Happy New Year!
Lorne and Garrett
We have posted blogs 2x per week for the last five plus years. Every so often, our readers repurpose a “golden oldie.” Between now and New Years, we will share a few. The one below received a lot of new views a month or so ago even though it was published on April 15, 2014. Curious as to why?
Hope you enjoy it again!
– Lorne & Garrett
Key Point: We write our blogs for you (and us). You give us the gift of reading them and much encouragement. Thank you!
Season’s best greetings and happy 2017!
Lorne and Garrett in The Triangle,
Key Point: There is a difference between motivating and inspiring others. Both are important, and live together as “cousins,” but they are very different. Ideally, leaders are capable of intentionally delivering both. What’s the difference between motivation and inspiration?
The late “self improvement” guru, Dr. Wayne Dyer, noted the difference in the following way: “It is very hard to enroll people in anything. And there is a very big difference between the words motivate and inspire. Motivation means we have an idea and we are going to carry through on that idea. We work hard at it, and we are disciplined. A highly motivated person takes an idea, goes out there, and won’t let anybody interfere with them. Inspiration is exactly the opposite. If motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, inspiration the reverse. An idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go… The word inspired comes from being in spirit, accessing a force out there. Patanjali said when you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations. Your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, wonderful world. Patanjali also said dormant forces, faculties, and talents – things you thought were inaccessible and unavailable to you – come alive when you are inspired. You discover yourself to be a far greater person than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
Hmmm that’s a very interesting way of differentiating. It’s one thing to get hold of an idea and drive it, and another to have an idea get hold and drive you.
Dyer goes on to say: “When you are connected in that way, (driven by an idea that’s got hold of you) everyone around you is inspired. What it takes to reach this place I’m speaking about is to be in spirit. You shift who you are away from what you have, what you do, what your reputation is, what people think of you, and all of that ego-based thinking… So, it’s really about modeling it and letting people know you are an inspired person, a person who is in spirit, and then those forces begin to show up and, lo and behold, the universe provides for you.”
More Inspiration in the Triangle,
One Millennial View: It seems like you can go to any conference room at a downtown Marriot and you’ll probably happen upon a motivational speaker of some sort. Finding a truly “inspirational speaker” would be more challenging. Still, we can all probably think of a few candidates that would inspire us. If we can determine what makes them pull us forward, maybe that’s the foundation we can build from to figure out how to pull others too.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis
Key Point: Executives can easily get caught up in big time strategy planning, swallowed up in cool ideas revolving around disruption, transformation, digital technology and a host of other compelling topics. And they must. However, it is so easy to forget about where leadership energy has the most immediate and powerful impact: At the interface between employees and customers. In the United Kingdom, the frontline (in historical reference to coal miners), is often described as the “coal face.”
The other day I had problem with my cable box. And I hope my cable company knows I’m a “hair” away from cancelling and going exclusively with Apple TV, Netflix and other combinations. For now, I’m hanging in there. The other night I had a problem, and after the obligatory “reboot,” I called customer service. Following the inevitable and laborious phone tree, and too long of a wait, the customer technician was finally on the phone with me. To troubleshoot, he asked me to identify the serial number on the set top box. Geez, here we go again. I had to crawl on my hands and knees, use the flashlight on my iPhone, get a magnifying glass (literally) to read a 20 digit number from a minute font on the back of the box that a golden eagle would have trouble seeing. First of all, a customer should never have to do that at all. Yet this was probably literally the 15th time over my cable paying years in Canada and the U.S. I’ve done that, and every time I’ve complained. I feel so sorry for the customer service rep: “I apologize Mr. Rubis, and we are working with the set top box suppliers to address that matter.” Really? That’s what I heard eight years ago!” And of course, I know this frontline person can’t actually make that change. But here is what I do know: No one leader with any authority genuinely cares. If they did, something would have been done a long time ago. Cable companies buy millions of set top boxes, and if they really wanted a different customer experience on something as simple as font size of serial numbers Motorola and other suppliers would promptly comply. No one cares enough to address it. The poor frontline agent has to absorb the frustration repeatedly. And I can’t only pick on cable companies. In our business, we put customer service phone numbers on the back of our credit cards that are so small that the real message seems to be: “If you really have to call, and we hope you don’t, please squint and call the following number. Hope you get the number right.”
I’ve been looking at employee engagement numbers for years and the one consistent theme and priority for people is to give them the tools and information to consistently give customers and each other a superb experience. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. The data I’ve reviewed stresses that the ability to do my job well, and give those I deliver my personal service to (i.e. my brand integrity), a great experience is even more important than pay. It is a huge, and I believe primary source of employee satisfaction and dissatisfaction. If that is the case, why do we continuously throw customer-facing people under the bus? For example, a poor quality new product or service is released and customer service reps get slammed with calls about the defects. An out of date policy makes a sales person look stupid and often powerless. Etc, etc. Want to change an organization quickly? Take 20 percent of the issues causing 80 percent of customer unhappiness and transform the business around those. As leaders of most businesses we intuitively know that, but most of us just can’t seem to make that the number one priority and intense focus. Why?
At the “coal face” in the Triangle,
One Millennial View: Even if that show “Undercover Boss” is fake/manipulated (like all reality TV generally is), viewers recognize that almost all executives immediately get a true gut check when taking on a customer-facing role (often for the first time in years, if ever). So speaking of potential progress, at least they’re making moves in the cable department: If you don’t know already, check out DirecTV Now. The cable box-less future is here, folks.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis
Key Point: “Sharpen your perception, change your life.” That’s the tag line for Amy Herman‘s book, “Visual Intelligence.” As noted in my last blog, and worth repeating, she works with leading law enforcement groups around the world (e.g. NSA, CIA, Special Forces, NYPD), the medical profession and with many front running companies. The unique aspect of Amy’s work is that she uses art to teach people how to increase their visual intelligence. She has a thriving business helping people enhance observation and perception skills as well as communicate inferences more effectively through carefully observing paintings and photography. Herman teaches us to refrain from using the terms “obviously” and “clearly” in narrative, lines of questioning, and description. Those are terms that can lead us astray. There is very little if anything that is “obvious” or “clear” to all. We only need the recent American presidential election to remind us of that lesson.
Amy’s smart approach shows people how to be precise, straightforward and use the simplest possible terms to describe both unfamiliar and repeated situations in accurate ways, minimizing preconceived judgment and unconscious bias. And she reminds us to remain alert to eye contact, facial expressions, and non-verbal communication too.
Leonardo da Vinci claimed all of his scientific and artistic accomplishments came from “saper vadere,” or “knowing how to see.” Herman wants us too see more too. When she shows paintings and photos to her students, those looking at the exact same visuals see so much more or less than others. Too often, we let our biases, unconscious or otherwise, filter and make inferences that are wrong at best and dangerous at worse. Herman encourages us to be as objective as possible, look at the entire picture corner to corner for full context. And while we must appreciate our personal experiences, we must NOT to let our emotions and assumptions blind us.
At the end of Herman’s presentation, she shows her students a picture they saw for the first time a few hours before, and the observation change is startling. People see so much more with increased accuracy and less faulty judgment. Herman then asks the following: “What changed? The picture, or you?”
Really seeing you in the Triangle,
One Millennial View: Millennials can be incredibly guilty of sharing news articles after only reading the headline, and that’s just an example that barely scratches the surface of our intolerance for time consuming detail. As much as we want all our information in 140 characters or less, Herman makes the strong point that sometimes it takes some in-depth analysis to draw a well founded perspective, and we can all use a “corner to corner” lesson if we’re being honest with ourselves.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis