Motivate Winning Teams Through Perspective Training

In my last post, 'Walk In Their Shoes To Create Better Relationships And Teams', I shared the the power of learning perspective and truly connecting to people. Here is a personal story of the success I had with perspective training.

While managing the service delivery and support teams at Geckotech, I held weekly training sessions on soft skills, positive tone, team building, and such. It was a great way learn how to better service customers, carefully navigate difficult conversations, and truly understand each other as a team.

First comes the struggles

As a team, we were very good at meeting the customer deadline; however, there were times we struggled to keep all members of the team on 'Happy Street'. During those times, there were some heroic efforts of rushing each other to make that target date. If you provide a great customer experience while breaking your back or harming the team, the result is not ideal. I want win/win/win - customers/employees/vendors!

Then the opportunity

I asked what motivates them to drive reward programs that aligned with each person. We are all motivated in different ways because of our own perspectives. When we understand the perspectives of others, we can connect to the ‘root cause’ of the behaviors. My goal was to motivate them to provide the best customer experience AND team experience. 

To learn and improve

After learning the motivation of the team, I created a points program that could be exchanged for gifts (some people prefer gift to money so they don’t feel the need to spend on bills…), credit card (obvious reasons), or time off (for those with kids that often had to take more time off on school holidays, for example). The points were awarded for the 'Ideal' and 'Above and Beyond' behaviors. It was not a replacement for doing normal daily activities.

Working together

One way ‘The Team’ could jointly earn points was after each new customer implementation. The team had a customer install target date along with internal milestones that aligned to the ideal time to complete the work required in each role. The best score for the implementation was awarded when All Dates AND Key Performance Indicators were met. If the team only met the install target date to make the customer happy, it was not enough. They needed to meet the internal dates to make everyone happy. If one date was missed, it added extra pressure to other roles - which is not working together.

To create the ideal win/win/win

At the end, each person completed a survey on ‘THEIR PERSPECTIVE’ of the implementation. We had a review meeting to discuss the results. It was a great exercise for the team to learn the perspectives of each role. In the end, it made the team respect one another more and work better together to provide the best customer experience. 

Yours Truly



Walk In Their Shoes To Create Better Relationships And Teams

Walk In Their Shoes To Create Better Relationships And Teams

If you have seen ‘50 Shades of Grey’, it is a great example of understanding how different events shape our life and behaviors.

Now on to the story. 

I read the book 3 Laws of Performance several years ago. It is a great lesson on situational leadership, connecting to your team, and breaking personal and professional barriers. The stories in the book are eye opening and amazing! While the book has several other key messages that are important, the motivation for this article is understanding perspective and how you can create better relationships and teams through 'Walking In Their Shoes'.

Mastering customer service, among other areas in life, requires understanding the psychology of people. It is truly caring about what drives behavior for your customers, employees, peers, and others. It is not Rocket Science that being authentic and creating a personal relationship is what people desire. It is also learning the subconscious, the unknown, and the events that shape how we live our lives. It is learning and connecting to perspectives.

I continue to use this approach in both professional and personal relationships. On a personal note, I can think of several events that have shaped who I am today. There is not one specific event that sticks out, which is probably true to most of you. It is how you approach the events with yourself and others that can make a difference in performance. 

In the next post, I will share a personal story about how I used perspective training to improve the performance and relationship with my team.

I would love to hear your story. 

  • Have you ever thought of perspective training within your organization?
  • Do you take the time to authentically connect to your team, customers, and friends to relate?
  • Have you had any breakthroughs from asking the right questions to understand the ‘root cause’ of someone’s behavior?

If you have not tried to truly understand the perspective of others before making a judgement, gossiping, or other getting upset, give it a try! I bet you will have a new perspective and a happier moment.

Yours Truly,

The Pukka Panda

Limit Your Customers Choices To Increase Sales by 600%

Limit your customer choices to increase sales and provide the best customer experience.

In Sheena Iyengar, 'How to Make Choosing Easier' TED Talk,

Over the past decade, we have observed three main negative consequences to offering people more and more choices. They’re more likely to delay choosing — procrastinate even when it goes against their best self-interest. They’re more likely to make worse choices — worse financial choices, medical choices. They’re more likely to choose things that make them less satisfied, even when they do objectively better. The main reason for this is because, we might enjoy gazing at those giant walls of mayonnaises, mustards, vinegars, jams, but we can’t actually do the math of comparing and contrasting and actually picking from that stunning display.
— Sheena Iyengar: TED Talk

Read about her results of 600% sales increase when limiting the jars of jam from 24 to 6. Studies show that the magic number is somewhere between 1 and 6. 

So how do you best limit the options to equal the magic number. Each comes with a different price tag for the business and customer. In fact, we develop new methods and use tools to help us limit the choices so we can make a decision.

4 Methods to Limit Choices

  1. By Product: Business provides a limited amount of product options for customers. They keep it simple for them and the customer.

  2. By Business Design: Business strategy is built around curating the right products for the chosen market. This is often a local boutique approach - whether it is food or clothing, it is applicable.

  3. Technology: Business leverages e-commerce through search results, filters by color, style, etc, big data, or machine learning to limit choices.

  4. Personal Service: Business provides a personal shopping like experience to help in customer choices based on close relationship. Personal shopper or individual stylist.

Working for a technology company with a focus on product and service, I am passionate about the perfect mix based on the customer profile and strategy for a business.

If you are okay with limiting your market or products, the answer could be simple. Once you want to grow the business, a decision must be made on how to help limit the products or services to guide the customer to a purchase. After all, if the business has too many choices, how will it ever achieve market leadership in any them?

While technology options available to enable customer experience span several industries, I am particularly interested in fashion and SaaS businesses.

To stay on a positive note: Which brands are doing it well? How could they leverage technology to improve the customer experience - while they maintain the right balance for their target audience?

Stay tuned for future posts on these options.

Yours Truly



We All Want It Simple - Is It At Your Expense Or Theirs?

Simple: At Your Expense or Theirs?

Overheard in the airport on my way to California for a business trip.

"Why do you always pick on me?"

"Because it's easy."

As someone people like to tease, the response to this questions was familiar to me. Of course, it is also typical for many situations in life.

If you know me personally, you may be smiling or nodding in agreement.

In the past, teasing sometimes bothered me. Now, I realize it is either a form of flattery or just not about me.

We aim to make it simple for the user in products, business writing, customer experience and many other things. We want it simple for people to read, customers to purchase, manage, and even return. Repeat customers are the easiest to keep. Let’s make it simple for them, even if when it is more difficult for us!

It is often the opposite when choosing your path in life. If it is simple, it doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. It's not always simple to try something new or take the high road. When you choose the simple path, consider the impact to everyone - for both the present and future.

Yours Truly,


To Wearing Many Hats

To Wearing Many Hats

Both at work and for an accessory

In a startup environment, you get to wear many hats. As the first employee at a successful Cloud SaaS provider startup, Geckotech, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to learn all areas of the business. 

As organizations mature, varied options to actively help across departments and levels of empowerment create boundaries that impact the overall efficiency. In our world of rapid technology changes, constant communication, access to global talent, and information at our fingertips, organizations must be agile.

Holacracy fundamentally changes the way workers organize around work: there is an explicit distinction made between Roles and Souls — a description of the work to be done and the people who do it. An individual worker may hold many Roles. Roles working together on related work are grouped together into teams called Circles. Each Circle has a leader (Holacracy’s analog to a manager) called the Lead Link.

Why limit people when expertise can be leveraged in all areas and adapt with the business? Holacracy streamlines decision making using objections to proposals vs. consensus from everyone. It includes built in checks and balances and gives everyone empowerment as a leader. Not only does this structure allow people flexibility, the organization remains agile with the ability to define minimal roles required to achieve the current initiative.

Known for its employee focus and ‘Wow’ customer service, Zappos publicly announced its Holacracy adoption. Tony Hsieh comments on why they chose Holacracy.

Research shows that every time the size of a city doubles, innovation or productivity per resident increases by 15 percent. But when companies get bigger, innovation or productivity per employee generally goes down. So we’re trying to figure out how to structure Zappos more like a city, and less like a bureaucratic corporation. In a city, people and businesses are self-organizing. We’re trying to do the same thing by switching from a normal hierarchical structure to a system called Holacracy, which enables employees to act more like entrepreneurs and self-direct their work instead of reporting to a manager who tells them what to do.
— Tony Hsieh

In the end, whether an organization chooses to remain in a basic top-down hierarchy, adopt cross functional best practices like ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library), or embrace the distributed authority system of Holacracy - roles need to be clearly defined and aligned to the initiatives.

What are your thoughts on Holacracy?

Yours Truly


Website quote references:



Picture from Zappos link 

Being Vulnerable Can Be A Challenge - Embrace The Challenge

Challenge Yourself To Be Yourself

When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make,” “Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.
— Brene Brown: Daring Greatly

It was a challenge for me to ‘Dare Greatly’ and start this blog. I was afraid of putting myself out there for the world to see. After months of following other blogs and comparing myself, it was even harder to take the leap. I am not as skinny as the other style bloggers; however, that is not the focus and message. The content includes positive inspiration, authentic business, and customer experience - with my personal style on the side. At the same time, it was a learning experience and discovery process that was necessary. Being myself is the only thing I know. Sharing with the world differs from my comfort with vulnerability in business, among friends, or other small groups of people. Looking forward to sharing this challenge with you. Continue to learn, grow, and challenge yourself to be yourself!

Brene Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead’ was a great source to learn about the power of vulnerability. Woohoo! A simple win for me to live, love, and lead. Vulnerability comes natural to me - it makes sense. Perhaps it goes along with the inability to keep a poker face. Or that you are the best at being yourself.

Why not call out your known weaknesses or share an embarrassing story, like the time you walked into a screen door at your own house or your skirt blows up in the middle of a busy NYC street. Connecting at a personal level is critical for trust. Vulnerability and trust among family and friends comes natural to most of us. They have seen us at our best and worst. We have each others shoulders for times we need to cry or need a hug.

Extending that vulnerability into business situations is not always so simple. If this is not natural to you, try it. Take the challenge. Even though you are not likely to cry on their shoulder, you can speak open and honestly about your opinions. Genuinely praise colleagues for work well done or admit to weaknesses so you have the opportunity to learn. When you establish trust with your team and organization, it benefits customers and all areas of the business. Hidden agendas and lack of transparency harms the culture and ultimately hits your bottom line. Embrace vulnerability to truly connect with people.

What are your thoughts on being vulnerable? 

To learn more about shame and vulnerability, read Brene Brown’s book or watch her popular TED Talk.

Yours Truly


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