Inspired by Isaac Newton and his Year of Wonders (1666), four authors reflect on how our version of Newton’s Black Plague, Covid-19, is making 2020 our Year of Wonders.
Meet the Authors
Kimberly Layne is author of Connections Change Everything and principal at the Kimberly Connection Company: https://www.kimberly-layne.com
Working with Leaders who want to build stronger connections with their teams, and Sales teams who want to build more trust with their clients. It is proven, strong connections build better business results!
Find Connections Change Everything here:
Clare Price is author of Make Remote Work and principal of Octain Growth: www.octaingrowth.com
Make Remote Work is for everyone who is looking to reinvent their business for our new remote economy.
Find Make Remote Work here:
Patricia Watkins is author of Land and Expand and Managing Partner at More Sales Advisors: https://moresalesadvisors.com/
Land and Expand shares with CXO’s and sales executives, within companies of all sizes, in all industries, how to increase their sales most effectively.
Find Land and Expand here:
Matt Schlegel is author of Teamwork 9.0—Successful Workgroup Problem Solving Using the Enneagram and principal at Schlegel Consulting: www.evolutionaryteams.com
Teamwork 9.0 cracks the code for turbo charged team creativity and extraordinary team effectiveness.
Find Teamwork 9.0 here:
Year of Wonders ~ 2020 — 0:00
What has made 2020 a Year of Wonders for you and your clients? — 4:40
What have been the big positive changes in this Year of Wonders? — 6:40
What are the new challenges of leadership? — 10:48
What’s the word you are taking into 2021? — 14:33
About author Clare Price — 1:29
About author Patricia Watkins — 3:08
About Matt Schlegel — 2:23
About Kimberly Layne — 3:53
The year was 1666. Cambridge University was closed due to an outbreak of the great plague. One student, 23 years old, returned home to Woolsthorpe for shelter in place. Afforded time, he was able to pursue his own interests. As a result of those pursuits, the year 1666 is now known as the year of wonders. The student’s name was Isaac Newton. During that year, he developed calculus, optics and the law of gravity. It just makes me think, what will come out of our Year of Wonders. Today we’ll have four authors share their perspectives.
And now I would like to hand it over to our moderator for this discussion, Author of Connections Change Everything, Kimberly Layne, Kimberly…
Today we are going to hear from not only four business Authors, but four Business Executives in the areas of corporate strategy, customer focus, teamwork, and leadership. They will all share how this Year of Wonders challenged not only challenged them, but also their clients on finding new and innovative ways of doing business.
Thank you Kimberly! I am Clare Price, president of Octain Growth Systems. I am a Growth Architect. “I’ve seen too many business owners struggling to implement their visions, plans and goals and not making it work. That’s why I developed the Octain Growth System, the blueprint for accelerating your growth. And that’s why I wrote my new book, Make Remote Work. MRW is your guide to managing your people, your processes and developing new products in a post-COVID world. Kimberly…
Thanks, Kimberly. I’m Matt Schlegel and my firm is Schlegel Consulting. We’re team-effectiveness experts. We work with teams to maximize their success. We’ve developed a suite of tools based on a powerful system called the Enneagram, tools that I share in my book Teamwork 9.0. Our clients are delighted with how much faster teams reach their goals and how much more effective the solutions are. And, I’m so happy to be here today.
“I’m Patricia Watkins. I’m a sales growth expert, speaker, author, and Managing Partner of More Sales Advisors. We are an advisory group that works with companies who want to accelerate their sales results.
Why did I write the book – Land and EXPAND? Companies are always looking for best practices to accelerate sales – and especially now with orders impacted by COVID-19.”
“Hi I am Kimberly Layne, from Southern California. As a Leadership Development Consultant and Employee Engagement Partner, I work with Leaders at all Levels to polish their “soft stuff,” i.e.. soft skills in order to make the hard stuff (strategy, achieving sales quotas, project implementation deadlines) work.
As a Leadership and Engagement Consultant, I help my leadership clients meet the challenges of “”how to reach through the computer screen and to truly connect with their people in this remote and disconnected environment.””
My book “Connections Change Everything,” contains 16 simple “Connection Correction”” Steps to build connection with your greatest asset, your people! Because better Connection means better retention.
Now that you have heard about each one of our Business Authors, let’s begin our discussion.
Our first discussion point is, What has made 2020 a Year of Wonders for you and our clients? First to comment we have Clare Price.
Surprise opportunities! When COVID hit — one of my clients, a software company, did what many companies did. They pulled back, ready to hunker down and wait out the storm. But that didn’t stop one of their top sales reps from hitting the phones to customers and prospects asking one simple question – What do you need today? He was looking up and around, not down. Well it turned out that the shift to remote work in the call center created an overwhelming demand for their knowledge anywhere software solution. Not quite what happened to ZOOM but close. It has opened up so many opportunities in health care, financial services and insurance companies, their big problem now is getting new customers onboard as quickly as they want to be. The moral of this story is no matter what is churning around you as a business owner, staying 100% focused on customer needs will keep your company on the right track.
Clare, thank you. Focusing on people is key, right? In your case, no matter what is going on, focusing on the needs of the customer. For my Leadership Clients, this year of wonder has put a spotlight on the need to double down on their focus on their people. .
The Year of Wonders has made ALL OF US realize our need and the importance of human connection and companionship. Working from home and endless virtual meetings keeps us isolated. Studies show that Isolation leads to loneliness to depression, poor productivity, poor engagement, and ultimately higher attrition. What does it cost you to replace an employee?
My leadership clients are realizing that their roles as Leaders go way beyond achieveing a sales quote or revenue goal or implementation timeline and have to also be relatinshp focused if they are going to motivate and retain thieri top talent.
Realizing our own need for Human Connection and recognizing that need in our people as a necessary factor in doing good business has made this a Year of WONDERS. For me and my clients
Next question, what are the big positive changes in the Year of Wonders.
For me, it’s been developing the habit of learning to unmute before speaking.
In addition to that…
It been the importance of finding ways to connect with friends, family and clients when face-to-face contact has become reduced or eliminated.
For example, in the before times, before the pandemic hit, I would meet each month with a group of neighbors for an evening game of cards.
And once the pandemic hit, and we were in lockdown, we wanted to carry on that tradition.
Working together, we found a way to meet online, have our card game, interact on Zoom, and even play music in the background.
I’ve taken these lessons of using technology to connect with friends and family and applied them to creating engaging online content for my workshops on team effectiveness and the Enneagram.
This experience has taught me again the importance of being flexible and adaptable. And, it’s also given me the opportunity to be open to new ideas and to experimentation.
This has been the big positive change for me in this Year of Wonders.
Wonderful Matt. Next, Patricia.
In the Year Of wonder – big positive changes – families getting closer, colleagues getting closer, communities getting closer, people helping others, vendors paying more attention to the customer. Being Customer-focused is required to retain, and expand your footprint within customers. The Year of Wonder brought so many of us so much closer.
People are much more personal. They focus more on the personal side of the relationship than they did before when it was just business, business, business. Now it’s people truly caring about people.
One of my clients has been in business for 18 years, and this is their best year ever. Why, because when COVID hit, my client continued to go above and beyond supporting their customers, they never stalled, or hunkered down, they reached out more. Many of their clients had to cut their budgets, my client found their customers had prioritized their budgets for those trusted vendors who continued to support them, above and beyond. Delighted Customers buy more.
Wonderful Patricia, Clare, what are your thoughts on the positive changes from this Year of Wonders?
Well, Kimberly, I have to say, Innovation. Innovation created the year of Wonders for Newton and it’s been the same for me and my clients. Business owners are looking for innovative ideas because they know the old days are gone. CEOS are more open total blue sky thinking. And more willing to say, “let’s try it and if it doesn’t work let’s try something else. Because, as one client said to me, “What have I got to lose?” In Make Remote Work I share how to assess your company strengths, mind map your possibilities and develop a blueprint for innovation.
That includes learning how to be engaged and productive wherever you are. Now, people have the freedom to live and work where they want to be — not where they have to be. That includes me. I just relocated from Sacramento CA to Raleigh, NC and I couldn’t be happier with the change.
Thank you Clare, and our next question goes to Patricia. What are the new challenges you see in Leadership?
Two challenges stand out related to connections – working virtual and travel. 1.one is working virtual. Many employees benefit significantly from being in the office. Connections are key and being around people no matter if they are senior people or more junior people you learn from other people – getting great ideas and sharing best practices. The challenge of working virtual is onboarding, learning, brainstorming, feeling connected.
I believe right now another big challenge is 2) travel. Personal connections with company’s team members and their customers is important.
There’s also the challenge with the distance as it relates to providing excellent customer service. This has created a challenge.
There was a study (Entrepreneur) that 80% of companies / vendors thought they were providing superior customer service, but only 8% of customers would describe the services they’ve received in such glowing terms. The key is you need to communicate more with customers than you ever did before because regular conversation is key.
In person or online, you must provide the same or better levels of service to continue to delight your customers.
Thank you, Patricia, we all know how a bad customer experience can turn off all of us. Think about if your internet goes down while working from home and your customer service representative is less than understanding and patient. You will be quickly posting to social media and looking for a new replacement. Right? Bad Leadership is no different. After all people don’t leave companies, they leave their manager.
So as Leaders we have to meet the needs of this new remote environment and this growing digitally focused work force. Which is now the Millennials who comprise 50% of the work force and by 2025 will be 75%. They are demanding a different style of leadership. One more collaborative. .
The New Challenge of Leadership is to build engagement that retains by being more of a Coach and Mentor not a hierarchical leader that tells them what to do
What does that look like? For example, instead of giving direct feedback to an employee, which puts them on defensive, why not ask them how they thought they did? IS there anything they could have done differently What can we work on together to improve your next customer engagement? Because your relationship with your employee is the biggest determinant as to if they are happy and if they are going to stay or go, the new challenge of leadership is to be super focused on their one-on-one relationships with each employee and to operate more of as a Coach and Mentor, not dictating what has to be done and how it has to be done. That is the challenge I see for leadership, being a Coach
Now that brings us to the word we are taking into 2021! You are going to hear from each one of our authors as to what their word is. We will begin with Matt.
My word is Engaging.
I am continuing to discover and apply innovative ways to engage my online audiences.
In my work, I use a system called the Enneagram. The Enneagram describes 9 personality types. Every day I am discovering how each Enneagram type is responding to the new online environment. I am taking these lessons and creating ever more engaging content.
And, that’s what I am bringing into 2021.
Wonderful, and we have Clare
MY WORD – Resilient. As Americans, entrepreneurs and business owners we are a resilient people! What we have faced and how we are bouncing back proves just how resilient we all are. As we continue to grapple with the changes wrought by COVID, I predict we will surprise and delight each other with our innovative, genuine caring and resilient responses to the world around us. That’s what makes 2020 the Year of Wonders for me.
Wonderful Clare, and Patricia, what is your word?
I used a hyphenated word – customer-focus. The companies who survived and thrived during this year of incredible wonder and COVID are the ones who focused on their customers and put them at the forefront, and made sure that they really understood their customers, how to serve them better, and those are the companies that will continue to succeed and thrive – before, during and after COVID.
Thanks Patricia, and I am sure all of you can guess, my word is of course, Connections.
This year of wonders has really put a highlight or spotlight on this isolation we all are feeling. The isolation epidemic has started many years before this. It’s growing now, and has more focuse, because of the pandemic. As a result we’re all really realizing the importance of human connection. Like, I talked about, reaching through that computer screen and creating a shared experience by acknowledging an object like a guitar that the other person has in the their room.
Continuing to find more reasons to reach out, to find shared experiences, even if they are virtual, and to show we really care are critical to take into 2021. Digitization and automation are not going away!. We have to continue to put forth the effort to pick up the phone, meet in person when possible and not take the lazy way-out if we want to delight our customers, engage our teams, and build one on one relationships with our greatest assets, our people!
Connection is Key for 2021! We don’t want to have to l earn this lesson again.
Now in summary the words for 2021…
for Matt it’s engaging,
from Clare it’s resilient,
and from Patricia it’s customer focused,
and my word of course is connections
If you’re interested in reaching out to any one of our business executives and business authors, please reach out to them via their website listed here. You can also find listed on this slide, the title of their featured and recently published book.
We really appreciate your time today, and we look forward to any comments you might have.
And, I hope you have made this “Your Year of Wonders!”
Leave a Reply