Friday, December 14, 2018

Tips for Leaders to Inspire and Empower

One of the amazing things about social media is that we get to meet people all over the world. My social media activities have led me to meet people on all continents and in a variety of industries. One friend I made hails from the country of South Africa – half a world away from California. Chantaul Jordan and I connected thanks to Twitter, when her leadership account shared many of my leadership Tweets.

Recently, Chantaul Jordan and I had a discussion about international leadership, and highlights follow an introduction. Chantaul inspires personal development within individuals and for teams at seminars and at team-building retreats. Her mission as Principal of Expressions, a training consultancy, is to inspire, empower, and transform. She is dedicated to holistic wellness and passionate about philosophy, meditation, and yoga. Her other positions include: Facilitator of Mastermind for Speakers; Past Chairman of EXAS (Executive Association of South Africa); Honorary member of KZN Women in Business; Founder member of PSASA, KZN; and Immediate Past President of the PSASA (Professional Speakers Association of SA, KZN). Follow Chantaul on Twitter @ChantaulJordan, @LeaderRepeater, and @SpeakerRepeater; and check out her website at

You lead a Twitter account @LeaderRepeater, whose description is: "For leaders, by leaders. We promote success and strive to add value to the lives and careers of others." How did this get started, and where do you find your inspiration for Tweets? On a side note, I've been honored when you've shared some of my Tweets – many thanks!
CHANTAUL JORDAN: A global communications platform, like Twitter, is astounding. I wanted an easy way to see what individuals all over the world were saying about enhancing emotional quotient in real time. So, I was inspired to create a Twitter account focused on EQ*, especially for leaders. After experimenting with Twitter's versatile search feature, adding my own search filters for quality control, and writing an app for my phone, @LeaderRepeater was born.

What are three things a President/CEO can do to establish a corporate culture that all employees will enthusiastically follow?
CHANTAUL JORDAN: Here are my three recommendations:
[1] To create a positive and uplifting working environment, where employees can learn, grow, and thrive.
[2] To encourage open and honest communication, especially in times of stress. The connection between staff can dissolve in a brief aggressive outburst. Although regrettable, these encounters stain relationships and leave waves of negativity in their wake.
[3] To inspire meaningful expression and contribution within an organization, by developing each individual's personal strengths and/or special talents. A company’s success relies on employees who enjoy their work and feel fulfilled.

A company’s success relies on employees who enjoy their work and feel fulfilled. –@ChantaulJordan #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBrand

How can a President/CEO become an organization's number one brand ambassador?
CHANTAUL JORDAN: I am of the opinion that a President/CEO should NOT be an organization’s number one brand ambassador, as it can be dangerous for the brand to be linked too closely to a fallible (and, indeed, mortal) human being. The CEO should adopt a lifestyle and morality that’s congruent with the values of the organization and should be seen as a competent and effective leader and manager – nothing more.

What are some traits to be a good leader, and why?
CHANTAUL JORDAN: The ongoing responsibility to do better and achieve more is hugely stressful, and the pressure is exhausting, and ironically leads to sub-standard work and ineffective relationships. A leader who practices self-mastery and demonstrates continued learning and personal well-being, is by far the better leader. If the leader’s mind is disturbed by worries and anxieties, not only is his efficiency and productivity affected, but the majority of his time is spent in crisis management, setting the tone throughout the business. So, it’s important that the CEO is a role model for equanimity, in good times and bad times. Also, effective communication of a clear vision and inspiration. How to achieve this? Deliberate engagement will result in better collaboration within teams, and therefore a more profitable business! (And a healthier option for all concerned.)

TWEET THIS: A leader who demonstrates continued learning is by far the better leader. –@ChantaulJordan #LeadershipTip #EmployeeExperience #EmployerBrand

One of your recent Tweets featured a quote from Sir Edmund Hillary, the first person to summit Mt. Everest: "You don't have to be a hero to accomplish great things. You can just be an ordinary chap sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals." How does this apply to the office environment whereby one doesn't need a title to be a leader?
CHANTAUL JORDAN: People who are popular for their talent, their expertise, fashion sense, charisma, to name but a few, can be natural pacesetters and visionaries who others naturally want to follow. This is true, and let’s not forget that some of the greatest influencers aren’t in the office, but rather, at home. Family can be empowering catalysts! Why? We’re hugely inspired by love and care, and a sense of belonging – where there are mutual interests to work on and achieve together. Perhaps that’s what we need in the workplace, just a little more heart connection. A good healthy environment that’s conducive to thrive in!

My gratitude and appreciation to Chantaul for appearing on my Blog and for sharing her inspiring leadership insights!

Image Credit: Chantaul Jordan.

*Emotional Quotient is different from Intelligence Quotient because instead of measuring your general intelligence, it measures your emotional intelligence. Emotional Quotient is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity. In the business environment, Emotional Quotient is important because it helps you leverage your awareness of emotions for effectiveness in the workplace.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Why Do Customer Experiences Have to Be So Different?

Just like you, I interact with a variety of brands on a daily basis. From the moment I wake up to a radio alarm, there’s my preferred radio station. Then, there’s the waffle and orange juice I choose for breakfast. There are the news sites I read on my smartphone and tablet and the TV news channels I watch. And there are the two virtual assistants I speak to in order to learn the outside temperature. And there are the clothing items I choose and the shampoo, soap, and toothpaste I use. With only an hour of my day gone, that’s at least 20 brands before I start my work day. I cannot imagine how many brands I will interact with before the end of the day!

So, with this large brand number in mind, why do customer experiences have to be so different? Two recent customer experiences stand out because they were so different.

I visited a store that sells boxes – you would immediately recognize the national brand name because it is known as a moving equipment and storage rental company. Once I had selected the boxes I wished to purchase, I saw a sign that read:
“$6.99 for one box, but as low as $4.99 with a 10 percent discount. When I questioned the salesperson as to how many boxes I had to purchase to pay the lower price, she told me that I had to buy 10 boxes. So, I placed 10 boxes on the counter expecting to pay the $4.99 price.

Once I saw my total, I was surprised. The total for the 10 boxes was $69.99 with a single discount of $6.99. When I asked for clarification, the salesperson explained that only one box could get a discount and she did not know how to actually charge $4.99.

Wait a minute! If the signage above the boxes read “$6.99 for one box, but as low as $4.99 with a 10 percent discount,” where was the discount? In addition, how can a cashier complete transactions if he or she cannot implement discounts that are advertised less than ten feet from where they are standing? As you can imagine, I only bought five of the boxes.

Contrast that experience with this one. I was at a national pet store and saw a cat scratching post that was the right height for my two cats. However, the protective wrap around the post was open and might have slightly damaged the post – it would be impossible to tell until I got it home and completely unwrapped it. So, at the check-out counter, I showed the cashier about the wrapping and asked if I could get a discount. She didn't bat an eyelash and immediately offered a 20 percent discount while simultaneously asking, “Will that be good enough?”

These experiences reminded me of Bill Quiseng’s (@BillQuiseng on Twitter) quote:

“Businesses need to understand and educate their employees that there is a difference between taking care of a customer and caring for the customer. For example, taking care of a hotel guest is checking him quickly, giving him a key to a room that is clean and problem-free. Caring for a guest is recognizing that the guest was obviously under the weather and sending up a cup of chicken soup with a note, “Hope you are feeling better soon.” Taking care of a customer is a transaction. Genuinely caring for a customer generates an emotional connection. And emotionally engaged customers are much more loyal than merely satisfied ones.”

These two experiences left me with some important questions:
* Why are some employees empowered to create memorable and positive customer experiences for their brands and others are not?
* What causes leadership teams to train their employees to care about their customers?
* How can brands endure if they don’t create a customer-focused culture?

How would your brand have handled these different customer experiences?