and he also shared with me—it’s not about you. And those lessons that he taught me were really about making sure other people, that you’re moving them forward and you’re helping them, cause at the end of the day that’s what I find fascinating watching people grow and learn and watching those light bulbs come on and so for me those really resonated and that gives me such satisfaction as well, so I think it’s a great how things kind of work right, give and take. And so he really taught me a lot about that, those two quotes stick with me all the time. 

Jim Rembach:     And I would say too that knowing you for a few years, but not as long as I wish I have hopefully that will continue though, is that I do see that come out in you and that resonates in a lot of ways when you say that and how that drives you. You are one of those folks that I think when you start talking about transparency, authenticity, genuine, a lot of those words are trust building descriptors, values, fillers whatever you want to call them, there in you and I commend you for that. But I don’t think we all start at that point, I think we grow in to it and a lot of times others help us do that. Are there particular situations or something that occurred that you can recall that it helped you get in that right direction? We would love to hear, would you please share with us?

Diane Magers:    Yeah, absolutely.  I think along those lines with the two quotes that I gave you, I think one of the things that I’ve learned overtime is to make it about the person that you’re with. All of us come with our own insecurities and our needs and our wants and our emotional state, right? But very infrequently does somebody else care for those or listen and understand them and help uncover what’s happening. So that trust and authenticity that you want to build with yourself and with your team starts with being with other person and trying to understand them. So a lot of times people walk in a room and it’s like they want to [inaudible 4:36] about them, switching that around and being with them and understanding what they’re trying to get after will get you so much farther when you’re leading people and you’re developing people because they get satisfaction if somebody’s finally understanding me, right?  And it makes them really want to follow you and understand what needs to be done. When were in a top spot—there’s been lots of those in my career—when you’re on top spot and built that rapport with folks they’re willing to follow you into the fire and I think that’s part of what you just have to be to build as a leader as you go through every single day, every single person you interact with, whether it’s the janitor, the CEO, to really understand where they are, what they’re doing and how they can help contribute, because everybody wants to, right? We all know, the stats show, that it’s not money that really drives people it’s about value, it’s about recognition, it’s about their growth.  

And so really focusing on that whether the task at hand, really has gotten me I think to go out further than that, that was when [inaudible 5:34]. Midway in my career, when I was really trying to push, like most of us leaders do in setting goals and milestones, and when I stop paying attention to the milestones and look at individually how I can move people that’s when I really kind of click, and I really got some solid teams. Not that we didn’t have our issues, not that we didn’t have hard times but it’s really made it easier to communicate and really be open about what’s happening. So yes, you’re right I’m an open book and people would tell you that what you see is what you get. 

Jim Rembach:    Diane you mentioned something about people coming in to a room and not focusing on the other person because they wanted yourselves to shine, I don’t know about for me sometimes I walk into a room, it’s like, “Gosh, I hope I don’t mess up” and so my focus is one that’s more of fear instead of—to be fantastic. How do you address that?

Diane Magers:     I think it’s one of those things we set such high expectations and we don’t want to be wrong about everything, we don’t want to risk or we’re not willing to put ourselves out there. So I think giving people permission to do that, like walking up to them and say, “Hey, how you doing? What’s going on? What do you [6:36 inaudible] for?” really letting, opening that door and saying, “What could possibly be standing in their way of letting them talk and share themselves?” And again back to being there. So I think when you recognize that in people and they have that look when they walk in the door like ‘I’m not sure where to go’ you can see it in their face, I think it’s really critical to make that first move and open that door up and walk up to him and share. I learned that just reaching and touching somebody on the shoulder helps them to feel like. ‘Okay, that human touch really gets me there’ so it’s not in a creepy way obviously. Just kind of touching somebody, you’re shaking their hand and holding on a second longer to let them know, ‘Hey we’re all human in this room.’ We are here to care for each other and I’m here to show you that, and that people just open up. It could part of psychologist in me but it could also be just people want to talk and they want to talk about things that are important to them and just opening that door is really critical. I think about that when I approach people, what doors can I open? Can I really get to the heart of that person? 

Jim Rembach:    Now, there’s three things as you are saying that kind of stood out to me as things I just kind of have to put in more on the forefront of my mind is that, be welcoming, be more approachable and touch somebody. It’s easy to shake a hand but not everybody wants necessarily do a handshake, so the do fist pump stuff, right in?

Diane Magers:     Yeah. Or just grab them—if you’re taking them somewhere or you want to talk to him about something really important, just taking them by the elbow or touching their arm it opens up so much. I think people just were so afraid of that these days but I really find it to be just the physical connection, that people want that emotional connection, so it’s a good lead in. So, a little psychology tip there that I think people can use that really helps open up. 

Jim Rembach:  Thank you for sharing. Can you think about a specific situation, a story that you can tell us where those things and elements and those quotes fit in to?

Diane Magers:    Yeah. I think we were going through a really intensive, 80hour a week implementation at one a companies. And the team the UpDev team, and the business team and all the folks in the room we have been working so hard and so diligently, it was like 10:30 at night. The team was just so tired, you can tell by everybody, they’re rubbing their eyes and they’re trying to stretch and just is a bad time, we have a couple of hours to go yet till—except  they call. I remember whispering to somebody I said, somebody just crack a joke, and so one of the guys that was kind of our clown on our team got up and he just told his joke like out of the blue and hit his iPad that he had there, had a little speaker with it, right? And just started playing music and it change the whole focus of the room, like the energy change everybody lit up we got over that hump and got there but I think sometimes you have to take those risk that sometimes in business are hard to do and really recognize where people are and say, Wow, we really need to make something happen at our jobs. That was one time when it really resonates with me that we’ve got to care for people and pay attention to how they’re feeling and where they are and help them move, I call that emotional conversion. Help them move from not feeling so great to I feel so much better, in different ways obviously. That’s one that stands out that was a lot of fun, the trigger. 

Jim Rembach:    You know that is a good trigger. And now I was having a conversation with somebody the other day about an intentional interruption which was really interesting, I think we’re go in to that a little bit more on another show. Where you have to plan that those things need to happen instead of like what we have a tendency to do is say buckle down let’s work even harder and sometimes you need to interrupt. 

Diane Magers:    I call that the Girbo wheel. We all get in our car, drive to work without even knowing it. We get in, we do our work, we go home and I think that this disruption that just pause for a moment. Even if it’s a pause, or like what I just described, or even asking tough question and getting people to just think outside the box differently in a really innovative little sessions in the day can just pump people up. So those tactic and techniques really work to get people motivated when they don’t feel like I’m coming in and I’m going to Girbo wheel all day. We need life to mean more than that. 

Jim Rembach:    Yeah. And you said that making it more it more intentional. You talked about a story where you realized that you had to make that intentional break and do something crazy and then a guy getting up tell jokes on us, having some music. It probably would be best if we plan it ahead of time, right? With this intentional interruption right around here. I think more and more brain science is actually coming out and telling us that we need to do those things not just from a work perspective but also from a learning perspective. So much at the so many periods or lengths of time and you have to switch it up.

Diane Magers:    Yeah, we use that time. One of the things that we did, we we’re kind of teaching techniques on innovations. Abstraction lathering and some of the things we—learning customer experience to engage employees. And we purposely put it at about one o’clock in the afternoon right up when we got back from lunch because we realize that was kind of a downtime for people and they really felt like time back in after being outside for lunch, and having this great lunch after work. So, using that what would be normally dead time to stimulate them and get them driving at a faster pace for the rest of the afternoon, really invigorate a lot. Use those moments where you know people are kind of hit the wall as times the you can kind of prod a little bit, but lead them to something that’s more innovative and different for them in that day. 


Jim Rembach:    A lot of times we have situations where we have this Aha moment about something that we’ve been working on trying to move forward and I call them epiphanies. Can you think of a time where you’ve had a pretty profound epiphany? Can you tell us about that?


Diane Magers:    Yeah. I think when I was younger in my career, I’m very strategic you would see in my Gallup strengths, I’m strategic and ideation and all these great things. I like to say I’m a good helicopter kind of person, I can connect the dots pretty quickly. But I realized that I need to really be where people are and while I could see the big picture I needed to kind of start where they were and take them down that journey with me. Whether it’s kind of paint this big picture and the scene, you know, “Oh, my Gosh! that seems so far away.” So breaking it down and then realizing where people were and then how I can get them to see that bigger picture really change management 101. But I didn’t realize it until get running into that wall—I must stop resonating it just doesn’t making sense to me it’s perfectly clear. So I think for me as a leader that was that really becoming a leader trying to stand up front away the flag, I have to get back and pick people up in the race and really walk with them and help them understand what I understand so that they can see that bigger picture. So that was big aha for me. And once I learn that then it became much easier to gain consensus and make decision and drive people to better results. Real key. 


Jim Rembach:     Definitely key. We need everybody to come along with us instead of us just hanging out on the front, right?  As in all alone.


Diane Magers:     Yes, yes. And I disconnect between leadership and everybody else in the company. We feel that a lot of times like there’s this big gap between those and bridging that and, like I talk about earlier, making associations with everybody in the company for the janitor to CEO, it’s critical because everybody is important and plays their part. 


Jim Rembach:     And you know really a lot of these transposes into our personal life. If there’s some people in our life that are just critically important and a lot of times we’ll bring them along either.


Diane Magers:    Yeah, that’s true. 


Jim Rembach:     We just become disassociated and isolated and confused not knowing why. So bring along, right?


Diane Magers:    Yeah, we’re getting the habit. If you have read The Power of Habit, it’s a great book to kind of talk about. We just get in that routine Girbo wheel and we don’t stop and really think or look back or introspect. 


Jim Rembach:     I appreciate your sharing all that us. Now it’s time for us to move on to the fast pace of our show and that is the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Diane, the Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So, I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Diane, are you ready to hoedown? 


Diane Magers:     Here we go. 


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


Diane Magers:     Courage. I think everybody just cease to have the liquid courage. And think about what they’re doing and just go for it. Stop thinking about all of the things that could go wrong, just go for it. 


Jim Rembach:     I love it. Let’s go for this next question. What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?


Diane    I think we talked about that today but I think it’s not about you it’s about the people that you’re with they’re making that happen and making that real. 

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


Diane Magers:    I think asking the top tough questions nobody else wants to ask, the elephant in the room. I kind of notice the tough question lady, I think that’s okay once you’ve kind of garnered some respecting can do that, it’s what everybody else is thinking in their head they’re just not saying. So taking that risk, being courageous by asking those tough questions. 


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


Diane Magers:    Wow!  I think my belief in the human spirit that believing the best in people.  I grew up in the West and we trust until you’d prove otherwise. I think it just believe in people and pushing them as far as I can maybe sometimes to fall, I think that’s really important and people sense that. 


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


Diane Magers:    Well, there you go I said it earlier the Power of Habit. I think it’s a great book. It talks about personal life all the way to corporate life and how the power of habit keeps us in what we’re doing and how we can and cannot grow.


Jim Rembach:     Thank you for sharing all that. And we will have a link to that book and several other things on Diane’s show notes page and that will be at fast Diane thank you. So our last question in the Hump Day Hoedown? 


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


Diane Magers:      I schedule meetings with every single person and get their interpretation of what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong, so far. So I have their by end, their understanding and what they’re looking to do and then accumulate all that and move forward with the plan with them right by my side. 


Jim Rembach:     Perfect. Diane it was an honor to spend time with you today. Can you please share with the Fast Leader listeners how they can connect with you?


Diane Magers:        Absolutely. I’m in LinkedIn same Diane Magers or they can connect with me through email and that will be on your homepage as well.


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


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