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447 Tom Schmitt - Flexibility and Empathy Key Lessons for Business Leaders in the Post-COVID World - 1200x628

Flexibility and Empathy: Key Lessons for Business Leaders in the Post-COVID World

Ambition, Values, and Creating Remarkable Outcomes in the Business World In this episode of the Fast Leader Show, Tom Schmitt shares valuable lessons learned from the past few years. He emphasizes the importance of flexibility, empathy, and prioritizing customer needs.  Tom, a seasoned CEO, stresses the significance of assigning leaders who are skilled and willing. …

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Bill Gessert - Customer Service | CX | Customer Experience

197: Bill Gessert: The skills sets to be a leader are completely different

Bill Gessert Show Notes Page

Bill Gessert was a highly successful sales rep and was then promoted to become a disastrous sales manager. Bill eventually realized he was not a bad person, he just didn’t have the skills sets to be a leader. But he learned them and went on to be a leading expert in sales, customer service and customer experience.

Bill was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and remains a die-hard Green Bay Packer fan due to spending his Sunday afternoon childhood days watching the Packers with his entire family.  His family watching those Packer games included his mom and dad and four sisters, three of which were older, one younger.  The entire Gessert clan remain devoted Packer fans to this day!

Bill started working early at age 15 as a stock boy for a dime store in Milwaukee.  His mom worked behind the counter in the bakery store right next door and her examples gave Bill a jump start on understanding the vital importance of customer service.  But little did he know most of his adult work life would focus on customer service.

Bill’s father was a quiet, but effective leader of the family.  His examples of leadership included clear and open communication, a great sense of humor, and fairness, and provided Bill with a solid foundation for the leadership roles he would earn during his work career.

Bill earned a Masters Degree in education and taught high school speech for two years before accepting the challenge to try his hand at inside sales….selling Sunday School curriculum to the church market.  Turns out, Bill was a natural and vaulted to the top of all sales reps working for the company.  And that started a life-long career working for organizations leading customer contact operations whether inbound or outbound.

In 1994, Bill decided to channel all he had learned about customer service and launch a consulting company.  That company succeeded for 17 years during which Bill and his company assisted companies like Macy’s, Nike, American Express, JP Morgan, Pfizer, Guthy Renker, GE Life Sciences and many more.

Today, Bill serves as the Vice President of Business Development for Premiere Response, a boutique provider of contact center services.  He is also the volunteer President of the International Customer Service Association.  And was listed as one of ICMI’s Top 50 Thought Leaders in 2017.

Through his many years as a consultant as well as working within organizations, Bill is most proud of the relationships he built with the people he came in contact with.  More than impacting their business results, Bill was most fulfilled by building sustainable relationships with the people behind the business.

Sadly, Bill passed away suddenly on October 3rd leaving behind his beloved wife, Lisa and four adult children and five grandsons.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to Bill Gessert to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet

“How can we improve those touchpoints?” – Click to Tweet 

“You cannot create exceptional customer experiences without focusing on touchpoints.” – Click to Tweet 

“If you don’t have engaged employees who are interacting with your customers you’re not going to create the customer experience you’re trying to.” – Click to Tweet 

“It all begins with employee engagement.” – Click to Tweet 

“You’ve got to treat your employees that way you want them treating your customers.” – Click to Tweet 

“Companies when they outsource their customer contact are now looking for organizations that create exceptional experiences.” – Click to Tweet 

“You need to view your contact center as a source of incredible data and information.” – Click to Tweet 

“The contact center should be the hub of business intelligence for organizations.” – Click to Tweet 

“The skills sets to be really good as a sales rep are completely different than the skills sets to be really good as a leader of sales people.” – Click to Tweet 

“Concentrate on getting your direct reports promoted.” – Click to Tweet 

“You’ve got to be your real self with people; let them see who you really are.” – Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Bill Gessert was a highly successful sales rep and was then promoted to become a disastrous sales manager. Bill eventually realized he was not a bad person, he just didn’t have the skills sets to be a leader. But he learned them and went on to be a leading expert in sales, customer service and customer experience.

Advice for others

Build long-term relationships based on authenticity and transparency with people.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

I struggle with my own self-doubt. It freezes me – so every morning I try to create a positive picture of what’s going to happen that day and that gets me past that.

Best Leadership Advice

My number one focus needs to be getting my direct reports promoted.

Secret to Success

Choosing to focus on the positive.

Best tools in business or life

Authenticity and transparency – you’ve got to be your real self with people. Let them see who you really are.

Recommended Reading

Before Happiness: The 5 Hidden Keys to Achieving Success, Spreading Happiness, and Sustaining Positive Change

13 fatal errors managers make and how you can avoid them

The Customer Comes Second: Put Your People First and Watch ’em Kick Butt

Contacting Bill Gessert

Sadly, between the recording of this interview and its release, Bill Gessert passed away. The entire Fast Leader Legion is praying for his wife Lisa (https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisagessert1/) and the entire Gessert family at the loss of Bill. Please share this episode widely in his memory.

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

An Even Better Place to Work

Show Transcript: 

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

197: Bill Gessert: The skills sets to be a leader are completely different

 

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.

 

Jim Rembach:     Greetings Fast Leader Legion I wanted to share with you that today’s episode is one of my most special. For those that are not aware the Fast Leader show is a recorded interview that is released at a later date. This episode with Bill Gessert was recorded on Friday August 10, 2018 and on Wednesday October 3rd 2018, Bill passed away suddenly. This was a man who was adored by his family and many friends and respected by the entire customer service industry and community and he was more than this. A larger-than-life individual who had a big personality, he was a golfer, ballroom dancer, and four-time marathon runner. Bill also loved to cook whether it was for just him and his wife Lisa or for the entire family. He mastered it quite well and was very proud of his passion for great food and to make great food. Bill was Lisa’s cheerleader in life everyday and they shared a great love it’s the one thing that keeps Lisa going knowing how much she was loved and how much Bill knew she loved him. She misses him every single minute of every single day. The entire Fast Leader Legion is praying for you and your family Lisa. So in honor and tribute to Bill, please share this episode widely and often so Bill can help as many people as possible to move onward and upward faster. And so, on with my interview with Bill. 

 

Okay Fast Leader Legion today I’m excited because I somebody on the show today who may finally help us separate and understand the difference between customer-experience and customer service. Bill

Gessert was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and remains a die-hard Green Bay Packer fan due to spending his Sunday afternoon childhood days watching the Packers with his entire family. His family watching those Packer games included his mom, his dad, four sisters, three of which are older and one younger the entire Gessert clan remains devoted Packer fans to this day. Bill started working early at age 15 as a stock boy for a dime store in Milwaukee. His mom worked behind the counter in the bakery store right next door and her examples gave bill a jump start on understanding the vital importance of customer service but little did he know most of his adult work life would focus on customer service.

 

Bill’s father was a quiet but effective leader of the family. His examples of leadership include clear and open communication, a great sense of humor and fairness and provided Bill with a solid foundation for the leadership roles he would earn during his work career. Bill earned a master’s degree in education and taught high school speech for two years before accepting the challenge to try his hand at inside sales selling Sunday school curriculum to the church market turns out Bill was a natural in vaulted to the top of all sales reps working for the company and that started a lifelong career working for organizations leading customer contact operations whether inbound or outbound. In 1994 bill decided to channel all he had learned about customer service and launched a consulting company. That company succeeded for 17 years during which Bill and his company assisted companies like Macy’s, Nike, American Express, JPMorgan, Pfizer, Guthy Renker, GE Life Sciences and many more. Today Bill serves as the Vice President of Business Development for Premiere Response, a boutique provider of contact center services. He is also a volunteer president of the International Customer Service Association and one of my fellow ICMI’s top 50 thought leaders in 2017. Bill and his wife Lisa currently live in New York with their beloved Lhasa sunny between them they have four adult children and five grandsons. Bill Gessert, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Bill Gessert:     I am, absolutely ready. I’m looking forward to this today, Jim thanks for having me onboard. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Oh well, 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? 

 

Bill Gessert:     Other than the Green Bay Packers, okay let’s do that. The thing that I have been passionate about my entire life is customer service. Interesting thing, you and I talked about this Jim, is that today there’s a lot of talk about the term customer experience which is legitimate and I get asked all the time what’s the difference between customer service and customer experience. I’ve written about this, I actually did a little video about this too, and I think I can give you a really short clear explanation that’ll help people understand and my passion is all about service. Here’s how I view the difference, let’s say you’re going to go out to eat this this weekend with your wonderful wife. You choose your favorite restaurant and you call them to make a reservation that’s the starting point of your experience your customer experience with that that restaurant. So you make your reservation you show up you get greeted by the valet you go inside the hostess greets you get to your table the table is spotless it’s clean the dishes are clean you order from a menu that you’re familiar with and it has items on it that you like all of these things contribute to your overall experience. From the time you made that reservation to the time you pay your check get in your car and drive home that’s the experience. 

 

But now let’s go back and look at that: you called to make that reservation and you spoke to somebody that’s a service interaction that’s a touch point that makes up customer service. The valet greeted you that’s a touch point that makes up service all a part of the overall experience but it’s a critical part of service. So, my passion has always been how can we improve those touch points? What can we do to increase the professionalism the friendliness the overall experience that’s created during that touch point? So we’re trying to—my whole life has been devoted to helping individuals and organizations improve those service interactions those touch points that when they’re all combined make up the overall customer experience. It’s my philosophy Jim that you cannot create exceptional customer experiences without focusing on those touch points those service interactions. That’s why I’m passionate about customer service. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, thanks for giving that clarity. For me I started asking another question of myself and that where does the whole strategy piece come into play? I almost see strategy coming in a lot of different places I have the strategy associated with that overall customer experience and then I have the strategy associated with those touch points and I can’t even break it down a little bit further and talk about the strategies within those touch points as far as is it inbound outbound digital mobile it just goes on and on again is that another confusion point or do you see it more clearly than I do at the moment?

 

Bill Gessert:     First of all I understand exactly what you’re saying and what you’re really addressing is what some people sometimes call silos because if you do map out the entire customer journey you’ll see that those touch points those interaction points happen in different areas and they happen under the jurisdiction of different organizational departments marketing could be responsible for some the customer service department could be responsible for some product development could be responsible for some so that’s why in many organizations you’re now seeing the role of a chief customer officer, that’s a person who has the responsibility to really rein in all of those silos and look at everything strategically they have to do so not only from the organization’s point of view but almost now I’m going to say more importantly from the customer’s point of view. You’ve got to bring in the voice to the customer you’ve got to bring in feedback, data, whether it’s NPS scores or more intensive customer satisfaction surveys, social media all of those things go into evaluating what kind of experience we’re creating and how can we improve it. Now, once those decisions are made at the strategic level then somebody’s got to implement that at the sort of technical level. And again to me that’s where those touch points are that’s where the service interactions are.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, then for me I started thinking about this whole issue and you and I were talking about this associated with something else talking about the International Customer Service Association and Leadership and how it’s been around for a long time and just like with many organizations sometimes you have a leadership lull, we’ll just call it that, and things fade away and then things have to be reconfigured and re-engineered but when we start thinking about all of those different silos and the experience and the touch point I start thinking about the dire need for such strong leadership to be able to connect all that together.

 

Bill Gessert:     Absolutely. You have organizations that are committed to developing those kinds of leaders. I love so many of the things that you and I are involved in like the different Twitter chats that are out there for leaders within the customer service and customer experience industry the contact center industry, CX accelerator on Slack is a tremendous resource for people who are trying to learn more and more about how to impact that whole sphere of customer experience and customer service. The ICSA, Jim, has been around since 1981 and even the ICSA has gone through ups and downs relative to its strengths and its influence on the customer service industry primarily based on the strength of the leaders at any point in time. I think you’re going to find that in almost any professional association it’s really dependent on the energy and the experience of the leaders and the time that they’re able to provide to that organization because most of us have day jobs, I do, and the work I do with the ICSA is purely voluntary. I spend a lot of early mornings and a lot of weekends pushing out the things that we do at the ICSA, which by the way, our whole mission is to help individuals and organizations improve those points of contact those  touch points those service interactions. All of the programming that we do all of the educational opportunities that we provide all of the reward and recognition programs that we run at the ICSA are focused specifically on customer service touch points and how to improve those how to recognize them how to reward them and so on. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Well, and I think you and I also talked about one of the things that the ICSA I guess you’d say probably isn’t known for however was part of the creation of it and that’s international customer service week. Tell us a little bit about that?

 

Bill Gessert:     It was 1984 which was only three years by the way after the ICSA was formed by a group of customer service managers and directors mostly in the Chicago area but it grew very rapidly. In 1984, they came up with the brilliant idea, I was setting aside one week every year to celebrate the tremendous work that frontline service providers do on behalf of their organizations and that became national customer service week. But they didn’t stop there they began to work with members of Congress in the late 80s to draft an initiative to get a presidential proclamation and it was successful in the early 90s President George Bush signed a presidential proclamation making the first full business week of every October national customer service week. We actually still have a copy of that proclamation and we give that out to people who ask, you think you can go to the National Customer Service Week website it’s just nationalcustomerserviceweek.org and request a copy of the presidential proclamation which is great to have during national customer service week, which by the way this year is October 1st through the 5th

 

Jim Rembach:    Well, for me I was actually trying to make it even bigger because I think I said international, so it’s national customer service but maybe we all need to jump on board to make it an international thing. 

 

Bill Gessert:     Yeah, you know what? It’s funny you would say that because there are organizations particularly in the UK that celebrated the same week and they just call it customer service week which is fine the one thing I’ll say about the leaders of the ICSA in 1984 is even with their great vision they had not envisioned that it would become a global event, but it pretty much has, so it’s fair enough that you call it that, 

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s a good deal and so for me I’m growth minded. 

 

Bill Gessert:     Then let’s just skip over international and go to universe customer service week. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Hey, with the web exploration that’s going out in space that just might be a possibility. 

 

Bill Gessert:     That’s right. Let’s not limit our vision. 

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s right, customer service needs to be everywhere. When you start thinking about what we had mentioned talking about the volunteer hours, get up early morning late at night and you and I had this discussion, when we start thinking about non-profits one of the biggest struggles that they have is that resources, the funding all of those things in order for impact to be made when you start thinking about a lot of the things that we are passionate about we know are going to better the world it’s a huge constraint. So when you start thinking about what you guys are talking about at the ICSA what is the long-term vision for this?

 

Bill Gessert:     I think the long-term vision is to continue to add member value and to do that by focusing on what is it that we can provide that organizations find it more challenging to provide. Whether that be frontline training or leadership training for people whose direct reports our customer service providers, that’s a different skill set. And so we put together and we continue to look for opportunities to put together training programs that will assist people in the roles that they play within that customer service sphere if you will. I also see us, I’m letting the cat out of the bag here special announcement, and this is not new organizations do this as you well know one that’s near and dear to us ICMI has award programs and they’re terrific the ICSA is going to be launching an awards program as well. And again it’s specifically going to focus on the individuals who are providing those services touchpoints. So it’s going to be a great opportunity for organizations to provide external recognition to their internal people for the quality work that they do. Which you and I both know Jim, is amazing way to keep your employees engaged and that’s one of the keys. One of the things I’m also passionate about is employee engagement. Because I recognize from years of experience no matter how good your tools are no matter how good your product is your processes etc. if you don’t have engaged employees who are interacting with your customers on a day to day basis you’re going to be behind the 8-ball and you’re not going to create the kind of customer experience that you’re trying to. So to me it all begins with employee engagement. I think you and I are both familiar with a book that was written back in the early 90s but its principles are still so solid today. Hal Rosenbluth wrote, The Customer comes Second and the whole principle of that book was that you’ve got to treat your employees the way you want them treating your customers. So employee engagement is another complete passion of mine and it is one that the ICSA is focusing on moving forward.

 

Jim Rembach:    It is huge. You bring up a really interesting point with all of this and I think it’s something that we need to vet out is that the younger generation, when we start talking about recognition for work that they’re doing, they no longer want to be just recognized within the organization that’s becoming essentially just table stakes if you’re not recognizing the inside then I’m going outside and so we have to start thinking about recognition being more industry based and I think it’s really smart that you guys are actually moving that direction. The younger generation doesn’t only want to be recognized within their own four walls they want to be recognized in that universe, like you were talking about.

 

Bill Gessert:     Absolutely. That’s why you’re seeing reward programs pop up industry-specific that are kind of called 30 under 30 they’re recognizing those young emerging leaders that are under 30 years old that are making an impact on the industry or making an impact on their organization. That coincidentally will be one of the categories of our awards program. Great observation you’re correct the table stakes of internal reward, recognition, acknowledgement of a job well done is a given. We like to think the ICSA still is a prestigious organization so if you can give ICSA recognition for a well done to one of your internal employees we think that’ll have some weight and some merit. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Most definitely. Okay, so let’s shift gears a minute because I want to really focus in on something that you’re doing day in and day out as far as your pay job is concerned and that talking to a lot of different companies about actually providing that customer service functions, I don’t want to call it business silo because it puts us in the wrong context, but providing that as a service to other companies.
What have you seen kind of shift within the past couple years about companies that are looking for a service provider that you really didn’t see before? What are they asking for?

 

Bill Gessert:     That’s a great question. I’ll tell you exactly what it is I think several years ago going back 10 15 20 years ago the market that I’m working in, the Business Process Outsource Provider we are a contact center, we provide customer contact services across multi channels to businesses that want to communicate with their customers but don’t have the wherewithal to do it internally. What I’ve seen is businesses have shifted from sort of a commoditized approach to that service meaning—let’s look for the low cost service provider to now recognizing the incredible importance of each and every customer contact and therefore they’re looking for service providers that instead of focusing on the cheapest way to do it focus on the right way to do it and have tools and processes in place to ensure that the brand voice of

that company is well represented in every contact whether it’s by phone by email by chat by text  responding to social media no matter what the channel is that brand voice and the kind of experience that our clients want their customers to have has to be goal number one for us. I think that’s been the biggest shift is that companies when they outsource their customer contact are now looking for organizations that create exceptional experiences versus who’s the cheap guy on the block.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, we also talked about the book, talk about the customer comes second and that whole employee engagement piece, are you finding as part of the due diligence process that more of these companies are actually seeing what you’re doing for your people?

 

Bill Gessert:     Yes, absolutely and here’s evidence of it. It’s in the RFPs now. The RFPs are literally saying what are you doing for employee engagement? They used to just say what’s your employee turnover? Period, that that that was the question and that was pretty much the depth of it. Now they’re saying what are you doing to engage employees? How do you recognize employees? What kind of ongoing training do they get? What kind of development opportunities exist for those employees? Because they recognize that all of that retains employees and when you do that you’re creating a much stronger team on behalf of their organization. 

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s awesome because that’s really where we need to get and that’s the only way that we’re going to raise some of these customer service bars. 

 

Bill Gessert:     I’m going to take it one step further if I can. The other shift that I see and the thing that we do at Premiere Response that I love is we don’t view ourselves as a tactical transaction sort of business. In other words, the customer contact we’re doing on behalf of our clients is not just transactions it’s not just—handle that get off take the next one—we see ourselves as a source of business intelligence. We’re collecting all of this incredible data whenever we connect with and talk to a customer and our frontline service reps our team leads and our program managers are taught to be looking for listening for opportunities to improve the customer experience and that might mean saying something different or a different response to a typical question that they get or it could mean making suggestions on changes to the product or to the packaging because they’re hearing that—we love the product but when it came  the package was kind of beat up and this piece was broken or what have you—we take that intelligence that data that information back to our clients. And so now we become a strategic partner with them we’re trying to help them improve the overall experience create better efficiencies reduce friction create better customer experience. We’re in a good position to do that because we’re talking to their people every day we’re talking to their customers that’s how we view our role. I think even internal organizations Jim if you have your own internal customer contact center you need to view it as a source of incredible data and information and there should be processes in place to feed that back to every department that needs to hear it. The customer contact center should be the hub of business intelligence for organizations, in my humble opinion. 

 

Jim Rembach:     What you’re just saying right there is the difference between being that commodity that you’re getting or—hey, I want that extra half penny versus one that says hey, what is my return going to be on whatever money I’m giving—and it happens internally and externally it doesn’t matter, that’s the shift that needs to take place for organizations to move from that transactional mindset to that experience mindset. 

 

Bill Gessert:     And then think about what that does for the employee, Jim, now being a customer service rep or whatever you want to call them there are some creative names out there, service ninjas—they’re great I love it, anyway, whatever you want to call them now the mindset is not, well this is what I do and this is all I do now the mindset is no I’m contributing to the organization’s I’m a valuable piece of feeding into the strategic process of how we’re going to change and grow and innovate and get better. If you look at it that way then customer service becomes the entry-level point to almost any place in the organization and that’s a great place to start. Especially if you’re grooming people to think and to look for opportunities for improvement not just handle the transaction. Not everybody’s going to move in that career path but to be able to have that in place is huge it’s powerful. 

 

Jim Rembach:    To be a lifelong ninjas a good thing. 

 

Bill Gessert:     Yes, there you go. Take that ninja experience into marketing and into product development and so on and so forth, yeah. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, so when you start talking about, what we’ve been talking about here, there’s a whole lot of passion associated with it and one of the things that we look at on the show are quotes in order to drive some passion for us. Is there a quote or two that you like that you can share?

 

Bill Gessert:     Yeah, for a fairly contemporary guy, I think I don’t know maybe I’m not, I’m going to go very old-school on you I’m going to go 500 B.C. how’s that? There was a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus and he said this is a fairly famous quote, No man steps in the same river twice, here’s why I like that you think about it for a minute, you can step into a river and step back out and step right back in but you’re not stepping into the same river. The water has moved different water is now touching you it’s never the same the circumstances the sun is at a little bit different angle maybe a cloud has come into play plus you as a human being are changing constantly so there’s no way you can step in the same river twice. I think about that quote every day when I wake up because it reminds me that today is going to be full of 100 percent unique opportunities that I will never have again. Even interacting with the same people day in and day out those interactions are different because those people are different I’m different  today than I was yesterday so on and so forth, so I love that quote. Basically it reminds me to take advantage of every day, every moment because I will not live it again it won’t happen again. 

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s awesome quote. If that doesn’t provide humility to one that would be surprising it kind of puts things in context as far as you and the rest of the universe. 

 

Bill Gessert:     Exactly, exactly. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Talking about that universe and talking about those shifts and talking about those things not being the same and us hopefully not having patterns of repeat with mistakes we have humps that we get over that hopefully redirect us and send us in a better direction, is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share? 

 

Bill Gessert:     Yeah, you mentioned in the introduction that I my first entree into business really was selling Sunday school curriculum over the phone and yes I was blessed and highly successful with that. And so what do you do with a successful inside sales rep? Well, you promote him and so where does he go? Now he’s going to be leading that group. Well, guess what? The skill sets to be really good as a sales rep are completely different than the skill sets to be really good as a leader of salespeople. And to put it mildly I was a disaster it was terrible it was so bad that after about 16 months I went to my boss and said please get me out of this position before I do any more damage it was so frustrating. So he did. Now that’s not where the story ends, I worked then as the training manager for that organization and that led me to an opportunity to work in training and development for a Fortune 500 company. Well, guess what the first assignment they gave me was? Create a sales management training program. I scratched my head and I thought—wow, do they know how bad I was at leading salespeople and they’re going to ask me to create a program? I should have been completely transparent but I wasn’t I thought I can do this. So I went out and I found a book, this was pre-internet that’s how ancient this is, I found a book great book it’s still available today it’s called, 13 Fatal errors that Managers Make and How to Avoid Them I read the book Jim and I realized at that point—here’s my epiphany moment—I wasn’t a bad person I just didn’t have the skill sets and all 13 of those mistakes were 13 mistakes I made some of them repeatedly and I learned the skills. I created the training program and I took it out and I started teaching people who had sales reps, they were they were sales managers, the results the responses were amazing that made me chomp it a bit for another opportunity to lead salespeople and I did get that. Second time around a completely different outcome about 40 45 people that I was leading they were also sort of inside lead development and it was highly successful. We had a blast we had fun doing it and I stuck to the tenets of that book and it made all the difference in the world. So, that got me over the hump, so to speak.

 

Jim Rembach:    I really appreciate you sharing that one because that’s exactly why we’re doing what we’re doing at call center coach is because the skill sets of being an agent are not the same skill sets as being as a leader of those agents. 

 

Bill Gessert:     It’s even close. Nope. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Thanks for sharing that. And the Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on let’s get a quick word from our sponsor:

 

An 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 beyondmorale.com/better. 

 

Alright, here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Bill, 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. Bill Gessert, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Bill Gessert:     I’m ready let’s do it. 

 

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

 

Bill Gessert:     This is really hard for me to admit but I’ve thought about this and the bottom line is, believe it or not I still struggle a little bit with my own self-doubt it freezes me. And so every morning I try to create a positive picture of what’s going to happen that day and that gets me past that. But it’s still that self-doubt that still kind of holds me back.

 

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

 

Bill Gessert:     Going back many years ago I had a leader that told me that my number one focus needs to be getting my direct reports promoted and that if I focused on that everything else would take care of itself and I agree with that.  Because when you think about what all that takes developing them, encouraging them, recognizing what they do well, it’s sound advice concentrate on getting your direct reports promoted.  

 

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

 

Bill Gessert:     That’s an easy one for me, it’s choosing to focus on the positive. Some people walk around life tending to think I’ll be happy when, I’ll be happy if, but the truth of the matter is and I’ve learned this firsthand and research will back this up is that people who go through life with a positive outlook are more successful. The happiness needs to come first be positive and get that energy out there and that’s what will come back to you. 

 

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

 

Bill Gessert:     There’s two things I’m going to point to, authenticity and transparency. I think you got to be your real self with people let them see who you really are be real.

 

Jim Rembach:     What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners and it could be from any genre. 

 

Bill Gessert:     Good because this is not commonly known as a business book but it’s consistent with the things I’m sharing go out and get the book called, Before Happiness by Sean Agar, in it he shares five clear actionable strategies for creating a positive path to success. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, Fast Leader legion, can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/billgessert. Okay, Bill this is my last hump day hoedown question: Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25. And you’ve given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Bill Gessert:     I’m going to stick with one that I just shared and that’s the aspect of building long-term relationships based on authenticity and transparency with people. I think at 25 like most people I was just way too self-absorbed to realize the value and the importance of relationships and how to make those work through transparency and being your authentic self. So that’s what I would go back and do over. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Bill, 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? 

 

Bill Gessert:     Yeah, there’s a couple of different ways, you can follow me on Twitter it’s just @billgessert. I also have a WordPress blog you can Google that and find that. I’m on LinkedIn again it’s Bill Gessert LinkedIn address. The ICSA is always a good place to find me and that’s icsatoday.org and my day job with Premiere Response is premiereresponse.com, so look forward to interacting with the people out there. 

 

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

 

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

 

END OF AUDIO 

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Jim Knight - Culture That Rocks

174: Jim Knight: I’ve got to be the shield and set the example

Jim Knight Show Notes Page

Jim Knight was asked by his CEO to deliver on a project with an extremely aggressive timeline. Despite all of their effort of working 18-20-hour days and on the weekends, Jim began to realize the task was larger than first assessed. So, Jim reported to the CEO and ultimately learned a vital lesson about transparency.

Jim Knight was born and raised in Kissimmee, Florida just south of Orlando) along with his two younger brothers Greg and Brad. His parents are still married; his Dad was a policeman and fireman, Mom was an office manager. His Grandfathers: Southern Baptist minister and a Georgia farmer.

Jim always wanted to “perform” in some way in front of others. He has always been attracted to people who could sing, dance, act, speak, perform…and so he tried all of those as a youth and utilizes those skills in what he does today. He creates edu-tainment for others.

Early career to current job? 1st job was in hospitality at a local alligator farm attraction (Gatorland Zoo) where I worked on snack bar, sold fish, drove a mini-train, took guest photos holding reptiles. He turned his high school signing experience into a music scholarship at college, which morphed into being a public middle school teacher for 6 years…during which he had an evening job at some restaurants.

Eventually Jim took on a summer job at Hard Rock Café in Orlando (one of the busiest restaurants in the world) …and stayed 21 years (16 as head of Training & Development). He traveled the world for them and built up a world class team delivering programs to protect and perpetuate the brand. He left in 2012 to become a professional keynote speaker and author.

Jim is the Author of Culture that Rocks and his daily mission is to positively impact and influence others. The more that he can get his disrupter ideas into the public domain the more excited he becomes, especially if it has some stickiness to them.

Jim currently resides in Winter Garden, FL and has three kids, Madison and twins Alec and Sydney.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @knightspeaker to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet  

“Everything is predicated on human learned behavior.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“In this world of vanilla, that everybody serves, people want a little bit of chocolate in their life.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“In a world of vanilla ice cream, you’ve got to serve up some chocolate.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“There are people that are in jobs, that shouldn’t be in jobs that are dealing with human beings.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“If I can put the right people in the environment that we needed, then they would become rock stars.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“Turnover, for most industries, is the root of all evil.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“We’ve got to wear many more different hats than it used to be.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“I’m not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but my goal is, I’m going to be myself.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“I would much rather fail forward.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

“Some people would love for it to be 100% transparent, but there are many times you’ve just need to be able to put a cork in that.” -Jim Knight Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Jim Knight was asked by his CEO to deliver on a project with an extremely aggressive timeline. Despite all of their effort of working 18-20-hour days and on the weekends, Jim began to realize the task was larger than first assessed. So, Jim reported to the CEO and ultimately learned a vital lesson about transparency.

Advice for others

Your long and winding road is riddled with failures, but you’re ultimately going to reach nirvana.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Having more access to senior decision makers.

Best Leadership Advice

Stay within your circle of influence.

Secret to Success

To stay ever present.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Time management.

Recommended Reading

Culture That Rocks: How to Revolutionize Your Company’s Culture

Rock ‘N’ Roll With It: Overcoming the Challenge of Change

Contacting Jim Knight

website: https://www.knightspeaker.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/knightspeaker

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-knight-0550823b/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

Empathy Mapping

 

Show Transcript: 

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

174: Jim Knight: I’ve got to be the shield and set the example

 

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. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because I really get to learn the true meaning behind vanilla ice cream today and so will you and that’s why I’m so excited to have the guest that I have on the show today. Jim Knight was born and raised in Kissimmee, Florida just south of Orlando along with his two younger brothers Greg and Brad. His parents are still married his dad was a police and fireman and really a service person most of his life. His mom was an office manager and his grandfathers were Southern Baptist ministers and a Georgia farmer. Jim always wanted to perform in some way in front of others. He’s always been attracted to people who could sing, dance, act, speak, perform so he tried all those things as a youth and he utilizes those skills today in what he does. He creates edutainment for others, for those that know I actually call the Fast Leader show a docu-edutainment so my part is that we’re going to learn a little bit more about Jim. 

 

Early in his career, he actually worked hospitality at a local alligator farm attraction where he worked at the snack bar, sold fish, drove a mini train and took guest photos holding reptiles. He used his high school activity in singing and turned it into a music scholarship at college which morphed into being a public middle school teacher for six years during which he had an evening job at some restaurants. Eventually he took on a summer job at Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando and stayed 21 years. He traveled all over the world for them and built a world-class team delivering programs to protect and perpetuate the brand. He left the Hard Rock Cafe in 2012 to become a professional keynote speaker and author. Jim currently lives in Winter Garden, Florida and has three kids Madison and twins Alec and Sydney. Jim Knight, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Jim Knight:   I am so ready. I love it. What a great introduction, thank you, Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Man I’m glad you’re here. I had the opportunity to actually see you on one of your keynote speeches and I was I was just so charged and energized loved your story loved your catchphrases loved your analogies I just wanted to have you on the show, so I’m glad you’re here. 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?

 

Jim Knight:   Probably the session that you saw was around either culture or services tend to be my number one and number two topics. I move at blazing speed it sounds like you’re faster than I am which I love but I am loud and fast and aggressive when I’m on stage and probably the session you saw was around culture and that honestly is my passion. Just whenever I get a chance to help out a brand amp up their organizational culture, I’m all about that. So I will go out of my way to help define it to help brands understand that everything is predicated on human behavior learned behavior. I try and get people to think a little bit differently than just the actual stuff that they actually sell. I will focus on surrounding yourself with great people, I say an army of giants. If you can sort of get the right people on the right seat on the bus I know that’s an overused sort of cliché but you really will just perpetuate the brand I think. Ramping up company culture and it could be anything around customer service or employee engagement you sprinkle in a little bit of philanthropy and leadership that’s pretty much in a nutshell is the essence of what I talk about.

 

Jim Rembach:      Well, I would dare to say that you kind of make things a little bit more real to the mainstream like you were talking about having things to be sticky in the mainstream. I think everybody can resonate and connect with like the whole—everybody serves vanilla ice cream however you have to do what? 

 

Jim Knight:   I use that analogy just because I think there’s such a world of melees going on. For the most part people are focusing on down the middle of the plate it’s a sea of sameness and so when I use ice cream as an analogy I say in this world of vanilla that everybody serves people want a little bit of chocolates in their life. I’m looking for people that when I go out to eat and drink and shop and stay and play and be around anybody where I’m going to spend money, I want to be treated special and that’s what I think chocolate ice cream is like. It’s just a little bit unique it’s a little bit different than the same-old, same-old that everybody is getting. The catchphrase for me is always in a world of vanilla ice cream you got to serve up some chocolate, people need a little bit of chocolate in their lives.

 

Jim Rembach:      I could totally understand that. You said something a moment ago when you had mentioned about the learned piece. I think especially going through and doing some of the corporate training pieces and trying to get people to live the brand you really have to go beyond the learn piece and turn it into practice. Something that they have to do in order for it to become  something that is consistent and that’s kind of where a brand kind of can take off and really find its power.

 

Jim Knight:   That’s right. But the problem is that there are people that are in jobs that really shouldn’t be in jobs when they’re dealing with other human beings so I guess because my background is being more in hospitality than anything else what I’ve learned over the years. I was a training and development guy I’m smack dab in the middle of the employee lifecycle. I don’t have anything to deal with how people come into the business or how they leave so I’m going to train with whatever you give me. If I was smart enough to really help the brand out a little bit more if I had a time machine I’d go back to be a recruiter because I think I at least understood that if I could put the right people in the environment that we needed then they would become rock stars. But here’s the problem, because everything is learned behavior everything you learned everything from school from your parents from your friends from your siblings from religion from lack of religion from the playground by the time that you come to me as a 19-year old kid you are the way you are. I could fake it if the boss is watching me if you told me my job depended on it and I’m staring at you for a certain amount of time I could fake it for a while. But if my natural disposition isn’t to be around other people isn’t to really deliver something with excellence isn’t to move at blazing speed and have an attention to detail and sense of urgency well that’s going to be a problem because they’re going to be fake the whole and so I think eventually these people wash out of these positions where they have to interact with others. I know it’s learned behavior I know that with some training and development and rewarding and recognizing and leadership you can help them along the way but at the end of the day they’ve got to be able to do that and for them it’s sheer will. And if they’ve not learned it early on if their value orientation isn’t the same you’re going to struggle with that individual. It’s almost better to go out and find these rock stars. You might have to mind for them but if you can find them somewhere else and bring them into the fold it’s better than trying to create them while they’re there with you for the very first time.

 

Jim Rembach:   Now you bring up a really interesting point and I would dare to say that a lot of people have learned how to fake it but you still have that natural wiring thing and they end up getting exhausted because they have to essentially operate outside of their norm that’s a lot of energy. I had a guest on the show a while back we talked about energy units meaning that we only have so many energy units in a given day. We have things that affect our energy units like, did we get enough sleep the night before? Are we eating well? Are we exercising? Too much stress and so our energy units could be impacted but the fact is that we only have so many. If we’re operating outside of what our normal behavior is man we just suck those things up faster.

 

Jim Knight:   You got it. That’s why TV shows like Big Brother and Survivor they’ve got the cameras on all the time but people actually really do and they’ll say this every time they’re on these shows they do forget that the cameras are rolling everyone’s law and I’ve heard that you can only fake behavior around the 70 minute mark that’s an hour and 10 minutes. So, somebody really was staring at you can fake it fake it fake it but an hour and 10 minutes, oh my god I’m exhausted, you will resort back to the way you actually are. It’s one of those things where, yeah, you can sort of kick it up a notch you can actually teach yourself if you had that ability and the wherewithal to say I’m going to learn this I’m going to get better but it is really, really tough if you’ve had 19 to 21 years of the ensconced behavior that doesn’t allow you to go and do that and now you put them in an environment where you’re expected to do it it’s really, really tough. And so that’s the problem right now the talent war is so huge right now. Even right now we’re lucky to be in an environment where it’s low unemployment. You’re going to have a harder time finding the right people because it’s just not being taught somewhere else, and that’s unfortunate.

 

Jim Rembach:   Gosh, there’s so many things as running through my head listening to you talk with other guests that I’ve had and other things that I’ve followed up on in regards to the education system in regards to the emotional intelligence being sucked out of kids because of a whole slew of different factors including their addiction to their devices it just goes on and on and on. I would so I would dare to say, and you could probably shed some light on this, is that if we start looking at the worker that we had 10 years ago versus the worker that we have now, what are  companies have to do differently to develop those people to get the performance that they need out of them?

 

Jim Knight:   If it’s frontline employee, I actually have a couple friends and I there’s a couple of businesses even now where it’s almost 100 percent populated by millennials. It’s funny to even—I hear so many people talk about the millennials. Millennials are already here I mean I actually think about the next generation these digital natives. My kids, my 18-year old kids are part of that next generation and in a year or two they’re going to be working for us. The problem is these businesses because they realized that these behaviors are not being taught you have a choice you can do one of two things you can get frustrated and say, there’s no way I’m going to hire you because you don’t have the skills or they’ve learned that the first job is going to be the right job. And so what they’re having to do is teach them how to count money how to use a mop and a broom how to not be on their device and actually look at people in their eye and smile and then be ever-present when somebody is around them. These are things that are just not taught, the physical activity of wiping down a counter or whatever. If you haven’t learned any of these things if you had no chores like probably you and I did Jim, it’s really going to be a struggle. 

 

I have a friend he has a frozen dessert concept in Chicago and every single one of her employees are young kids they’re all like 15 16-year olds. If you’re 19 you probably a manager at that point you’ve got all these kids in there and she’s just decided I’m going to teach him life skills. And so what happens is they’ll go to college and get a degree and sometimes circle back around and come and work for her or their parents will write them letter saying you changed my kids trajectory and how they think about life and the world and everything else. Being in an automaton manager where people coming in and punching the time clock. I’m not sure there’s a lot of business owners that are thinking like that because I think they’re just frustrated they’re looking for the talent out there and they get frustrated because they can’t find the right ones versus you might have to sort of be the pseudo parent a little bit and teach them some of these skills. If you can go through that and you have the patience to deal with it and put it in the time and the energy the effort and the rigor I think what you get out of that are some brand ambassadors that will stay with you forever. 

 

Jim Rembach:   I think that’s a really important to note is because I think it is a situation and I think this part of where that whole generational and that picking on the millenials because that’s the kind of what I see it. Even when I start thinking about some of the behaviors that people who are my age now having to lead these people or a couple of levels down is that they’re like, these darn kids. I’m like, I was one of those and some of the things that they’re talking about meaning I wanted to be the CEO at 23, I had that mentality because I was impatient that’s the way I’m wired. So I’m like, is it really all that different? I think one of the differences may be that we’ve hyped it. The other difference maybe is that there’s more of those people that have some of those behaviors where it’s like, gosh, they don’t even know—I even jokingly asked my kids when they’re essentially doing things that are they’re (12:35 inaudible) like helpless, I’m like, do I need to come wipe your butt too? I mean it’s like, come on.

 

Jim Knight:   I’ll chew your food for you if you need that? 

 

Jim Rembach:   Do you mind if I get older and have teeth problem but hey— but it’s like, come on— we’re trying to trying to teach them these life skills thinking that you don’t have to do that as an employer I think is really where the change has to come. Like you’re saying we want them to already be at a step three of life development and they hadn’t hit one yet.

 

Jim Knight:   Exactly, exactly. And it’s tough and I’m not going to stand here and say that it’s an easy thing it’s probably the hardest thing you’ll ever do. Unless you’re a standalone entrepreneur working in a kiosk I guess by yourself, we need people to do the things that you need them to do. They might not want to do it I mean that’s part of leadership getting people to do the things you need them to do. For me it’s a preordained result I know exactly what I need people to do to bring the standard to deliver something with excellence. Especially when I’m not around, I know exactly what I need people to do. I have a choice you can either go and find these people who already have that inherent DNA running through their veins they got the juice inside of them already or I’m just going to have to admit most the people coming to the party aren’t going to have all of those skills and I’ve got to train them some of the skills. And then I can’t get frustrated if they don’t get it right away. So that’s training, its development, it’s rewarding, recognizing, leading them, throwing your arms around and loving them and then once again will get people to stay with you longer. I know turnover for most industries is the root of all evil people are just coming and going you never get to the sweet stuff you never get to the awesomeness so you’re constantly working like a hamster in the wheel. The longer that you can get people to stay with you and be like I said that brand ambassador they will do anything for you, you’re going to have a whole lot of awesomeness that’s waiting for you on the other side.

 

Jim Rembach:   Right. I’m thinking about a mindset perspective it used to be that emotional intelligence wasn’t even on the radar screen and then it was, hey, I want to find people that already are emotionally intelligent and then I want them in my organization. I think now it’s like, okay, I just need to know that I’m going to have to teach them emotional intelligence.

 

Jim Knight:   Yeah, exactly. I think there are so many people out there that have got to become better educators, better human resource, directors if you will. Again even if you’re the standalone person that they think that’s in charge of the business and you started the thing and you’re the president or whatever we’ve got to wear many more different hats than what it used to be. In the past it’s all segmented you could relegate it out to somebody else but now you’re just going to have to take on the role of, I’m going to be an educator and that’s not going to stop on day one that’s going to be continuous.

 

Jim Rembach:   Without a doubt. Okay, talking about having to do all of those different things and having all of those frustrations and you’re a big guy who brings in the energy when you’re on stage and so when you start talking about where you find energy and where we find energy. On the show one of the things we look at are quotes. Is there a quote or two that you can share that you like?

 

Jim Knight:   There are a couple, yeah. Unfortunately, most my stuff is rock and roll icons it’s just that the great philosopher Bono actually said at one time which I use quite a bit, “The world is more malleable than you think and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape. Sure he was talking more about the philanthropic side this guy has done so much for the world and he commands the voice of the Pope and presidents and everything else but he’s using his stage to really go out there and try and influence and impact people in a positive way from a philanthropic way he’s trying to save the world. So that quote has always stuck with me. I also have Kurt Cobain’s quote from Nirvana the lead singer sadly passed away in the early 90s. He talks about the fact of an individual so the one from Bono was about, you can go out there make a difference. But Kurt Cobain’s I love, “I’d rather be hated for who I am then love for who I am not.” So, I do tend to think that I’m a little bit irreverent at times I’m a little bit unpredictable at times I’m fairly safe when I’m on stage but I do try and think with a little bit of a different mindset. I’m not going to be everybody’s cup of tea but my goal has always been I’m going to be myself I’m going to be  my true, authentic self. And so I would much rather be hated for who I am than loved for being a poser and lip syncher out there. I’m just not going to that. So if I use this two music icons if that’s alright for a quote that’s how I’m living my life.

 

Jim Rembach:   I think that’s great. The impact and the lyrics and many of those things that are said and the personalities and all of that’s within it they’ve had a great impact on our life. When you start thinking about, gosh, I’m thinking about the restaurant business and my short foray in it talking about the whole fast pace and remembering  things and you understand the other it’s like, gosh, that’s a tough place to be in. I also know even that time and tenure when you were at Hard Rock I think the business itself kind of took up a few rollercoasters it wasn’t always right. 

 

Jim Knight:   Yeah, exactly. 

 

Jim Rembach:   But I’m sure—and also making the decision to kind of do your own thing and step away. There’s a lot of humps that you’ve had to get over. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share with us?

 

Jim Knight:   I have had a hump or two I would much rather fail forward I know that’s probably another cliché line but it’s the truth. Now as I’m older I know to lean into it. I can clearly remember that I had one moment that was really—for me is a little bit embarrassing it was a little tough from a leadership standpoint. When I first took over the department I was by myself when I left we had nine people working for us. It was probably near the end of my tenure at Hard Rock, my CEO had come to us we were coming up on our 40th anniversary of the brand and asked us to do a video basically a video montage pulling from old Hard Rock footage from the founders from the very first server out of the first piece of merchandise, how did memorabilia start it’s really more of a documentary, I know that’s the world that you play in as well, the problem was we had an entire room full of every bit of format you could think of DVD, CD, Betamax, VHS, and what he wanted was to create almost a media library, if you will, sort of like a news room would do. He wanted us to digitize all of that work because some of it honestly if you took it out of the box it had already disintegrated like some of the film 8mm stuff and all sort had fallen apart. So the goal was I had to in less than two months digitize all of that footage pulled from all of that meta tag all of it and say, this was this person she was here in this location on this date with Rod Stewart in the background, like there was a lot of work that would go into this in a very short finite time. 

 

He told me cost was not an issue all hands on deck so we stopped doing everything, my team of nine I had one person that focused on the day-to-day management training that we couldn’t come off, but everybody else immediately stopped what they’re doing, We all started working pretty much 18-20 hours a day we’re working on the weekends I had a couple people that we had to cancel their vacations, this was all during the holidays coming up through Christmas, we were using people’s sons and brothers and daughters and significant others we went online on the Craigslist and bought something like 20 I think Beta machines that could actually play stuff and converse—I know it’s sort of a long story—but it was really painful because we did all of this work and it was starting to get close to the end date for the conference which was really cool nice to have but it wasn’t mission-critical for the brand but that’s what the CEO wanted. He had talked about it with me on a regular basis and I finally went into the office and said I think we’re going to miss the date, I don’t think we’re going to be able to get it done. I can’t have them work any harder all my people are burned and exhausted we’re all sleeping here we’re on Red Bull, coffee and Mountain Dew and everything else and he said, then I will fire everybody on the team. And it was a real tough moment and—I like to CEO I like him a lot and I know it was a little bit of frustration for him probably to say that my leadership failing and I went back and told the team that and I should have done that. I know this was probably one of my biggest leadership failings that I got to keep stuff close to my vest and I’ve got to be the shield and I’ve got to set the example and we could have done things pretty much a little bit different not any harder for sure but what came out of that is I immediately lost one person on the team. That was it he was done and I lost another one pretty soon after that and I think you can pretty much go back to that moment in doing all of this work and then all of a sudden your boss comes to you and says, hey listen if you guys don’t get it done the CEO said we’re all out of here. I just learned a lot from that there are times when you do share information and I’m sure some people love her to be 100% transparent but there are many times you’ve got to just be able to put a cork in that and figure out a way to deflect it. I bet you he would have never ever fired the team that was just something he said and I made it a little bit worse than it needed to be. And I was in a department that we had hardly ever lost anybody so to lose two right after that that’s a clear indication of my leadership failing. So, that’s why I wish I could have gone back in time and had a little bit of a do-over. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Well, I’m sure there was a whole lot of factors that went in to that. Thanks for sharing that story because I actually saw myself in a couple of those things I’m like, oh huh gosh, I know I probably conveyed one or two things and I probably shouldn’t have either and I think we’ve all kind of done that. There’s so many factors that play into that, your frustration your own fatigue your own—I’m sure even going in his office and telling them that you don’t think that you were going to make it, that was a huge effort. 

 

Jim Knight:   I got caught too because somebody on the team went back and told my boss, who then also told the CEO, so within probably two hours I had a door slam in my office the CEO and my boss is standing in front of me and asking me direct questions, did you go and tell the team? And I said, yeah, it was pretty disappointing I wouldn’t say that it was a complete knocked out of me I wasn’t getting demoted I wasn’t getting fired but boy I put a chink in my armor that it took me a while to climb out just from a headspace standpoint to be a much better leader and I just said that’s not going to happen for me again, so, it was it was clearly a moment. I’ve had some pretty good runs as a leader I would say I’m just as good of a follower as I am a leader. But when I’ve been in that role I’ve been okay but boy the one or two times they’ve been a couple black eyes I wish I could go back in time, but it did make me stronger I can certainly say that. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Well, just like you said eventually you kind of fell forward but it felt like I probably I can kick back but you fell forward. I know you have a lot of things are going on it’s not just the speaking and all of that. You said you had a couple of businesses that you’re working on, the kids I know are important to you and family as a whole, but if you started looking at one goal that you were to have what would it be?

 

Jim Knight:   My goal regardless of who it’s with is going to positively impact and influence others, it’s always been like that. You said it best. Whether it’s just being a rock for my kids I like doing that for my friends and family just being a positive influence in their life it’s also helping individuals out with their careers. I want them to be rock stars in their own businesses. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a close friend of mine but if people have reached out this is sort of the one-on-one consultancy side of me I’ll certainly do that. It could be leading people to Christ I have a strong religion inside of me so when it’s appropriate when it makes sense I will go out of my way to help impact to influence people with that. I’m hoping companies obviously be world class that’s in my professional career and honestly like I said I’m out there in shop land myself. I have to eat and drink and go and spend time in retail store it just frustrates the crap out of me when it’s just mediocre service. So whether it’s their culture or their organization or even—if I could somehow get my hands in sconce and revolutionizing in the entire industry even if it’s one business at a time that’s my goal. You would think from the majority of my background is food and beverage and hospitality but the majority of my speaking is actually outside of that it’s banking and insurance and auto mechanics, funeral directors are my number one clients senior assisted living number two right behind it. And you’re like, what is this guy from the hard rock with the freaky hair and whatever like what is he going to do? And yet everybody’s going through the same challenges. I think if I can help those individual businesses just get better and then along the way I’m just sort of taken some individuals with me who need a little bit of some love and arms thrown around them and I’m going to be that part. I think if there’s one thing that I could probably do it’s going to be the positively impact and influence other people. Whether that’s an organization or individuals I’m going to take as many people with me it’s just been my driving force forever. 

 

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. 

 

The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotions. So move onward and upward faster by gaining significantly deeper insight and understanding of your customer journey and personas with emotional intelligence. With your empathy mapping workshop you’ll learn how to evoke and influence the right customer emotions that generate improve customer loyalty and reduce your cost to operate. Get over your emotional hump now by going to empathymapping.com to learn more. 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Jim Knight:     Oh, my, gosh. Being on the Fast Leader podcast, does that count? I just needed this one little hump, probably having more access to senior executives more decision-makers.

 

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

 

Jim Knight:      Stay within your circle of influence. I think only focusing and spending time on the things you can control that’s a winner. 

 

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

 

Jim Knight:      I have the cunning ability to stay ever present, I know it’s hard to do in this technology low attention span world but boy, I can be right there with you and everything else’s a blurry. 

 

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

 

Jim Knight:   Time management, no doubt about it. I’m pretty good at getting stuff done and do it on time. 

 

Jim Rembach:      What would be one book that you’d recommend to our legion, it could be from any genre?

 

Jim Knight:   Well I’m cheating, I think my book, Culture that Rocks is one. A friend of mine he’s got a book out that I really love right now called, Rock and Roll with it, and it’s about overcoming the challenge of change. So how do you deal with the individual change? His name’s Brandt Man’s war he’s a friend of mine I’m digging his book right now. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay Fast Leader legion you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to astleader.net/Jim Knight. Okay, Jim this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question, Imagine you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 and you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. So, what skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Jim Knight:   Oooh, I think I would recommend to myself that I’m pretty resilient. I thought about those failures I just think if I could tell myself that you’re long and winding road is riddled with failures but you’re ultimately going to reach nirvana, I’d be in a good place at 25, if I heard that.

 

Jim Rembach:   Jim, 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?

 

Jim Knight:   Yeah, thank you for asking me. You can certainly go to my website which is, knightspeaker.com. Or if you’re interested in my book its culturethatrocks.com you can get there either way. I’m on Twitter @knightspeaker you can find me pretty much anywhere but I’d start with those three. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Jim Knight, 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 legion today. For recaps, links from every show special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster. 

 

END OF AUDIO 

 

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Tal Shnall leadership development

165: Tal Shnall: I fell on my face taking that position

Tal Shnall Show Notes Page

Tal Shnall was promoted to managing a staff that was more than double the size of his previous role. But Tal did not realize that he was missing a lot of manager and leadership skills that would allow him to be successful. Tal struggled and paid the price. Eventually he found his way forward and now helps others from repeating his experience.

Tal Shnall was born and raised in a small town called Rehovot in Israel. He is the oldest son of three boys. He moved to the United States when he was 17 years old. He learned his core values from his mother and father who always lead by their own example. They gave him the values and virtues of moral character to live the right way.

Growing up Tal usually could be found with friends playing sports or occasionally reading an inspiring book. He would also take special notes when his mother was preparing their home and making great effort to welcome visitors.

After obtaining a hotel degree from the University of North Texas Tal started out in the hospitality field, in small restaurants and moved to the hotel industry.

Tal is now a Customer Experience (CX) speaker and trainer, with more than 20 years’ experience as a lead Brand Trainer and in hotel operations. He has worked for the top hotel brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Starwood and Intercontinental Hotel Group, to develop Customer Service Training, Leadership Development, Corporate Training, and Executive Coaching.

Today, he still loves what he does, training and developing people in the hotel industry and helping leaders and frontline people to provide excellent customer service. It’s all about serving and adding value to people from all walks of life.

He is continually adding value to create sustainable measurable results that improve customer satisfaction, profitability, and organizational culture.

Tal is also a leadership blogger and influencer. He was one of the top contributing bloggers on http://www.linked2leadership.com/ in 2014 and he is a LeadChange Group guest blogger.

Tal currently lives in Dallas, Texas where he loves to stay active and keep physically fit, seek out great dance music and enjoy the natural areas of White Rock Lake.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen to @tshnall to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet 

“Customer Service or Customer Experience begins at home.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet  

“External customer experience is the result of internal customer experience.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“There’s nothing more rewarding than when a customer writes a letter to praise something you’ve done.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“You train for the skill and you hire the smile or attitude.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“What’s really going to make the difference is if someone on your team is really making the positive difference.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“Bring on the right personalities and continuously development them.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“In order to be an engaged leader, you have to see what they’re doing.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“There has to be failure before you become success.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“If your employees are successful they’ll deliver a better experience for your customers.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“I’ve never had a toxic culture create a positive customer experience.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

“Develop yourself, because you can’t give what you don’t have.” -Tal Shnall Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Tal Shnall was promoted to managing a staff that was more than double the size of his previous role. But Tal did not realize that he was missing a lot of manager and leadership skills that would allow him to be successful. Tal struggled and paid the price. Eventually he found his way forward and now helps others from repeating his experience.

Advice for others

Self-awareness is the ultimate test for every leader that wants to grow into a greater leader.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Working on relationships. Re-energizing old relationships.

Best Leadership Advice

Giving is better than receiving.

Secret to Success

Personal development. Develop yourself, because you can’t give what you don’t have.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Coaching people.

Recommended Reading

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Contacting Tal Shnall

Twitter: https://twitter.com/tshnall

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tal-shnall-89b66763/

Resources and Show Mentions

Call Center Coach

Empathy Mapping

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”]

165: Tal Shnall: I fell on my face taking that position

 

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.

The number one thing that contributes to customer loyalty is emotion. So move onward and upward faster by gaining significantly deeper insight and understanding of your customer journey and personas with emotional intelligence. With your empathy mapping workshop you’ll learn how to evoke and influence the right customer emotions that generate improve customer loyalty and reduce your cost to operate. Get over your emotional hump now by going to empathymapping.com to learn more. 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader legion, today I’m excited because I have somebody on the show today who’s really going to help us with the customer experience where those moments of truth actually happen. Tal Shnall was born and raised in a small town called Rehovot in Israel. He is the oldest son of three boys. He moved to the United States when he was 17 years old. He learned his core values from his mother and father who always led by their own example. They gave him the values and virtues of moral character to live the right way. Growing up Tal usually could be found with friends playing sports or occasionally reading an inspiring book. He would also take special notes when his mother was preparing their home and making great effort to welcome visitors.

 

After obtaining a hotel degree from the University of North Texas Tal started out in the hospitality field in small restaurants and moved to the hotel industry. Tal is now a customer experience speaker and trainer with more than 20 years’ experience as a lead brand trainer and in hotel operations. He’s worked for the top hotel brands such as Marriott, Hilton, Starwood, Intercontinental Hotel Group to develop their customer service training, leadership development, corporate training and executive coaching. Today he still loves what he does training and developing people in the hotel industry and helping leaders and frontline people to provide excellent service. It’s all about serving and adding value to the people from all walks of life and he’s continually adding value to create sustainable measurable results that improve customer satisfaction, profitability and organizational culture. 

 

Tal is also a leadership blogger and influencer and he’s one of the top contributing bloggers on Link to Leadership in 2014 and he is a lead change group guest blogger. Tal currently lives in Dallas, Texas where he loves to stay active and keep physically fit seeking out great dance music and enjoying the natural areas of White Rock Lake. Tal Shnall, are you ready to help us get over the hump? 

 

Tal Shnall:   Absolutely. Glad to connect with you Jim, and happy birthday to you, sir. 

 

Jim Rembach:   I appreciate that. I’ve given our 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?

 

Tal Shnall:   Absolutely. My current passion is adding value to frontlines and leaders and the customer service world and to coach and train people to inspire them to another level of greatness.

 

Jim Rembach:   You say that so easily. When I start thinking about the whole people side of it as well as people serving people when you throw that whole mix into it and then all of the raising customer expectations component I started thinking about a whole lot of squeaky wheels and difficulties just looking at the long-term nature of continually serving when you look at the work that you’re doing where do you find you’re spending most of your effort and time?

 

Tal Shnall:   It’s a great question and I think obviously it took me 20 years to connect to my passion and purpose as we go through them to the experiences that builds our character in the industry. I think that the biggest challenge for us is to continuously work with the talent in our industries because the talent delivers the customer experience and I think many organizations seem to understand that intellectually but not in performing in a way that really delivers results for their customers. I say this because customer service or customer experience begins at home just like it started with my mother and father. Our home is our business organization customer experience is the result of internal customer experience, if your employees are taken care of they’ll take care of the customer.

 

Jim Rembach:   You bring up a really interesting point too when you start talking about that frontline component and things starting in the home so when you start looking at the dynamics associated with the modern-day workforce, let’s go back to when you first started in hospitality to where it is now when you think about the worker who’s coming to apply and seeking

Employment, how are they different?

 

Tal Shnall:   Such a great question because we talk about this every day. When I started out in the business it was definitely a career. You were building yourself up you were going through experience that they would mold you as a as a professional as someone in the hospitality career or customer service career the great difference that I’ve learned and I didn’t appreciate that early on was I was surrounded by people that really inspired leadership in me to become what they were at the time, they were the top leadership in our hotel, I think that we need to do a better job in inspiring others to be the same. My greatest joy is always—and I’ve had this in my experience was when someone got promoted to take my job or to take, it’s not even something better than what my job is, I think the challenge for us is to continuously develop our talent to continuously get the excitement and the energy about service. I know you’ve talked about the challenges but at the same time I flipped that around as—when was the last time you made somebody’s day and you went home and told your family or your friends how you wowed someone? I received a letter the other day from my GL manager and out of all everything else you can combine there’s nothing more rewarding to know that a customer wrote a letter to someone in your organization to praise what you’ve done for them, you added value to their life.

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a really interesting point, how often do customers actually go to that level these days and write. When you start thinking about—going back to that frontline worker and how they’re different today—you talked about brand and the importance of brand and many of the hotels that you worked for brand is really key for them and really important and core, I have a worker that maybe didn’t learn all of those hospitality things in the home didn’t learn the customer service components didn’t learn about serving others, how are they able to be successful and be able to deliver to a brand that is so important?

 

Tal Shnall:   That’s a great question. First of all, I think you got to start with the hiring process. Being a selective hiring organization you’re going to look for that friendliness, your attitude. There’s  an old saying that, you train for the skill and you hire the smile or you hire the attitude and I think if you’re looking at the great brands including the brand that I work for which is Marriott, Renaissance, we’re hire for personalities we’re hire four friendliness the rest of the stuff can be trained. And so we dedicate a lot of time on who is the right person to take care of our guests that’s number one. Number two is to continuously developing and training people about the type of brand culture that we’re trying to instill and engage with our guests and customers. It is more competitive than ever nowadays as you talk about branding and someone’s standing out, why would they go over to your staff publish man rather than someone else. Many places have become a commodity but what’s really going to make the difference if someone on your team is really making the positive difference. So, we’ve got to do two things, we’ve got to select the right people bring the personalities and also continuously developing, training them creating an environment for them to grow so they can provide the level of service that we would like our customers would like.

 

Jim Rembach:   When I’m thinking about that frontline and those moments of truth and really developing those frontline people reality is we all know that what we learn and what we’re exposed to in the classroom it doesn’t translate to an actual job behavior. That’s not just the way it works because if that was the case all the classes we take we would be good to go but it just doesn’t work that way you have to implement and put things in practice. And so to help people to do that there has to be a framework and little tricks and tips in order for them to be successful. When you’re working with the frontline specifically in order to have them develop and create those wow experiences, what kind of tips or tools or tricks or frameworks are you giving them so that it’s top of mind it’s easy to deliver?

 

Tal Shnall:   We use a of couple things. One is a huddle, which has a 15 to 20 minute huddle and we are going over those what we call reinforcement topics. You’re right, someone can go to class but how will they apply it and be very intentional about it? We’re consistently doing what we call pre shift huddle and that is a 15 minute huddle to go over and get feedback, coaching opportunities with our team and also keep reminding them why they’re there, their purpose and what are the most important things that we need to bring out in those experiences what does a Marriott Renaissance experience looks like. So, the more we can engage with them the better they can apply those in each and every moment with that customer. Continuously being there as a leader you need to be on the frontline with them so you can see what works what doesn’t work, what do I need to give, where do I need to coach where do I need to do something different and so you’re there being an engaged leader you’ve got to see what they’re doing and reinforce, reinforce, and reinforce—communication is the key.

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, you also mentioned something that to me I think is really important and that is that whole career pathing component. When you are working with organizations how much of your work actually goes into helping them create and then therefore communicate that whole career pathing process?

 

Tal Shnall:   What we do is actually what we call personal development plan. We sit down with every individual on our team and we try to learn more about them who they are as a person and what their aspirations are and also the big thing is connecting our culture to their learning and development.  So we start off with what this person is working on what are their aspirations like and then connecting the big purpose the big picture and the culture how their contribution and development can add value to our customers. So, it’s a process it’s a system in place we visit with the employee on a monthly basis and we’re creating development plans that they can be engaged with rather than something that came from corporate and here’s a document you need to do what you need to do, I don’t think that’s engaging. I think you continuously having those conversations and finding out what turns them on. Once you do that you create a path a road for them and through that you’re finding out that they have more aspirations you’re finding out what do I really want to spend my time on. We use strengths finder 2.0 which is another great resource. We may use the disc profile. All these little tools help our team to become more successful.

 

Jim Rembach:      So when you look at a typical engagement for you what does that kind of look like?

 

Tal Shnall:   Well it looks like the engagement that I worked with leaders and frontline leaders is hands-on training. It is developing the skill sets that creates a better engagement with their employees. It creates more cultural values and also creates performance systems and accountability for their teams and departments to deliver exceptional service. So, we have a system in place, a process that enables them to win better customer service and better internal customer service.

 

Jim Rembach:      When you’re working with these groups I can imagine that there’s a whole lot of things that you have to focus in on and really give them that focus and help them with that purpose and really get to some points of clarity. One of the things that we do on the Fast Leaders show is look at quotes to kind of help us do that. Is there a quote or two that you can share?

 

Tal Shnall:   Yes, absolutely. There’s one by Martin Luther King junior, Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what are you doing for others?

 

Jim Rembach:      I can only imagine why that that particular quote is so important to you it just like of leads to the whole hospitality feeling and why you’ve actually taken this path in your life. Talking about paths—your moving from Israel and coming here to the States, you’re a young man and going to college and going through the transition of working for organizations and now having your own practice there’s a lot of humps that we have to get over. Is there a time when you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?

 

Tal Shnall:   Sure. It actually happened in 2001 and I was moving from an hourly position to a supervisory position. I was a supervisor for a couple of years and then I wanted to venture out to become a manager a front office guest services manager at a bigger hotel. I made the leap without realizing that I was missing a lot of manager leadership skills in order for me to be successful and so I failed, I fell on my face the first couple of years and taking that position. There was really a gap going from where I was a supervisor to become a department manager, there was a gap, and so I paid the price and I fell on my face and it taught me that I should obviously take the proper steps along the ride to make myself successful and wherever I needed to be. It was a moment of humility for me because I knew that I wasn’t serving the people in the best way my competence wasn’t there the inspiration wasn’t there and so I was kind of lost in the woods if you say and I think that that created a situation where I wasn’t at my best in serving people at their best and it was a bigger hotel, much bigger than where I came from. I moved from supervising ten employees to almost 35 that’s where the gap was and I needed to learn more about how to really add value.

 

Jim Rembach:      So when you start talking about a gap, what do mean “a gap”? You tell “I fall on your face” what caused you to fall on your face? When you talked about skills what kind of skills and how were you able to obtain those and get back up? You and I talked about something, before we started actually recording, about how you have to go down or you have to fall in order to get up? And so the falling piece is important and you have to do it and you have to use it as that point of humility like you were talking about and move forward, that’s one of the ways that we move forward faster.

 

Tal Shnall:   I think that there has to be failure before you can become success. The skill set that I was lacking were leadership skills and management skills in order for me—it’s almost like moving from a small village to a big city. There are some things that you need to know and do in order to be success and in the bigger place and so it was almost going from a very small environment operationally smaller to something that is operationally buzzing and very busy and with a lot more employees a bigger brand. I thought that my skill level on the leadership part and the management part of skill set were enough and the reality taught me differently. It’s not enough you need to develop more leadership skills and more management skills in order to manage a group  going from 10 people to 35 people there’s where the difference is.

 

Jim Rembach:      So I can imagine there’s a multitude of different processes that you had to have when you have that larger group that’s the management side of it. And then the leadership side is all that emotional intelligence work that you have to do in order to have people focus on that purpose and give them an opportunity to where motivation actually grows. And so when you start thinking about those two different things what was the most important in your success going forward?

 

Tal Shnall:   The most important part is my own personal development, you can’t give what you don’t have. So I realize as I actually, for the longest time one of the reasons I didn’t like school was reading a lot but I don’t remember the exact time and I started reading personal development books, John Maxwell, Steven Covey, Jim Rohn, Brian Tracy and all the great guys that gives us inspiration and development to hone our skills. I really was very, very, very intentional till today I’m very intentional about personal development and that’s what really changed my business life and my personal life is that I put a lot of resources in me in order to provide better leadership to just people around the family, community, and business. 

 

Jim Rembach:      When you started looking at making that transition for working for an organization and going into your own practice and working with clients across multiple different industries is that you’ve got a lot of things that happen with that process a lot of things that’s going on, so if you look at one of the things that you have right now as a goal, what would it be? 

 

Tal Shnall:   It would be to make a positive impact for people. I’ll share with you in the following way, when I was in my 20’s I had a different outlook I thought that the organization or the business that I’m at owes me the training and development and therefore this is how I’m going to succeed and others are going to succeed. I think that what happens in in several places that speaks to my heart is that there’s a lot of talk about training and development and they want results and they want better customer service, they want better customer experience. My question is what are you intentionally doing inside your organization to create that? What I’m talking about the first day of orientation we’re talking about high intention, daily engagement whether it’s training or development and continuously pushing people to where you can take them every day is what I was missing in in my early 20’s. People didn’t talk about culture they didn’t talk about a lot of these things all they wanted is they knew they wanted an outcome and they’ll train you a little bit maybe the first day but they didn’t really take you through that development to make their employees successful. I think if your employees are successful they’ll deliver a better experience for your customers. 

 

Jim Rembach:   I think you bring up a really interesting point when you start talking about the work so for me looking at change is that all the studies that have been done about change is—you can do the whole bottom-up top-down inside-out outside in all of those things but if you spend the effort and time in your frontline and there is no process by which the organization itself can actually encourage and nurture the change that individual is going to be stunted in their growth and their career opportunities. So, it’s like okay, we’ve done on this individual work and then we’ve thrown them into a system that isn’t a good forum.

 

Tal Shnall:   Yeah. I think that as leaders we’re working in and I’ve worked with cross industries not just hospitality, everyone wants to achieve a greater customer experience. They’re not saying it but in engaging with them I can tell what they. Initially what they want is the employee experience. I’m the culture guys so when people hire me to develop a better culture and to create a culture of excellence organization this is what they want because ultimately the employee expanse will deliver the customer experience. I’ve never experienced in my years of having a negative culture or toxic culture to create a customer experience that’s positive, I’ve never seen that happen, so there’s a cause and effect. Most leaders, most managers understand that intellectually I like to highlight the word intellectually. What are you doing on a daily basis to be highly intentional about creating those? I remember a story about Southwest Airlines, a consultant ask them, I’m a little bit kind of taken aback about what you guys are doing all this love and culture and spirit, how come your competitor doesn’t do the same? And their CEO said that, apparently everybody thinks it’s beneath them. This is a very shallow way, we really need to be intentional about what we say what do we do there’s all these mantras, but are we actually doing something to create those moments?

 

Jim Rembach:   Well that’s a great point. 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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Jim Rembach:   Alright here we go Fast Leader legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Tal, the hump day hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. So I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give us robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Tal Shnall, are you ready to hoedown? 

 

Tal Shnall:   Yes sir. 

 

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

 

Tal Shnall:   I think just working on relationships. Being highly intentional about those relationships and actually re-energizing all the relationships into what I do every day is something that I want to invest more and grow more on a daily basis. 

 

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

 

Tal Shnall:   Giving is better than receiving.

 

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

 

Tal Shnall:   Personal development is the key to my success. I would highly recommend people to develop themselves because you can’t give what you don’t have.

 

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

 

Tal Shnall:   I would say coaching people that’s probably my highlights in working with leaders across industries. They’ve always wanted that extra coaching sessions and development and working with their leaders for months after we do the training and setup, so I would say coaching is the best tool that I that I have. 

 

Jim Rembach:   What would be one book that you’d recommend to our listeners, they can be from any genre?

 

Tal Shnall:   The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. 

 

Jim Rembach:   Okay, Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to www.fastleader.net/talshnall. Okay, Tal, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question. Imagine you were given the opportunity to back to the age of 25. And you’ve been given the opportunity to take the knowledge and skills that you have now back with you but you can’t take everything back you can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Tal Shnall:   Definitely self-development, self-awareness, emotional intelligence skills, if I had those when I was younger I think that would be extremely beneficial to my career. No regrets but I think those awareness is really the ultimate test of every leader who wants to grow themselves to a greater leader.

 

Jim Rembach:   Tal Shnall it was not her to spend time with you today can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you? 

 

Tal Shnall:   They can definitely find me on LinkedIn by just typing my name talshnall. Definitely would love to connect with your audience and find out how I can add value to their life.

 

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

 

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

 

END OF AUDIO 

 

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