STAND OUT! Finding a job during COVID-19 with Silicon Valley Learning expert, Ksenia Closs

Jamie Thomason [Mursion]:

Please allow me to officially welcome Ksenia Closson to our Mursion Future of Work Virtual Roundtable series. My name is Jamie Thomason, I’m a learning partner and a simulation specialist here at Mursion. I am joined today by Christina Yu, V.P. of Identity and Growth and it’s wonderful to have her here.

Let me just share a little bit about what we’re going to be doing over the next hour or so. We are very excited to welcome Ksenia for Stand Out! We’re gonna learn how to leverage the changes in your environment and catapult yourself into your next promotion. We’re all coming from different places in the world. We’re coming – some of us – from working extra hard because of this new environment, while some of us have been furloughed. We have people that are graduating, people that have been let go because the economic environment has just forced companies to make those difficult decisions. But now where does that leave you?

Ksenia is here to help guide us on our path. So we’re thrilled about that, and what we’re going to do is I’m going to give a brief overview of Mursion for any of you who are brand new to us. Ksenia will lead us in her presentation and discussion, and then we’re actually going to experience one of those consultative conversations that we’re learning to have. And, of course, we’ll leave some time for Q&A. Now, I want to be clear, because what we’re hoping is that one of you will be feeling brave and want to actually be the learner for our simulation today. So what we’re going to ask of you is hopefully you’ll have a camera available to you. You definitely have to have a microphone available to you. When that time comes, if you raise your hand, shout it out in the chat that you would like to be the one to participate. We’ll do that on a first come, first serve basis. Put you over and allow you to experiment and actually experience that simulation for yourself. So just keep that in the back of your mind, friends, because we’ll be asking for that as we go along. So let me share with you a little bit about Mursion.

Ultimately, Mursion is a safe way to practice. To learn by doing. We work with leadership, sales, diversity and inclusion and career skills. And what’s very exciting is in response to a lot of our clients, because we have been working with a lot of large organizations. They said we want to be able to do this on an individual basis. A small cohort of a leadership team. And so we have responded in kind and have some great packages that we’re rolling out. And so it is perfect because what better person to explain the landscape and coaches through how to truly stand out in this Covid environment then Ksenia Closson It ties in beautifully and we’re going to share with you a little more about that. Very briefly, just to share, we are the only company that actually leverages artificial intelligence, blended with an actual live human being in the loop to provide that safe space to practice those challenging workplace conversations. And right now, I just want to introduce you to our special guest, Ksenia.

Ksenia is a leading Silicon Valley learning expert. She incorporates 15 years of successful experience in enabling professional growth into programs that empower learners and ignite careers. Her methods have been utilized by numerous Fortune 500 companies, including Apple, Gap and Wal-Mart. She specializes in harnessing talent to build highly functional teams that exceed performance expectations. A fun fact about Ksenia, she watched her grandmother teach geography in a very motivating way; and her grandmother is the reason that Ksenia really fell in love with other cultures and countries and travel. And after personally experiencing what a powerful teacher could do for her growth, she couldn’t imagine doing anything else. So I’m excited. I hope you’re excited, and I want to welcome Ksenia Closson.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Thank you so much, Jamie. I really appreciate the warm welcome. Really excited to be here with you guys! Thank you for joining. It’s a beautiful day in sunny California. I hope that the weather is all right where you are. Let’s get going. I’m going to share my screen.

Why don’t we do a quick poll? Why don’t we share where we are from? I really would love to find out where you guys live, where you work, you know, where you travel, where you are right now. I would also like to find out what industry you work in. Take a poll and share. And in the meantime, I’m going to chat about the discussion.

What are we going to cover today? This is a special edition session covering the changes in our current environment. It is useful for those who are looking for a job, but it’s also useful for those who already have a job and want to stand out and get promoted. We’re going to chat about developing your value proposition, developing your skill sets like consultive communication, hearing your stakeholders and customers and using their consultative approach to close a sale. To get that promotion. To land your next role. Let’s take a look at the poll results.

 

Jamie Thomason [Mursion]:

Yes, we have our results.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Wow! All right. So, predominantly people are in the education industry. We have some from finance, retail and healthcare, manufacturing… so from everywhere. That’s great. So let’s talk about the environment we’re currently in. We’re currently living in a fourth industrial revolution. What does that mean? Well, let’s talk about the first three. The first industrial revolution occurred in 18th century; and this is where the manufacturing moved from, big houses and small shops to actual factories. This is where we see an assembly line at Ford Manufacturing. And Ford wasn’t the first one who created an automobile, but he was the first one who created the mass production. He was the first one who created the affordable automobile. Then we’ll look at the second industrial revolution. This is where we see the widespread adoption of telegraph, railroad networks, water supply and gas. We see a huge way of globalization, of people and ideas. And the third, industrial revolution is a digital revolution. This is where we saw a creation of personal computer and internet. Why is this important? Well, because now we live in the fourth industrial revolution and this is the revolution that built on the first three. Without the progress from the first three, the fourth industrial revolution wouldn’t be possible. Now, the fourth industrial revolution blurred the boundaries between the physical, digital and biological worlds. It’s a fusion between advances of artificial intelligence A.I.. It’s the advances in VR, robotics, the Internet of Things. And if you think of if you need a visual for industrial revolutions, think of the Ford manufacturing as a visual for the second industrial revolution. And think of a Tesla manufacturing, robotics and automated digital supply chain as as the example of a fourth industrial revolution. When I was a director at Gap, on my team I performed the industry analysis forecasting for how the fourth industrial revolution would change the way we conduct business, and the way we work and live.

I support a global supply chain. So our competitors were Walmart and Amazon. This was back in 2018. And even then we knew that we needed to automate and digitize our operations where possible in our fulfillment centers, so installations of some robotics and new machinery. But nobody saw Covid-19 pandemic coming. Covid-19 was a catalyst in bringing the fourth industrial revolution to its peak. Some corporations, simply ran out of time. Let’s take a look at several trends that we see in a way the most successful companies adapt to this new environment.

Diversification occurs when a business develops a new product or expands a new market. The gap did not diversify. Their product has been close and it’s always will be close. Wal-Mart invests in other companies and industries. Wal-Mart sells virtually everything you can possibly need or want, including car services and even health clinics. Amazon is one of the leading e-commerce entities, but it also has presence in other markets, such as cloud. Their product AWS, which is Amazon Web Services, is one of the leading cloud service platforms. Automation is a trend we see in Amazon and Wal-Mart. We see it in operations, we see it in distribution centers. Gap began investing in it, but wasn’t fast enough and serious enough about it. And the reason why I say this is because if we see an installment of one robotic arm or one equipment piece of equipment and compare it to fully automated assembly line at Tesla, you can see the difference. Digital products and services are a must to be able to survive in this environment, and Gap has none. Wal-Mart has a huge variety from ads and brand pages on their advertising product; and they’ve got mobile money transfers. They’ve got bill pay. Amazon has several subscription services such as Kindle, Amazon Prime that not only includes delivery perks, but also gives members access to huge library of entertainment options, which is really useful during a Covid-19. So the ability to read the current environment and understand it and adapt it will drive the corporate performance.

And we see this in the quarterly earnings statements. And as much as the stock performance. So when they slide, you can see the stock performance of Wal-Mart and Amazon. This is the orange line at the top. And then you see the blue line is a performance of Gap stock. So you can see that Wal-Mart and Amazon not only were able to survive in this environment, but they took the opportunity to adapt and they were able to actually achieve a phase of growth. So as we see that our ability to adapt to our environment will directly affect our performance. Why is this important and why do I bring this up? The reason I brought this up is because the big entities, how they react and how they thrive is similar, how people will thrive and react in this current environment. Most people can’t control whether the company they work for initiates layoffs. But everyone can learn to read the environment, diversify their skill set and adapt.

The World Economic Forum highlighted soft and hard skills required in the future. Importance of skills would include adaptability, resilience, communication and global mindset. Hard skills include digital fluency and data literacy. Now, let’s talk about the steps in your professional journey and the things you can do to succeed. There are three major milestones in your career. And for those times when you transition the new environment, this cycle just keeps repeating. The first step is to understand your environment. The second step is to fix yourself. And the third step is to stand out. Let’s chat about understanding your environment when you’re trying to understand your new corporate environment. You really need to do a lot of research. You need to research the company products. You need to research the company’s strategy. But also, I encourage you to take a look at the company culture. Look at their about page about me page. Look at their LinkedIn profile. Look at their posts and social media, Glassdoor reviews. I really encourage you to understand and try to imagine what it would be like to work for that company. Another useful thing to do is to research leadership principles. On this slide, you can see an example for leadership principles at Amazon. Not many people will actually research leadership principles or know their existence. But I can tell you for sure that the majority of Fortune 500 companies align their interview questions to these values. So, for example, let’s take the first value, bias for action. When you go to an interview at Amazon, your hiring manager will screen your questions and understand if you truly made decisions in the past and he truly exhibited bias for action. They want their leaders to be able to move the company forward, be able to move the progress, bring those results, move that PNL towards more profitable statements. So, sell your resume and your interview answers to these leadership values and the company culture. Mention examples that align with the expectations from the company you’re applying to.

The next step is pitching yourself. We’re going to chat about digital and physical presence. Your pitching starts way before the interview. The reason that a lot of people don’t make it to the interview is because they don’t realize their profiles and digital presence. You’re either working for them or against them. Digital presence is what your LinkedIn says about you. It’s a summary of your Google search results. I encourage all of you to Google yourself after this session and see, do you like the story it’s telling about you? To give you an idea of what good digital presence looks like, I search for Simon Sinek. He’s a well-known speaker and an author. The first results that pop up when you search for him is a summary describing him professionally and some personal details establishing him as an author. If you go to his Web site, you see all of his products, customer reviews and other interesting details. Now, if you go into the Google search media section with the videos, you see a lot of his speaking engagements that further confirm that he’s a great author and he’s a knowledgeable expert. You also see a lot of pictures from his speaking engagements or articles he wrote. Now his digital profile is exquisite. It is one of the best digital profiles you can find. And I encourage you to search other authors or other industry experts in your industry and see what their digital presence tells you about them. Your digital profile needs to reflect what you say in physical world. Whatever you say in your resume and should be reflected in your digital profile as well.

Now, let’s talk about the physical presence. The other side of the coin. Your physical presence starts with the moment you step into the building. Some reporters will ask a receptionist if you greeted them and what they thought of you. Interview decisions are made based on your qualifications, your attitude and demeanor. Any person you come in contact with could be the deciding factor in landing your job, adapting this to our current environment where interviews take place online. A good interview presence means using video, engaging your interviewer through the camera and using the star approach. Star method is a solid way to structure your interview responses. The model follows four key aspects: Situation, Task. Action and Results. Everybody, time you answer an interview question, you should start with outlining the situation you are in the task you were asked to complete, the action you took and the results you achieved. When I interviewed for Fortune 500 companies, I was listening for enthusiasm, engagement and specifics that painted a picture for me. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples of interview answers I’ve come across.

The names are changed, but we’ve got one profile, Anna, and we have another profile, Jane. The interview question is, how do you deal with customer issues? We have two responses. Let’s take another poll and let’s vote. Which response would you choose? The first response – Anna :: Anna says “as a director of customer service, a lot of issues get escalated to me when no one else can resolve them due to a complex nature of these issues. I manage all issues on a first come, first serve basis, and I have a track record of resolving them within a 24 hour window. Usually simple issues take under an hour, and more complex issues require a next day’s follow up. I’m proud to say that I have achieved a 99 percent satisfaction with my quality of service every month this year.” Now let’s take a look at Jane’s response:: “as a flight attendant, I’m  solely responsible for the passenger experience on a plane. I tend to handle all issues with patience and courtesy. Recently, I had a passenger who seemed to hate his seat next to a wailing infant. I decided to see what I could do to ease his suffering, before he complained. With unoccupied seats in business class, I upgraded that passenger, and he was thrilled at his luck while the mother and an infant were given more room to spread out. I’m going to give you guys a moment and we’ll summarize and take this poll.

 

—————— Poll Results are in ———————

 

Ksenia Closson (continues):

Seventy two percent voted for Jane and only 28 percent voted for Anna. Well, if I was a hiring manager, I would actually pick Jane. Jane’s response actually uses the star method and cites an example from her career illustrating how she dealt with a customer issue previously. Anna’s response is good, but it’s vague. Even though she cites some numbers, she doesn’t actually mention any example from from her previous experience, which raises a red flag for me, questioning whether she has the needed experience. Let’s talk about standing out.

Let’s assume the interview went well and you got hired. To reinforce your position on the company. You must obtain a number of skills to not only withstand the competition, but also confidently stand out on a regular basis. Besides the skills you exhibited during the interview process that align with the leadership values and the expertise needed for your specific role; there is a set of skills that you will need in the future environment going forward. When I create a corporate learning strategy, I align on the key skills needed for the company with my executive team. All of the skills that you see on a slide, out of all the skills that you see in the slide. I want to focus on the top three. Two skills is what you need to develop when working on your functional expertise. Functional expertise is knowing your craft.

Functional expertise for a learning and development expert would be learning and development training. Functional expertise for an engineer would be how to build a solution. For software engineer will be software. Now let’s chat about digital fluency. Digital fluency is what you need to develop when honing your technical expertise. Technical expertise is the ability to navigate the tools and the new environment. It’s using your laptop. It’s using specific software you need for your job. And then soft skills, for soft skills, the top skill would be consultative communication. It is the most crucial soft skill you will need in this new environment. Let’s focus on the functional expertise. We’re going to chat about T skills, P skills and comb shape skills. But before we do that, I want to touch on the traditional paths.

Traditionally we’ve got two paths. We usually have a generalists and we have a specialist. So a generalist tends to have a broad range of skills and expertise across a range of disciplines within their field. An example for an H.R. generalist would be an example for this in H.R. would be an H.R. generalist. Now a specialist tends to invest time and effort in becoming the go to person in a certain niche. So example for a specialist within the H.R. area would be compensation specialists because they’re focusing on a specific function within H.R.. In the new environment, you have to be more agile and your personal development strategy. You have to develop T skills, P skills or comb shape skills. And I’ll explain what that is.

The T skills shaped in the form of a t, where the person has a broad based knowledge with one area of expertise and a depth of knowledge in one specific function. So if you look at the screen, we’ve got the knowledge of H.R. generalists. That’s the breadth of knowledge. And then we have the depth of knowledge and learning and development.

If we’re looking at the P skills, P skills represent broad based knowledge with two expertise areas which gives the shape of P. So you have an example here as a H.R. generalist, knowing all of the H.R. areas. And then two specific areas of expertise, such as learning and development and change management.

Comb shape skills, a broad base, generalist knowledge, H.R. journalists, but then you have multiple areas of expertise. You’ve got rewards and compensation, learning and development, diversity & inclusion and employee relations. As for which one to aim for, it is your choice. I would say start with the T skills and most people would be able to have two expertise areas, maybe with one being prioritized over another. Comb skills are really hard to maintain. It requires a lot of time and there is a risk of not being an expert at all if you just spread yourself too thin.

So know yourself. Know your limits. You can invest. You know how much time you can invest in maintaining the skills and go for that. So one thing that’s in common in all of these three options is that you’ve got the broad generalist knowledge and then the expertise in that particular environment. Make sure that you have plan for both and make sure that you don’t forget to cover one of them. As a generalist, you need to be aware of what is out there past and present. You need to be on top of your industry knowing what trends are currently out there; need to keep an eye on future things, predictions and forecasting. As a specialist, you need to master one area very well and spend time learning the details and stay up to date on new technology or maybe new industry information that’s coming for that specific area of focus. You also need to have a good insight on competing technologies or similar technologies.

Let’s dive into technical expertise and we’re going to chat about digital fluency. Let’s  imagine that we have a situation. You’re a project manager, and I’m going to pose another question for you and maybe we can take another pole. Imagine you have two back to back video calls with two candidates who want to join your project. Your bonus will depend on how successfully you deploy this project, which means deploying it on time within the budget and in accordance with specifications. You gave both guys specific instructions for dialing in. You had virtual interviews with both of them. Who would you choose? Let’s take a moment to read this and I can read it out loud. You’ve got Albert, an expert with five years of experience, who dialed into your interview by phone. He apologized for being late. He couldn’t figure out a conference call software. Then you have James an expert with five years of experience, who joined the interview five minutes early. He used the video conferencing software, looked at the camera and set it up right. Who would you pick for your project? And I’m going to give you guys a minute so we can get everybody’s results in.

 

—————— Poll Results are in ———————

 

Ksenia Closson (continues):

All right. Let’s see the results. Oh wow! One hundred percent, right? You guys are absolutely correct. That’s amazing. Majority of people would hire the second person for a majority of roles. The success of your interview depends a lot on the first impression and impressions you create. Not being able to use the basic technology can communicate either a lack of interest in the role or lower than average intelligence. So be sure to study up the technology your company or the company you are interviewing with will be using. In this environment, we need to navigate, develop, co-author and control new technology. The tools in this slide are leading tools that Fortune 500 use to communicate and collaborate. We’ve got video conferencing software, WebEx and Zoom. We’ve got communication software, which is Microsoft Teams and SLACK. File storage sharing, OneDrive and SharePoint. Collaboration tools, Confluence and G Suite, which is a Google product. And I’m sure there are a lot of other tools and software that people use. But these are the top competitors. Figure out the technology company uses and get proficient in it. Now we’re going to touch on interpersonal skills and the personal skill we’re going to touch is consultive communication. This is the top skill you need to thrive in this environment. And historically, consultative communication was used in selling. This is a trend that I’ve seen in sales trading for the past couple of years.But consultive communication is not only applicable to selling, it is applicable to every environment we’re in right now. The things you need to do when you are practicing consultative communication: you need to listen without interruption, you need to restate what you heard and empathize, you need to site a couple of examples of how you dealt with a similar challenge that your client or stakeholder is telling you about, you need to offer multiple options. You can steer your client to a better superior option, but if the person is resistant, you need to be open to hearing their side of the story, and you can also surface consequences for the option they’re choosing to go with.  Tou need to listen closely to their responses, and then you need to close that conversation; you need to move forward with a positive closure. You need to be genuine. Use the product knowledge and give your client or stakeholder a lot of options. Consultative communication is a sign of consultative leadership, which is also important. Consultative leadership is when you leverage opinions or your teams and base your outcomes or deliverables on what is everybody’s on consensus and what everybody is sort of stating in the meetings. It’s not authoritative. It’s not suggestive. It’s you’re using consultative skills to bring your teams to the table and move them towards a common goal. The best way to practice interpersonal skills has always been by actually communicating, but the stakes are high and the jobs are scarce. So using something like Mursion modules would probably be a safer bet. And at this point, I’m going to hand this over to Jamie for Mursion to show us their crafty approach.

 

Jamie Thomason [Mursion]:

All right. Thank you so much, Ksenia. And what I’m going to do is actually introduce you to our host Avatar. But before we do, I need to find out in chat, if there’s anybody that wants to volunteer to  actually take a run through this, we can even go ahead and share what the scenario is, if that’s gonna make you feel a little more at ease here with possibly volunteering. So get it where I can show you that and there are also a few things just within the chat that I think we might just want to share with you while we’re giving everybody an opportunity to see if somebody wants to to jump in and be brave. Let’s see if we can look through some of this document of behavioral interview questions and once every once in a while interview it and add new stories so that it’s always current.I think that’s brilliant.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Yeah, let’s have a go. That’s a great idea. You know, just keep adding new stories from whatever wins you have in your current environment. Just add them to your interview and you never know when you need to go to an interview. Right. So this is a good way of remembering all of those situations or in all those wins. All of those results.

 

Jamie Thomason [Mursion]:

The other thing was Christina and I made the remark that she finds it strange when she asks a question like what is a mistake you’ve made? And the other person can’t seem to think of anything. I do believe Marty was what that said. It’s very important when they can’t think of a mistake that tells you something, you know

 

Ksenia Closson:

They’re not open to communication or maybe they are not aware that they made any mistakes. Yeah. That’s a red flag. Absolutely.

 

Jamie Thomason [Mursion]:

All right. I’m going to give everybody just took a minute more and then we’ll see. We might just have to ask Ksenia to model some behavior for us, but the beauty of this is that there is no right or wrong. This is really just about having a conversation and practicing that conversation and seeing how it feels so that you can see how we at Mursion respond to the need to actually communicate and have these conversations with an avatar with someone to do that role play in the safe environment before you go out into the real world and have to present to your future boss.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Yeah. Guys, I encourage you to practice right now. We’re all here to learn. And this is this is how you exhibit growth mindset, right? That you’re ready. You’re ready to learn. This is a safe space and it’s free. I mean, I would take it.

 

Jamie Thomason [Mursion]:

All right, cause today I think everybody’s feeling a little shy, so I’m going to impose on you to actually be my learner for this. And then if we have time at the end and somebody is feeling brave, we can always loop back in. But I think perhaps they want to just maybe experience it, see it for themselves the first time through, if that’s OK with you. All right.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Absolutely.

 

Host (Avatar):

Hi, Ksenia.

 

Ksenia Closson:

We have someone now that says they can do it.

 

Host (Avatar):

Well, we do have someone great.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Yes.

 

Host (Avatar):

Fantastic. Well, I’m. Let me I’m just going to put that slide back up while we’re getting everything set.

 

Ksenia Closson:

You’re going to have amazing practice Shannon, you’re gonna love it.

 

Host (Avatar):

Shannon, if you have a camera, you can turn on that screen.

 

Shannon (participant):

Yes. Good how are you?

 

Ksenia Closson:

Good how are you?

 

Shannon (participant):

Great, thank you. Good morning.

 

Host (Avatar):

Fantastic. Hi, Shannon, very nice to meet you. My name is Evelin. I’m going to be your Avatar host for today. Shannon, where are you calling in from?

 

Shannon (participant):

San Francisco, California.

 

Host (Avatar):

Excellent. Well, I’m going to show that slide one more time, just as a quick review. Just as a reminder, you’re just going to practice a consultative conversation. You’re dealing with Max, who’s a little resistant to change. Max is the director of customer service for Orange. Orange is a tech company that sells software as a service. Your company, Ascend, has been brought in to recommend how Orange should restructure their customer service team to improve their net promoter score. Currently aren’t just organizational design is driven by function. If a customer has an issue with existing installation, they contact an installation specialist directly. If they have an issue with billing, they contact the billing team. Each representative handles one specific area of the customer service process. Ascend, your company, has recommended that a single point of contact model would be more effective and efficient. The model would leverage a generalist approach where each member of the team would be a customer service specialist being able to respond, and resolve a majority of the issues that might come up in the customer service lifecycle. Your objective is to have Max understand this model and get him to buy into next steps. Even though he may be resistant to change. So you might not necessarily change his mind in this conversation entirely, but you need to at least open it up and get him having the conversation and see how far you can make that go. Do you have any questions? Take a minute if you want to take any notes, feel free to.

 

Shannon (participant):

I may actually kick those back over to continue because I just got a little visitor. That’s four years old in the room, and I don’t know how well this is going to go. Can you take this over? I’m sorry. I’ve got too much going on.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Of course. Of course. That sounds great. All right, Jamie, lets go back to Max. No worries Shannon.

Hello Max, how are you?

 

Max (Avatar):

Hey, I’m doing good, Ksenia, so I understand that your company has done some research, looked at some way we are doing some things and we’re going to up our net promoter score. So I’m I’m here to hear what you have to say.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Absolutely. And we’re all up for upping your net promoter score. This is actually the end goal. And from the first pass, it looks like that streamlining operations would be the best bet. And you can streamline it by transitioning from your sort of functional approach to your generalist approach, where people would call in and talk to your customer service specialist that would be able to help them on a variety of different issues instead of routing them to specific specialists. But I want to pause here, and this is just the first impression coming from outside in. I would like to hear what you have to say about it and to see your opinion on the topic.

 

Max (Avatar):

Yeah, I, I really appreciate that, because I have to tell you that I know, you know, we wanted to put this focus group together. It’s important to us that we look at this and we do our best to up that NPS, but I have to tell you that I’m not, I’m not feeling that this is really going to work for us to really change this approach where everybody does everything. It just seems too broad, and I can’t expect a billing specialist to know how to help someone with a technical issue or somebody that generally works on the tech side to worry about finances. It just doesn’t make any sense to me whatsoever.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Absolutely. I know I hear your concerns. So your concern would be that your member representative would not be actually able to help out and would not be a specialist is going to be more of a generalist where they wouldn’t be able to go in depth. Is that what I’m hearing?

 

Max (Avatar):

Yeah, absolutely. I did. I feel like that’s asking a lot of people and what if, what if I have team members that that aren’t capable of doing that? Where do we place them? Does this mean that I could lose team members because they’re not capable of handling everything?

 

Ksenia Closson:

Absolutely. So let’s go back to the customer. Right. Imagine that you are a customer. How would you feel when you’re calling back and you have to be rerouted multiple times to one specialist or the other specialist or third one. Just imagine, just, let’s just brainstorm quickly. What do you think?

 

Max (Avatar):

Well, I, I will admit that I have experienced that type of thing. Other places and yeah, that’s really, really frustrating. I, I can I can see your point here, but I just, I’m just really concerned about my team. I mean, that’s who I really have to look out for. And what if they’re not capable? I mean, they’re smart people. They’re great. But we’re asking a lot of people to learn how to troubleshoot across such a broad spectrum.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Absolutely. Are you familiar with design thinking concepts?

 

Max (Avatar):

Tell me a little more.

 

Ksenia Closson:

So design thinking is where you just go through phases from ideation to designing method, prototyping and testing it. So I think it would be beneficial for us if we just brainstorm and just figure out that perfect user journey. What do you think?

 

Max (Avatar):

I think that’s a great place to start and then we can look at that. Are you going to be able to help with with any sort of training or looking at how that’s going to affect the team as we move forward? If we if we choose to make these changes.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Absolutely. So we can definitely do the return on investment analysis. We can definitely give you all the benefits. The benefits would be that you will actually increase your customer base, because, as you said, the customer pain point is to be transferring to different specialists. Right. They don’t want to spend hours. They just want someone to deal with their issue. So let’s address the customer issue first and then let’s address the logistics and operations issue as we are designing this customer journey. So I would suggest the first phase would be, let’s tackle the customer experience and then let’s figure out the operations and logistics. What do you think?

 

Max (Avatar):

I think I think that that sounds like a plan, and I think that moving forward, maybe allowing the team to perhaps share some of the feedback that they’ve gotten would, I’m thinking as I’m listening to you that might help them understand why we’re looking at taking a different approach and get them on board a little easier. So let’s, can we just kind of take a step back and do the analysis? Look at the research and see where that leaves us and if it really looks like that’s the best plan, then I’m willing to work with you two to help get my team on board.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Sounds great. And then we’re going to have a follow up meeting and definitely look at your talent. Look at how your talent is equipped to handle this change. Right. So we’ll take a look at change management and how to get everyone on board. I absolutely agree that we need to leverage their feedback. And I absolutely agree that we need to train them. We need to make sure that they have the skill sets to accommodate this change. And I can guarantee you that we’ll get them ready. Let’s just figure out the customer journey first and then we’ll figure out how the company will accommodate this. We’ll be able to efficiently streamline the operations and make everything effective.

 

Max (Avatar):

All right. As I said, if I can if we could figure out how to do this and actually make it better for the team and not impact them in a negative way, then I’m certainly willing to look at it. So thank you for for saying that. The suggestion of just the customer experience, really. I know I have to look out for my team, but ultimately that’s what we’re here for. And that’s their focus, too. So I think that’s going to help them understand the reasoning behind the suggestion and the change. So thank you for that. I’m going to send you a list here of who’s where and how many we have and maybe we can start sending out and get some of that information in and we’ll circle back next week. Does that work for you?

 

Ksenia Closson:

Absolutely. Sounds great. I’m looking forward to working on this project with you.

 

Max (Avatar):

All right. Thanks, Ksenia.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Thank you, Max.

 

Host (Avatar):

All right Ksenia thank you so much for jumping in there. Now in a particular and a typical delivery time, this is when I, as the Avatar host, would reach out to you, do some guided reflection and feedback. Talk about what went well and what didn’t. But in the spirit of the roundtable, I’d like to go ahead and open the discussion up to the rest of the group. So I’m going to turn you back over to Jamie and Christina, to take a look at some of the strategies Ksenia used and delve further into that conversation. Thank you so much for your time. Have a wonderful day. Bye Bye.

 

Jamie Thomason:

All right. Ksenia and I just want to say, Shannon, thank you for thank you for being brave and for making the attempt to jump in there and the honesty and truth of the four year old in the mix. I have to tell you, we’ve dealt with that. It’s part of the reality of where we are and it’s perfectly all right. And it just sort of reminded me one of the things that we’ve done at Mursion is actually one of the environments we now offer is that video call environment so that you can practice having that conversation basically the way we are right here and now. So, Kudos to you for jumping and we completely understand. Now, obviously, Ksenia is a pro at having these conversations and putting backs at ease and opening up and getting him to see, you know, the other side of things and just beautifully done, because I know from just getting him to look at the other person’s perspective, but to really open up and ask those open ended questions, but I’m just gonna open it up to all of our attendees and I know Christina was kind of taking a look at the chat. Christina, if there’s anything you can share of what was said along the way or if anyone has any other questions. Now is the time to ask those of Ksenia on her approach and then we’ll delve a little further into the technical side of how that worked. A little later on, but right now I want to give you the opportunity to converse with her.

 

Christina Yu:

Yes, it is very lively chat. I thought that was brilliantly Ksenia. First, I want to say I thought it was, I mean, was very suspenseful, you know, like I wanted to I feel like I have this conversation all the time. It presents itself in different formats, in different contexts at work. And I you know, I saw a very strong mapping of this particular scenario to daily work conversations that I’m sure we all have. You know, a work is changing so much and, you know, there can often be this mentality of who moved my cheese. You know, I want things to stay the same. This is my job is the way we’ve always done it. Why do we have to do it differently? So this is it was a deeply relevant conversation, especially for now. So Linda mentioned this is a nice start, confirming what and what she heard from Max, letting him voice his concern. Yes. Those open ended conversations that invite the other perspective are absolutely critical. I, I noted that I thought it was a thinking about it from the customer’s perspective. It was a great way to approach the conversation. I think that approach of opening up the frame and thinking about it from other people’s point of view, whether it’s the customer or other team members, is a great avenue for the conversation. Marty said give an example of a customer service frustration like dealing with cable companies. Yes. Explain what’s driving this.

 

Jamie Thomason:

I was just going to say, because Max even said, oh, yeah, I’ve I’ve dealt with that. So it might have been opportunity of well, you get like, what’s an example? Because really, like, we get so wound up when we tell those stories of. Yeah, you know, I called the cable company and I pushed over to this one and this one of this one of this one. And then it kind of just reiterates and sets that, oh, OK, now I get it.

 

Christina Yu:

And if you can get the other person to come to the realization on their own rather than telling them and sort of forcing it upon them, it’s always that much stronger. I mean, really, that is the secret to being influential in general, whether it’s an internal application like that or some kind of sales or customer service interaction. So that skill of directing the conversation in a way such that the other person comes to that realization. Yeah. And Linda mentioned info from focus groups show a lot. Also qualitative and quantitative will help. Yes. I love how the conversation didn’t shy away from doing an official ROI study and the data. I find that many times in conversations when people ask about the data, they ask about the ROI the other person automatically gets defensive. Like, you know, like you just have to do it my way. You know, like they don’t want to actually go into that because the ROI, qualitative and quantitative data. Those words scare a lot of people. But I think if you show competence and if you don’t hesitate to go there and answer that question, I think you can be very powerful in a conversation. Finally, Erica said change management is so personal and different for everyone. I thought Ksenia you did a great job hearing the needs and bridging the gap to fill them. Yes.

 

Jamie Thomason:

Absolutely, and I. We chose this scenario because it really, actually Ksenia, I’m sure you can say this much more eloquently than myself of how this sort of translates into what we were talking about, even in promoting yourself and moving forward within a company and being able to have that conversation and get the other person to buy into what you’re saying without giving a sales pitch, because that’s what we do in an interview, is we’re selling ourselves. Right? I did get a couple of quick questions, so as a just if anyone has any questions, as a quick review, we do use a live human in the loop. So in this particular case, that was yours truly. Who was driving? Both the host Avatar and the Avatar within that scene? That scenario, if we’re working with an organization, we custom build those scenarios. And as I mentioned earlier in the webinar, that we were actually come up with a more individual package that we can put out and I’ll let Christina share a little bit more about that coming up. But if anybody has any questions in regards to the technology itself, we’re happy to answer those at this time as well. And then, I just thought it was sort of a fun fact while we were sitting here waiting for questions to come in, to share some of what we’ve seen and our engagements as to why learners love using Mursion, because not a one percent said that they feel that Mursion simulations are realistic, 90 percent say the scenarios are relevant to their job, and eighty five percent are confident that they’re going to use what they learned on the job. So we’re kind of proud of some of those stats. And Christina, I’ll let you share a little bit more about this if you’d like to and I’m going to see if I can pull up a chart here to see if we have any further questions.

 

Christina Yu:

Yes. So we survey countless learners and discovered that in their opinion, these are the targeted skill sets that they feel if they mastered would skyrocket their career. So the ability to interview well, to do all those things that we discuss, like telling stories, zooming in and out, showing that you’re a generalist and a specialist at the same time, executive presence so that includes skills like, motivating, public speaking, thinking on your feet, again, storytelling and delivering challenging presentations to a difficult audience. Think about anytime  when you’re presenting complex information. And the you know, the audience isn’t buying it. They’re they’re pushing back with questions like what’s the headline? What’s the big picture? Can you give me an example? And then ultimately salesmanship. That’s giving elevator pitch, giving and getting commitment, a consultative mindset which is critical, whether you are selling yourself internally, influencing in an organization or actually being a consultant and then actually turning those difficult conversations around boundaries into upselling opportunities, because that’s what many people don’t often realize, that any conversation where you have to talk about boundaries is potentially an opportunity to upsell. Think about scope of work creep in and conversations like that. So these are the skills that map directly to career success and with this new package we are offering four simulations like the one that you experienced in a single program. You can buy multiple programs for the ultimate career acceleration. So if you’re interested in exploring that, either for yourself, for anyone on your team or for an organization, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

Jamie Thomason:

I was just going to say I actually just dropped in the chat. The LinkedIn connect for Kesenia, Christina and myself. And I know all three of us would love to connect on LinkedIn. And I am going to send out a truncated version of the recording and also, Ksenia’s slide deck with with her blessing and we’ll make certain that you get all of that information as well as I’ll have her LinkedIn, my LinkedIn and Christina’s all included in that follow up as well. And once again, this is what Christina was sharing. I didn’t mean to interrupt. I just know that we’re winding down to our last couple of minutes. So I wanted to make certain that if you did have any other questions or comments for Ksenia or Christina and I at Mursion that, you go ahead and pop those down into the chat and I’m going to let Christina I interrupted your flow. My apologies, I just know some people are hopping off, so I just want to share that and I’ll let you wrap up with this one and they will say goodbye.

 

Christina Yu:

Absolutely. So this approach of blending artificial intelligence and live human interaction is about taking the best in human intelligence and computational machine intelligence, concentrating all the innovations at our disposal to create practice that is super focused and targeted, to create results that we can see and feel in a short time frame so that we can measure that skill acquisition and really start to build competitive advantage around those skill sets.

 

Jamie Thomason:

And to that end, for those of you, as I said, that would like to reach out to Ksenia to learn more about her coaching and her offerings. Use her LinkedIn. We are going to provide you with her Website information as well. And if you have questions for any of us, please feel free to reach out. I want to say thank you to everyone for your time. A special thank you to Shannon for being brave and trying to jump in there for Ksenia, for picking up the pieces for us and showing us a beautiful model of how to influence and ask those open ended questions and have that consultative approach. And just thank you for your time, Ksenia, and for sharing this amazing information with us. It was so valuable in so many ways. And to all of you, I say thank you and have a beautiful day. Bye bye.

 

Ksenia Closson:

Thank you, Jamie and Christina, thanks for having me. And thank you everyone for stopping by. It was a pleasure. Have a great day. Bye.