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Category Archives: Leadership

Connected Leaders Get Their ASK in Gear!

Leaders encourage new team members to ask clarifying questions surrounding a project, protocol or procedure.  Connected leaders take it one step further and reassure individuals to reach out for support or help when needed. Yet, too many individuals still hesitate asking for what they need to succeed demanding that leaders change their approach.

According to an article in Harvard Business Review, a call center experiment may hold clues to creating a safe and supportive “asking” environment.

The Challenge: The company’s rapid call center growth (tripling in size over a five-year period) left insufficient time for training to support their financial advisor clients. Wanting to look good in their supervisor’s eyes, new hires hesitated asking for help or saying, “I don’t know. Let me find out.” This increased call volume as clients chose to call back until two out of three answers received were alike. The leaders gave their teams a clear vision: Change whatever it takes to prevent clients from living by the three-call rule.

The Experiment: First off, management made it safe to experiment by keeping, but not compensating, call center service agents on metrics for four weeks. To show they were serious, white lab coats were distributed and input solicited. The first experiment resulted in a “Bat Signal” agents could press when needing informational support, but they still hesitated as the device clearly signaled they needed assistance. In addition, everyone assumed someone else would jump in to help, leaving the requestor helpless. Even after someone was assigned as Bat Manager, other demands often meant they weren’t at their desk to receive the signal.

The experiment shifted to a private “Bat Chat” channel where new hires could directly connect with specialized departments, but that also failed. However, when the “Bat Chat” channel was launched to the entire call center, everything changed. Although management anticipated that new hires would be connecting and asking for support from each another, that wasn’t the case. Turns out, only when seasoned team members modeled the behavior and asked each other for additional support, did new hires follow suit.

As the article’s author Joe Brown noted, “When they were just another voice in a crowded room, they felt safe to ask questions. So, the key wasn’t in giving newbies special treatment, it was making them feel normal in saying, “I don’t know.” And a nice added benefit of the Bat chat? Those long transcripts became a searchable library of answers for future service agents.”

My Takeaway for You: Leaders must get their own ASK in gear if they expect others to feel safe enough to follow suit. Put your pride on the side, show your vulnerability and ask for support when necessary. Not only will you be doing yourself a favor, but you’ll be leading the way for others to do the same.


If you are looking for an award-winning, funny motivational speaker that can also deliver solid content in a way that evokes change and produces results, Colette Carlson is the one for your next event!  To have Colette at your next event call us today at 888-766-3166 or click here: Book Colette Carlson

Develop Differently-Abled Employees: No-Excuses Leadership

Develop Differently-Abled Employees: No-Excuses Leadership

By Doug Lipp

Sandra, the factory employee I’m observing, works tirelessly and methodically at her station.

Reaching into a large cardboard box filled with hundreds of teabags, Sandra pulls out enough bags to fill tea-bag-sized indentations in a tray situated in front of her on the workbench. Once she fills each indentation—15 for this job — she carefully transfers the teabags from the tray into a smaller box destined for supermarket shelves.

Over and over during her shift, Sandra accurately fills the smaller boxes with the consistency and reliability of a computer-controlled robot … yet she is blind, cannot hear, and cannot count.

Sandra is blessed to work for an organization called Pride Industries. Founded in a church basement in 1966 in Auburn, California, Pride Industries hires and trains people with a variety of physical and mental challenges, the “differently-abled” in our society.  Using massively creative training programs, Pride Industries helps turn an often ignored group of people into purpose-driven, contributing members of society.

The overwhelming success of PRIDE has proven what its founding leadership team suspected all along: When people are nourished by the power of purpose, and set up for success via well-designed training, their spirits soar, their talents blossom … and their disabilities disappear.

So, you can only imagine how I recently responded to a complaint voiced by an owner of multiple restaurants across the United States: “These young kids today can’t count change for our customers.” Look in the mirror, buddy, your lack of leadership is where the problem resides.

Business owners, leaders, managers and supervisors need to stop playing the victim card. It’s time to move from the excuses-laden, creativity-killing position of, “No, we can’t do that because,” to the possibilities-rich mindset of “Yes, If.”

Sandra would be the first to agree.

Doug Lipp is on a crusade to help your audience strengthen their corporate culture, boost business performance, and unapologetically, have fun while doing it. As an International Keynote Speaker, Best-selling Author of “Disney U”, Former Head of Disney University Training Team, and Executive Coach, Doug is one of the most trusted and respected business speakers and coaches in the world! He is sought after for his expertise in helping organizations build adaptive, world-class service cultures that fuel growth and long-term success. Doug leaves his audiences with a blueprint for creating and perpetuating a culture of significance unique to their organization.  Call 888-766-3155  today to hire Doug for your next event!