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Matuson Consulting // A Newsletter On: Creating exceptional workplaces and extraordinary results

How One Employee Can Damage Your Brand

I was in Los Angeles last week attending a consulting conference and came upon an employee who was doing incredible damage to her employer’s brand. Only they probably don’t know it. This employee was sitting at a table with an American Management Association (AMA) sign besides her, looking bored as can be. I smiled as I walked by, but was unable to break her cold stare. I then tried to engage her in a conversation and asked her the name of the session. She replied in a low, apathetic voice, “Emotional Intelligence.” I doubt she saw the puzzled look on my face, as she hadn’t bothered to look me in the eye as she mumbled those words.

Confused by this, I asked a colleague, who is a sales consultant, to see if I was reading the situation correctly. She confirmed my suspicions. In spite of mentioning that she had been a former AMA instructor, she could not engage this woman in an intelligent conversation, or any conversation for that matter. She left feeling the same way I did.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term emotional intelligence, it’s defined as, “an employee’s capacity to be aware of, control and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.” Does anyone else see the irony in this? I left thinking that if the AMA couldn’t hire someone with emotional intelligence to represent their program on emotional intelligence, then what does this say about their program? I’ll let you draw your own conclusion.

I will tell you this. On the second day of the conference, the AMA group was gone and so was this disengaged employee. The only thing that remained was my negative impression of a company that relies heavily on their brand for new business.

Is the same thing happening in your company? Are there people representing your brand in a way that is hurting your business? Don’t know? You need to know, before a story like this appears on someone’s blog and is shared in a way that will damage your brand and impact your ability to grow your business.

Front Line Talent Matters

Speaking of the connection between employees and your brand, here’s an example of one company that gets it right. Earlier this month, I made a quick stop at Pret a Manger in downtown Boston to grab a cup of coffee. I quickly ran off to use the restroom while the barista was making my latte. Imagine my surprise when I returned and he handed me my coffee, along with the $17 worth of change that he had waiting for me. (Did I mention that I was in need of caffeine?) This gentleman could have easily pocketed the change, but he didn't. I thanked him profusely, and he told me the next coffee was on him.

I immediately sought out the manager and took down the information so that I could let the corporate office know that this guy was a superstar. Would I be saying the same thing if this guy worked for you? Your front line people matter—Well at least they do to me. No doubt I'll be making this a regular stop when I’m downtown visiting clients.

The “What If” Game

Every now and then I like to play the "What if" game with my clients. It gets them thinking on an emotional level, which then gets them to take action. Here are a handful of questions that I ask:

What if:

  • You treated your customers like you treated your employees? Would they recommend you to others? Would they return and do business day in and day out?

  • Someone recorded a meeting you were leading and put it on YouTube? Would you be proud of what others were viewing or would you hide out until someone else's video went viral?

  • People came to you because they heard you were a great leader? Would you be more selective in your hiring or would you hire the same people who are in your employ?

Write to me and let me know what "aha" moments you’ve had after playing a round of the "what if" game. Tell me what you will do differently as a result of your responses to these questions. In return, I’ll send the first five people a free download of my book (a $149 value), Selecting for Success: The Complete Guide to Hiring Top Talent.

New Offering:

This month we launched our new The” IT” Factor: Executive Presence for Women in Tech program, at Microsoft. The room was filled with smart women who walked away with some huge "Aha" moments. Are there people in your company (women or men) who could benefit from boosting their presence in the workplace and with customers? Call me at 617-608-3633 or email me at Roberta@matusoncosulting.com to discuss customizing a program for you.

Rules of Attraction: Your Monthly Tip on Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

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For more tips on attracting and retaining top talent, download a copy of Talent Magnetism. Call us today at 617-608-3633 if you’d like to discuss applying these concepts to your organization.

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Meet Roberta Matuson

For more than 25 years, Roberta Matuson has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including General Motors, Best Buy, and, The Boston Beer Company, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent.

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