Dan Edds: The Incredible Advantage of Linking the Employee Experience to the Customer's

May 18, 2021

Dan Edds: The Incredible Advantage of Linking the Employee Experience to the Customer's

Dan Edds: The Incredible Advantage of Linking the Employee Experience to the Customer's

The customer experience is often dependent upon the broader experience of the workforce. This has several parts, 1) the human interface, 2) the value received, and 3) ongoing innovation that creates additional value and keeps the customer coming back.

Check our our SKETCHNOTE of this Episode with Dan

For more information reach out to Dan at:







Welcome to the Science of C. X podcast, my name is Steve papa's a former serial entrepreneur turned C. X obsessed expert and each week we bring you an inspiring message and insight into how customer experience can catapult your business to soar grow and accelerate beyond what you thought was possible. We seek out experts to interview and help you on your journey to see X in the Science of C X. Well welcome everybody to another episode of the Science of C X. As always, I'm your host, steve Pappas and this season we have certainly got a great season planned out for you.

We spend a little time to really search out and find experts in all areas of C. X to give you the next installment for this season of all of the aspects of C. X that will help you become better business leaders in the marketplace, but also better leaders within your business. Today, we're gonna be talking with dan EDS. Dan has a very interesting background, Let me give you a little more knowledge about dan. After we say hi, so welcomed into the show. Well, steve great to be with you. Thanks.

Let me give folks a little bit about your bio, just so they understand where we're coming from, that we're going to jump into some really interesting statistics that you've provided me too. So for 25 years, Dan EDS has been a practicing management consultant, working with state and local government, healthcare K through 12 education, higher education and non profits. He's the author of two books, the first transformation management and his most recent leveraging, the genetics of leadership, cracking the code of sustainable team performance. His latest book demonstrates how elite organizations are revolutionizing the practice of leadership, recreating the world of work and setting new standards for employee engagement as well as customer value.

Now, today we're going to start off with something very interesting and quite frankly sobering dan has published a special report that Really made me step back a little bit when I read through it. And the special report is the four strategies and the 16 steps to engage the workforce. Now at the end of the show, I'll tell you how you can get a copy of this too. But when I started reading it, I was really interested in some of the statistics that they start off. So if you don't mind, I'm gonna just talk about the very sobering data that's at the beginning Of your report that comes from Gallup Gallup says that 53 of the national workforce is non engaged.

which means they're not psychological owners of their work practically. They show up, they do the job and go home. They contribute little to innovation or discretionary value creation. They go on to say 13 of the workforce is actively sabotaging their workplace, which just really threw me. I didn't expect the numbers to be that high, but that means that 66 of US. workers contribute little to innovation or are actively sabotaging that dan. I gotta admit that was really beyond sobering for me to read, let's talk a little bit about that.

Yeah, thanks steve, we should be talking about that and frankly those are numbers that anybody in a leadership position in any organization today ought to be aware of and frankly it should be sobering should be sobering on a number of fronts. One is, what does that tell us about? The condition of leadership Gallup also points out that 70 of the variability in an employee engagement can be directly tied to the relationship with the manager. So those numbers ought to recall us into question about the general state of leadership in general, not only within our own country, but worldwide George Clifton, the chairman of gallup, and one of the more recent reports very directly says, and I think this is the exact quote.

The american leadership philosophy simply does not work anymore. And he goes on to say that we really need to be rethinking leadership and management much in the same way that lean and six sigma came into the manufacturing industry here and probably the late 19 eighties, early 19 nineties and really began to transform lot of manufacturing organizations. The other saying that ought to be sobering is that gallup also points out that at any point in time, half the workforce is looking for a new job and millennials who are flooding into the workplace right now.

The data says that six and 10 of them are actively looking for a new job at any point in time. Those numbers are to scare the daylights out of anybody in a significant position of leadership and management. Let's take it back to what our podcast is about, right? Because what really bothered me about those numbers was that, you know, we look at customer experience as a direct result of customers exposure, their relationship and the various aspects of how they interact with an organization. So if I look at those numbers and I see that 53 are not engaged, Where is their incentive to do the best job possible to deliver quality experiences?

And if 13 or sabotaging well, that means they could be sabotaging on the customer side, not just on the workplace side. And I guess it then speaks to is customer experience given those numbers a top down or bottom up necessity these days, because it sure sounds like it may be top down, bottom up and middle and it's more important than ever before given the state of workers today. Now also we have to add in that because of the pandemic. Maybe not as many people are jumping ship today, but if they're actively looking or thinking about it, I always say the minute you step across that line you're over the line, the minute you start the thought process, you're absolutely over the line and you can't serve two masters.

You can't serve your future master as well as your present master. So how to see X play into this because it seems like these numbers as well as what we'll talk about directly will affect downstream. Not only all employees, but the employees mindset is going to affect the customer. Absolutely. I think there's a direct relationship, I love this line from Stephen Covey when he says always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customer. So if the employee is having an experience as a member of the workforce where they are not engaged, where they're not rewarded to speak up, they're not rewarded to take a risk now and then they may even be discouraged from taking that extra step with a customer.

There is a direct relationship right back to the customer experience. I mean if the workforce is not actively engaged with their work, how can we expect them to be actively engaged with a customer? It just doesn't fit. If I come to work steve, let's say say I'm working for you and I am discouraged. I feel like steve doesn't value my input. Steve doesn't value my intellect. Steve doesn't value what I bring to your organization. How do you expect me then to transfer something that's positive and upbeat to your customer?

It just doesn't work. Yeah, there's more of a direct correlation here than we ever thought. I mean we always knew that E X and C X were well intertwined. But I think for our audience, they have to stop and take a moment to just think about that what you just said that you just can't give the best if you're not feeling the best. I look at it. I want to say probably 98 of the people that have ever worked for me. I'm still in touch with. Beautiful. Even if I've had to fire them, even if they weren't doing the numbers and I've had to let them go and have terminated them.

I still stay in touch with everybody. And I always say I want to be the guy. They're willing to run into the burning building to save, because I would run into the burning building to save them. And it's a different mindset. I don't know whether or not my management style is so much different because we don't really compare management style, one head of an organization to another or one manager of the department to another. But you have to stop to think, are you giving them everything that you want them to give your customers?

And do they have the tools? Do they have the knowledge? Can they build those relationships on their own? Are they empowered? Are they respected? Do they have everything that they need? And at the same time, are they engaged in the organization? Now? I don't know about some of your clients, but I got to tell you the covid pandemic has been a real test and a challenge on keeping work from home folks engaged. I mean, I have with my teams, we get together two mornings a week. We get together two afternoons a week and on Fridays we get together, we call it a drop in for drinks and games.

And I've got to event, I'm thinking about what can we do to have some fun, blow off some steam at the end of the week and make sure that everybody goes into the weekend feeling positive, you know, with their families and they're going to come back on monday, well rested and relaxed and ready to start again. But in your experience, is that management style the majority or the changing? Well, I would probably use a different word than management style because I think this really is sort of the crux of the latest book, leveraging, the genetics of leadership.

Think about an organization. So a lot of the case studies in the book come out of health care. So let's just take a very modest sized hospital 1000 employees, which means there's probably going to be someplace between 90 and 100 managers, leaders, directors, etc, people who are in charge and responsible for other people. So if we talk about management leadership style, well then everybody has their own style, which means they manage in the lead based on their own set of personal values. And that fundamentally doesn't create a consistent experience for the workforce.

Institutionally, we spend lots of money on trying to design a terrific customer experience. I'm in the hometown of Starbucks. So they're always my classic example. I can go to Starbucks and I have any city in the West Coast, any city in the East Coast, I've had Starbucks coffee and the airport in Taipei Taiwan and it is always the exact same experience. So transfer that idea then to the experience of the workforce. If every leader in manager is leading based on their own set of personal values, how can you even begin to believe that you can create a consistent experience for the employee and you can't.

So what I discovered is that high impact organizations, organizations that consistently perform at the top of their industries, they don't leave management and leadership up to personal style the way I describe it as they design a system of leadership and then they train every one of their leaders and managers to the requirements of that system. The largest and probably the most obvious example of that is frankly the United States Army, two million Active duty and Reserve personnel. They don't leave leadership up to however you want to do leadership, they're very, very clear on how to do leadership and for them it's a matter of life and death.

But I found the exact same thing with I'll use one of the more interesting examples in the book. An elementary school principal Who in five years took this elementary school from failing. It was the lowest performing school in a district of 25,000 students and 18 other elementary schools in five years. It was the highest performing elementary school in the district. And then when that wasn't good enough, they took it up another notch to become the only school to close the achievement gap, which in this country is a massive transformation.

What she did was she designed and I don't think she even knew what she was doing. In fact, when I sat down and talked whether I want to talk to you about the way you approach leadership and when I asked her that she looked at me, she said leadership, I don't know anything about leadership. She then went on to describe for me the most articulate, well thought out system of leadership I found probably outside the United States Army and what she did was she designed an experience for her other educational leaders and public education, especially every classroom teacher.

Everybody involved in education is considered an educational leader. She designed a system based on collaboration. So she wanted every one of her teachers and as well as her administrators, even right down to the custodians and janitors. She wanted everyone to be involved and to be working in a collaborative working environment. That's what she wanted them to experience what she wanted them to feel and the result was that everybody then began to work and to build a collaborative culture. One of the things I thought was interesting about Aaron and the way she approached it, in fact about halfway through the conversation, I said, so did you do anything like codify this system?

And she kind of laughed. She said, yeah, you want to see it. We've got a whole charter and it was a charter on how we, as the leaders and managers and the institution of that school, how we were going to interact with one another and it had rules, it had a series routines, they had behavioral requirements, it was a check off list or what a system is. And so as I was listening to her, I realized that what she was doing, she had worked with her team to develop essentially the operating rules and regulations and routine of how they were going to interact with one another so that if someone decided they didn't want to behave that way with each other with some of their co workers, they effectively took themselves off the team.

And so simplistically what Aaron had to do then was just reinforce the team rules. So if someone on the team said I don't want to behave this way, all she had to do and I've heard this from a number of organizations have done the same thing. All she had to do is say this is the charter that our team developed and everybody signed off on it. You're choosing not to work this way, therefore you are taking yourself off the team almost in reality shouldn't have to fire anybody.

They took themselves off the team and the working environment of that school didn't just improve the day to day experience of the teachers. It actually transferred out into the community because if you go to that school, not today with middle of covid, it didn't happen. But typically the week before school starts in the fall on a saturday morning and afternoon, there's 75 to 100 volunteers that descend on that school to do everything from pressure, washing the sidewalks to working with teachers and getting rooms set up and the community can do in a saturday morning and afternoon.

What would take a teacher a week to do just to get the rooms ready. So that concept of collaboration with one another actually extended out into the community, even to the church that rents the facility on sunday morning for their services, They have adopted that school so that if that school is having an in service and they need a meal for their teachers. In the middle of the day, guests who volunteers to bring and supply meals at no cost to the teachers. So she started out with this core idea of collaboration and not only did it impact the working environment of the school itself, but it transferred right out into the community.

And guess what? One of the things that we know about academic achievement is that it is directly tied to the integration and involvement of the community. Wow, that case study and story is very enlightening because I think it speaks to a lot of the stuff that you have in the book as to how to approach this getting documents signed while we're all working from home. Now, that's been tough. We all know that pain because we've all felt it and been through it. We built a better solution.

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You mentioned earlier a little bit about hospitals. I mean, can we drill in because I know that we have a lot of healthcare and hospital listeners across our listenership. So can you tell me a little bit about how a hospital uses process excellence techniques to provide the best patient experience to. Ultimately, most hospitals today are thinking, what are the mantras today? Is better patient engagement, had better patient experience overall. Great question. There's actually four case studies in the book on the positive and then there's another case study where they really changed the focus of their leadership and it was a disaster.

So I'll mention one, this is the hospital system of nearly 10,000 employees. They have two hospitals, one is a major hospital, it's a teaching hospital, urban environment. They have been raided by the leapfrog group I think for the last eight or nine years as one of the safest hospitals in the country, some of you and speculated they might be the safest hospital in the world, which may not sound too much to you. And I, until you look at the numbers that are pretty clear that avoidable accidents and hospitals makes avoidable accidents.

One of the leading causes of death in America, we know, in fact, I had a hospital ceo just confirmed this with me last week that one of the leading indicators of hospital mortality are one of the leading variables in hospital mortality is the engagement levels of nurses. So with a hospital and actively engaged workforce, especially within the ranks of nurses, is really a matter of life and death. So this one hospital that I'm referencing again, it's been ranked as one of the safest hospitals in the country.

Everything in that organization is driven off of a singular core value of respect, respect for the work, respect for the worker and respect for the patient. And in fact, when I was touring their facilities, one of their senior executives uh invested a full morning with me and doing the research for the book and I was, I'm not exaggerating. When I say I was blown away by what I saw in their approach to the development of people, their own people. For example, they have a rule for their managers and leaders that says you do not solve problems, You are not to be your teams go to problem solver which takes most models and theories about leadership and blows it up because their view is so steve if I'm working for you and you're my hospital administrator and I have a problem and you come and solve it for me.

You are disrespecting my basic intelligence and passion for our industry and for our patients. Your job as my manager would be to help me think about the problem, think about the breadth and the depth of the problem, think about who else may be impacted by this problem. But your job is to not solve my problem for me because it's disrespectful to me. And what happens then when you lied in that way, you automatically empower me because you're telling me you're closer to the problem than I am.

I trust you. Now let me switch gears a little bit. One of the subjects of an ear interview for the book was a guy named General Barry Mccaffrey who retired several years ago As a four star general when he retired from the army, he went on and he served in a cabinet position during the Clinton administration. One of the sort of funny things he told me because we are talking about this issue of problem solving. He said I have been in the White House situation room several times where because of the magic of satellite telecommunications, we knew virtually as we were watching a mission in operation and we knew virtually as much about that mission and what was happening as the commander on the ground.

He said if we really wanted to screw up a mission and actually his language got very colorful. He said we in the White House would have stepped in and said no do it this way, but that's what we see. And so many of our organizations every day we actually train managers and leaders to be problem solvers when we ought to be training them to train their workforce to be problem solvers. And when we do that, not only to increase their level of engagement, but we increase their level of self confidence.

I think about what would you rather have 100 people working for you who are self confident or 100 people working for you who think that you're going to solve every one of their problems for them. Obviously the first one obviously the first one interesting, we're covering a lot of area because I think the case study with the elementary school is phenomenal and talking about how hospitals use it. But just in general, I mean, how do most companies approach leadership and training their leaders and developing a system and how does that tie into our employee experience versus customer experience?

Yeah, well, unfortunately they don't. The data says that only about a third of first time managers and leaders get any kind of training in leadership. And then the flip side of that is that when they do get leadership training, it's typically done off site and some kind of a lecture based workshop, class, community college, etcetera. They then bring what they've learned back into their company and they can't apply it because so much of the training is totally divorced from company culture, from systems, from values from behaviors, et cetera.

So I can go get a PhD in leadership. I can go into a hospital system and know nothing about the way they do leadership because my training was totally divorced from the values, cultures, customs of that particular organization. You know, again, going back to the United States Army, they do leadership their way they want leadership done in a very specific way. Same thing with the United States Marine Corps with a hospital system. I referenced fact. I asked my tour guide, I said, so what happens when you hire leaders outside the organization to come in and take over one of the departments or a clinic?

And she kind of laughed. He said, well a lot of them don't stick around too well because they've been used to being the problem saw her and now we tell them no you won't solve problems. And she said, we actually have to retrain our leaders and they actually have internal certifications and certificates for their leaders. And if they don't complete these certifications, they are removed. For example, they are the first organization to adopted the Toyota production system and how to do health care. They are now the world's leader in the application of the Toyota production system in health care.

They train every one of their leaders including the Ceo how to conduct a lien workshop and they actually require every one of their leaders to personally conduct 123 lean exercises for their teams every year. They require this training and every leader has to be certified in how to do a lien workshop and if they come into the organization and they don't get certified within and I think it's a year they're removed. And I found that same sort of tendency with so many of the organizations that I began to profile in the book, they have very specific ways that they want leadership to be done and they train their leaders to those requirements.

And frankly, invariably they say, you know, we don't really hire a lot of leaders from outside the organization because we have to spend too much money retraining them. Okay, interesting. So I remember when we talked about uncovering process gaps through value stream mapping, can you tell our audience a little bit about how to uncover where the process gaps are that may be leading to some of these problems that we've talked about. Value stream mapping. Simplistically is just a way of visually diagramming internal processes relating those processes to the customer and the value that's being delivered to the customer.

And routinely I've done lots of these things when we get done, the team looks back and you know, somewhat of an exaggeration a two year old can look at the map and say, oh, your problem is right there. But there's something else that's behind the scenes that really makes lean work and looking at value to the customer and that's really leadership. This has happened more times than I really care to admit. I get done with the lien exercise. We've got a value stream map up on the wall and it's a work of art.

It's gorgeous. The team looks at it and they're saying, yeah, we could fix that thing there and fix this. The other thing over here, we're going to unlock value to our customer. And then we show what we've done to the executive leadership. And I'm actually thinking of a very specific example here. We show what we've done, an executive leadership and they clapped their hands and they say a team, go on. And oh, by the way, just keep so and so abreast of what you're doing over here.

And that actually was something that was actually said. And when the executive leadership of this organization said that you could just watch the energy just deflate Out of these people because they just disempowered the people who developed this map, spent four days developing some process, improvement initiatives and essentially they said, we don't trust you to do the work, so just keep this other person abreast and 90 of all lean initiatives failed to achieve any value at all, which means that the other 10% is achieving enormous value and I've done lean training and so many times, that's the ceo, maybe the Ceo, they say, oh we want you to train these people and how to do lean.

Okay, well what about you? Because lean on the production floor actually requires a very specific kind of leadership. The hospital I referenced everything is driven off of a value of respect that comes directly from the Toyota company itself. In fact, there's a kind of a funny story when they were first going to Japan to watch how Toyota built cars, they were visiting a plan. It was actually a Hitachi plant and there since say their teacher was telling them, please stand within these two white lines or stand on the other side of the white lines.

As one of their senior executives was describing, he was kind of being a pain in the butt about it. And so finally someone said, well what's the big deal about the two white lines? And the guy said, this is my interpretation. These are safety lines. And every night the manager underscore that the manager cleans those lines for the benefit of the workers. Yeah, understand that every night those white lines get cleaned not by the janitor of the custodian but by the manager out of respect for the safety of the worker.

And as the story was told to me, not only that, but out of honorable respect to the person who painted those lines do not stand on those lines. So they got a rude lesson on the value of respect. But it's that experience of the workforce that ultimately is what's passed on to the customer or in their case the patient, they respect the patient With this one simple story. I'll be quiet. One of their stories is that they were just opening up. I believe it was a new oncology clinic and this hospital is built into a hill in the city of Seattle.

There's a beautiful view of downtown Seattle the waterfront, snowcapped mountains to the east and cascade mountains, volcanic mountains down to the south. And they started to lay out this clinic and they brought in a bunch of the doctors and they immediately began to commandeer their office. And of course it was those places that looked like it was right in front of the windows. And finally somebody said, do you think this really is consistent with a value of respect for our patients? And everybody realized, oh gosh, I guess it really isn't.

And so the doctors then moved their offices back against the back wall so that the patients can have the experience of the great view of the waterfront and snow capped mountains. Perfect. That sums it up. Great. Let's put our listeners to work what we like to do. And especially this season, we're really trying to give our listeners and exercise or two that they can do with their team when they were on a zoom call or a teams call with their team to better understand what it is that we've been talking about so that they have an exercise that they can incorporate and further the knowledge that we're trying to give them.

Well, let me give you two. And actually I'm thinking of a young man, one of the first subjects of my interviews who actually did this and I thought it was brilliant. One of the things that I tell people is sit down with your team and ask them, what do they want to feel when they go home at the end of the day, what do they want to feel they want to feel good? What does that mean? This civil engineer that I just referenced? He didn't sit down with his team, but he concluded from his research that leadership is a relational enterprise.

So he went about designing a leadership system based on relationship. But I saw the same kind of thing with healthcare organization, a reference. It's respect. In fact, I just talked to the president of manufacturing company two weeks ago and he said I wanted my people when they go home at the end of the day to feel like they are part of a team. I found that another healthcare organization where everything is driven off of a core value of relationship happens to be a native american healthcare organizations.

So relationship and story is central to their culture. But I would sit down with the team and say, you know, how do you want to feel when you go home and then synthesize that down to one or two words. The second thing that I would do. Most organizations have a set of core values and unfortunately senior executives design core values and then you post amount of website and that's about as far as they ever go. The other thing that I found and I've actually done this with some of the teams that I lied.

I asked him, I said okay, here's the core value or core values. What behaviors Will support those values and then define those behaviors like the health care organization that I referenced. They have one core value, it's respect but they have eight foundational behaviors and it's things like trust, integrity, listening to understand. And if I could tell your audience or any audience one thing to do it would be get your team together and say, OK, here's our values. How are we going to behave with each other to support and execute on those core values Values are critically important.

But it takes one leader to do one thing to destroy them and to convince the workforce that values don't mean anything. And so I would counsel anybody identify your core values. What behaviors must every leader model to put teeth on muscle and bone to those values. And if nothing else say, okay, what behaviors will actually erode those core values. When I did this with a health care organization? The first thing that we did actually they did, we went through a session and they said we want every one of our employees to feel like they're empowered.

Then we went through and we identified eight or nine foundational behaviors that would support an experience of empowerment for the workforce. And the funny part about this particular exercise When we got done with it, everybody and there was like probably 18, 20 people on the team that I was working with. When we got done looking at these behaviors, we all sort of sat back and this team start nodding their head and they recognized that some of their leaders would not be able to function in the kind of culture and environment that they were wanting to design.

And I use that word deliberately to design and they had to come to the conclusion that they were okay with that and that they would bless these people to move on, but they would be encouraged to move on if they felt like they could not lead and manage within the kind of culture that they were trying to design dan. Those are two great exercises that I'm sure our listeners will find very valuable if they can sit out and work on them with their teams. So we will also put those in the show notes so you can reference them.

I'd also like to encourage you guys to go to dan's website. So it's daniel EDS, D A N I E L E D D s dot com and you get a copy of that special report we were talking about the beginning of the show that was quite enlightening, quite sobering and something that leaders should really be thinking about as they're moving forward. So, dan I want to thank you very much because this has been a very interesting episode and I don't know where the time went, but it went by pretty quickly.

Thanks for joining us today. And I hope to see you again sometime in the future to and maybe even on our live streams that are going to start in april steve, it's been a blast to be with you. I just appreciate this opportunity that you've provided me. And so thank you very much. My pleasure, everyone thank you very much. and as always please stay healthy and stay safe. Take care until the next time I'm steve Pappas your host and this is the science of C. X. Finding one place to see all customer experience related tools for technology has been difficult until now.

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