Business Success Tips Based On 25 Yrs Of Marriage

Business Success Tips Based On 25 Yrs Of Marriage

Today is my milestone 25th wedding anniversary. Having come from divorced parents, it’s a big deal for me. I tell you this because there are many relationship lessons I’ve learned over the years and want to inspire you to enrich connections with your partner, friends, colleagues, and customers too.  You may be wondering what does marriage have to do with business? My answer is a lot!There are many correlations because when employees feel satisfied, included, and cared for (like a happy spouse), they pay it forward. Their actions impact customer experiences and ultimately brand loyalty.

10 WAYS TO ENHANCE YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

  1. Show appreciation in big and small ways. People naturally do more for others when they feel valued. Say thank you often. Tell people how much they matter. Gratitude goes a long way.
  2. Listen intentionally. Concentrate on what people are verbally expressing as well as what they are NOT saying. Read between the lines and react appropriately.
  3. Pick your battles. Focus on your end game. Ask yourself: do I want a relationship or to be right? The answer will drive your actions.
  4. Practice radical acceptance. People will behave in ways that do not always make sense. Accept others for whom they are versus who you want them to be.
  5. Throw away perfection. It takes a lot of energy and often results in diminishing returns. Keep doing your best and accept flaws.
  6. Be forgiving. Mistakes will happen. Avoid fighting in public and whenever conflict happens, review lessons together to avoid issues happening again.
  7. Communicate. Let me stress this again. Communicate a lot! Pick up the phone more than emailing and texting as they often lead to misunderstandings.
  8. Celebrate not just Hallmark designated holidays. Create unexpected memorable Wow moments throughout the year.
  9. Don’t take things personally. As I’ve learned in the Four Agreements, people misinterpret stories and believe they are involved when that is not the case. Be mindful and avoid this habit.
  10. Present a united front. If you have kids, for example, show them what a good partnership looks like. The same is true with customers. Do not let different department goals get in the way of how the team shows up. Alignment is essential. 
Stacy Sherman Relationship Success Tips

#1 RELATIONSHIP KEY TAKE AWAY

 It’s easy to walk away and harder to stay when times are tough. Nothing forces us to keep a relationship alive and thriving. It must be purposeful and intentional, which means waking up each morning and being clear how you want to EXPERIENCE THE DAY with people you care about.  What you do today affects all your tomorrows!

I’m interested to know your views about creating and sustaining a long term relationship.  

If you like this article, please read my other one about the Four Agreements. It’s a life-changing book, which I have summarized for you. 

CX Leadership Lessons From “The Four Agreements”

CX Leadership Lessons From “The Four Agreements”

Leadership Article Originally Featured in Forbes  August 3, 2020

 

Many self-help books drive positive changes and personal growth. My all-time favorite is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. While listening to the audiobook, I had an epiphany as to why the book affects me more than any other. It reinforces how I live my life personally and correlates to my profession in the customer experience (CX) field.

From Ruiz’s four fundamental principles, I’ve drawn lessons on leadership, humanizing business, and creating satisfying experiences. I encourage you to read the agreements and apply the leadership principles to your life.

 

Agreement 1: Do Not Make Assumptions

We are all guilty of projecting what we think onto others. When we do not know all the facts, or when communication is unclear or nonexistent, it is human nature to make assumptions that are often wrong.

Misinterpretation is especially true when people email and text each other and inevitably insert their own beliefs about what the other person is thinking. Unfortunately, we tend to make assumptions that are negative and unsupportive.

From this first agreement, I believe we can apply three key lessons for improving customer experience:

• Pick up the phone. By doing so, you can avoid misinterpretation and useless arguments. Call your customers so they are not left guessing when there will be a resolution to their problems. Silence is not an option. Communication with your employees and customers helps avoid false assumptions and preserves relationships.

• Be transparent. People expect the facts even when the news is not what they want to hear. Communicate often and truthfully — it goes a long way.

• Ask customers what they need. There is no reason to guess. Interview and survey people, and incorporate their feedback into your product development process early on. Leverage voice of the customer (VoC) insights not only in go-to-market phases, but also in post-launch stages because customer expectations continue to change.

 

Agreement 2:  Do Not Take Anything Personally

People often misinterpret stories and believe they have something to do with them when that is not the case. As Miguel explains, when you take something personally, you “take ownership” of that thought. Comments from the communicator are their own perceptions of reality, and we must acknowledge that it’s not because of us.

There are three things leaders can do to ensure this lesson takes hold:

• Spend one-to-one time with your staff every week. No excuses. Make the time so that individuals know that they matter and are understood. The more satisfied and engaged employees feel, the greater the chance they will deliver customer excellence, even when their boss is not looking.

• Facilitate employee communication training. Formal education is good, but I also recommend informal tactics too. Something I am doing with my team that is proving to be incredibly valuable is leading a book club. We first read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why and then The Four Agreements. I encourage you to do the same with your teams and co-workers and hold each other accountable to follow the golden rules.

• Validate your beliefs. Ask people if you understand what they said correctly. You may be surprised how often you miss part of what others are saying. Many disagreements and misunderstandings are avoidable by communicating what one thinks they heard rather than making assumptions.

 

Agreement 3:  Be Impeccable With Your Word

What you say and how you verbalize your thoughts matter. Ruiz explains that “impeccable with your word means you don’t use your words to speak ill of yourself or others.” The basic principle is to never spread bad gossip about others and stop entertaining negative thoughts, as your attitude is contagious.

The author provides an example of a “black magic box.” If you tell an employee that they are not smart enough to be a leader, the individual will often believe it to be true and have long-term deflated confidence.

To improve how we verbalize our thoughts as leaders, here are three steps to take:

• Use your words to build people up. Express appreciation to your teams and co-workers. Celebrate their successes, and when mistakes happen, use those situations as coaching opportunities. How well your message is received depends on how well you deliver it. The words matter.

• Be intentional with what you say. Perception is a reality. Be mindful of what you say to influence others.

• Know your audience. Some words will be misinterpreted depending on backgrounds, cultures and beliefs. Craft personalized messages — a fundamental practice for sales and marketing leaders.

 

Agreement 4:  Always Do Your Best

I love this statement because we often try to deliver more than 100%. The fact is, there is no such thing. At some point, we experience diminishing returns. As Ruiz states, “Stick to doing your best and your personal improvements and transformations will become an obvious consequence.”

When doing our best, it’s important that leaders take two things into account:

• Support work-life balance. As company leaders, recognize people who are doing their best, and encourage them to stay motivated but not get burned out.

• Manage more than your time. I find that successful people tend to be organized and great at time management. Likewise, they excel at managing their energy. Know your limits. Run the marathon. Go after your dreams, but know what you can handle. Your best is often good enough, so give yourself a break.

 

In Summary:

I encourage you to read or listen to The Four Agreements and apply these leadership lessons daily. Being impeccable with your words, avoiding assumptions, not taking anything personally, and doing your best ultimately contribute to better leadership, especially in CX. You will attract the right people and relationships, which may include profitable customers, too.

 

Which is your favorite agreement? Please comment below as I’m interested to hear your views.

 

Note: This article received MVP award by CEU judges.

 

Stacy Sherman receives MVP award by Customer Experience   Update for DoingCXRight Four Agreements Leadership article

 

CX Leadership & Overcoming Diversity Challenges

CX Leadership & Overcoming Diversity Challenges

There’s an increasing amount of conversations about diversity and inclusion, and I love it! It’s actually possible that the next generation, including my own daughter, will have exponentially more opportunities to share their voice without judgments and have leadership positions across all industries.

Earlier in 2019, I was interviewed by my employer, Schindler Elevator Corporation, where there’s a low percentage of women working at the global company. There’s not much diversity in the industry, not just at Schindler. As you can imagine, it is challenging to be a woman leader where there are few females. Yet, I joined the organization believing that I could be a change agent and continue to help create a culture where employees feel valued and included. While this interview was originally published last year, it’s still relevant, and even more so right now.

MY GOAL FOR WRITING THIS ARTICLE:

1. TO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY WOMEN, TO BUILD THEIR SKILLS & FOCUS ON A BOOMING CAREER LIKE (CX) CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

CX is not a fad. It’s here to stay and reputable companies are seeking expertise. Voxpro interviewed five women leaders who talk about the need for females in high-level customer-focused roles. I couldn’t agree more, and recommend reading the informative articles: “Why We Need More Women Leaders in CX.”

2. TO INSPIRE MORE THOUGHT DIVERSITY AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO PURSUE THEIR PASSIONS NO MATTER WHAT!

I’ve learned a lot over the past 20 years working in large and small companies. I know first hand the challenges in pursuing a career while balancing parenthood. I am elated that more companies are committed to creating a culture where women matter and employee diversity is valued. I’m also grateful for many men who have supported women and have made a big difference in my life. (I wish that I could clone you.) Below is a recap from my interview in honor of International Women’s History Month. I hope it serves as inspiration for all my readers.

INTERVIEW RECAP: 

(Originally published in March 2019. Updated in 2020).

Stacy Sherman Diversity & Inclusion Leader

Q: (Schindler) EXPLAIN WHAT YOU DO IN YOUR ROLE.

A: (Stacy) I’m the Head of Customer Experience (CX), leading a team to deliver great customer experiences fueled by motivated, engaged employees. My role includes establishing & implementing innovative Voice of Customer (VOC) initiatives that provide a deep understanding of how customers interact & feel across all touchpoints. I’m also leveraging data, including Voice of Employee (VOE) feedback, to enhance customer journeys, and collaborating with cross-team to “close the loop” resulting in record-high customer Net Promoter (NPS) scores.

Q: (Schindler) WHY IS GENDER EQUALITY IMPORTANT?

A: (Stacy) Gender equality is important because all people deserve access to the same resources and opportunities. If two individuals with similar skills &  education apply for the same job or promotion, there should be no difference in the evaluation process. Unfortunately, equality has not been the case over time and I’ve witnessed this. I am very glad there is now a cultural shift so that my kids benefit in positive ways.

Q: (Schindler) WHAT HAVE YOU OVERCOME TO GET WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

A: (Stacy) I have overcome “inclusion” situations in past workplaces. For example, there’s been a multitude of times that I was not invited to all-male meetings, even when my level or related positions were in the room and topics pertained to my job. I’ve overcome challenges by communicating tactfully with people and articulating the value I bring, so they’d understand my perspective and need for inclusion. While self-advocacy is not easy, it is essential and a contributing factor for success. 

Q: (Schindler) WHAT WOULD YOUR ADVICE BE TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF WOMEN ASPIRING TO GET ADVANCE THEIR CAREERS?

A: (Stacy) I encourage everyone, especially women, to communicate openly and honestly, and deal with uncomfortable situations head-on versus an avoidance approach. Be impeccable with your words and choose the right moments to contribute. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth. Use them accordingly. Also, always be learning and advancing your skills through formal and informal education. I obtained my MBA years ago but continue to get certifications from prestigious institutions to sustain my position as a credible thought leader.

Q: (Schindler) WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST PIVOTAL PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED IN YOUR CAREER?

A: (Stacy) There will ALWAYS be obstacles. Know what you can control and focus your time and effort on those things. People often say “No” without even thinking about situations, but there IS a path to “Yes!” Be creative and figure it out!

Q: (Schindler) DO YOU HAVE A FEMALE ROLE MODEL THAT HELPED YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

A: (Stacy) Executive Director Stacey Aaron-Domanico from my former job at Verizon, taught me about leadership and authenticity through her actions and words. We are still connected, and she inspires me to be amazing and genuine in everything I do.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR VIEWS ABOUT DIVERSITY & INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE?

10 Effective Ways To Make Big & Small Changes In Life

10 Effective Ways To Make Big & Small Changes In Life

Article Originally Published in Forbes, 3/2020.

Have you ever done something so drastically different that you surprised yourself and others?  That describes me, and I’ve learned a lot about habits and leadership from an experience. I’m sharing my story to inspire and motivate you to create positive changes by DOING, not talking about your goals. Doing creates confidence and ultimately greater happiness. The more satisfied we feel, the better we can contribute at work and at home. 

My journey began on December 23, 2019. While eating dinner with my family, I turned on a Netflix documentary called What the Health. I was fascinated by the show that I watched The Game Changers right after that. I was intrigued by the stories of those who had switched to a plant-based diet and no longer suffered from stomachaches, which I’ve endured since childhood. So, I decided to begin my own experiment having never made such a drastic change before. Within a few weeks, I felt positive impacts from my new whole foods lifestyle.

While I enjoyed my food journey for many months, it slowly ended as vegan life became too hard to keep up when my college kids returned home due to Covid19. I’ve maintained healthy habits and most importantly, proved to myself that I can do anything I put my mind to. You can too.

Whether you are facing a big change (like working from home during a pandemic) or a small change (like starting an exercise routine), your mental mindset matters a lot.

 

How To Make Changes For Personal & Professional Growth:

 

1. Just do it.

Don’t hem and haw when faced with change. As Nike says, just do it. Hesitation often leads to doing things the same old way and expecting a different result. Make the decision to start. If you’re unhappy, then give yourself permission to modify or stop what you’re doing without any guilt. There’s no one right or wrong way to do anything. Make your own path and do so with purpose.

2. There will be a lot of naysayers. Tune out the noise.

Everyone has opinions, and they often don’t hold back. That’s OK, but surround yourself with like-minded people. It makes the journey more enjoyable.

3. Look for opportunities that support your change.

I didn’t realize how many plant-based food options there would be in restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. Even fast food and chain restaurants are catering to vegetarians and vegans. Starbucks recently announced that it’s adding oat milk to its menu in 1,300 stores.

As I discussed in a recent article, personalizing the customer experience is a smart business strategy to differentiate your brand. In the context of change, this also reinforces my point. When you commit yourself to making a change and keep your eyes open, you’ll see many opportunities all around you.

4. Small changes often have big impacts.

I’ve found that when we overthink or overcomplicate a task, it leads to accomplishing nothing. So, break down tasks in the pursuit of change. Remember that every action counts. If you only have 30 minutes to exercise instead of your usual hour, for example, commit to it for half an hour rather than pushing it off for another day — or never.

5. Be the master of your own fate.

There’s an inspiring line in the poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley: “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” I first heard this quote in the movie Invictus, which my friend had recommended to me and I now recommend to others.

You control your destiny. The choices you make today impact tomorrow. Build your self-confidence and believe you can make positive changes. That’s when you will do the unimaginable. Morgan Freeman talks about this in more detail.

6. Be mindful — and reap the positive benefits.

Since switching my food choices, I am more mindful when shopping, cooking and eating. I now read labels, which I had never done before. I’m tasting so many new foods and trying restaurants I’d never had thought about. My diet requires me to get more creative, and that makes life more fun. So slow down and enjoy the little things about the change you’re making. I’ve found that being mindful about positive change amplifies happiness.

7. Find (and maintain) a support network.

When making a change, communicate to your friends and family that you need their support. Leverage communities on Facebook, Instagram, and other social platforms — there is so much knowledge-sharing to go around. Find a partner and hold each other accountable.

8. Move forward from fear.

With any new habit, it’s normal to feel doubtful and fearful of the unknown. Recognize that it’s OK to feel that way but move forward without letting it hold you back. You’ll be glad you did. If you need inspiration, I recommend reading Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

9. Recognize that change is not easy, but self-control is empowering.

Conquering anything challenging, whether it’s a new diet or exercise plan, or a new job or project can feel overwhelming when you first get started. Practice does make perfect and becomes rewarding. Be intentional and focused on your purpose by reminding yourself of the “why” behind the change every day.

10. Everyone has stories. Listen and adapt to what works for you.

As human beings, we’re all experiencing life in different ways. Take the time to ask questions and share your experience. Read books. Listen to podcasts and TEDx Talks. You may be surprised when something you already know resonates in a whole new way. Epiphanies happen when least expected.

What changes have you made and how has it affected your perspective? Which tip above resonates with you most, and what would you add to the list?

Is Everything Going To Be Okay?

Is Everything Going To Be Okay?

The answer is: It Depends. Happiness is a choice no matter what circumstances come our way. We can choose to be content or experience opposite feelings.

Seth Godin shares his views, which resonates a lot.

If we mean, Is everything going to be the way it was and the way I expected it to be?” then the answer is no. The answer to that question is always no, it always has been. If we mean, “Is everything going to be the way it is going to be?” then the answer is yes. Of course. If we define whatever happens as okay, then everything will be. Given that everything is going to be the way it’s going to be, we’re left with an actually useful and productive question instead: “What are you going to do about it?”

My 2 Cents: YES, We’ll Be Better Than Before.

Get more inspiration:

Wishing you good health, safety and happiness.

~Stacy Sherman

*All views expressed are mine and do not reflect the opinions of or imply the endorsement of employers or other organizations.

What People Are Doing To Be Productive & Content During Coronavirus Outbreak

What People Are Doing To Be Productive & Content During Coronavirus Outbreak

Good often comes from bad circumstances. It’s hard to see or feel it as we’re living through the coronavirus pandemic, but past situations prove that we get through tough times as employees, customers, and families having human experiences. The key is reframing our thinking from “I have to” to “I get to” do something new. We need to be intentional about WHAT we focus on and HOW we use our time. I’ve been practicing what I preach.

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