Employee Satisfaction Starts With Awake Leaders

Employee Satisfaction Starts With Awake Leaders

I had the honor to join Cynthia James, who is the host of a well-known podcast that focuses on increasing what she calls, “awake leaders.” I admire Cynthia as a champion for change. She is making a difference by driving people, especially women, to express their full potential. She’s spent over two decades in self-examination, higher education, and working with leaders around the world. She helps individuals searching for knowledge, wisdom, and techniques to bring their gifts to the world. Her teaching and guidance correlate to my passion for creating better human experiences and workplace cultures where diversity and inclusion are valued. I believe you’ll enjoy and learn from our conversations, and gain useful tips to improve employee wellbeing and happiness, which in turn, impacts customer experiences.

Watch our video to hear essential leadership lessons.

Which leaders stand out to you and why? Would you consider them “awake leaders?” Share your comments below.

Read more about Diversity and Inclusion and ways to drive positive change here.

Inspiring Women in Customer Experience (CX)

Inspiring Women in Customer Experience (CX)

Do you work with inspiring women or have female role models as friends and family members? How would you describe their impact and what makes those women stand out? This is the theme of what Clare Muscutt (CMX) and I speak about on her Inspiring Women of CX podcast. We dive into the lessons we’ve learned from our mothers, share advice on female leadership now, and tactics to “rise to fame” as Clare kindly speaks about me.

After watching the “Inspiring Women In CX” show, tell me what you think.

What resonates most? What might you do differently having listened to the heart-felt conversations?

 

An important lesson from Mom:

Don’t rely on anyone else to make you happy. Not a boss, colleague, friend, children, a spouse, or a life partner. They enhance your life like sprinkles on a cupcake, but that’s it. No one can own your happiness but you!

Happiness and leadership tips from inspiring women

“Inspiring Women In CX” Show Notes:

Episode #203 .

Clare Muscutt – host:

Hey, Stacy!

Stacy Sherman:

Hello. Good morning to me and afternoon to you.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah. Where are you joining me from today?

Stacy Sherman:

I am in America, in New Jersey.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Ah! The view from across from Manhattan. I know that place. Battery Park. I used to look out over at New Jersey.

Stacy Sherman:

Oh, yes, it’s a little foggy today, but yes, it is a Garden State. We get a little bad rap sometimes, but it’s home.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Aw, and how are things in America? It’s a big election coming up for you, isn’t it, in the next few days?

Stacy Sherman:

It is. It is, and I look forward to becoming back the United States because right now, there’s a lot of un-united things happening, including families. It’s sad. But look, we vote. We do what we can control and…

Clare Muscutt – host:

Democracy.

Stacy Sherman:

Exactly! And then, focus on where we can make a difference.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, and by the time this podcast comes out, we’ll have found out the results, so yeah, I hope it’s a good one for America.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Anyway, so today – you and I have spoken before, and I had one of the most amazing conversations with Stacy, and I’m going to ask her some questions today, listeners, so you can hear her incredible stories, too. We’re going to talk a lot about female leadership, and we’re going to talk about our mums, and the influence our mums have had on our lives and on Stacy’s life as she became a working mum. So, I hope that’s all good with you guys. So, Stacy, shall we just crack on then?

Stacy Sherman:

Absolutely.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Let’s begin at the beginning. Tell me about little Stacy growing up. What was your family life like, and how did it bring you to this point?

Stacy Sherman:

Yeah. Wow, what a journey. So, I lived in a suburb, lived a very – I figured – normal life, but when I look back, it may be not so normal in that my parents were divorced when I was very young, and I had a working mom who, at the time, I didn’t really realise how amazing she was in being a mom but also working in a field that was not traditionally for women. So, she’s an Options Trader. She was on the American Stock Exchange, and she was among the first women there. I remember being little and visiting her on the Stock Exchange and the men lifting her up in the air, and she’s doing all the hand signals, and it was complete chaos. And she’s petite like me, so you can imagine this powerhouse in her, and that was my role model. But again, I didn’t understand it the way I do now – about her at least, yeah.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, wow. Stock Trader! And at that time? So, I’m guessing the 80s.

Stacy Sherman:

Yeah. Yeah, 70s, 80s. She was also – and still trades now, but it’s certainly different with technology today. But also, my grandmother was a certified accountant, and so that was unusual then where there were mostly nurses and more traditional jobs. So, you could see how my mom ended up being who she is, and the apple doesn’t fall far…

Clare Muscutt – host:

Far from the tree.

Stacy Sherman:

… from the tree.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah. It is so similar to my experience. So, I come from a line of very, very strong women, similar to you, however I don’t look like my mum or her mum; I look like my dad’s side of the family. But yeah, my grandmother was one of the first women to ever work in laboratories and was part of the team that developed penicillin for the war effort.

Stacy Sherman:

Wow!

Clare Muscutt – host:

So, I always say my grandma helped us win the war.

Stacy Sherman:

Definitely! Yes, big contributor.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, and my grandad was so happy for her to work, as well, which was quite unusual in that time of the world, after the Great Depression and stuff. Then, I guess, in my mum, she wanted more for her. So, she brought my mum up to believe she could do anything, and my mum went to university, became one of the first educational psychologists and went onto lead her field in what she did. So, yeah 100 per cent, passes it down from generation to generation. And how about your husband? How did he feel about you and your career? Has he been supportive to you?

Stacy Sherman:

Extremely. When I met him – we actually went to high school and junior high school together, but never said, ‘Hello’. It wasn’t until we graduated college, and came and lived in an apartment complex after college that we really met and spoke, and I believe that was what really attracted me to him was that I was really independent-minded…

Clare Muscutt – host:

Ooh, is that your dog?

Stacy Sherman:

Yes. He’s not very quiet, so he’s not helping.

Clare Muscutt – host:

It’s okay. It’s okay. I took Small’s collar off, so she isn’t jingling, but she’s sat right next to me too. Carry on, carry on your story.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes, I forgot that little heart. But yeah, so I think that really was a big factor that he – I believe that really was a piece, a part, was attractive. And then for me, having someone who would be really loyal and committed was something so important to me having grown up as an only child in my house, with a father not in the house and my mother working. You know, I had a lot of people, caregivers, come and go. And so to me, that was – conscious or unconscious – I wanted someone who I knew would just always be there.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Mm. No, that’s understandable. And what does he do?

Stacy Sherman:

He works in a family business, which is a 60-year-old company. They distribute burlap bags, plastic bags, industrial supplies. But what’s more exciting is that about 12, 15 years ago, he was doing home theatre work installing TVs for people, and plasma TVs, and surround sound, and it turned from a hobby into a side business, and that’s really his passion. So, one day, when we don’t have college bills to pay for, we will make that happen to be his full-time.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Aw, to be fellow entrepreneurs together. That sounds amazing.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Now, I have to go back to your mum because she sounds like one awesome lady. So, tell me more of Stacy’s mum’s life lessons. What did she teach you?

Stacy Sherman:

Yeah, so sounds similar to your upbringing, and that is that a couple things: one, women can do anything. Here, they were in traditional male jobs, and that didn’t stop her – or your mom – I think that’s very powerful.

So, having worked in corporate settings for over 20 years, I had to learn how to get a seat at the table, have a voice, and that’s what I learned from her. So, that’s one thing professionally. Secondly is personally, always being able to take care of myself. So, even though I have a husband – and earlier in my life I didn’t, of course – but being able to be self-sufficient. And my most favourite saying that we’ve spoken about is, my mom taught me that, ‘You’re the cupcake. You are the cupcake. Everybody else in your life are the sprinkles. You can’t make someone else the cupcake.’ And so, when you’re looking for a partner, or even a best friend, you can’t make them the cupcake. They add, they enhance your life.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, you’re so right about that. And I think as a young woman, I just didn’t know that. My whole life was about me not being the cupcake and trying to please everybody, and it wasn’t until probably my 30s that I was like, ‘Hang on a minute.’ When you start being right with yourself first and foremost, different experiences, I think, come to you. And once you own that, and own your own experience, and just look after yourself before anyone else, you’re able to look after others and work with others far better too. So, that cupcake story will always ring in my mind, and whenever I see you, I always give a little cupcake emoji.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes! So, now when others see that, they’ll know what that means. We’re not just hungry!

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah. Well, we do love cupcakes too.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes.

Clare Muscutt – host:

So, it must be quite a balancing act, now, so you’ve got college-aged kids? What’s your daughter’s aspirations? I’m intrigued. I’ve seen lots of photos of her on Instagram with you. What’s she up to?

Stacy Sherman:

So, she is in the business school at University of Delaware. And I’m so proud of her because well, one, she did choose the major herself, but I really hoped that she would go that path because I believe that a business degree you could apply to anything in your life. And the beautiful thing is she’s very, very into community service. So, she’s marrying that giving and helping the world, but also, you need money to do that. So, she’s marrying that, and who knows where her destiny will go, but I’m so proud that she’s going after her dreams and doing something very meaningful and be able to afford that, as well.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, that sounds great. I think it’s something very true of the latest generation: even though they’ve been brough up probably with the most pressure – they’re probably going to be the most stressed and with the most anxieties, every generation seems to be getting harder – but what I am seeing is Generation Z growing up with a much stronger sense of purpose. The Millennials kind of got it, but Generation Z – like wanting to be able to earn money but do it with a purpose, and a soul, and to bring to life things like social enterprises, not just profit-making businesses. It’s brilliant. And I’m sure any daughter of yours is going to be highly successful, Stacy.

Stacy Sherman:

Oh, thank you. Yes. But also, I will say for all the guys out there listening and boys (because I have, well he’s basically turned into a man, now), but I do reinforce for him – and I think he’s going, I predict he will marry a working woman who makes herself a cupcake, and that he can be the sprinkles, and support whatever she bakes.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah.

Stacy Sherman:

Because that’s – you need that. You need more of those men out there, too.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, yeah. And as someone who’s still single in 30s, I just – there aren’t many men who are happy for a woman to take the lead, or any of the guys who might be, I guess, more equal to me already got married and had kids; it happened earlier for them. So, I think for a lot of women, if we’re working towards our careers in our 20s, we don’t have that typical opportunity to meet somebody, pair up, and then go off together. Whereas I think guys, it seems to be a little bit easier to pick a woman, whichever your preference is, but for me, it always was going to have to be somebody who was as strong as, if not stronger, than me, and I’ve yet to meet that man.

Stacy Sherman:

Well, there’s a lot of divorces…

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah.

Stacy Sherman:

… there’s a lot of divorces, so you get round two; you get the better version.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, when they’ve learnt all their lessons. That would be amazing. But yeah, I’m putting it out to the universe.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes, yes. They’re going to come with all their mistakes done…

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, ready for me. Ready to be my sprinkles!

Stacy Sherman:

Absolutely.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Bring on the sprinkles. Oh, bless you.

So, I also know you’ve got so much going on right now because you’re still director of customer experience at Schindler and you started your side business, which isn’t really a side business anymore; it’s your passion of doing CX right. And I’ve seen you appearing everywhere, like every time I look on LinkedIn, Stacy’s been on a podcast, or Stacy’s published a book, or Stacy’s published a blog, or she’s been in Forbes. I’m just really, really intrigued at your view on customer experience and where we’re heading. I know you talk a lot about CX and EX from what I’ve been seeing and reading. Where do you think we’re going on that one? I’m interested to just get your thoughts.

Stacy Sherman:

Well, first of all, for those who are not even in the CX field, for all people listening to this, the number one thing I could say – and this is why I really believe that I’m more successful now than prior years – and that is when you do what you love, the magic happens. It’s not work.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah.

Stacy Sherman:

Right? And you’re a perfect case of that, as well. So, that’s the first thing I say as like for everybody, figure out what you love because the amount of hours that we put into it, again, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s fun. And then, you do more, and you do better.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah.

Stacy Sherman:

That’s the difference.

Clare Muscutt – host:

It’s infectious, isn’t it, when you’re passionate about something?

Stacy Sherman:

Yeah.

Clare Muscutt – host:

People want to be around you. They want to listen to you; they want to be led by you and walk alongside you. If you really love what you do, it’s an easy leadership job.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes, and also, when – and I think this also – I did it wrong many years in my youth, okay? In my age, wisdom. And another thing that’s different, which again I feel we share in common, is that when you do what you love and it’s authentic, people follow because I’m not selling…

Clare Muscutt – host:

No.

Stacy Sherman:

… I’m never selling. I’m sharing what I know works, and then people will choose to embrace it, follow it, talk to me. That’s what it is. Forget all the rest of the fluff. People who are selling, selling, selling, it’s just a turn-off.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Mm. Yeah.

Stacy Sherman:

So, back to CX.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Sorry. We’ve technically done the ‘women’ bit, haven’t we? But the ‘in CX’ bit we probably have to just touch on it slightly…

Stacy Sherman:

A little bit.

Clare Muscutt – host:

… amongst the sprinkles.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes, yes. So, we’ll add a little nuts or candy to this.

So, I love CX. I fell into it. I was always in marketing, digital marketing and sales, for my career. I was very consistent. I’m probably one of the few that I know of my friends who actually went to college and graduated with what – like they do what they intended with a degree. I know a lot of people who, they didn’t know. It’s very hard to know at a young age what you want to do. So, I was lucky to know that at an early age.

So, sales and marketing many, many years, different corporations, different sized companies. And then, about 2013, I was working at Verizon headquarters, and I remember my boss said to me, ‘There’s this CX thing. It’s big. You need to own it now.’ And I said, ‘Well, but I have all this other stuff,’ and I’m like, ‘I don’t even know what CX is. What is CX? What is VOC? All these terms?’ He said, ‘I don’t know.’

Clare Muscutt – host:

There’s a lot of acronyms in CX.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes! Yes, like any medical field. Every field, right, has their acronyms. So, the point of my story is that he didn’t know. I didn’t know. I figured it out. And this is also important, I had a boss – and I believe this for whether kids had bad teachers or tough bosses – he wouldn’t help me when I needed it. His answer was, ‘Go figure it out,’ and I didn’t like him at the time, but now I look back and I say, ‘You know what? Thank you!’ Because now, when I’m in a situation and I don’t know what something is, I figure it out. So, realise there’s blessings in people who are not good leaders so that you become a better one.

Clare Muscutt – host:

A bit of tough love goes a long way to teach you, or you learn by your own mistakes rather than someone telling you to avoid them, and when you learn from your own mistake, oh my god, it hurts! But you have learnt it. For sure. So, I’m with you on that one, as well. So much to agree on today.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes. I’m sure we could go over so many more stories. But anyway, so CX, I continued on in three different areas of CX, and I’ll just highlight the three quickly because each one can be an hour long, but it was customer experience within a channel, so e-commerce; how do you make people who go to a website, make it easy for them to buy online and accomplish their goal, online experience? Then, I moved over to CX within new product development, so infusing the customer voice before products launch. That’s huge. Not enough companies do that; they launch and hope it sticks. No, doesn’t work that way.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Or the CX experience is a by-product of a new proposition not that the experience, as you said, was baked into the cupcake of the offer in the first place.

Stacy Sherman:

Exactly.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Well, I’m in CX design, so you’re preaching to the choir here, sister.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes, yes. It’s so intuitive but how you do it is, really, where a lot of conversation can happen.

Then finally, where I am now at Schindler is that customer experience means a lot through employee engagement. We have over 60 sales offices just in America – we’re in all different continents – but how you deliver customer excellence through the frontline. That’s a whole other approach in addition to getting customer feedback directly.

So, there’s a lot of different facets to it, but bottom line is that CX has a role in many different areas, and the reason why I stuck with it and I love it is because what we do is really driving more happiness and satisfaction as employees and customers. If you really like peel the onion, here, that’s what it’s about. So, this job is here to stay.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Ah, lovely. I do like what you said there about especially employee experience because I guess they are customer experience manifestation, right? The customer experience lives through the service that people provide. It’s one of the hardest things to get right, but when you’ve got a culture that engenders that naturally, it makes your proposition so much more powerful. And I just have to say, every time I see Schindler on a lift, I always think, ‘Stacy’.

Stacy Sherman:

It is the funniest thing because I get – in the past before I worked at Schindler and I never was in this industry before – people would send me pictures of their pets and their kids; now, I get pictures, ‘I’m in an elevator. One of your elevators on a cruise,’ not now a cruise but before Covid. It’s so funny. I get all these elevator pictures.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Selfies.

Stacy Sherman:

Yes!

Clare Muscutt – host:

That’s so cute. Oh, bless you. Right, so, we’ve run out of time, unfortunately, but I could absolutely talk to you all day, and I’m sure we’ll end up doing a podcast again in the future, where we focus more on some more of those CX topics that you just brought up there. But if you could leave your parting words of advice for women in CX, what would your top three takeaways be?

Stacy Sherman:

Yeah, they are sum-upped in one of my favourite books; it’s called The Four Agreements. There’s four agreements – I’m going to tell you even though you only asked for three, but maybe I’ll…

Clare Muscutt – host:

Four is fine.

Stacy Sherman:

… entice people to read the book and…

Clare Muscutt – host:

Extra value. And we’ll put that blog article on the Women in CX website, as well, when your episode goes out. I loved reading it. So, go for it, Stacy. You tell us your four.

Stacy Sherman:

Oh, okay. Yes. So, one is, ‘Don’t take things personally,’ number one. Number two: ‘Be impeccable with your words.’ People know when you’re authentic. People know when you’re speaking from your truth, and then they listen. Three: ‘Don’t make assumptions.’ It is easy to assume, and so often we get it wrong, so pick up the phone, communicate and communicate with your employees, with your customers, with your colleagues, and your family. And then finally, ‘Do your best.’ And this one sounds interesting. You say, ‘Do your best? What does that mean?’ And the thing is we often, especially as women, try to do more than 100 per cent.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yep.

Stacy Sherman:

How many times do I say, ‘I did 125 per cent today’? But there’s only 100 per cent. So, figure out, prioritise, do your best, and manage your energy.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah. And it’s so hard right now. I know before we started this call, we were just discussing the fact that I’m still in my gym gear because I’ve been so busy today, I don’t have time to get changed. And what are you wearing on your bottom half?

Stacy Sherman:

Yes. Yes, I have a nice business attire on top, and then I got my workout pants on bottom. And that’s what we do. We’re wearing a lot of hats, and we’re on the go, and we’re just doing. I have a feeling if we stop to think about, ‘How do you do it all?’ I don’t know what could, but…

Clare Muscutt – host:

No. No, it just means you make a compromise in the way you turn up to a podcast wearing your gym gear, which is fine! It is totally fine. I’m good with it.

Stacy Sherman:

Absolutely. Yes, keep doing. We can’t just talk; we gotta do.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Yeah, women of action. So, I’m just curious about one tiny little thing, and it was when you say you’re petite, I’m just trying to visualise you in real life. How petite are you?

Stacy Sherman:

Oh, I am 5’1” and if I come across bigger in social media, that’s cool because I…

Clare Muscutt – host:

I never ever would have thought. My mum’s 5’1” and I never, ever would have thought you were 5’1”. I imagined you to be really tall.

Stacy Sherman:

That’s great because you know what? This is another podcast, but this has been a bias growing up being petite: people make judgments and I feel like I had to work harder. Looking young at that age and being petite, I had to work extra hard. So, good. I’m glad I appear big.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Digital removes all that. Being small and perfectly formed is just fine, too. So, you’re an absolute pocket rocket, Stacy, and you’ve got so much energy.

I’d just like to thank you so much for coming on the show, for sharing your stories, for telling me about your mum in the first place, the cupcake will always be with me, and now it will be with the listeners too. So, you take care of yourself. I really do hope things turn out well with the election, and I’ll catch up with you very soon.

Stacy Sherman:

Wonderful. Thank you.

Clare Muscutt – host:

Thanks, everyone! Take care. Bye, Stacy!

Join “Women Creating Our Futures” Event

Join “Women Creating Our Futures” Event

Inclusion and diversity are gaining more focus, especially in the workplace. I love it because so many women like me have had to work extra hard in the corporate world to get where we are today. Given my mission to create and inspire better experiences so that REAL human connections and happiness can exist….

I am thrilled to inform you of “Women Creating Our Futures” Conference on January 15-17, 2021 led by my “famous” friend, Cynthia James. She is an admirable lady who is making a difference for women and all humans on a global level. (Check out her podcast show where I got to be a guest speaker).

The theme of 6 th annual conference is THE STRENGTH OF A WOMAN. It’s designed to provide a heartfelt, extraordinary experience.

This event is not another online conference. The inspiring speakers, extraordinary singers, dance troupes (yes, dancers!), innovative panelists, business experts, and intimate break-out rooms will provide attendees much value to create a better future. Each woman in attendance will leave feeling strong and committed to her next steps in building a powerful life.

The video below provides a good preview of what’s to come.

 

There are tons of details about the women speakers, agenda, etc.

Please use my link. Full transparency: I get credit for referrals. Even if I didn’t, I’d still recommend this event and plan to attend too! 

STRONG WOMEN ARE:

Willing to be Courageous

Possibility Thinkers

Creative and Expressive

Strong Voices on the Planet

Unapologetic about Who They Are

What else would you add to this list?

Welcoming you to join and share your authentic views in my Women Leaders Making a Difference LinkedIn Community. There’s no hidden agenda or selling allowed. It’s about women empowerment all year round. 

Strength of Women Conference. Learn more at DoingCXRight.com