Category Archives: Leadership

#ThursdayThought – The Self Awareness Paradox


Self Awareness.

The ability to understand how your behavior impacts others.  A conscious knowledge of your own character, feelings, motives and desires.

Others Awareness.

The ability to understand others needs and concerns. Also called social awareness.

Notice how both of these definitions imply the impact you make on others around you.

Why would self-awareness be defined if it didn’t recognize the cause and effect our own actions make on other people? Because all leaders make an continued impact, benevolent or malign, on others.

The stark reality is that, according to a recent Forbes article, about 15% of people are truly self-aware. That means a high probability that many of us are not truly self-aware.

Someone truly self-aware will examine themselves and how their actions and presence make others feel and react.

You measure yourself by how much character you exhibited at that meeting, and how you were able to keep silent while others spoke, or at least asked questions to engage a deeper conversation.

Self awareness allows us to critique ourselves against what the meta is for human interaction and positive influence. 

And the irony is, that you can’t be truly self aware unless you have enough EQ to be others aware.

When you know the implications of your motives comparative to others, the you can safely say you have self awareness.

But it doesn’t begin and end with ourselves. It begins with others and ends with others. We just have to be open minded to know how we as the conduit transmit vision, goals and actions.

Self awareness is about others in the end game.

And that is the great paradox.

Are we willing to be self-aware enough to impact others better than we did yesterday?

(image: pixabay/canva)


When Customer Success Isn’t


Customer Success.

Any organization that dedicates a team towards customer success (CS) sounds like they have a competitive edge in the marketplace.

But when “customer success” results in pain points for the customer, it may be time to review what it means to have a said “success” program.

Here are some of the common errors that many companies commit in their pursuit of having a team for customer success.

  • Customers are not the real focus. If your department is geared simply towards hitting KPIs, CRM management or other processes or metrics, then the customer has been relegated to a lower priority. The focus of success then becomes that of the team instead. Making the customer at all times to focal point will make the team successful every time.
  • Those outside the team don’t support success. The person in other department who is told about a customer issue then says it’s not my job and moved onto their focus. The salesperson who got their sale and met their metric then did nothing above and beyond when customer success faltered. If the entire organization is not dedicated to CS, then the entire organizational culture will struggle to support customers in the future.
  • The customer gets held up in bureaucracy. Most of this stems from the silos from non-CS team members. But if your processes and systems bog down quick success or resolutions and leave the customer with a negative experience, you will need to refine them to ensure all touchpoints in the relationship are smooth and beneficial.
  • They only address symptoms, not causes of the issues. “Customer has an issue? Click this. Submit that. Done. Next.” You may be great at on-boarding, yet poor at continued support. If your team and systems only resolve surface issues without delving into the root causes to prevent further instances, then true success cannot be achieved. Review every issue and track trends to ensure underlying causes are identified and rectified to create a smoother experience for the customer.
  • There is no building relationship or customer experience. Due to our digital workplaces, many of these folks are regional, remote and detached from the customer. No one attempts to bridge the gap by adding any value. CS teams need to develop a culture of making each and every customer feel connected. When customers feel valued they’re be less likely to churn, and more committed to working with you towards their success as well.
  • Not qualifying customers to determine fit. I have a saying “We want every customer, but we don’t need every customer”. Not every client that’s brought on is the right fit. Customers may not be successful due to their own internal issues and this puts a strain on your resources and ability to guide them. By better qualifying what type of customer is best suited to be successful in using your services, you can ensure more resources to ensure your other customers succeed.

Customer success, such as displayed by industry leaders like Zappos, is a holistic, cultural approach. It cannot be done in a silo. It requires all or your people to have a complete commitment towards that vision and bringing this value proposition to life.

Make your customers succeed at all costs.

(image: pixabay)

#ThursdayThought – Does Fear Run Your Business


Here are some common statements people make – whether a business leader, entrepreneur, or small business owner or manager:

“We’re not sure this will work for us”

“I’ve been successful without that”

“We’ve always done business this way”

“Who else does this?”

“I need to think about it”

“It’s just a fad”

In the mind of those who utter these or other similar statements,  these rationale are legitimate reasons for not going forward.

But in reality the reason they are mentioned is because of one thing: Fear.

Fear manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Not willing to take risks
  • Unwilling to spend money to increase sales
  • Not wanting to take on another system, task, project
  • Valuing something with smaller returns over potentially greater returns
  • Having too large a comfort zone
  • Not willing to stick out from the crowd and establish differentiation
  • Wanting to piggy back on someone else’s resources and reputation to blaze the trail instead
  • Holding on to today’s profit more than chasing tomorrow’s new revenue stream


When fear creeps into our business decisions, we play defense. We would rather hold onto status quo instead of put ourselves in a position of potentially greater success, sales, and profitability. Not to mention create a buzz in the industry by being innovative, daring and meeting your customers’ needs.

Fear – even the slightest amount – will not only hold you back form being more successful; it prevents culture from growing, people from developing, trust from building, and engagement from happening.

Instead, be on the offense and take any new idea with the mindset “How can this work for us?” versus “This is why it won’t work for us”.

The winners in today’s marketplace aren’t afraid to quickly stick their necks out. And they quickly cut their losses if a new plan doesn’t work. Fear will also prevent us from cutting losses quickly as well – think about the problem employee that you have that you hope will turn it around but you’re afraid to let them go.

The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. Be bold, show courage, and find ways to take a new idea and how it can benefit your organization.

(image: pixabay)

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