LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, argues in his co-authored book The Alliance that the relationship between employers and employees is built on “a dishonest conversation”. What Hoffman is alluding to is what author and President of CSI International, Peter Psichogios refers to as the challenges of the “part-time economy”.
In his new book Leading From The Front Line, Psichogios addresses the challenges that all leaders of the part-time economy face in developing, motivating and enabling their talent. Workers today are transient and often move from job to job in order to gain a portfolio of skills and knowledge. Like Psichogios, Hoffman views this work order as a “tour of duty”, in which both parties should mutually benefit from the term of service, and not necessarily a lifetime contract.
Psichogios believes that regardless of if your talent is with you for a few hours a week, everyday for a couple years, or for their entire career, they need to be enabled to do their jobs the right way, at the right time, for the right reasons in order to create exceptional experiences for your customers.
Psichogios presents these challenges as unique opportunities for leaders and aspiring leaders to create exceptional experiences for their talent and customers that will make them buy more, stay longer and refer others. Similarly, Hoffman says, “honest career conversations” need to take place in order to build trust and loyalty with employees and make them want to stay and do their best work.
Some of the powerful principles in Leading From The Front Line that will remind and teach leaders and aspiring leaders include:
All people want to excel. They want skills that make them more marketable. When given the choice, most people would rather be great, than suck! Psichogios says that when you give your talent the knowledge and skills that enable them to do their jobs the right way at the right time, they will be enabled to serve the customer and create exceptional experiences for them. Similarly, Hoffman says that, “Employment should be an alliance,” whereby an employee and employer develop a mutually beneficial deal based on how they can add value to each other. It’s a win-win situation for all those involved!
Front-line leaders have the opportunity to see, learn and know more about the customer than any other type of leader in the organization. Because front-line workers are in direct contact with customer on a daily basis, they have an intimate knowledge of what the customer wants, how they interact with the product or service, and how they like to be treated. Understanding your customer is essential to creating personalized, fast, friendly, hassle-free experiences and your front-line leaders are the gatekeepers of this information.
Internal service cooperation is paramount today. Exceptional experiences start from the inside out. Anything being felt on the inside of your organization can be felt on the outside by your customers, so it’s essential that your team stay positive, honor their commitments to one another, understand the service workflow by stepping out of their silo, communicate openly and effectively, and be helpful with one another. Psichogios says that every person in your organization impacts the customer experience and customer loyalty; therefore, great internal service creates exceptional experiences for your customers.