Is Your Employee Experience Aligned with Your Customer Experience?

How an Authentic Organisational Culture Drives Customer Service Excellence


When you already have a healthy workplace culture, coupled with positive customer experience, then business should be awesome, right?  

Building a brand, however, is another story.  

For your business to reach its full potential, that of a trusted and well-loved brand, your company culture should consistently align with the promise of a grand experience for your customers. 

The Ritz Carlton, for example, is unquestionably the worldwide gold standard for customer service excellence. This success is inspired by their business’ philosophy to regard employees with the same importance and respect as the customers they serve.  

“We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen” — is the guiding mantra at The Ritz. What this looks like in actual practise is the company’s relentless focus on employee engagement to bring about the highest level of customer experience. 

This example of brand authenticity at The Ritz Carlton, where workplace culture and customer experience are correctly aligned, applies across all industries. Here is how you can shape an outstanding organisational culture, forge a strong bond with customers and elevate your brand.  


1. Identify the behaviours that need to change 

What most leaders get wrong is a fixed mindset around culture. It can and should move along with the shifting needs of the business. Culture is essentially a set of positive behaviours which can be reconfigured. For example, encouraging tighter camaraderie among multi-functional teams, where there was none before, to improve service delivery.  


2. Encourage everyone to be brand ambassadors 

First, instil confidence in your team by consistently appreciating them for their contribution to the overall business success. All this goodwill you’ve created with your employees will inspire them to make each encounter with your customer memorable and meaningful. 


3. Focus on employee engagement 

The Ritz Carlton’s success is primarily attributed to its investment in employee engagement and retention. Often, companies commoditise employees — if it doesn’t work out, they can easily be replaced. What they don’t see are the mounting costs of turnover, recruitment and training over time. On the other hand, investing in employee engagement energises organisational culture, which in turn drives performance and revenue. 


4. Reinforce culture with learning and development 

Design a training and development plan to address skill gaps and promote behaviours that support your organisation’s culture. Having a structured learning and development plan sends the message to employees that you are invested in their overall success.  


Learn how you can create a culture of high-performance and authenticity in your organisation from leaders who have done it already! Sign up for the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 and meet Australia’s top CEOs and MDs to help you develop your leadership through authenticity, openness, and trust. 

Authentic Leadership Summit 17-20 March 2020

4 Female Leaders Reflect on the Concept of ‘Work-life Balance’

Female Leaders Reflect on the Concept of Work-life Balance

Work-life balance is predicated on the idea that for women to be happy, they must “have it all.” The unfair notion that is being sold to women is that – if only you can find a way to organise your work better, you can have a more fulfilling personal life. There are lots of women who spend most of their time at work but don’t necessarily trade off the quality of their home lifeand there are just as many women who could use some balance by working out of the home. 

The very idea of balance implies that a well-lived life must allocate equal time and energy between work and home. Work-life balance then is another impossible ideal for women to aspire to.   

The women leaders we talked to are successful at all fronts, and they unanimously agree that this notion of work-life balance does not apply to them. Here’s what they have to say — 


I take time where I can get it, but it’s not balanced in the way the lifestyle gurus try to sell you.”

“This whole idea of balance makes me laugh, and have you noticed how hard people work to sell you the idea it can be achieved! It’s the golden carrot hung in front of you to supposedly keep you motivated. I live in the real world; all I want is a happy productive life.” 

“Human life is a messy, crazy, happy, terrifying ride. You will have moments where you hit the sweet spot and sometimes those moments can last longer than expected, enjoy them. As they say, the only constant in life is change.” 


“‘Balance’ is an unhelpful word.”

“It conjures up life and work as two separate things we have placed on a set of scales that we’re constantly trying to keep in equilibrium. It doesn’t work like that. A more useful question is, are you being nourished as a person, not just as a worker, on a regular, long-term basis? If you are, then it’s possible to do anything.”


“There’s always more you can be doing or that seems to need your attention. 

“It is so easy to lose yourself and your connection to family and friends because often the loudest voice in the room is work. As a new CEO I don’t think I’ve struck that balance yet, but I am very aware of the mental health toll that sacrificing your relationships can have on you, your loved ones, and your work environment. So I’m working on it.”


“The fact is, we can’t have it all. It is an unfair expectation that is placed on women.”

“In the early years of my career, I was told that women could have it all, a successful and rewarding career, a loving marriage/partnership and family, and a working environment that encouraged this balance. This perception was accentuated by women who as leaders would portray themselves as being able to achieve this balance.” 

Like most things in life, it is about decisions we make, compromises and trade-offs, and as individuals, only we know what the right ones for us are. I have learnt that as women we place higher expectations on ourselves than our employers, colleagues or families do and just being more kind to ourselves means we are better employees, leaders, and family members. That said, giving yourself permission to dedicate attention to what’s important to you and your personal life is very important.” 

It’s never too early to start planning how to achieve your goals. If you want to learn from inspiring women on how you can create greater impact in your organisation through leadership, register for The Empowered Woman 2020. 

The Empowered Woman 2020



Mastering the 3 Areas of FOCUSED LEADERSHIP

3 Areas of Focused Leadership

“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” 

Herbert Simon, Economist


Mental overload, constant disruption, sleep deprivation, stress and a whole lot more can mess up your brain’s executive function. When your job is to make tough calls all day, every day, you need a sustained reserve of laser-like focus.  

We usually associate focus with being task-oriented – getting things done without distraction. As a leader, whose attention is in high demand, focus is not so much about task-completion, but about allocating your attention.  

When you feel like your attention is pulled in all directions and you can barely get by, grouping your attention into three areas – yourself, others and the world-at-large – can help you better manage your focus.  

A constructive focus on yourself and others is an essential element of emotional intelligence which helps you cultivate great relationships – a mark of a great people manager and influencer while a fuller and broader view of the world can help with being strategic and creative.  

As a leader, you must strive to balance these three areas of attention. Not paying enough attention to yourself could get you unhinged and too much focus on others could make you seem too needy, while a lack of outward focus could leave you oblivious of the world-at-large.  

Focus 1 – SELF  

Are you aware of your biases and how they are impacting your decision-making?   

Being aware of the judge, critic and censor in you then letting all that go, is important to keep your mental faculties focused on perceiving and assessing the objective truth. This advanced level of self-awareness is vital to good leadership.  

Leaders who are used to giving input rather than receiving and processing information may find this annoying. Some transcendent thinking is required – to filter the noise and fine-tune your focus on what is essential.  

“Cognitive control” is the scientific term for your mind’s ability to process information, guiding your decision or behaviour to act (or not) according to the better part of your nature. Cognitive control is at the centre of your self-awareness and your willpower. It lets you stay on track of your goal despite emotional distractions. People who have reasonable cognitive control behave calmly during a crisis, keep their anxiety in check and bounce back quickly from defeat.  


Leaders who can focus on others are well regarded for the quality of their relationships with subordinates and peers. Regardless of their rank, they lead by influence, inspiring the best out of their teams, connecting and bringing people together.  

Great leaders prioritise attention on the quality of their relationships by deploying empathy:  

Cognitive Empathy – Are you able to understand and appreciate another person’s perspective? How people think, why they do what they do, what works and doesn’t work for them.   

Emotional Empathy – Are you able to feel or relate to another person’s feelings? This ability is important for coaching and mentoring teams and for giving outstanding customer service by feeling what they feel and giving them what they need, fast.  

Focus 3 – STRATEGY 

Leaders who are outward-focused are great at envisioning a future of opportunities. They can connect present events to map outcomes and consequences well into the future.  

Great leaders focus on two elements of value creation. One is by “exploiting” current conditions to create future value. And the second, riskier and more demanding element, is by “exploring” new avenues for future growth.  

In a time where the same information is available to everyone, the real value is in your ability to focus on the right one so that you can deliver the best strategy and insight. 


Infog - the 3 areas of focused leadership


Learn to manage your attention, and lead your organisation with laser-like focus by signing up for our Leadership Events and Training Courses. 


view all our learning events and training courses

Check out these related posts — 


Executive Toolkit #1 Influencing  


Executive Toolkit #2 Navigating 


Developing Your Executive Toolkit by Dana Lightbody   

The Importance of Values

Values. The word is now such a part of the work vernacular that it’s almost hard to recall a time without it being at the top of the list as a question (what are your values?), a characteristic (are values important to you?), and a demonstrated quality (will you be bringing your values to your role?) when employees look to hire quality, key people for their company.

You may have even come across a survey on values, designed to uncover what makes you tick, what drives you, where and how you see the delineation between personal and work worlds, and quite simply: what makes you happy in all areas of your life based on your core belief systems.

And here’s the thing: values are based on your personal beliefs about what’s important in a workplace, and the varying degrees of what makes you tick is what you’ll then demonstrate in your role.

Values can include: a strong work ethic, how adaptable you are, your loyalty level, your honesty and integrity, how self-motivated you are, your professionalism, and your willingness to learn, and your positivity levels.

It’s little wonder then that core values are as important as your education and where you’ve worked, because values are what keep you churning through your workday with clarity and enthusiasm and energy.

We truly believe uncovering your value system is best done in discussion, or at least in an environment which requires introspection.

The Executive Leadership Summit 2019 lays the perfect foundation to have that conversation with yourself.

Back for its second year, the Summit will focus on the core learnings of an MBA with practical, experience-based keynotes and case studies from the leaders of Australia’s most successful companies.

Core values are front and centre too, and this Summit will help you discover what that means to you.

For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Change your company’s mindset to re-shape your business

Leadership comes from the top, but what if you’re still examining your own leadership style?

There’s a reason the business mantra of “leadership starting from within” is accurate and relevant, and that is because in order for a team to truly work, a leader needs to begin by looking inwards. That’s the kind of ‘lean in’ that is more relevant than any business buzzword.

Start by looking at how you operate, how you think, and what kind of impression you give to staff. If you don’t know what your employees think about you… Ask them!

Create a forum where it is completely comfortable and acceptable for staff to speak up about what makes them happy and what makes them not look forward to coming to work so much. The results of these sometimes uncomfortable conversations will form the basis of the reshaping of your company’s mindset. You have to go into these conversations with an open mind – you can’t be defensive or aggressive if you don’t like what’s being said, the idea is to listen with an open mind, think about what is said and then decide whether or not to take action.

In doing this it shows that you care about what is important to your staff.

If, when and how you implement changes based on staff feedback, it is demonstrating genuine commitment to positivity in the workplace, showing their happiness is important and in turn boosting morale and no doubt increasing productivity.

I still remember the day I changed my own company’s mindset to reshape our business. It started with a news article which quoted David Hurley (former Chief of the Defence Force) “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept” and it resonated with me. It crystallised the concept of complete ownership for the behaviour of my staff. It made me have the above conversation with our staff, about what behaviour was and was not OK and why. What came out surprised me. It was small things, like the women being asked to get petty cash items from the supermarket or just the men being asked to carry heavy boxes, or comments around casual racism or isms in general. We implemented changes to fix that to make it clear what is and is not OK, and now if I see a behaviour that is not OK, I call it out. Because it starts and stops with me.

Our credo is: what got you here, won’t get you there.

That is, to get there, you need not just the tools but the mindset to constantly change and improve.

Enter the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020.

Back for its fifth year, the Summit will focus on teaching you how to lead with greater purpose in the contemporary business climate.

In this 4-day program, you’ll learn how you can employ its principles in your organisation to drive better business outcomes and make our world a better place at the same time.

Core values, authenticity, strength, innovation and disruption are the key drivers for a successful business, and this Summit will help extrapolate what that means.

In short, you need to discover your true purpose and values as a leader, and the Authentic Leadership Summit 2020 will get you there. Check out more information here.

What is gravitas and why do you need it in your life?


According to the Cambridge University, the definition of gravitas is seriousness and importance of manner, causing feelings of respect and trust in others.


So why is it so important in business today?


I believe as a leader, you need gravitas to make an impact and actually be heard. As a woman in this technology driven business world, today it’s not just the suits in the room we’re up against, but a combination of information overload and a time poor society. Whoever shouts louder or “fakes it till they make it” seem to win out.


Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying we should fake our experience to win a battle or a seat on the board, for me it’s about having the quiet confidence to take you beyond your qualifications and expertise. By creating your own inner gravitas, it will take you further in the boardroom, attract a tribe to follow your lead and help form future leaders.


Think of gravitas as a mindset that gets you out of your comfort zone, but also out from behind that “invisible coat” we all like to hide under from time to time.


To change your mindset and move to the next stage of your career, I recommend you:

  1. Create your own personalised gravitas plan
  2. Undertake a speaking/presenting course to learn to project your authority
  3. Always act with integrity and know your boundaries
  4. Expand your circle of influence by supporting others to do the same
  5. Look the part – presentation is important no matter who the audience is!


“My number one thing to remember when you need to bring your gravitas to the table is that it’s not about being arrogant to get what you want. Use it to influence with intelligence and grace.”


If you need help with creating your personalised gravitas plan, join us for our ‘What Women Need to Know to Build their Gravitas’ workshop with Amanda MacLean from The Gravitas Project at the Women In Leadership Summit. The one-day workshop will be held on Tuesday, 24th September 2019 at Sydney’s Seymour Centre. Tickets available here.