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www.brandlove.co.za


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Experience Designers Ep 4

(I use a mix of automated transcript software and editing for readability )

Steve: [00:00:01] Hi Chantel. Welcome to the experience designers as podcast.

Chantel: [00:00:16] Hi Steve, I'm really privileged to talk to you today.

 

Steve: [00:00:20] Fantastic. And thank you so much for giving me some time in your diary and I just would also like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Elsa as well as she's been brilliant.

 

Chantel: [00:00:34] Elsa is the organisation part of me where I just love being creative and Elsa makes sure that I don't break any of my promises. So thank you for being patient with us.

 

Steve: [00:00:46] Yeah I know she's been brilliant. She's very nice. I thought I'd mention that.

 

Steve: [00:00:51] So for the audience. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in your business and what you do.

 

Chantel: [00:00:59] Fantastic. So, you know I'm Chantelle. I ran a company called Brand love. I'm the founder and CEO of Brand love. And the company's been going for three and a half years and I think I wanted to, I was yearning to create I think an environment that I always longed for. I've been in corporate for 20 plus years working in financial services. Originally my background was in computer science so I studied computer science and maths which is something that not a lot of people know about me.

 

Steve: [00:01:35] I noticed!

 

Chantel: [00:01:35] And then I moved much more to the business side, management consulting and really my passion for igniting great experiences for employees and customers.

 

Steve: [00:01:48] Amazing. So why this line of work, why this focus and passion?

 

Chantel: [00:01:57] You know, I think I stumbled into a large transformation project for a company I was working for and I just started looking at customer experience and some of the frameworks and design thinking and I think you totally by accident I found a set of principles and models and really a philosophy that I could subscribe to. And I think at the core of it is just, if I had to boil it down to one word, it's like you know creating kindness in the world that you know that's that's really what we do, is we train and kindness we show people how to design for kindness and I just found a sweet spot that gives me and my brand love team a lot of purpose.

 

Steve: [00:02:47] Excellent. I mean I don't know if you saw, I'm sure you have and it's pretty it's been pretty well documented. I think it was last year, Gallup report showed I think just 15 percent of the workforce and this is out of one hundred and fifty five countries, just 15 percent were engaged, which says there's an awful lot of work to do in this area. I just feel really sad for people that we need to know this so there's so much work to do out there to get people more engaged and I think employers to actually be held accountable for designing a much better experience for employees.

 

Chantel: [00:03:28] Yeah, I mean I think the if I look at you online and I think it probably I need to caveat this because I think part of my part of my conviction comes with probably menopause and a midlife crisis. You know to know that that you've got less time than what you've had.

 

Steve: [00:03:47] Yes.

 

Chantel: [00:03:48] And I think so you know time is the one thing that I cannot buy for myself and time is my one very very limited resource. And when we ran a program where we say we ignite a passion, purpose and performance in people. And that's really teaching them that time is their most limited resource and they have the ability to decide what they do with their time. And if you decide to follow a profession that your whole heart isn't into it. It's just do very deliberate, know that you might be choosing that for a specific reason and be happy doing with that choice that you're making. But staying captive in an environment where you're not engaged, when you're not living your passion, you're not living your purpose and you're not performing either. Actually just erodes people's self belief, it erodes their self-confidence and it erodes how they show up in the world. And that's really you know my wish for people as to when they feel they are stuck. You know that we take them through a process of becoming unstuck and a lot of that captivity we see in a customer service environment, large call centres, have these almost epidemic proportions where they just, you know they feel they are a captive.

 

Steve: [00:05:20] Yes!

 

Chantel: [00:05:22] And therefore they give bad service, often.

 

Steve: [00:05:25] Yes, absolutely

 

Chantel: [00:05:26] Thats because it's almost a systemic issue.

 

Steve: [00:05:31] It is. I use systemic a lot recently! So, just tell me is your business purely focused on the African market, specifically in terms of geographical focus?

 

Chantel: [00:05:44] So we have a kind of a very global outlook and the models we use we've got you know a lot of the frameworks we give away to people is used globally. So if I look at you know a typical audience, we've got a large following from your end of the world from the UK. Personally, I travel quite a bit to the states and the UK, so I get to do projects with global customers. The majority of that work happens in South Africa and Africa. I think we're sitting with interesting challenges and I think just amazing opportunities in Africa. A lot of the countries in Africa like Rwanda and Kenya, you know they never had, if we look at specifically customer experience, they've always had a very very proud nations. They're very proud of the countries, they know that a lot of their revenue comes from tourism. So you'll often find that the service is incredibly good. Also, I think Africa when it comes to digital experiences they've not spent very long in a desktop here. So they almost leapfrog desk top and went straight to mobile

 

Steve: [00:07:05] Yes.

 

Chantel: [00:07:06] And that's why you'll see a lot of the experiences that you get from apps and from Mobile interactions is exceptionally good because they never had this legacy of, we have this Web site and we need to now reach up with this website so we can get it into mobile. They almost started some of these companies started with a clean slate.

 

Steve: [00:07:27] Interesting and that provides some significant competitive advantage, just my own experience, let's talk about tourism. I mean my own experience with a very recent holiday some of the web sites that was so noticeably poor on mobile. And this is in kind of Mexico or U.S. or you know what you would consider potentially far more developed in some ways or had certainly a longer period of digital. Yeah, it was really interesting it is quite frustrating actually from a customer perspective. So it's really interesting to hear they've jumped that.

 

Chantel: [00:08:01] Absolutely.

 

Chantel: [00:08:05] Yeah there's a company in Rwanda called Safe motor and they're like they like Uber of scooters. You know, if you need if you need it. That's the main way of getting transport in Rwanda is on the back of a scooter. So you'd call your safe motor, like you would an Uber. And the driver's driving gets monitored with like a gyro in the app and G.P.S. on the app. If they drive unsafely they get rated without you giving them a rating. The driving is monitored and they get taken off the app if they're irresponsible drivers, which I think is kind of leapfrogs that innovation very often you know when we work with corporates, the word innovation kind of gives me it gives me a little bit of the creeps because it's used very superficially. You know we have customers saying, Chantelle can you please come and work with us. We really want to want to be disruptive. And then I work with them over a period of weeks and you know every day I engage with them I say, Well yesterday you weren't being disruptive. Can we try again. So I think you know we sometimes in the most unconventional places and I'm very proud to be based in South Africa and to be an African. Very very proud I think you know we've got all kinds of interesting language challenges. We've got economical challenges. And I think if I look at the examples of people that I've just been very resourceful they haven't claimed that 'oh I don't have enough budget, I don't have the people I've been exceptionally resourceful

 

Steve: [00:09:48] Yes!

 

Steve: [00:09:49] It drives a different type of creativity doesn't it I think. Just in terms of you don't necessarily have all the tools available therefore you have to try and work with what you've got with potentially more limited resource. But then how do you then test the creativity side for sure.

 

Chantel: [00:10:08] Yeah.

 

Steve: [00:10:08] One of the areas that we wanted to talk about today, there was a lot of love from the brand love owner on this podcast when I asked for three bullet points or areas you wanted to discuss. Each sentence started with 'love for' which I was like, brilliant. So the first one which I was really keen on because it's such a massive topic at the moment, which is around humanising the workforce.

 

Steve: [00:10:36] So your specific question was the love for bringing humanity back into the workplace. So, just tell me a little bit about that what the passion lies within that subject for yourself.

 

Chantel: [00:10:48] Well, you know when I founded this brand five years ago, I think my outlook at the time would be. It was that you know our work would be very process oriented and that we'd design these amazing neat journeys that would result in these beautiful maps being displayed some way on their on on a wall. And I know the maps on the wall never kind of ignite change but I thought our work would be neat and and our work turned out to be quite quite messy at a human level. And a lot of the requests we get from our customers are, you know they describe the environment to be one where you know when the employee enters the workplace and they scan in the card and the turnstile turn and they get to their desk. They get very transactional and process oriented. And they say well we can't understand that they cannot bring compassion and empathy and emotion to work and we look at how they've designed everything in the workplace. And it hasn't been designed for that. It's been designed for following a couple of transactional processes and methods. And my KPI is quite transactional and when you measure me in half performance discussions with me it's quite transactional. My payslip is transactional my process is requesting leave is transactional and we go well nothing in this environment has been designed for empathy and for showing up as a human being, you know the people that come with "hey, my child is sick" or "hey, I've got some marital problems".

 

Chantel: [00:12:36] They immediately flagged as being high maintenance. You know it's that is that situation again. And I think there's a lot of fear around actually showing up and being yourself in the workplace. So a lot of what we work with contrary to what I thought we would do is work with fear in the workplace and work with leadership to say "well, how do you need to show up differently"? to allow people to come to work as as human beings. Because if I asked someone what does great service look like to you, if you go to a restaurant with your family what is it that you want? And they go well, actually you know, we want great food but that's kind of a given but we want memories for our family. And so they know deeply what fantastic service looks like, they know what it feels like, they can describe and give me examples of people that have given them great memories but then they come to the workplace and they show up very transactionally and I think it's a design, I'm going to use the word systemic again because you love it.

 

Chantel: [00:13:42] So it's a systemic design problem and then I think there's fundamentally I think we've come through an education system where we were driven to compete. So everything was about being better than the person next next door to you. And it was also very much around a portfolio of evidence to show us that you can tick that box, you're getting the marks for this subject but a very very low equipping people with tools to collaborate with other human beings, to communicate with other human beings. So I'm I'm in coaching relationships with executives that are at the top of their craft, they're masterful in how they manage the businesses but they really lack the ability to lead and inspire the people in that business. So I think that a lot of brand loves time goes into non-profit activities around working with teachers in schools, working with children and equipping them with those interpersonal skills. I think our next big frontier is going to be with the advent of robotics and automation is going to be a whole different level of collaboration and an ability to really communicate with each other.

 

Steve: [00:15:17] It's fascinating because I think there's a proportion which is as you say within the children demographic / age group. So how are we teaching them different to what we've taught them about what you mentioned about ticking boxes or old school because then those behaviours and habits are formed and then into the workplace, so you kind of got this kind of next generational focus but then also kind of a current generation of leadership and management as well in terms of behavioural change or how they're how they're seeing the business more from a......is there talk at that level, are you seeing more talk around experience design or in or employee experience generally? Are you seeing it much more on the agenda at senior level?

 

Chantel: [00:16:03] I am seeing a lot more requests for can you come and help us. A lot of the time the request comes without knowing exactly, what do I need to come and help them with. And we see two drivers of that change. The one is absolute fear. Fear of becoming irrelevant, fear of competition.

 

Steve: [00:16:35] Yeah.

 

Chantel: [00:16:36] And then there's the desire to shift something, so we're almost seeing fear when there's been some kind of an incident. That goes like we've had way too many cases of employees that have left them disgruntled, because something just went horribly wrong in their journey and then they start paying attention or alternatively when the competitors launch a really innovative product that comes with the service offering that's totally unreliable. So I think I'm still, you know, if I look at our entire project portfolio. I'm still not seeing kind of that deep commitment to humanity and kindness, just because it's the right thing to do.

 

Steve: [00:17:26] Yeah. I understand.

 

Chantel: [00:17:27] I think there's still a lot of "Alright, Chantelle we buy this employee journey thing. Can you tell us the ROI. I sound a little bit like an evangelist for some really passionate group of people and some of it I say, "yes". There's the mathematician in me and the accountant in me that want to show you the models of how we can measure this but these also that the passionate person in me that says, "You've got to have a conviction" and some of this you just have to believe and you have to look at some of the people that have gone before you, because we're not in the kind of stuff we do, there's not people, there's not a lot of pioneers. The pioneers have been through some of this, a lot of what we do, people want to say, "Well it's new, but it's not". Frankly, if I look at the people I admire in the CX space, you know a lot of these people have been doing this stuff for the last 20 - 25 years. So, there's a lot of examples to learn from and to say well, if you look at Southwest Airlines, that commitment to the people have brought them just incredible success

 

Steve: [00:18:47] And those examples you gave there around either you have high attrition due to something going wrong or you know a competitor releasing something that looks better or slicker, it still feels reactive. They're reacting to the market or something it's already happened, rather than actually trying to get ahead of it with a much more experience led approach.

 

Chantel: [00:19:10] What I've started doing recently and I posted quite a bit on LinkedIn about it, is defining what a lot of companies say, "Well, we want to do journey design and we want to do service design and design thinking". I'm going, "Well, what do you want to design into your experiences? What is your experience essence". Well, I don't know what that is.

 

Chantel: [00:19:33] And it's like the perfume. The perfume I wear? If I phone you. What is the perfume I feel and I smell in that call. If I go into your offices what is that DNA strand that when I strip your brand off, I still know that it's you. I distinctly know that it's you. And I think that's been a difficult journey for a lot of brands. They know their CI and they know what their corporate identity looks like and they kind of have a very transactional tone of voice. Thou shalt say this and thou shalt not say that. But, it's what's the emotion you want to associate with your brand. So, we've started being a lot more assertive when it comes to that. Some of the work like Journey design, we will not do that until we've taken you through a process of saying what's your essence.

 

Steve: [00:20:30] Yeah.

 

Chantel: [00:20:30] How will I know it's you. And how will I know it's you when I'm your employee and how will I know it's you when I'm your customer and what is what are some of the leadership commitments that I can hold you to, for your employees and what are some of the design principles and behaviours I can hold you to from that design perspective. So, we end up with a one page artefact that beautifully articulates very succinctly so I can wake any employee up at 3 o'clock in the morning and say, "What does your brand stand for? What is your DNA? What's your essence?"

 

Chantel: [00:21:14] And they should just be able to tell me

 

Steve: [00:21:16] Amazing.

 

Chantel: [00:21:17] And whether they make tea or whether they craft corporate strategy they should be able to tell me how they deliver that.

 

Chantel: [00:21:30] And then it's about sticking with that. So if you defined what you are, then it's about being what you are and everybody holding each other accountable. I had this situation where their customer the other day. They've got the decision principles that they as an executive committee have committed to and they were trying to do something that was against that. And I pulled that out and I said, "Alright, I'm either getting the idea that you want to go and change this or alternatively you're trying to make a decision here that's got a very short term outlook that goes against these decision principles that we laid down a month ago.

 

Steve: [00:22:11] Yes.

 

Chantel: [00:22:12] And that's about holding each other accountable. So this was either a bad idea to put this principle up here to say this is the way we're going to make decisions to the benefit of our employees and to the benefit of our customers. Either was a bad idea putting it here, or you're being pressured into making a decision that violates this.

 

Steve: [00:22:32] Yes. So can I ask. Let's just say there's a leader listening to this podcast now. What would you say are some of the guiding principles or considerations if they were going to engage in some form of change or innovation process towards kind of experience design or approaching this kind of work?

 

Chantel: [00:22:57] I think it's about being clear where you want to get to. And it's about being very honest about your motives. I would rather have a customer say to me, "Listen, our profits are dwindling, we're purely doing this for the money". Than say to me, "We want to be hugely clients centric and the latest buzz word is employee experience or customer experience or digital experience and can you put together a model of transformation? And they buy into the concept for the pure reason that they heard that this is how you keep customers and get customers coming back to you. So, I think it's about coming back to the truth. I often say customer experience is a little bit like teenage sex. You don't know what you're getting into until you until you do it. And then you've kind of started something so there's no going halfway.

 

Steve: [00:23:59] Yeah!

 

Chantel: [00:23:59] I often get the call to say, "Oh, we've got this beautiful journey map on the wall Chantelle. What do we do now?" Can you come and make our people now do what's on the journey map? I love to believe I've got super powers but I can't make another human being do anything that they don't believe in their hearts. And often we have to forget that the map is on the wall. Often we have to go back to the drawing board and say alright. So these are the building blocks that's missing. These are the blocks that we need to get a strong foundation in place and often the map is there. The map has been designed in isolation. And if I ask about the essence they still don't know what is the experience piece. What do they want the most junior person to do? So we know so we know it's them.

 

Steve: [00:24:53] Wonderful. The next love area, was the love for doing things differently. Which I thought was interesting. Tell me a little bit about why you wrote that.

 

Chantel: [00:25:14] Yeah. I mean I think us as human beings the reason why we are still around because I mean physiologically we weren't built to be very fast or very strong. So in nature we actually are a freak of nature that we managed to survive for so long in such harsh conditions.

 

Steve: [00:25:39] And we are getting freakier and freakier as the years go on, for sure.

 

Chantel: [00:25:43] Absolutely and with kind of body transplants and brain transplants and head transplants and robotics.

 

Steve: [00:25:50] Genetic engineering, yeh!

 

Chantel: [00:25:54] Age reversal thing could really work for me!

 

Chantel: [00:25:59] So I think the fact that we can recognise patterns and respond to patterns is probably one of the things that kind of made us survive for so long. The unfortunate thing about patterns is it doesn't take you very long to get into a pattern, especially when it's a fear driven pattern. If you burn your hand and you know it's hot, you're not going to catch it again. Maybe as a kid you do it twice and then you know, don't touch the hot stuff. But I think very often what we see in corporate environments and the reason why people don't do things differently. If we challenge them they often respond with a story about a fear that they have. That's quite an unfounded and a very old fear. So if we ask, this is an idea. Have you tried this? The response is 'No, no. That will definitely not work" and we ask, "Well, why do you say that won't work?" Typically, it's someone tried it five years ago and it didn't work. It was a total failure. And no longer around. And we go, "Well, you know we need to embrace failure, how about trying it again". If they say, "No, compliance will never allow us to do that" and we go. "Have we had this discussion with compliance"? They go, we know, we know those guys (won't allow us).

 

Chantel: [00:27:27] So I think that's really people getting stuck in old fears about old stories that no longer has a relevance. And I think if we look at the patterns that develop in organisations. I used to work for an organisation that had religiously they had a restructuring every five years and four and a half years people would get crazy you know they would go like, "Oh it's almost upon us"!

 

Steve: [00:27:55] Fascinating.

 

Chantel: [00:27:55] And I remember, I was new at the time. We had the first restructuring. I'd been there about six months and I was like, "What's going on here?" Don't you know, it's that time.

 

Chantel: [00:28:14] And they told me and I said, "Well, just update your CVs, do a course, like just pick a big project and like just over perform, they go, "No, it doesn't work like that here"

 

Steve: [00:28:25] Well well

 

Chantel: [00:28:27] So I think doing things differently is often not revolutionary stuff. I said to my team. Just to use foul language, you can bleep it out, I said to my team. At the beginning of this year, we had our first meeting. I said to them, this year we are going to just run a laboratory and try different things. And I say to them. So what I'm telling you, it's impossible to f**k up. I said, "We're going to make a lot of mistakes and it's gonna be impossible to f**k up. Really what I was saying to them is, "It's okay to mess up". It's really okay. I want us to fail more often this year, I want us to fail fast and I want us to use every failure as a learning opportunity. That does not mean we're going to do poor quality work. That means we are going to do more courageous work. We can try new things and we're going to end up with something that's really differentiated and something that's remarkable, that's going to get our clients to a remarkable end result with less budget. Because we know we're kind of in a little bit of an economic window. People don't have a lot of money to spend on innovation just spend on fixing some of the errors of the past. And very often we go in and we lift the carpets and we sweep everything that's been shoved under the carpet for years. We take it out and we say, "You know we need some air in here". Some of these fears we need to confront them, either with courageous conversations or just walk through on what are some of these limiting assumptions you're making. Because often it's I.T. and compliance and processes and that's never the issue.

 

Steve: [00:30:22] What do you think about, having only fairly recently come across design thinking and learnt all about it and the process. My experience of that was like a real wow moment of actually it encourages learn by doing, it encourages to make mistakes, it encourages to break down barriers and bring people from all areas of the organisation together. So, I think there's some tools out there that are obviously being used for many years but I think still think there's a long way to go actually. But what do you think of these tools and maybe agile and design sprints all these types tools out there that are really helping this type of conversation.

 

Chantel: [00:31:08] Yeah, I think it's magnificent. And I think just the generosity of people around the world to share their tools and give their tools away.

 

Steve: [00:31:16] Absolutely

 

Chantel: [00:31:16] That's just magnificent. I think what I'm seeing in the environments where we work. If I say 'design thinking' some of our customers go, "Oh, that's very academic". And you know what. We don't have the skills internally to do that. We're going to have to get a consultancy to do that. The same for for Agile, the same for others. So, I think a lot of the terminology scare people a little bit.

 

Steve: [00:31:49] Interesting.

 

Chantel: [00:31:49] So, I mean the reason why we've started just giving away so much stuff and we just want to make people smart and we want to demystify some of this. But you know it's only for the academic. And you need to go to the D school and really study design thinking and I mean I think D School (https://dschool.stanford.edu/) is magnificent. I think those bootcamps that they run is just phenomenal. But I think just demystifying that this is for the privy few that have been through some certification to lead it. You know so often we run our workshops and we use a lot of lego serious play, because we just find it an amazing thinking tool.

 

Chantel: [00:32:32] And we run a workshop and people go, "wow that's amazing". And I go, "Well, you've just done design thinking, that's what you've just done. We just didn't go through all of those things, but everything you've now done. You know we've really personified the customer, we've had interviews, we've done empathy mapping, we've done prototypes and they go, "Oh, is that all it is?"

 

Steve: [00:32:59] But that is the reaction though. I mean the perception versus the reality of it. Anyone can do it actually. I'm sure that there's a lot of designers that would say, "No, it's a designers discipline. But actually, yeah if you get the process right and a good facilitator, then yes, there's some magic that comes out of it, for sure

 

Chantel: [00:33:23] Yeah, I mean I get interviewed quite a bit and the question I get most is, "How did you manage to build such a prominent global view / brand in such a short space of time and it's by practicing what we preach. You know, we spend a fair amount of time doing empathy mapping for our customers. If we start working with a new leader, we do extensive empathy mapping to look at what's going on in their world. What's keeping them awake at 3 a.m? What are they worried about? Because sometimes what we're worried about from a delivery perspective, is not what they're worried about. And you really want to solve problems for them. And if they're not worried about the right stuff, we want to switch on a light and support and guide them in a way, where they start worrying about the right stuff.

 

Steve: [00:34:13] Yeah. Wonderful.

 

Chantel: [00:34:15] Sometimes the 3.00am moments is about really short term stuff and we can see long term, there's a train coming and the train's going to hit you. So I think it's about practicing what you preach.

 

Steve: [00:34:27] Yeah, I totally agree. Totally agree. This one actually leads on rather well now, I think. So, the love for simplifying process, which you mentioned as your 3rd point. It was interesting when looking at your LinkedIn profile, I could see your background was very much around project management, wasn't it, early in your career?

 

Chantel: [00:34:49] Yeah I've

 

Steve: [00:34:50] I imagine it was process process during the first part of your career?

 

Chantel: [00:34:56] You know what. I spent a number of years coding. I was a developer. I was pretty sh**e at that. I couldn't sit still long enough. And then I spent a number of years project managing / program managing and then I headed up digital for a few companies and the project management. I'm inherently very creative. The limitations that come with being super organised and that's why I have an Elsa. So I think some of that creativity that suffers in the process of being organised. But saying that, I think in terms of delivering and executing on creativity. You need to be very organised. But I think it's about that single focus and very often when people say to me some of the programs that we've run that have been hugely successful they ask, "Was it difficult". And we say, "No, it wasn't difficult". It's actually not complicated, but it's hard. It's doing 100 things slightly differently. And I think us as human beings we want significance through having a big idea and then implementing that big idea, but very often it's about five little ideas and just tweaking things, incrementally tweaking things and then having the confidence to say, "I'm willing to wait for the success". Once I've tweaked these five things and I think that thing of trying and sometimes we get it right and sometimes you don't get a right and it just keeping on going.

 

Chantel: [00:36:43] I was talking to someone yesterday. And I said, around ideas. So we love coming up with different ideas and because we work across industries you know we've kind of become idea generators because one thing that works in financial services. If you slightly change that idea and you apply it to retail, you just get magic. But every month I kind of spend a little bit of time standing at this ideas graveyard of all the ideas that the customer didn't implement. And I mourn them. And then and then I move on and the next day. I say to the team. "Listen, when we stop having heart attack about some of the ideas, that just dies prematurely because a lot of people tell me the time's not right". And I go, "Well, you know with this whole digital photography thing, the time wasn't right for Kodak". And look what happened with that. And I'm still sad about Kodak.

 

Steve: [00:37:38] Yes!

 

Chantel: [00:37:38] So, I just love that etch of Picasso called, "The bull". They used to use that in Apple's training and on-boarding. Where Picasso had this etch of a bull. And every time he'd take lines away from the sketch, until you could just make out it was a bull. It is about simplifying and I think very often people think innovation is adding stuff.

 

Steve: [00:38:11] Yeah. Agree!

 

Chantel: [00:38:12] But very often it's about taking stuff away. It's about all the crap that you've added in the last 15 minutes. Take it away. Layer by layer away and question critically. You know if I look at an application form for a bank account. Sometimes just questioning why do you ask that? In some environments we found sometimes they ask something twice and when I ask, "Well, why do you have that twice on the form? Don't you think we can make it more efficient?" They go, "No, we ask it twice, just in case the customer's trying to commit fraud, because we're going to catch them out if they answer the first time 'A' and the second time 'B'. So you're going to punish how many million customers?. What's your fraud percentage?  They go 0.02%. You have to be kidding me! That's you're asking it twice to catch our fraud. I think it's about stripping those layers away because if you're simplifying, you strip the layers away. You get to the real reasons which is very often systemic culture issues. Fear that are just perpetuated from the previous regime, that no longer work. You know there's no longer a fraud police. But that's the way we've done things for 30 years and we'll keep on doing that unless someone crazy with a pink brand comes in and tells us, "Hey, you need to think differently".

 

Steve: [00:39:47] That's interesting because I read, I cant' remember the source, so forgive me. Just before Christmas there's obviously lots of 2019 trends coming up! So lots of reports that come out obviously pre Christmas. But there was one that caught my eye and they talked about a trend around simplicity and minimalism coming our way in terms of a trend. I think it was a design publication and I agreed with it. It's really interesting because I just think we've just got so much stuff, there's so many things happening everywhere in the world right now. I think sometimes we just have to take a pragmatic and simplistic view on things. Because often that wins through better than trying to build something really complex and innovative, actually it's the simplest things that people want or even need.

 

Chantel: [00:40:40] Absolutely. I mean I'm a little bit of a junkie. I love Marie Kondo's new series on Netflix about decluttering. I think the inherent philosophy there, whether you're decluttering a home or your wardrobe. It's about asking that question, "What sparks joy"?. And in our jobs. As a leader of a small startup organisation. I did not want to put a lot of rules down. But the one rule that I do have for my team is, "You've got to do what you love". And if you hate doing something, you've got to bring it to the table. So every month we have a retrospective, we get together as a team. We do a retrospective and we go, "What did you love. What did you loathe. What did you long for. And what did you learn"? And we do that retrospective religious and the stuff that people loathe. We either find someone else to do it or we find that we need to build a skill to improve. So, everybody's going to do stuff that they don't like.

 

Steve: [00:41:48] Indeed.

 

Chantel: [00:41:49] And I listen to Seth Godin's podcast the other day and he was saying, "You know, there's this whole overrated thing about being authentic and authenticity. There's like a balance between being authentic and being professional. You know it's like a surgeon. If a surgeon's doing surgery on you. And he's really not feeling like it. You do not want him to be authentic. You do not want him to say, "Hey. I don't feel like doing this right now". I've opened you up, just lie here until I feel like coming back. Then it's when professionalism comes into it saying, "Hey, I might not feel 100 percent into this surgery, maybe I've got a little bit of a headache but my professionalism and my oath that I took is going to make me do the absolute best job that I can". So you obviously do not want the surgeon to be you know authentic when he doesn't feel like doing things. So you know that really kind of opened my eyes for, you know, I believe in authenticity. I believe in people saying, "Hey, I show up with my emotions as I am". And in that acknowledgment saying, "I know I need to be professional, I feel sad or I feel angry or I feel pissed off about something that I'm going to be I'm going to be actually professional and the best I can be right in this moment with you with who I am". And that goes back to our first love about bringing humanity back into work. So with the permission to show up as you are, there comes the ownership and responsibility to say, "Show up as you are" but understand it's not about the brand that you get your payslips from. It's about the brand that you are. So, if I cannot make anyone be excited about a brand, but I can make them establish pride in who they are and what they do. If you can get someone to do something for themselves who they are and what they want to be known for. Often, we say like don't wait for a gravestone. Like don't put a gravestone on your grave that says, "Here lies Steve, he was....." It's more about having that life stance and saying, "Hey, I'm Steve and this is what I stand for. This is what I want to be be known for".

 

Steve: [00:44:11] Yeah.

 

Chantel: [00:44:12] I've actually done that exercise with people and to say, "Well, what do you want to be known for"? Pick that thing and then design it into everything you do.

 

Steve: [00:44:19] Fantastic and it connects with their inner self and their own essence and yet there's a strong connection. And that gives you the authenticity but in natural way, for sure.

 

Steve: [00:44:33] So, to finish off, I have a quick question, which I think I mentioned to you before we jumped on this podcast.

 

Chantel: [00:44:42] Yes!

 

Steve: [00:44:42] Okay, let's go straight for that one actually. So can I ask what is on the website you have some merchandise, which is fantastic. I've never come across a business that has their own merch, which is brilliant. However, there was one that caught my eye apart from the T-shirts, which is the 'f**k off spray, which I was obviously immediately intrigued to ask the question, "What on earth is that".

 

Chantel: [00:45:09] Oh my gosh. I will talk you through the f**k off spray. But just around the whole merchandise. Brand love, we didn't want to create additional revenue stream, what we realised in our work is people have such little permission to actually say what's really going on and therefore some of the T-shirts have messages like, "Fart when I hug you". Because that will make people think I'm really strong. We picked the things that we saw was very topical, where people really struggled to actually say what they wanted to say and the T-shirt gives a little bit of a tongue in cheek permission. But the f**k off spray specifically we did this for a conference, so I've got a little bottle here to show you.

 

Chantel: [00:46:03] It's got a little unicorn on the front. And we did it for a conference just as a funny thing. And we actually priced it and we've got directions for use. And I'll just quickly tell you. So it's pure water. We've just said here. Hydrochloric acid, 100% asshole repellent. There's a bit of a warning here, frequent use may lead to a person becoming upset and avoiding contact. Use responsibly. And then there's instructions of how you should use this. When someone's annoying you take the f**k off spraying, give adequate warning that their continued annoyance will lead to being sprayed. Ensure you're about 15 centimeters away from the annoyance. Point and spray, wait a few seconds for the annoyance to f**k off. If annoyance persists, repeat directions. So, we just did this because we thought it was funny and then at this conference. We sold out!

 

Steve: [00:47:03] No way.

 

Chantel: [00:47:03] We sold out. We had a card machine and people bought boxes of the stuff.

 

Steve: [00:47:08] No way!

 

Chantel: [00:47:09] So 30 rands in South Africa. That's about two dollars. And we sold out. And I kind of just use it as an experiment to say well you know this to me. We see people really struggling with boundaries in corporate environments. We see a lot of bullying going on. We see a lot of people unable to ask for what they need. We see a lot of people unable to say, "No". Unable to say, "Well, I'd love to do that, but not now I'm at full capacity". So, we just see people bending over, not delivering, getting into constant trouble because they're not delivering. Totally over committing and then sitting with heaps of resentment. And this little experiment of ours when we sold out the f**k off spray. Was really for me just a confirmation that this is hard. And I mean some of our clients go like, I need some more of that stuff. And they literally use it in their offices, they use it. And then people walk away.

 

Steve: [00:48:13] Brilliant!

 

Chantel: [00:48:14] I personally find it quite rude when my team does that with me. I'm not saying I don't deserve it, but I find it quite rude! Just a tongue in cheek and I don't mean we've had people all over the world. Expensive shipping it. I recommend if really want it, just make your own.

 

Steve: [00:48:36] You know there's 3 learnings in that. Experiment and try things. The second thing is, do you think that's tongue in cheek. And the third thing is there's always a serious undertone to most things and that clearly highlighted that there's also some serious things in the workplace that need to be addressed. Even with a spray of water.

 

Chantel: [00:48:55] Absolutely.

 

Chantel: [00:48:57] I say often to our customers. You know we're the friend that will tell you you've got spinach in your teeth or your fly's open. We're not going to hang around and give you reams and reams of documents that will tell you what's wrong without telling you how to fix it. And I think it's that pragmatism and our passion just for having a bit of fun and not taking things so seriously, but also addressing the real issues. The real issues is, that people do not know how to defend their boundaries and they often talk about toxic cultures. And I ask them, if you feel strongly about your values, why aren't you protecting your values. Because of you're waiting for someone on a white horse to come riding across the hill with a beautiful sunset. I have news for you. Nobody's coming and I think in my career. I spent too much time waiting for someone to come and rescue me. I wasn't taking ownership of my time of my intellectual development and what I can give back to this world.

 

Steve: [00:50:09] Wonderful. And can I just ask one last thing. Because one thing I noticed on LinkedIn Chantelle was, you love to share stuff. Models and journey maps and all sorts of stuff! And that's such an amazing thing.

 

Steve: [00:50:27] So I just wonder if you had anything for the listeners that we could share or any tool kits or anything that you'd be open to sharing. Obviously I'd be happy to put the link on the site and share it out. Share the love.

 

Chantel: [00:50:39] Absolutely. I thought about this, there's a few things that I want to share. So I've put together a 2019 survival tool kit for your listeners.

 

Steve: [00:50:48] Brilliant!

 

Chantel: [00:50:49] And what I've got in that toolkit. The first tool kit is around reverse engineering your future. So I'm going to give you a little pack where you can imagine that you're in November 2019 and you presenting to a leadership team all the amazing stuff you've delivered in 2019 and then you're going to reverse engineer your plans from there. So that's one thing I've got. And then, I'd also love to share with people just how to do better persona development, how to do empathy mapping and I'll put all of that in a kit, which people can read and download the worksheets.

 

Steve: [00:51:32] Perfect. Thank you so much for that. And now I think that first one I might be using that one. That sounds amazing.

 

Steve: [00:51:41] Thank you so much for your time. That brings us to the end of the podcast. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, ideas and I wish you all the very best for the future.

 

Chantel: [00:51:56] Absolutely. Thank you so much for the invitation and I absolutely love talking to you.

 

Steve: [00:52:00] Thank you. Thanks Chantel. Take care now.

 

Chantel: [00:52:03] Thanks.