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Building Brand Ambassadors for life!

Published on LinkedIn by Shari Pheasant on November 8, 2016

Am I talking about your clients or customers that are SOLD on YOU and who are able to identify your value in their life? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Are you surprised? I know many of you are . . . but, what I am talking about when I state "your best brand ambassadors" is every employee that works for you! From the technician or computer programmer in the back, the janitor, customer shuttle bus driver, receptionist, operator, sales person or fry guy, everyone matters! But, how do you SELL these guys on the concept of generating profits by building your brand for the business? Many leaders do not even understand this concept yet!

Well, first things first! I need you to think these questions through about your brand. What does your brand look like, sound like and "feel" like to a customer? What words speak for your brand? What actions support that brand? Does every employee know these words and actions and when to use them? After all, a brand is NOT just the font and color scheme you choose to use when advertising your company (but that is certainly a class of useful information).

Your brand is truly defined by "What customers say about you." And customers speak based on their interaction with your best brand ambassadors, your employees. Every single one of them! People do not always remember what you say but they ALWAYS remember how you made them feel! So, it seems easy to accept that people will talk about how they felt when they did business with you time and time again, and that is a bigger picture by far than any advertising piece you can create and publish!

So, how do you INVEST, yes, I am asking about your investments in your brand ambassadors! Do you send them to customer service training? Are they attending classes on how to use the programs, system and/or processes you have activated in your business? What do they know about how you want to do business? Most companies and owners find it easy to assign the value in both of these areas of training. But, I want to ask more specifically about what investment you are making to help employees understand their own strengths? What I mean by their own strengths is the abilities, skill sets and talents that they have innately and externally built within themselves and that they bring to the team? And better yet, what do YOU know about each team member's strengths and driving forces? You must inspire them but motivation comes from inside themselves.

Most owners and companies know they could be doing so much more to invest in their people directly, but they do not know where to start! My experiences in management and business over the last 35 years have left me with a strong sense of self and understanding I am my greatest asset. I have been blessed with some of the most knowledgeable, direct and interactive, accountable mentors I could ever have wished for in my life. So for me, this helped me understand and believe that the root of striving to bring out the best of your team, is within the team itself. In other words, it is Driven from Within for each and every employee (or as I like to call them brand ambassadors)!

Let's think this through a bit. If each employee began by looking inside themselves to understand how they communicate, what drives their decision making and how others may perceive them (which is different than how we perceive ourselves) then they will have gotten a pretty good start to becoming the best brand ambassadors on your team. If we could engage them in improving their emotional intelligence (EQ), using their leadership strengths and understanding their driving forces, as well as being aware of the DNA of others around them, we could all have more engaged, productive teams. We could also communicate collectively with ease. Does that make sense to you?

Dale Carnegie conducted a study that revealed that a "caring manager" is one of the key elements that drives employee engagement. Employees want their managers to care about their personal lives, take an interest in them as people and care about how they feel while supporting their health and well-being. But that can get messy if it gets too personal. So, now what?

I believe professional assessments when used to help a team get to know themselves first, understand others and learn to bridge the gap is one of the most sustainable training methods that produces long term results. It helps us get to know each other personally in a professional environment of accountability. This is why I created Driven from Within, a program that does just that! This program allows teams to understand each other and make better choices that will invigorate your work environment and infuse your team with knowledge of each other and our own "offerings" as a part of the team.

Is this different than we have always thought? Yes and No. Personality, behavior, and leadership assessments have been around for a long time. Briggs Meyers is an antiquated version of them. DISC is offered by several companies, in several formats. Gallup is the founding company for Strength Finders. And now we have Driving Forces and EQ to add to the mix. Normally the use of these is quick and summarizing in nature only. No ongoing understanding or mastery work is normally associated with taking these assessments for most people and teams. But it is only a skimming of the water, so to speak. At HPS we have collaborated to create a Personal Discovery Questionnaire that when applied with the results of several assessments (DISC, Strengths, Driving Forces and EQ) it provides the diverse and collaborated picture of our best assets applied to our exact lives. The Big Picture, so to speak!

But the human brain can only retain 20-30% on average of information learned in most classes. It is not until you apply a mastery learning environment and some experiential activities that it changes to allow us to retain from 70% - 90% with ease. So next time you sign up for a two-day class, make plane and hotel reservations, rent the car and pay for meals and perhaps two days worth of work for an employee, instead, consider one of our Discovery Programs. Valuable personalized information, ongoing assistance, open communication, support, and information that builds your team beginning on the inside! Without any travel. We have two-day on-site events, three, six and twelve-month programs and online one to one sessions. Take the training you provide for your best brand ambassadors to the next level and enroll them in a course that will assist in identifying their value on your team and let you know how to best use their skill set to benefit your brand.

My suggestion in this article is this: Training for our employees needs to take a new direction to maximize their value to our team. We need to first look at ourselves, and be accountable to bring our best foot forward, understand our skill set and attributes and those of our teammates. Then we need to use every day to build our brands and our best brand ambassadors, our employees. A Caring manager's ability to build strong relationships with employees, build strong team interaction and lead in "a person-centered" way creates an engaging environment in which employees can perform at the highest possible level.

Any investment you make in your people will come back ten fold in your business in more ways than you can count. Start making plans to "grow" your team from the inside out! It is worth it and begins at the root of the matter - ourselves! Our team would love a chance to talk with you about how we can serve you and your team.