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119: Simon Blair: I was spit thrown into the deep end

Simon Blair Show Notes

Simon Blair was a new call center team leader and instructed to increase sales by 400%. But as the new kid on the block he inherited the old school long-term employees that were resistant to change. After months of trying different tactics and failing time and again he finally found out how to get over the hump.

Simon was born and raised in Mulgrave in the South-East suburbs of Melbourne, Australia with his older brother and younger sister. His dad John was a self-employed, hard-working drainage contractor and his Mum was the one who did all the day-to-day running of the household when she wasn’t helping out at the kids’ local catholic primary school.

Simon had an idyllic, typical Aussie childhood, playing lots of sport like cricket, and Aussie Rules ‘footy’. At 14, the family moved to a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne where for the first time in his life he was forced to step-out of his comfort zone and adapt to a new school at a critical age. This experience drove rapid personal growth and would prepare him well for his career ahead.

After struggling through a computing degree at University at the age of 21 he secured a call center customer service job with Telstra, Australia’s largest Telco.

He quickly realized he had a natural gift for delivery of great sales and customer service. Opportunities for coaching, training and quality management in Telstra and other large companies followed.

In 2004, he took a leap into the consultancy space to build a Contact Center Benchmarking Operation from scratch for an Australian research company. His ongoing mystery shopping and quality monitoring of most of Australia’s largest Contact Centers gave him a unique insight into the state of play of the industry and the reality of customer experiences delivered.

In 2009 he co-founded the company Five Degrees. As the current owner and director, Simon to this day continues to lead the way in contact center measurement and transformation. Late in 2016, he also launched ‘The Coaching Podcast’ which explores the keys to coaching success in both sports and business.

Simon still lives in Melbourne along with his partner Jane who is a radio producer and voice-over artist. They are kept busy with their young 3 year old son, Hugh. Simon also has 3 children from his first marriage. Jacob who is 15, and twin 12-year old girls Amelie & Charlotte. Music is a big part of all their lives with Simon and Jane both singer-songwriters and guitarists, playing and performing together at home and with the kids whenever their busy lives permit.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

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

“Most people have never experienced a strong coaching culture.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet

“Walk into an environment that’s high-performing and I guarantee it has a strong coaching culture.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“Assumption is the killer of good customer experience.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“The key to great sales is customer service.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“The inherent difficulty of a call center role is repetition.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“The volume of repetition for a call center agent makes it hard to change behavior.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“The situation may be the same, but you’re dealing with people.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“The only way to deliver better customer experience is to engage in conversation.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“It’s the skill of conversation that is severely lacking.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“The only way to avoid assumptions is to engage the person.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“Customers are the worst people to ask in terms of what you need to do better.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“Humans love to think we’re rational creatures – it’s illusion.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

“Even what we think is rational decision making is driven by emotion.” -Simon Blair Click to Tweet 

Hump to Get Over

Simon Blair was a new call center team leader and instructed to increase sales by 400%. But as the new kid on the block he inherited the old school long-term employees that were resistant to change. After months of trying different tactics and failing time and again he finally found out how to get over the hump.

Advice for others

Changing behavior and improving performance takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Talking too much. I need to be more concise.

Best Leadership Advice Received

As a leader you’re always on show, so you better perform.

Secret to Success

The ability to recognize fear and emotions in others and to empathize and validate those. And my hands-on experience.

Best tools that helps in Business or Life

Canva and LinkedIn.

Recommended Reading

First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

The Name of the Wind

Contacting Simon

Website: http://www.fivedegrees.com.au/ 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonlblair/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SimonLBlair

The Coaching Podcast

Resources and Show Mentions

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”]

119:  Simon Blair I was spit thrown into the deep end

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

Need a powerful and entertaining way to ignite your next conference, retreat or team-building session? My keynote don’t include magic but they do have the power to help your attendees take a leap forward by putting emotional intelligence into their employee engagement, customer engagement and customer centric leadership practices. So bring the infotainment creativity the Fast Leader show to your next event and I’ll help your attendees get over the hump now. Go to beyondmorale.com/speaking to learn more.

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay, Fast Leader Legion, today I’m excited because we’re going to talk to somebody and get insight into really something that’s hot and of need today. Simon Blair was born and raised in Mulgrave in the southeast suburbs of Melbourne, Australia with his older brother and younger sister. His dad John was a self-employed hard-working drainage contractor and his mum was the one that did all the day-to-day running of the household when she wasn’t helping out at the kid’s local Catholic Primary School. Simon had an idyllic typical Aussie childhood playing lots of sport like cricket and Aussie rules “footy.” At 14 the family moved to a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne where for the first time in his life he was forced to step out of his comfort zone and adapt to a new school at a critical age. This experience drove rapid personal growth and would prepare him well for his career ahead. After struggling through a computing degree at university at the age of 21 he secured a call center customer service job with Telstra, Australia’s largest telco. He quickly realized that he had a natural gift for the delivery of great sales and customer service. Opportunities for coaching, training and quality management in Telstra and other large companies followed.

 

In 2004, he took a leap into the consultancy space to build a contact center benchmarking operation from scratch for an Australian research company. His ongoing mystery shopping and quality monitoring of most of Australia’s largest contact centers gave him a unique insight into the state of play of the industry and the reality of customer experiences delivered. In 2009, he co-founded the company Five Degrees. As the current owner and director Simon to this day continues to lead the way in contact center measurement and transformation. Late in 2006, he also launched the coaching podcast, which explores the keys to coaching success in both sports and business. 

 

Simon still lives in Melbourne along with his partner Jane who was a radio producer and voice-over artist. They are kept busy with their young three-year-old son Hugh. Simon also has three children from his first marriage Jacob who is 15 and twin 12 year-old girls Emily and Charlotte. Simon Blair, are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Simon Brian:    Jim I’m ready to rock and roll.

 

Jim Rembach:    Awesome. Now 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?

 

Simon Brian:    Sure. My current passion probably which has been the same passion and has been for the last  odd years is coaching and helping individuals within call center environments whether that’s staff at the frontline or their managers to build capability and confidence in delivering great custom experience whether it’s in sales or customer service.

 

Jim Rembach:    When we start thinking about customer experience as a discipline, really, when you start looking at where customers interact the most, data mine and get a good understanding of the customer experience, the contact center is typically the place that houses the vast majority of it. Now you may have a lot of web traffic but when you start thinking about the deep and complex customer interactions the contact center is the place to be. 

 

Simon Brian:    Absolutely. And of course as it currently stands for the last few years will no doubt continue to increase the amount of low value transactions are being stripped out because of improvements to technology and self-service which is leaving those more complex inquiries not to say that good service wasn’t important for the apparently lower value transactions but I suppose a lot more cool sense could get away with it. But that’s not the case anymore and I think that’s really driving a major shift for those that may be a bit late coming to investing people and staff development and through coaching and the skills that are required. It’s hard and if it was easy everyone would be doing it we’d all have great experiences as customers but we know that’s not the case.

 

Jim Rembach:    It’s true. You and I were talking off mic about the whole human development and agent development side we kind of laugh what we’re saying is, it’s always should be a priority, but it really hasn’t had been even though they may say it. But I think it’s becoming definitely more real and we can actually get the statistics associated with the easy stuff is being taken care of by the customers themselves and the complex stuff is being left for the agent interaction and they’re getting even more complex. And so companies are really saying that now one of their top priorities, and I was looking at a report that says for, where do you focusing on? And they talked about increasing the focus on coaching and development. But I was reading something that you wrote and said that very few contact centers are really geared and positioned to be good at coaching. 

 

Simon Brian:    Absolutely. Most people have never, never experienced a strong coaching culture. And what that looks like, sounds like, taste like, that palpable thing that when you work—you walk into an environment it’s high-performing and has a really strong vibrant culture I can guarantee you it’s because it has a strong coaching culture. Which all comes back to the role of managers, the role of team leaders what are they doing on a daily basis. And when we talk about coaching development I think this is, I suppose coming from as well as so many people don’t understand it. It’s often, sure there’s the formal aspect to it which could be you know more formal training, and coaching skills but it’s the day-to-day it’s while they’re on the phone doing their job, what does the team leader doing? They stuck at their desk while they’re walking around tapping someone the shoulder in between a call. I just listened to that call, how do you think it went? Asking good questions, talking about—and then maybe doing a quick role play in the moment spontaneously. I’ve never encountered many call centers that—well that’s just normal and actually that’s what’s needed. 

 

Jim Rembach:    It’s true. And you also mentioned something about some of the techniques that you’re using and some of the tools that you’re using in order to help organizations create that coaching environment. Like what? What do are you using? 

 

Simon Brian:    In my business, it’s a two-fold business, it’s driven by measurement. Call center clients send us their call recordings and we do mystery shopping, certainly with inbound sales great way to do mystery shopping and test and really assess the capability of staff, and that’s the measurement model that I’ve refined over many, many, years and what that does is inform what is the coaching requirement for an individual or for a team and for a manager, since he’s responsible for that team. What I’ve started doing recently, and I’ve been doing measurement for a long, long time but I’ve started to introduce video feedback. And as a bit of a differentiator in this space where I can even personally listen to a batch of calls and then just press record, it’s a bit like Jim with you at this podcast–myself has recently started a podcast—at some point just going to decide to do it and it doesn’t have to be too polished just got to act, and so I’ve decided just to–I have an emotional response when I listen and assess their calls and so I want to grab that and then really speak to the individual and video is just huge in terms of doing that and the means that can do it remotely. I do a lot of coaching onsite with my clients but the fact is I can reach individuals now in a two minute piece of feedback that talks about very practical things that they do well, things I can do better and I can actually demonstrate it for them and they can see me and I can see my own emotional response to what they’re doing. The early days of really experimenting with that with one client in particular and it’s having really, really good traction. So, I think that’s going to be something to look to expand for the rest of my business, 

 

Jim Rembach:    I think that power of a video is something that we all could leverage in a lot of different ways that we’re currently not doing I think that’s going to be the next wave for a lot of human connection that we currently just aren’t familiar with. And I would dare to say that the younger generation, they are there already there, so it’s those that are in my age group and a little bit younger maybe that we need to catch on and communicate like they want to communicate. But one of the things that I also had read that I think you and I are in alignment with that is one of the big failure points. When you start thinking about quality interpretation and service delivery is that companies, organizations, people internally try to assume or ascertain what the customer feels is a good experience and they start saying things like, “Well, I know I wouldn’t like that.” And they use that as part of their coaching and development which to me is a major, major really risky thing to do and it’s a bad practice. 

 

Simon Brian:    Absolutely. One of the things I realized early in my career and I’ve used this a bit of natural the way through is that it got to feel one thing I would change by the magic wand can wave it for contact center agents to wield over to do something different or maybe just stop making assumptions. Assumption is the killer of good customer experience and you’ve just given a really good example of that. Because the key—and this is sales service connection there is no difference the key to great sales is actually rooted in customer service it certainly modern best practices, sales practices. And part of that is it’s all about asking questions even when—and this is the challenge you’re getting me to talk about probably my greatest realization that I’ve known for a while that’s been key to my success and that is the inherent difficulty of a call center role is repetition. Yet the volume of repetition for a call center agents, why there’s high turnover that’s why it’s hard to change behaviors because of literally ingrained repetition of doing the same thing call after call. 

 

And the risk in that is, and it’s certainly true with more experienced staff is they start to bring all those assumptions—because I’m so experienced I’ve got this one this is the tenth time I’ve dealt with this inquiry today—and so they start trotting out those standing rehearsed lines, in my experience blah-blah-blah- and they might say to ten customers the same thing when everyone’s different. The situation might be the same on the surface but you’re dealing with people and everyone’s ability to process what you’re going to say to them is different based on their own experiences and what they bring to the table so the only way to deliver it better than average experience is to engage in conversation upfront and it’s the skill of conversation that is severely lacking. And not really understood by so many of us, so many people and that’s the only way to avoid assumptions is to engage the person. And then you can take what you were going to say and tweak it and tailor it to that individual in that moment. 

 

Jim Rembach:    That’s a great point. I also see when you start thinking about—you talk about measurement and that measurement and that scoring criteria when you’re starting to talk about grading an interaction from an internal perspective and you look at the criteria that you’re using in order to be able to rate that service experience there’s so many times where I’ll look at somebody’s quality monitoring form and I’m like, half of what you have on here you should not be answering the customer should be answering those things. So, if I look at really you focusing in on the things that you can control you could probably do double of the quality observations that you could be doing right now because half of it is worthless and it’s sending you in the wrong direction. 

 

Simon Brian:    Absolutely. Customers are the worst people to ask in terms of what you need to do better for them. And this is the great problem across the world in terms of the contact center business because MPs is all pervasive. They have been around for a long time but there’s a lot of “Johnny-come-lately” in terms of latching on to the latest and greatest thing and it’s certainly useful if applied properly.  Trouble is like so many things where people latch on to it as if it’s the panacea for all things, just like traditional consumer research it has its place but it’s limited you need to understand its limitations. What I do is measure staff behavior the greatest thing that correlates to I suppose creating an actionable shift in performance or behavior is to identify what are your staff saying to customs and that requires expertise in sales psychology and service psychology understanding consumer behavior the things that consumers can never articulate to you when you survey them because they’ll just react emotionally. Customers are great at telling you what you’re getting wrong in terms of the fundamentals the obvious things the things that you shouldn’t even be bothering with, a checklist like you say, because it’s that higher level of competency like the skill of managing a structured conversation with a natural way are things that customers can never say to you.

 

Jim Rembach:    A lot of what we’re talking about internally and externally there’s of emotion that’s associated with it and we need to get to some direction and inspiration. On the show we often point to quotes in order to help us have better direction. Is there a quote or two that you can share that does that for you? 

 

Simon Brian:    Yes, absolutely. There’s a three-fold thing that I actually use this is a fairly bit in my training. So some of the training I do is it’s really to shift the start of what’s supposed to be new relationship with a client is to help shift the mindset into a more customer centric sort of headspace and then bringing this sort of skill based staff in terms of conversation. And so this is sort of drawn from what resonates with staff but certainly an encouraging context and we’re trying to get them to shift or treat customers better. So, it starts with—I don’t know it’s from the Gospel of Luke or a couple of Gospel, “Do to others as you would want them to do to you.” 

 

But an even higher form of this is and this comes from Samuel Johnson English writer, “The true measure of the man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”  Because everyone it’s far easier to treat someone well when they’ve got something of value to give you but you know it’s closer being how do you treat the cleaner when you’re the CEO of an organization is a good test. But the final one I love is from Maya Angelou, many, many of your listeners would be familiar with this, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” And that mentoring relates so much to I suppose what we’ve just spoken about that higher form of engagement with customers to not only resolve their problems but make them to feel amazing through the manner in which you’ve done that. 

 

Jim Rembach:    And I think more and more organizations are coming to that realization that the customer experience is all about emotion. 

 

Simon Brian:    Look lots about emotion. Humans love to think we’re rational logical creatures, it’s all illusion like a kid ourselves about that. Even what we think is rational decision-making is driven by emotions but your point is absolutely true that it’s a greater awakening there. There’s so many people have woken up they understand the absolute need logically but they’re looking for the way through—okay, I know we’ve got a problem I know we need to fix that problem and I also know if we do fix that problem the benefits that’s going to deliver to the business and to the customer and back into the business. But what are the practical actions I need to take today, tomorrow, next week, next month to start and then to make that happen and that is the big gap the context in (17:32 inaudible) because of turnover. Because of turnover there’s a brain drain I do what I do because I’m one of the few that (17:38 inaudible) and no doubt it’s similar around the world that stuck at it. And as a result it put me in a very, very good place because the vast majority of even the better people that figure this stuff out end up leading and doing other jobs. 

 

Jim Rembach:    That is so true. I wrote an article associated with what you’re just talking about in that I go to a lot of industry events and one of the questions that almost is asked every single one of them is, how many of you this is your first time that you’ve been at this event. And it’s always like 70% or more of the hands go up. So, for me you have to be able to draw the connection to say that, well these are pretty much new entrants that are in this space and it never fails. So, if you’re always having a churn rate that causes you to have 70% new entrants, how can you actually get that deep domain expertise and be able to leverage it? You can’t. And so experts, they should be fully leveraged in this particular space just about more than any other because, hey we’re in the experience economy. I know that when you started thinking about your transition, you talked about going through a computer degree at university and finding your way in the contact center and I think that’s what happens to most people that’s what happened to me it just happens to you it’s not something that you select. But there’s a lot of humps that we have to go through and also starting your own business and all that, family, there’s a lot of challenges that we have. Is there a time that you’ve had to get over the hump and it made a difference for you and you can share with us? 

 

Simon Brian:    In preparing for the show I thought of—I think I went way back because the greatest challenges I had in my career were those early days of me being a new team leader who was recently promote all those three years as a call center consultant. I was relatively shy, I was very comfortable on the phone one on one with the customers but quite a shy kid that had been through my experiences in high school started to come out of my shell through work, started to come out of my shell a bit more but because I was a very good consultant, they promoted me to being a team leader but it was like a bit thrown in the deep end. And I’m always surrounded by team leaders with being team leaders for 10 or more years, this is a very large call center with an old public service institution in Australia that being Telstra that’s main telecommunications provider, there was a lot of old school stuff. There was a reshuffle, this is when a coaching culture was brought in and all the team leaders were given greater responsibilities to sort this stuff out and make a difference in having back we had to get staff to become sales agents in this very strong traditional customer service environment where so many of them including so many of the team leaders, were really resistant to the whole concept of sales. Because their own experiences with the consumers was—sales people, we don’t like salespeople, sales is horrible and we’re not sales people we’re customer service. And yet as a new team leader it was very clearly instructed to me that you have to increase sales by something like 400 percent and I got inherited with the old school, long-term employees because I was the new kid on the block. 

 

Jim Rembach:    And I spent at least one to two months really struggling to find ways through them as a group and not only just as a manager and trying to get credibility but as a coach trying to radically change their behavior when they just thought I was rubbish to begin with. What do you do in that situations? And I’m sure anyone that’s been in the situation as a manager as a team leader you’re confronted with these scenarios of trying to effect change but I had no experience at that point. I knew what the outcome that needed to happen? So, I had to work back from that, so at least that was clear to me. I tried any number of things, because I was enthusiastic I was new jumping full of confidence not quite realizing how resistant the staff were and they would use every trick in the book. And Jim, you know call center staff, those that have been around for a while they know all the tricks of the trade so there was inherent challenges there and I was strong and I have schooled my way. 

 

Simon Brian:    And didn’t matter what sort of coaching side by side coaching, get them all in a room in a team meeting, try to be encouraging, be a bit more direct, nothing seemed to work I was pulling my hair out not really realizing it at that time. A contact center manager who was amazing really shaped my career, it was a bit of a test at that time, but she knew I’d find a way, I’d figure it out. And so eventually got to this point where there was one day and there was one individual, the most stubborn individual of all and to be honest they just gave me, using Australian expression, they just gave me the shits and (23:07 inaudible) that out, that’s the truth I’m being open being all honesty and I had that frustration, I thought, give me the headset I’ll show you rather than talk about it and try this and maybe give that a go and on the next call tweak this and tweak that and I just keep doing the same thing over and over. I could have demonstrate this, I actually got to make them believe that it’s actually possible that it fits their service mentality rather than sales being this horrible thing that customers actually won’t respond to. In a way I had to prove it to myself and there was a time I’ve actually applied this new thing that’s being asked of the staff myself. So, five calls I said to them give me the next five calls I’m going to take them and I’m going to sell to the next five customers. It was a good product it was valuable product real benefits newly released so it had those advantages. But at the same time I was on show (24:10 inaudible) to perform and that was really good in terms of sharpening my focus and helping me to just execute I suppose everything I’d been asking you think that you ought to do.

 

Jim Rembach:    So, what happened?

 

Simon Brian:    I solved five calls in a row, five products, I’ve gone—yes, yes, and after like the third one I’ve got this I’ve absolutely got this. And it came from being—I had to tailor to the individual I define that way through talking to them and ask questions, that’s all about the questions that I asked. And the style that I use it was not pushy, which is very consultative, and which is what the staff were coming from their object and then realizing their objections were valid because they’ve been burned before they hadn’t been coached before they hadn’t been shown how. And in that moment there was a massive epiphany for me in terms of—because I’ve worked and I saw and I knew the reaction from individual I will hook, by listening in, by leaning forward, and I knew I had them even if they were still at the end of it reluctant to give me praise. But look, it was through demonstration, through action rather than verbal instruction. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I think that that’s also a good thing to note as far as both credibility and human learning is sometimes they need to see it emulated. And whenever you can do that it’s going to add significant value to your ability to have change occur versus just being told, so that was a good move. But it came out of frustration because you failed, you failed, you failed, you failed, and finally you were just like—give me the headset.

 

Simon Brian:    Absolutely. It’s exactly like that. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Yes, it’s funny how those things come out. We have talked about a lot of the things that you have going on—you’ve launched a podcast—but when you start thinking about all the things that you have going on what’s one of your goals? 

 

Simon Brian:    There’s a very specific goal that I’m working on with one client in particular at the moment I think it’s worthwhile sharing. This client, different client for a couple of years now and we’re about we’re about to look in another couple of years of servicing, and going back to what we’ve talked about, that aligned just shows you the level of commitment that’s actually needed if you truly want to change there is no quick fix. So, one of goals is to—because of the investment they’ve made not only money but literally their time and their faith in my model to partner with over such a long period of time to see it through, to see the transition which is certainly happening with my message strides to becoming world’s best practice contact center in sales and customer service. And they’re at “Tassie” call center, Tasmania bottom end of Australia quite a very laid back, anyone who’s ever been to Tasmania it’s one of the most gorgeous parts of the entire world, go there, but culturally they’ve got a lot of strengths in terms of as people and as communicators but they’ve had to learn the skills if they wanted to be world’s best. 

 

And they came to me and secured my business because I told them that I can make them world’s best and that’s what they were striving for as opposed to most who just have less, I suppose, hardcore goals like that. I think most people just want to get better and improve but I literally wanted to be world’s best and they partnered with me to do that. So I wanted to see that through for the next two visits specific thing with that one client that has got my attention and focus to try any number of new things. 

 

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

 

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Jim Rembach:    All right here we go Fast Leader Legion it’s time for the Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Simon, 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. Simon Blair, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Simon Brian:    I’m ready. I think. 

 

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

 

Simon Brian:    Talking too much. I need to be more concise.

 

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

 

Simon Brian:    As a leader you are always on show so you better perform. 

 

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

 

Simon Brian:    The ability to recognize fear and the emotions in others and then to empathize with those and validate those. And my first-hand experience I think gives me a great advantage in being relatable and the fact I can demonstrate things to those I’m trying to teach. 

 

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

 

Simon Brian:    Quite recent I love the activity I been doing in social media there is the single greatest tool for any business owner and social media people the world over it’s an Aussie company called Canva, online production of social media content for people that aren’t tech savvy, it’s incredible. And a more obvious one is LinkedIn, I think it’s an incredible resource that so many just take for granted and don’t quite get what’s available to them. 

 

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

 

Simon Brian:    Oh, I’m going to give you two, a business book and a fiction. The business book, First Break all the Rules, what the world’s greatest managers do differently, Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman. When it comes to fiction I like a bit of fantasy, The Name of the Wind, trust me for anyone thinks fantasy—ooh, I’m not going near that—read this book incredible piece. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Okay Fast Leader listeners you can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show by going to fastleader.net/Simon Blair. Okay, Simon 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. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?

 

Simon Brian:    One thing?  I would take the model that I use for us assessing staff capability and I call it the five degrees of customer experience. The reason I take it back is because I know that the case studies I won’t be able to produce from implementing this when I was 25 would have been astounding in terms of the results and the ability to correlate to business outcomes and therefore what that might have done to my career in terms of sending into a different trajectory. So yeah, the model that have taken 20 odd years to cultivate that back 25 would be pretty incredible.

 

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

 

Simon Brian:    Absolutely. I encourage everyone to—who wants to connect with me on LinkedIn, Simon L Blair and also my company website, www.fivedegrees.com.au. You can hit me up on Instagram and wherever else you can find me. And don’t forget the coaching podcast.

 

Jim Rembach:    Simon Blair, 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. 

 

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