page title icon Tema Frank

025: Cliff Hurst: I needed to grasp the essence

Cliff Hurst Show Notes

When Dr. Cliff Hurst was a Consultant and Executive Coach he often was met with a degree of defensiveness and people would put up a mask and a shield to avoid getting real. Cliff found himself spending a lot of time and effort trying to break through their defenses until he changed his methods. Once that happened he was able to have more genuine conversations than he was ever able to have before. And this is when Cliff started a new journey. Listen to Cliff’s story and learn how you might find a new way to get over the hump.

Cliff is a former U.S. Marines officer, boat builder, business manager, salesperson, sales and marketing manager, and OD consultant. He has been around the block enough times that even skeptical MBA students recognize that I’ve got some street cred; more than just “book learning.” And his undergrad students? Well, let’s just say that he’s nearly as old as some of their grandparents. So he receives a different kind of respect.

You can think of Cliff as a late bloomer; but he feels he is blooming now. He entered grad school at the age of 53. Six years later, he earned a PhD. Now, at an age when many of his peers are starting to retire, he’s enjoying a new career as a professor.

Dr. Hurst teaches at a small, private, liberal arts college in the Rocky Mountain West. It’s called Westminster College. It’s in Salt Lake City. Beautiful campus; bright students; and a cluttered office with enough shelf space for most of his books. Life is good.

Cliff is currently restoring a wooden sailing canoe that he built thirty years ago. He hopes to re-launch it very soon. He takes pride in the fact that it will be the only wooden sailing boat in all of Utah. At least he hasn’t seen any others.

In his spare time, he likes to study geeky things and enjoy camping and boating with my wife.  He read treatises on things like philosophical hermeneutics and formal axiology. He writes about them, too, in journals that only other academic geeks read.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @cliffhurst will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“Know yourself, choose yourself, grow yourself, and give yourself to something greater than you.” Dr. Robert S. Hartman by Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“People put up a mask and a shield to avoid getting real.” – Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“Young people…are no longer just looking for a job that pays them well.“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“Are we really being deliberate about helping students understand themselves?“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“Entrepreneurship should not be just a business school course.“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“You don’t have to be a starving artist. Why can’t you be a thriving artist?“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson by Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“Negative energy just drains a lot out of you.“ -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“To know yourself, choose yourself, grow yourself, and give yourself you’ve got to look deep inside.” -Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

“We’re not physical beings having spiritual experiences, we are spiritual beings having physical experiences.“ -Pierre Teilhard de Chardin by Cliff Hurst Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Dr. Cliff Hurst found himself spending a lot of time and effort trying to break through the defenses of his coaching clients. Then he changed his methods. Once that happened he was able to have more genuine conversations than he was ever able to have before. And this is when Cliff started a new journey. Listen to Cliff’s story and learn how you might find a new ways to move onward and upward faster.

Holding him back from being an even better leader

Clutter

Best Leadership Advice Received

Why don’t you save that for something important. Sometimes we have to get angry but save that for the really big stuff and let the little stuff go.

Secret to Success

Life-long learning

Best Resources in business or Life

The fact that I am a life-long learner.

Recommended Reading

The Purpose Economy: How Your Desire for Impact, Personal Growth and Community Is Changing the World

In Tune With the Soul

Contacting Dr. Cliff Hurst

email: cliff@cliffordhurst.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cliffhurst

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cliffhurst

More Resources

The Robert s. Hartman Institute for Formal and Applied Axiology

Show Transcript: 

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

025: Cliff Hurst: I needed to grasp the essence

 

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.

Jim Rembach:   Thanks Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion, I have the chance to share with you somebody who I’ve known for a very long time and to me that in itself is very rewarding and exciting, he’s like family to me. 

 

Dr. Cliff Curtis Hurst was born and raised in Georgia. He was the second of three kids. After graduating from the University of Virginia he became a commission officer of Marines and served five years. Cliff is also a boat builder, business manager, salesperson, sales and marketing manager and organizational development consultant. He’s been around the block enough times and even skeptical MBA students recognize that he’s got some street cred more than just that book learning stuff. And his undergrad students, well let’s just say that he’s nearly as old as some of their grandparents, and so he receives a different kind respect.

 

You can think of Cliff as late bloomer but he feels he is blooming right now. He entered grad school at the age of 53 and then six years later he earned a PhD. Now, at an age when many of his peers are starting to retire he’s enjoying a new career as a professor. Dr. Hurst teaches at a small private liberal arts college in the Rocky Mountain West, it’s called The Westminster College. It’s in Salt Lake City, beautiful campus, bright students and clutter office but still has enough shelf space for most of his books. Life is good. 

 

 Cliff is currently restoring a wooden sailing canoe that he built 30 years ago, he hopes to relaunch it very soon. He takes pride in the fact that it will be the only wooden sailing boat and all of Utah, at least he hasn’t seen any others. In his spare time he likes to study geeky things and enjoy camping and boating with his wife. And he reads, okay, what’s it Dr. Cliff? 

 

Cliff Hurst:     [Laugh] Geeky stuff like philosophical hermeneutics and formal axiology. 

 

Jim Rembach: And he writes about into them too in journals that only other academic geeks read, and as you can tell I’m not an academic geek, cause I can’t even read it myself. But Dr. Cliff Hurst are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Cliff Hurst:   I’m ready to do my best, Jim.

 

Jim Rembach:    I appreciate that. Okay, so, I’ve given the Fast Leader legion a little bit of insight about you, but can you actually share with us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?

 

Cliff Hurst:     Yes. It’s being a professor, I think at a fairly late stage in life I’ve found my calling and has come together. I get absolute delight in teaching young people at this stage in their lives. 

Jim Rembach:      You actually have been teaching a lot of MBA students in and I think you said that you recently just added some undergrads, what’s the big difference between the two as far as how it gives you rewarding joy? 

 

Cliff Hurst:     I do teach mostly MBA. Our MBA students are usually working full-time professionals. They attend our MBA program at night, most of them have nine or ten years work experience, many earn more than I do. [Laugh] They’re going to question me to say, “Do you really know what you’re talking about here?” And I think it’s not my academic credentials but my 30+ years of working in industry that give me that credibility. They’re quick to challenge me and I’m quick to say, “Here’s how I see it, take it or leave it.” 

 

Undergrads are different. They’re 18 19 years old, wear a residential small Liberal Arts college. This students are here for four years and totally immersed in our academic environment. They live here, they play here, they get to know their friends here, this is a reformative time in a young person’s life, they’re all in if you will. So, don’t only see them in class but I see them in the lunch room, I see them in the coffee shop, I say Hi to them walking around campus they drop in my office, it’s an emergent experience for them, and I’m taking increase to light in working with undergraduates for that reason.

 

Jim Rembach:     I’ve had the opportunity to work with you for several years on a couple different projects and working really closely, one on one…

 

Cliff Hurst:     Several, that was 20, Jim. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Okay, thanks a lot. [Laugh] I’ve always enjoyed the interactions that we’ve had together, as a matter of fact, I’ve even have to stop myself many times to just be more respectful of your time because you have just such a wealth and depth of knowledge on things that both are, I guess you’d say, altruistic, theoretical, but then you also bring that practical application piece to it when you start talking the that street cred component. But if you think about something that you find yourself most often having to help people close the gap on in regards to all those things, what you think it ends up?

 

Cliff Hurst: To look for the answers to those questions inside themselves, not out there.

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s a great point. Recently for myself had an epiphany associated with the differentiation of  what is training, what is educating, what is this coaching and what is mentoring and often times they just get so convoluted and start coming together. I think the whole thing to what you were referring to in regards to what’s inside, that’s the ultimate goal of what coaching is, you’ve got to work with what’s already inside. But even those two generations or not necessarily generations but classifications of students that you were talking about, the young undergrads versus the MBA’s, there’s a whole different type of coaching that takes place. 

 

Cliff Hurst: Yes, they’re both on journeys but their journeys are different, their stages of life are different and their goals are different. The younger people probably don’t even know what those goals are yet and if they do they’re hammered in by their parents, better get a good job to pay back this college cost.  So, they’re malleable and they’re open.

 

Jim Rembach:   And part of that too is I think you’re a very inspirational person but you approach it in a manner that is so reserved, for me, I’m not that good. We like to focus on quotes on Fast Leader show and passages and things like that, is there something for you that kind of gives you that inner drive and passion, that you kind of have to feather a little bit to have it come out, what—

 

Cliff Hurst: Yes, there is but let me go back to you and me first. You said something about I’m kind of reserved and you’re really out there, and that’s one thing I really like about you, because I am reserved. It’s hard for me to put it out there, the way you are. So, I learn from you and get energy from you that way, I just wanted to say that before we move on from it.

 

Jim Rembach:   I appreciate that. 

 

Cliff Hurst:     Yeah.  There’s a quote that has been in the forefront of my mind for ten years now. In fact, it becomes so important to me that it’s on my faculty webpage that people say, “Who is Cliff Hurst, Prof. Cliff Hurst?” this is one the defining characteristics. I think in fact it is probably the best explanation of what the college education should provide. And it’s a quote from the late philosopher Dr. Robert S. Hartman. And Hartman once wrote that there are only four steps to successful life: Know yourself; Choose yourself; Grow yourself and Give yourself to something greater than you, and I’ve  and I spent ten years trying to take that to heart. And I hope the next ten years I’m able to impart that to others through my teaching. 

 

Jim Rembach:    That was just so powerful in so many different ways both personally and professionally and I thank you for sharing that. Now, you had talked about the source of that, and I know you’ve done a lot of work in that, would you like to share little bit about that source. 

 

Cliff Hurst: Sure. When I was a consultant and executive coach I use a number of assessment tools to help people understand themselves. And Jim, you’ve been a coach before, one of the biggest challenges you meet is when you’re hired to coach someone, there’s often a degree of defensiveness about, ‘what you have to offer me’—so, you feel they put up a mask, they put up a shield to avoid getting real.  And part of the challenge of coaching is to spend part your time breaking through that. I learned of an assessment tool called the Hartman value profile, that when people took it, it laid the framework for a more genuine conversation that I’d ever been able to have before, and could say, “Wow, how did you know that about me, because I didn’t know it the computer did but you gave the answers. And that opening was just so accelerated a genuine communication between me and the person I was coaching and accelerate their own growth in areas they hadn’t thought about that I became really intrigued by it and people ask questions, where does it come from? And what does it mean? And I said, “I’m not sure, it kind of complicated.” 

So, one of the driving factors to go earning PhD was to study enough psychology and philosophy that I could begin to grasp the essence of the theory behind that instrument and that theory is called formal axiology, so, yeah, that’s why I’m kind of a geek in formal axiology.  And Robert Hartman the man I just quoted was the theorist to develop that theory. 

 

Jim Rembach:    And for me, I’ve never even heard the word until you and I—we got reconnected after a certain period of time, and I started learning more about it myself. For me, when you start talking about axiology, and to put it in that street term which I’m more used to obviously, is to me it’s kind of like something that helps people break away from the traditional command and control types of actions and activities and behaviors that we are, unfortunately, so familiar with which squashes a lot of our innovative and great at thinking. Would that be a fair thing to say that it gets us to be able to move away from that?

 

Cliff Hurst:    If you implement it in an organization that way. The theory in it is a guide to self- development but if you create an environment that encourages people to figure out who they are, to choose their best selves and to grow them through their work, that’s when you have—that’s where leadership gets involved and that’s when organizational development results. The tool’s a tool of insight, but what you could do with that insight in the workplace can be extraordinary.

 

Jim Rembach:    And I that’s the piece that ultimately I want to move to is that, it’s great doing it as an individuals but I like the collective components cause that’s when the power can really happen. And so, that for me that’s a kind of connection that I made too and it totally makes sense and thank you for sharing. Okay, so, you mentioned about having—mostly MBA students until now you’re started to teach some undergrads and I know the dynamic is very different but I’m sure that’s giving you such a significant thrill, but is one thing that’s really exciting about the work that you’re doing today?

 

Cliff Hurst:    Jim, I just proposed a three-year initiative as part of our college strategic plan. I don’t know if I’ll be accepted. A lot of other people’s proposed initiatives but this has me really excited. I was introduced last winter to a book, by a man named Aaron Hurst, same last name but no relation,  called, “The Purpose Economy,” and what Aaron wrote there—he said that a confluence [11:35] is coming together and we are moving from the information age into a different era which he calls the era of the purpose economy. And that is that young people especially today are no longer just looking for a job that pays them well, they’re looking for some way to bring meaning and purpose to their lives through their work. And they’re looking for alignment with of their own values with whatever that organization stands for and I believe he’s really onto something. Yet, colleges for most part, and I would say ours in general, also do better at teaching young people stuff, here’s math, history, biology, finance, accounting and so forth and we do help them understand, what really feed?  Where are your passions? What motivates you? What are you here for on this Earth that you can really tap into your own talents and strengths? And then go find a job that matches those talents, when you can do good in the work. That might sound altruistic but I think it’s very genuine and I’m excited about that. So, I have proposed an initiative to first cobble together and say, “Okay, are we really being delivered about helping students understand themselves? The typical college experiences why you learn academic stuff in the classroom, that we get good grades, sports team and clubs and dormitory life you learn about yourself. I think we can be more deliberate in aspect of it. The second part of this proposal is that we do a better job teaching students how to become employees but that’s only one way to become fulfillment through your career. Another way is to start your own business, to be an entrepreneur, to create something that’s not been done before, so, a part of this proposal is to spread entrepreneurship across our curriculum. I don’t believe entrepreneurship is just a business school course it should be a curriculum of study that drama students, and dance students, and chemist, and computer sciences, can all learn and add to their college experience. They can go out of here and find meaning through creating businesses or joining early-stage startups in a way that I don’t believe yet adequately prepare them to do. 

 

Jim Rembach:     I think that’s a great point. When you start thinking about some of the–discipline that people can fall into, I don’t know where I found it exactly, but there was some to the effect of, that average theater student upon graduation will make $21,000 a year. I don’t know where they’re going to live but it’s definitely going to be with several other people. And also think that’s probably one of the areas within the formal academic community that is high risk opportunity. Meaning that people just won’t go into the formal type of education environment at all because of some of those limitations. Are you seeing that it addresses the whole enrollment in piece and where do you see all that fitting?

 

Cliff Hurst:   Why I think it could. I live forward to a day when we can say, artist without the adjective of starving in front of it. I mean, you don’t have to be a starving artist why can’t you be a thriving artist. I think you can if we help young people develop that mindset. I’ve received some unexpected residents from some of the—in agreement with what I’m trying to do is some of the other faculty, the Liberal Arts, I think we can bridge what’s often seen as an intellectual gap between Business and Liberal Arts. I think Business and Liberal Arts, business is as much about people is anything else is. And I believe just because you’re a talented artist that mean you can’t master QuickBooks, in the end basics of marketing and the sales and so forth, you can do that, I want to help facilitate that. 

 

Jim Rembach:     The Fast Leader legion wishes you the very best. Alright, Dr. Hurst, now it’s time for the rapid part of our show and that’s the—Hump Day Hoedown.  So, this is the 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 robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Cliff, are you ready to hoedown?

 

Cliff Hurst:    I’m ready Jim.  

 

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

 

Cliff Hurst:     Clutter. I do too much paper. You can see my bookshelf behind me. Paper embodies knowledge and I like knowledge so I have too much paper. But if I don’t know what’s there it’s not helping me access to knowledge, so, I’m out of control. 

 

Jim Rembach:     [Laugh] The reason I’m laughing is I have the same problem. If everybody was able to see mty desk you can understand why I chuckle. And for those that don’t know, we’re doing a video calling, Cliff and I can see each other but were only giving you the audio portion so…

 

Cliff Hurst: Thank goodness. [Laugh]

 

Jim Rembach:     I hear you. Okay, so what is the best leadership advice you’ve ever received?

 

Cliff Hurst: It came from two sources. The first time I got it, and it’s actually the second time I got emotionally, so I get to hear it the second time. As you know, I went to [16:46] Virginia, I studied a lot of Thomas Jefferson. In his older age he wrote a letter to a young nephew whose reaching adulthood filled with uncle-type advice. In that letter he said to his nephew, “In matters of taste, swim with the tide but in matters of principle stand like a rock.” And that’s stuck with me for a long, long time. I thought I grasped it until one day, I was in my 30’s and I was all hot and bothered about something, I was irritated, I was righteously indignant, something was really just fuming with me and I was getting angry and someone wiser than me say, “Cliff, why don’t you save that for something important? Negative energy just drains a lot out of you and sometimes we have to get angry, we have to get self-righteous sometimes it’s important but save that for the really big stuff and let the little stuff go. So, that’s the best advice I’ve had. 

 

Jim Rembach:     That’s awesome one. Okay, so, what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?

 

Cliff Hurst:    Lifelong learning.

 

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

 

Cliff Hurst:     The fact that I am a lifelong learner. I try to practice what I teach.

 

Jim Rembach:     What would be, this could be a tough one even getting the opportunity to look at your bookshelves and it doesn’t have to be a business book it could be anything, if there was one book you’d recommend to folks, what would it be?

 

Cliff Hurst:     “In Tune with the Soul” by Christina Thomas. Christina Thomas Frazer but if you go to Amazon, it’s Christina Thomas. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Why would you recommend that?

 

Well, if you want to know yourself, and choose yourself, and grow yourself, and give yourself you got to look pretty deep inside. And I forgot who said it, someone famous said, “We’re not physical beings having spiritual experiences we are spiritual beings having physical experiences.” It’s easy to forget that, that book helped me see the truth of that.

 

We’ll help you remember by putting a link to that book and several other resources on the show notes page that you’ll be able to find at fast leader.net/Cliff Hurst. Alright Dr. Hurst this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you were given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25, now, you get to take some things with you, you get to pick from all of the skills and knowledge that you been able to earn up to this point and take them back, but you only get one thing you got to choose, what one thing would you take back with you and why?

 

Cliff Hurst:     I would listen more fully to people and I would strive to get to know them as people not just as their role in the company or the role in the business I was working them in. And I think that would have made all the world of difference and could still. 

 

Jim Rembach:     Thank you very much. Cliff, 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?

 

Cliff Hurst:     Sure. By e-mail, cliff@cliffordhurst.com and on my website, cliffordhurst.com.

 

Jim Rembach:    Dr. Cliff Hurst, 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. 

[/expand]

 

 

tema-frank-leadership-podcast-fastleadershow

024: Tema Frank: That’s the end of my business

Teama Frank Show Notes

Tema needed to make some technology changes with her company. The change required that her systems be out of service for a few days. In an effort to notify her customers via email, a technology glitch caused many people to receive a flood of emails about the system change issue. By the time Tema found out, over 650 people were negatively impacted. In the heat of her frustration and fear that her company was ruined, Tema’s 5-year old daughter gave her some advice that saved her company. Listen to Tema tell her story about how she got over this huge hump.

Tema Frank’s job title is Chief Instigator, and she’s been wanting to instigate since she was very young. Much to her frustration, when she tried to tell her parents or older brothers how they could do things better, they’d reply, “When we want your opinion, we’ll give it to you!” That may have been what sowed the seeds of her desire to give a greater voice to customers and staff.

She’s had a varied career over more than three decades, working as a lobbyist and public affairs specialist, then as a bank marketer, and eventually as a consultant and freelance writer so she’d have the flexibility to join her husband on a year’s sabbatical in the Netherlands. She wrote the best-selling book, Canada’s Best Employers for Women: A Guide for Job Hunters, Employees & Employers, and put up her first website in 1995 to promote it.

One day, stuck in the house during a snowstorm with a baby, a toddler, and without her husband (who was out of town) she got really frustrated that she couldn’t order diapers online. Soon afterwards she created Web Mystery Shoppers, which was one of the world’s first companies to have regular folks testing website usability and web-related customer service from their own, buggy computers at home.

Using social media techniques before social media existed, she recruited an international panel of 75,000 mystery shoppers. Her clients included some of the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, online travel sites, governments and retailers.

Tema is an internationally acclaimed speaker and teacher of digital marketing and customer experience strategy in the United States, Canada & France.

In 2012 she launched the Frank Online Marketing Show podcast, which morphed into Frank Reactions earlier this year when she decided to return to her original focus on customer and user experience. She is currently writing a book, The Customer Reflex, about how organizations need to change to provide the types of customer experiences people demand in our fast-paced, social media world.

Tweetable Quotes and Mentions

Listen and @temafrank will help you get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow Click to Tweet

“If you have unhappy staff you’re not going to have them delivering great service.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“You’ve got to find ways to make things work more smoothly to keep everybody happy.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“Everybody can make a difference.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“I find it very sad that so often people think there’s no point in saying anything.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“Never underestimate the wisdom of a 5-year old.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“You can start making smaller changes wherever you are in the organization.”-Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“I did not sign on to be in the bar with the vice president.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

“Be yourself, don’t try to be like everybody else.” -Tema Frank Click to Tweet

Hump to Get Over

Tema tried to notify her customers via email about a technology change but something went terribly wrong. A glitch caused many people to receive a flood of emails about the system change. By the time Tema found out, over 650 people were negatively impacted. In the heat of her frustration and fear that her company was ruined, Tema’s 5-year old daughter gave her some advice that helped her to move onward and upward faster.

Advice for others

Have confidence in yourself.

Holding her back from being an even better leader

Her broken foot. Apart from that an element of insecurity.

Best Leadership Advice Received

Be yourself, don’t try to be like everybody else.

Secret to Success

The ability to really listen to others and the desire to listen to others.

Best Resources in business or Life

Reading and learning.

Recommended Reading

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Contacting Tema

email: tema@frankreactions.com

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/temafrank

Twitter: https://twitter.com/temafrank

Frank Reactions Podcast: http://frankonlinemarketing.com/show/

More Resources

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

Show Transcript: 

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

024: Tema Frank: That’s the end of my business

 

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.

Jim Rembach:   Thanks, Kimberly. Okay, Fast Leader legion I am excited today because we have somebody on the show who has a depth of knowledge and a lot of different areas associated with taking care of people , and I think that’s fantastic. Tema Frank’s job title is Chief Instigator and she’s been wanting to instigate since she was very young much her frustration when she tried to tell her parents and older brothers how they could do things better, they’d replied “When we want your opinion will give it to you.” That may have been what’s sowed the seeds of her desire to give a greater voice to customers and staff.

 

She’s had a varied career over more than three decades working as a lobbyist and public affairs specialist and then as a bank marketer. And eventually as a consultant and freelance writer so she’d have the flexibility to join her husband on a year sabbatical in the Netherlands, man that had to be fantastic. She wrote the best-selling book “Canada’s Best Employers for Women” a guide for job hunters, employees and employers and put it on her first website in 1995 to promote it. 

 

One day stuck in the house during a snowstorm with the baby, a toddler without her husband was out of town, she got really frustrated that she couldn’t order diapers online. Soon afterwards she created a web mystery shoppers which was one of the world’s first companies to have regular folks testing website usability and web related customer service from their own buggy computers. Using social media techniques before social media existed, she recruited an international panel of 75,000 mystery shoppers. Her clients included some of the world’s largest banks, insurance companies, online travel, sites governments and retailers.

 

Tema, is an internationally acclaimed speaker and teacher of digital marketing and customer experience strategy in the United States, Canada and France. In 2012, she launched Frank online marketing show which is a podcast that has morphed into frank reactions, when she decided to return to her original focus on customer and user experiences.  She’s currently writing a book the customer reflex, about how organizations need to change to provide the types of customer experiences that people demand in our fast-paced social media world, Tema Frank are you ready to help us get over the hump?

 

Tema Frank:    You bet.

 

Jim Rembach:  Aha, great. Now, I’ve given our listeners a little bit about you, can you tell us what your current passion is so that we can get to know you better?

 

Tema Frank:     Sure. My current passion is really helping organizations understand that if they want to deliver great customer experience and by now most of them realize how important that is. They’ve got to also treat their staff really well because if you have and unhappy staff you’re not going to have them delivering great service. And they’ve got to reexamine all their processes and procedures because you’ve got to find ways to make things work more smoothly to keep everybody happy, so, I’m doing a lot of reading and writing and researching on that. 

 

Jim Rembach:     You talked about a lot, even with you bio and even with that explanation on what’s currently driving, this level of caring that goes beyond and transcends what typically happens just in our society, where does that come from for you?

 

Tema Frank:    I don’t know, I guess I’ve always kind of been like that. I guess I’ve been a bit at the in path character. 

 

Jim Rembach:   So, when that happens, and you have that type of passion, often times we have things that we need to inspire us, and on the show we look at leadership quotes in order to do just, is there a quote or a passage or something that drives you that helps you continue on in fighting that fight?

 

Tema Frank:    It’s not so much a quote as just a belief. I guess that that belief for me is that everybody can make a difference. I find it very sad that so often people think that, “Ah, there’s no point in my saying anything, no one will listen, it won’t change anything” and they’re so wrong. I’ve had so many times in my life where just making—saying something is all that needed to be done for the other person to realize that a change was needed. And so, I really try and inspire people to believe that they can make a difference. 

 

Jim Rembach:     We appreciate all that work and I know it doesn’t come easy. Especially for me, I start thinking about the course of my life when I was a younger person I may not been able to do those types of things even though I had the passion in a way that was very accepting. [Laugh] talking about burning bridges and all that. Those are a lot of humps that I’ve had to get over and I think we all have them. And we focus on those humps on the show so that other people can learn and hope to become a better leader faster by learning through others. Is there a time where you had to come to that point at which you had to something different in order to get over a hump, can you take us back to the moment?

 

Tema Frank:     Well, I think probably the biggest hump that I faced are certainly one of the big ones was shortly after launch Mystery Shoppers. I’ve been living in Toronto when I launched it and we had probably a couple thousand people in our database when we moved from there to Edmonton, and I was switching hosting companies, and this was quite a long time ago, so if you were switching you needed to switch to a new server and that your site is going to be down for a couple of days, so, I wanted to warn people about this. And, my hosting providers said, “No problem we’ll just send them an email let them know it’s going to be down for a couple days.” 

 

And, it was a Friday afternoon and I started getting phone calls from my friends, thank God my friends were the first people on that list, and they were saying, “Why are you flooding our inbox?” And it turned out there was a loop in the program so that when the first person got their email, then when the second person got theirs, the first person got two, there is and second person’s and then third and it was just expanding geometrically, so, we were totally overflowing people’s inboxes. And by the time we figured out what was going on and we’re able to stop it, I think we had about 650 people who had been emailed, massive massive. 

 

So, it was Friday afternoon I work out of a home office, I’m in my office fighting back tears and my five-year-old daughter walked in and she asked, what’s the matter? And so I explained it to her as best as I could in a five-year old terminology, cause honestly I thought that’s the end of my business it’s a web based business how can I mess up like that and still expect people to trust me? And my daughter said to me, “Why don’t you just phone them all and tell them you’re sorry?” And I started to say, “Oh, no, no, no, we can’t phone 650 people” and then I realized, “Yes we can.” 

 

And so, the fellow who had made the mistake—and I got on the phone and spent the weekend phoning 650 people to apologize for what had happened. And in the end even the people who had originally threatened to sue ended up saying can we help you make this phone calls, totally, totally turned things around. So, I guess what I learned from that was, a couple of things. One is, never underestimate the wisdom of a five-year old, as I said everyone can make a difference. But the other was the value of honesty and apology.

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a great story. It makes me reflect for myself at this time of my six-year-old what he would say, [Laugh] “send a text dad”.

 

Tema Frank:    Well, see that’s the thing. We couldn’t email them because we’ve already flooded their email box, so, what options was there. 

 

Jim Rembach:   That’s a great story. I would say that throughout the course of our lives we often have those little voices and sometimes they truly come from the little folks that teach you a better job of listening.  Needless to say, you have a lot of things going on. You have such a dep depth of experience and being an entrepreneur solopreneur, I’m sure at times, as well as just a leader of many people through the businesses that you’ve had, what do you currently focusing in on right now that’s giving you passion and drive?

 

Tema Frank:    Right now I’m really focusing mainly on getting my book written, cause I’ve been talking about it for two years, and I’ve decided—as I’ve mentioned before we started taping I broke my [8:34 inaudible] recently so and I’m really trying to take advantage of that time by getting my book written at long last. So, I’m focusing on the book and the podcasts and just learning a lot more about this subject and how to help companies change. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Helping companies change is a monumental task, some people can say it’s herculean. What do you find seems to be something that is kind of a universal thing that helps those companies do just that, change?

 

Tema Frank:   It’s not easy. I think what helps often the most is for senior leaders to actually experience what it’s like on the front lines and/or what it’s like to be a customer. Getting on the front lines, finding out what their customers are really experiencing and if they get on the front lines even just hearing the actual words of people, so with Web Mystery Shoppers, we did a blend of qualitative and quantitative information. In addition to saying here’s your score, I was able to give each of the clients a detailed report with quotes from their actual customers saying, “This is what’s driving me crazy” and I find that tends to be very powerful. 

 

Jim Rembach:   I often find in the work that I do with customer relationship metrics that the qualitative analysis ends up having significantly more impact than the quantitative analysis could really ever generate. But when you look at what a lot of folks are doing when they start talking about interpreting the customer and even though they say is the voice of the customer there’s not a whole lot of qualitative analysis or customer comments or things that are really giving meaning to those numbers being captured in leverage and utilize them, what would you tell those companies?

 

Tema Frank:     Well, I would tell them how important it is. I think a lot of organizations big and small struggle with finding ways to package that information, finding ways to pull it together from all these different sources. So, even within a small company, where it really should be easier because there aren’t tens of thousands of people giving feedback every day, very often you’ll find that the receptionist hears one set of complaints, the sales reps hears different set of complaints and nobody’s bringing it all together. So, it’s really important that they look at whole organization and where feedback is coming from and put it all together.

 

Jim Rembach:   Now, say somebody who was responsible for leading that customer experience, what one piece of advice that you would give them? 

 

Tema Frank:    I’m trying to get away from just the obvious things like—when I’ve heard from people  that I’ve interviewed is, make sure that you’ve got top management buying. But that said, I think even when you don’t initially have top buying, you can start making smaller changes wherever you are in the organization. It comes back to that core belief of mine that everybody can make a difference. So, if you can change things even in your work unit, those results will start to be seen and they’ll start to be shared and people—it can spread through the organization.

 

Jim Rembach:     I think that’s a really good point. Because often times I hear folks—and it really doesn’t matter if you’re doing customer experience or anything else, really complain about things not being able to move at the pace that they want them to move but yet they’re giving up instead of doing just what you’re saying, looking for the small victories, those small opportunities and gradually building momentum. The fact, is that when you started talking about that change piece, a moment ago, it does not happen fast. Why, we wish that we could just walk into the room and flipped the switch, so to speak, that just doesn’t happen. We have to go back and start learning to reinvent the light bulb. 

 

Tema Frank:    That said maybe I’m being a bit of a hypocrite cause I’ve worked on my own since—for almost 25 years because I found it incredibly frustrating. [Laugh] I think I’ll probably handle it better now than I did when I was in my 20’s though. 

Jim Rembach:     Without a doubt. And that’s one of the things that we try to do on the Fast Leader show, try to show and reveal the fact that we all have grown to be where we are today. And there’s humps that we all had to get over. And if somebody can learn from your story to help them get over the hump faster than we’ve accomplished our job here at Fast Leader show. So, thank you for sharing that with us. So, now you had talked about when you know you’re younger, was there a moment in time where it kind of flip for you that you needed to do something different in order to get the outcome that you desired? Can you take us back to that moment?

 

Tema Frank:     I think  really for me probably the most significant moment in time where that  happened was when I decided to become self-employed and stay self-employed. I have been working in a bank with bunch of guys who—this was the late 1980’s early 1990’s and they were not particularly appropriate in their behavior towards women. And I had really try to change things, and I remember sitting in my office at one point and my boss came in and he said, “You know, you’re not doing yourself any good by staying in the office doing your work you should be in the bar with the vice-president. And I thought, if that what it takes I didn’t sign on to be with the bar with the vice president, I sign on to be marketing. And so, I realize that I was going to leave that organization and that I was going to create own work so that I can have a work environment that I felt good about and so, that I could create a good work environment for others. 

 

Jim Rembach:    So, if you were to give the Fast Leader legion a piece of advice from that, what would be it be?

 

Tema Frank:     Have confidence in yourself.

 

Jim Rembach:    Good piece of advice. Okay, now it’s time for the rapid pace part of our show and it the—Hump Day Hoedown. Okay, Tema, 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. Tema Frank, are you ready to hoedown?

Tema Frank:     You bet. 

 

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

 

Tema Frank:    My broken foot. [Laugh] Probably there’s an element of insecurity which is embarrassing too to admit at my age. 

 

Jim Rembach:    I don’t think that ever goes away.  What’s the best leadership advice you ever received?

 

Tema Frank:    Be yourself don’t try to be like everybody else. 

 

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

 

Tema Frank: The ability to really listen. To listen to others and the desire to really listen to what others think and say. 

 

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

 

Tema Frank: One of the books that inspired me the most this year was one by a fellow named Ben Harowitz called, “The Hard Thing About Hard Things” and it’s a beautifully written book about both the ups but also the downs of leading a fast growth company.

 

Jim Rembach: We’re going to make a link to that available on our show notes page which you can find at fast leader.net/Tema Frank. Okay, Tema, this is my last Hump Day Hoedown question: Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning and you are 25 years old again, and you are supposed to begin a new job as a manager of the team people that are underperforming and disengaged. But you have retained all the wisdom and skill that you currently have, now your task is to turn the team around. So, you get up, you get ready and you head out to work, what do you do now?

 

Tema Frank: What I would do is sit down with them individually, one at a time and have one-on-one private confidential meetings and find out what’s frustrating them and what their aspirations are, what they’d like to see being done differently.

 

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

 

Tema Frank: Well,  they can connect with me, first of all, by e-mail, it’s tema@frankreactions.com. I’m on Twitter simply as Tema Frank. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Facebook, all the usual places. 

 

Jim Rembach:   And then you also have your podcast, which is available in iTunes and where else?

 

Tema Frank:    The podcast is on iTunes and Stitcher just search for Frank Reactions and of course—I’d imagine people listening to this probably already are podcast listeners but in case they’re not, they just stumbled across your website, as with this podcast they can find it simply by going to frankreactions.com and looking for the individual episodes, Jo notes that also have links to the podcast. 

 

Jim Rembach:    Tema, 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 to the fastleader.net so we can help you move onward and upward faster.

 

END OF AUDIO

 

[/expand]