Tag Archives: Joe Torre

NACCM 2008: We Are All Storytellers

Becky and Greg have been good enough to provide their own perspectives on our keynotes yesterday. I also was on hand for our great presentations. The morning began with an opening address from our chairperson, JoAnna Brandi. I’ve had the chance to work every day during this conference with JoAnna. She has reminded so many here of the importance of looking past customer satisfaction and to remember that even for ourselves, satisfactory marks are not enough. We are all seeking the exemplary. She reinforced what Kevin discussed the night before that we are all seeking the magical, that moment that makes us go WOW!

Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Never Eat Alone,” followed and he focused on the importance of relationships in order to help us achieve our goals in our career. Keith had been good enough to host a web seminar with us over the summer to share some of these ideas. Here is just a small portion of that discussion:

Keith was followed by Joe Torre. I had the chance to meet Joe before his presentation. He is a very warm, welcoming, and friendly individual. During his discussion, he answered many questions from the audience. He was quite frank, not only about the actual details of his remarkable career, but he also reminded everyone that in the end, no matter the figures, or the expectations, it all comes down to people and their own personal responses. Everyone in attendance appreciated not only his insights in baseball but also his management experience, handling difficult bosses, temperamental staff, and the expectations of customers. His ability to manage all of these elements clearly has led to his success on and off the field.

Joe was followed by Peter Guber, Chairman & Founder of Mandalay Entertainment. I’ve had the opportunity to hear Peter speak before. He discusses the importance of storytelling to achieve those goals we have. Great storytellers are able to engage their listeners and create an emotional connection. Storytelling is such a fundamental aspect of our emotional makeup, we all can be storytellers, but its understanding the power of storytelling that will help us to become great storytellers. Here is a small portion of that presentation:

As we come into our final day of the conference, we have several corporate practitioners who will be sharing their own experiences in dealing with the daily challenges so many face in customer-facing organizations. I won ‘t have the opportunity to post immediately after but in the coming days and weeks I will certainly add more material from the event. If you haven’t been by the site, be sure and check all of the great material we have been posting including photos from the conference.

Finally, I want to send a ‘shout-out’ to my colleagues. The team who produces and puts together this great event, works very hard to create an experience attendees will not forget. Even for those of you not here can see how much effort and work goes into creating this remarkable conference. You can be sure they appreciate your feedback in order to ensure you have the best possible time here.

NACCM 2008: Another Day


By Becky Carroll, Customers Rock!

At the NACCM Customers 1st Conference today, we had the opportunity to listen to some fabulous keynotes as well as start to dig-in to the sessions. Along the way, we may have even gotten a little Goofy! Lots of nuggets, video, and photos, including Keith Ferrazzi, Joe Torre, and Peter Guber. Keep reading! Inspiring Employees
The theme across all of the keynotes today was one of community, relationship building, and emotions. (Customers Rock! note – many of these themes work very well with the social media tools that are available to connect with customers, and with each other.) JoAnna Brandi kicked off the day with an energetic discussion of being leaders that inspire customers to be more engaged at work, which, in turn, leads to better customer engagement. As leaders, we need to use more positive emotion; this will affect our employees and our customers. Keep your employees out of the fear we are seeing, and start focusing on the positive. What is right? What is possible? What is the next solution we can find?
She also challenged attendees to stop focusing exclusively on customer satisfaction, as customers don’t want things that are just ‘satisfactory’. They want something better than that! While important, satisfaction is not the end game. The pot of gold at the other side of the rainbow is joy, happiness, Wow, and Magic. We have to start creating emotional relationships with our customers. This is done by showing up at work with emotion, not checking it at the door! It is the leader’s job to make sure everyone around them uses Magic ‘ Make a Great Impression on the Customer. Never Eat Alone The first keynote was Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone.He turned this into a working session to give people a personal relationship action plan for the upcoming year. Who do you need to work with to get you where you want to go? People are critical to your success, and relationships are the core. We discussed which words describe business relationships: Trust, human, feedback, fun, candor, collaborative. Which words add for most personal relationships? Laughter, love, listening, intimacy, reliable, trust, passion. The shift ‘ a business relationship is a personal relationship in a business environment. Make it purposeful; strategically guide your relationships. It is not about waiting for someone else to start the relationship; it is about you being proactive with others. If you have strong personal relationships, you will be more easily forgiven when you mess it up! Video of Keith: you can’t get there alone. Keith had the group go through a series of exercises to help crystallize thinking around this. Our job in this world is to create an environment around ourselves that invites people in to have a better relationship with us. It is all about what we do ‘ it is our responsibility. Lower our guard, invite people in. As we talk to people, we ought to be having the following internal conversation: – Is there something I can care about with this person? A way to connect and remember?
- Is there a way I can help? ‘How can I help you? Who can I introduce you to’? How powerful is that?! Keith also discussed the ‘Fluffy’ factor. This was referring to a phone conversation where the service rep could hear a dog barking in the background ‘ ‘Fluffy’. “What is the name of your dog,” this rep might ask, as a way to connect with the other person and see them as a human being (not just an irritating caller). We need to show up as the human and empathetic individual they want to see. If all call center folks projected a wonderful positive outcome, in their own minds, it would begin to manifest itself. How are your customer service people seeing your customers? As a pain, or as a real person with real issues? Keith also shared about the importance of being real, authentic, and human to others. He stated that others can tell right away if we are not being truthful or transparent with them, even over the phone! We need to have the following mindset, with customers or with those we want to build relationships with: We really care. We want to hear you (people need to be heard). When we have this mindset, we begin to empathize. I will wrap up this section on Keith with a video of him telling the story about someone who cared about another human being and how it changed lives. We then had the pleasure of listening to Joe Torre, manager of the LA Dodgers, share nuggets from his many years in baseball. Here are some highlights:

  • You only get better (at whatever you do) when you have to deal with setbacks. Tough times don’t last; tough people do.
  • It’s the little things in a game that help you win. Concentrate on the little things; big things will happen.
  • Be loyal to each other on the team, and have respect for that other guy who is out there, perhaps where you want to be.
  • You can’t assume your customers are yours forever.
  • What can I help us do to win today?
  • Whatever line of work you are in, it is all about the people.

Making Connections Through Storytelling The morning ended with a fascinating speech by Peter Guber, Chairman and Founder, Mandalay Entertainment. Peter has quite a line of Hollywood successes, including his role as producer for such films as Gorillas in the Mist, The Deep, The Color Purple, and Rain Man, to name a few.
Per Peter: “Coping with failure in uncertain times is a necessity; it has always been a partner in my journey.” He shared three navigational states for these times and how to get through them – fear, uncertainty, and change. Peter also shared that the game changer, the secret sauce, is the story we tell ourselves and the story we tell our customers and clients. Oral storytelling. It is in all of us. We need to connect our story to the emotions of our customers and employees to help them propel themselves through all of this. We are all wired to do oral storytelling. When we do it, it changes the word from “customer/client/patron” to “audience”. One thing to keep in mind about an audience: they expect experiences and to be engaged emotionally. They want to be moved. Here is a video of Peter talking about how human beings are “wired” to tell oral stories. Peter encouraged us to unleash our story for our benefit, and do it by MAGIC. MAGIC ‘ like a hand, each of the following concepts works independently, but they work better together. Motivating your Audience to your Goal Interactively with great Content Are you motivated about your story? Yes ‘ you can craft a powerful story. You can tell, before someone says a word, whether they are authentic. Be calm; be coherent with it. Then tell it. Demonstrate you are authentic with your story. This engages people. Audience ‘ everybody you talk with (not to) is an audience. How do I get their attention? If it’s not a good time to do it, don’t tell your story! Know what is interesting. Try to be interested in them, create an emotional connection. The context makes the story different for everyone. What are they interested in? Find out then connect it to that. Aim for the heart, not the head. Feelings. Often times a story, elegantly presented, can change the results. Here is another video of Peter discussing how he convinced the head of the studio to let him make the film Gorillas in the Mist. In this video, Peter was just talking about how he had come to realize that he was not connecting with his audience (the studio head). So, he became a wounded gorilla in order to help explain why it was important to tell the story of saving gorillas: Goal ‘ specifically direct someone to a call to action. We have to have authentic goals that are generous; then, we both win. Virally-advocated stories are authentic; they have to be real. Interactively ‘ it has to be a conversation. The more senses you engage in your story, the more likely you are to own it. They feel they are participating in the story ‘ let your audience own it so they can tell it for you. It’s the way we are wired. Interactivity ‘ think about it before you start. You have to surrender control. Why do you think you control the customer or your brand? When you relinquish control, it allows them to come forward and own the information in a unique way. Content ‘ The actual story is the Holy Grail. Look to your own experience ‘ true story, inspired by story. Use observation ‘ retell other people’s stories. Use them for emotional transportation. Look at history and use artifacts; make emotional connections today from it. Use metaphor and analogy; he became a gorilla for the studio head to get him to connect with the story and make the movie. Think of your customers as an audience, interact with them with really great content, and enjoy the front row seat to your success. Other Goodies The afternoon consisted of 4 main tracks of sessions. I attended the session on Disney presented by Maritz and The Disney Institute. Bruce Kimbrell was again the presenter, along with Kathy Oughton from Maritz. Bruce told a great story about how serious Disney is about surveying customers in the theme park. He shared that some days, the survey at the entrance gate to the park might only ask for your zip code. On other days, the conversation might go like this: Disney: “Hi, do you have a some time to take our guest survey? We would need about 2 hours of your time.” Guest: “Uh, no, that would take up a big chunk of my time here.” Disney: “Well, how about if we take care of you for tomorrow?” Guest: “No, I would have to change my flights, my hotel…” Disney: “What if we took care of that? Would you be willing to give us your time?” Now that is serious focus on getting the voice of the customer! I also had the opportunity to sit in on JoAnna Brandi‘s session/discussion about what makes people feel good at work. Here were some of the attendee responses – - Liking the people I work with – Harmony – Making a difference – Being recognized by others, especially when you find out about it later JoAnna is trying to understand these motivators so she can help coach others on how to improve employee retention and loyalty. There’s More! Go check out my blog, the flickr group, and my Tweets to see/hear more about the day. Last day – tomorrow!

Day 1 Keynotes – It’s all about people!

Three powerful keynotes on Day 1 – and it was all about people.

Relationships between you and other people as the key to your personal and professional success.

Managing by knowing your people, really knowing them, not just by the numbers.

And telling stories to people as a way to achieve your goals – starting off with your own.

This last point brings me full circle back to last night at Kevin Carroll’s talk. What made that so powerful was the simple truth that his story is his life’s work. Telling it is what he does and in so doing he motivates others to pursue their passions.

There is clearly a theme running here in our keynotes!

Now back to today this morning.

First off was Keith Ferrazi, author of Never Eat Alone (which based on the line after his talk we now all have a copy) who found in a way to get us all talking to total intimately to total strangers. Sure we were only practicing, but he drove home through these exercises how superficial our interactions often are and how we need a different way of being in the world if we are to build mutually beneficial lasting relationships. As you really don’t get anything done in this world alone, everything requires other people to help you do it. Keith smashed our paradigm of the business relationship helping us to see we need personal relationships at work.

Keys to building those relationships?

  1. Don’t wait for relationships to happen – be intentional about building them
  2. Get out of your own way – letting go of behaviors that are barriers to true intimacy
  3. Be authentic – be present for others – not just for the sake of connecting
  4. Be vulnerable – encouraging others to tell it like it us, not just what we want to hear

I was truly moved by his idea that our job is to walk around the world and produce an environment that invites people in…and that to do that we need to find something in everyone we talk to that we can care about and also how we can help them. I sensed a lot of us left his talk wondering if we are up to that challenge.

By the way, I was a circle (other choices were triangle, squares and z’s). Which were you? And was that a bunch of Z’s I saw partying late last night in Downtown Disney?

Next up was Joe Torre, known to anyone who knows anything about baseball as one of its most winning managers and known to Boston Red Sox fans (like me) as one scary dude. What was always so scary about Joe was the calm way he sat in the dugout, nothing ever seeming to phase him, as if he knew his team would find a way to win. And they usually did.

Joe kept his message simple – It’s about people. Managing by the numbers has become all the rage in Baseball, but in the end it comes down to people. A hitter facing a pitcher. An outfielder going for a ball. Baseball is a stange sport that features team play – one player at a time.

Torre emphasized how over the years he worked to make this paradox clear to his players – that if they wanted to to win they need to ignore their individual stats and focus on the only numbers that matter – wins and losses. Each day he urged his players to think of what they needed to do better to help the team. Little things, he noted, like getting high paid stars to run faster to first place – can make the difference in a tight ball game. And that means every player has to come to play every single day – you win or lose as a team.

Then we heard from Peter Guber – one of Holllywood’s most successful producers (my favorite Guber flick was the Tim Burton production of Batman) – telling us the simple truth that people were born to tell stories – that throughout our prehistory that is all we could do – no writing, just orally conveyed information. This ability Guber explained is in us and is ready to be tapped as a tool we can use to accomplish our goals.

Telling great stories – important – got it. But how you do that?

Well, Peter explained, it’s MAGIC:

Motivating your
Audience to achieve your
Goal
Interactively with great
Content

Echoing strains we heard from Carroll and Ferrazzi, Guber suggested we start by connecting better with our own stories, learning to tell them, connecting them to what we passionately want to achieve, using them as a motivating force for others. We also should take care to let negative aspects of our personal story get in the way of us achieving our goals.

He challenged us to think of our customers as an audience. Our job is not just to satisfy them or handle their complaints – it is to provide them with a great experience, to engage them emotionally. This reminded me of Disney’s mantra – “we make magic happen every day.”

Guber urged us to bring the audience into the production, use artificacts passed around the circle to engage them in the telling of the story. What story? Whatever story we need to tell to close the deal, win the case, make change happen in our company, convey to customers what our brand really means. He closed imploring us to think of the story at the heart of what we are trying to achieve. “It’s the holy grail.”

A great morning – many stories to tell – and they’re all about people!!!

Speaker Profile: Joe Torre

With the North American Conference On Customer Service approaching, we would like to begin to introduce you to the speakers we will have this year at our event. This year, NACCM will take place from November 16 ‘ 19, 2008 in Anaheim, California at the Disneyland Hotel. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Joe Torre. Joe Torre is currently the manager of the LA Dodgers, and is also one of the winningest coaches in baseball history. Joe knows the importance of managing people. Torre began his baseball career in 1960 as an amateur free agent with the Boston Braves. His 1971 National League MVP award is overshadowed by the remarkable time he spent with the New York Yankees, going to twelve consecutive post seasons with them, winning his first championship in 1996. The team also won seven World Series and ten pennants during his time. Torre won the manager of the year award in 1998 for his outstanding season with the Yankees. Torre has created the Safe at Home Foundation in 2002 with his wife, their goal being to educating to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives. The foundation now focuses on educating children in school about domestic violence. The organization has ten funded programs; all called Margaret’s Place throughout New York City and Westchester County in New York State. Joe has co-authored two books: Chasing My Dream: My Lifelong Journey to the World Series and Joe Torre’s Ground Rules for Winners: Twelve Keys to Managing Team Players. Competing at the highest level is not about winning. It’s about preparation, courage, understanding and nurturing your people, and heart. Winning is the result. Joe Torre contributed this quote to an article he wrote for Business Week. He also insists that as a member of any competitive team, whether it be baseball or your customer service division, you must be ready to play at all times. We invite you to come see Joe Torre at NACCM as he presents his keynote speech on Tuesday, November 18th, Ground rules for winners: Effectively managing teams, setbacks and success both in business and in life.

(Sources: Business Life, Business Week, LA Times, Safe at Home Foundation, and Sports Business News)