From Words to Action: Putting Your Conversational Intelligence™ To Work

by Judith Glaser


Culture transformation is an advanced leadership skill. The primary way to change a culture is to use your Conversational Intelligence to create an environment that infuses energy and commitment into relationships, teams and the whole organization. Too often we get stuck in habit patterns of “taking about” but not creating change.

The more we talk about change, the more we talk about all the problems and challenges that can emerge, resulting in negative mindsets which trigger “fear hormones” and “threat networks” in our brains. No wonder change is so difficult. By the time we are ready to take action, we are frozen in place.

However, you can shift the way you think about change the same way successful leaders do to navigate their own journeys…

1st Success Factor: The first skill is to be the change for transforming the culture. Realize you have the power, influence and the ability to see and understand the culture in which you work, and to see how you can play a role in transforming it into a healthier, more inspiring and thriving culture. Transforming culture can mean a culture that is so powerful it transforms itself, or it can mean that you play a role in activating the culture transformation.

Call to Action: Envision how you can play a catalytic role in transforming your culture. Envision how you can be accountable for co-creating transformation in your culture by the way you show up at work every day. When you put skin in the game, you become the change that transforms the culture.

2nd Success Factor: The second skill, embrace the opportunity, is the ability to step out of your Comfort Zone and, rather than allowing fear of the unknown paralyze you, embrace the opportunity with excitement and enthusiasm. Your shift in focus will create positive ripple effects on those you influence. By fully stepping out of your comfort zone into a new opportunity, you are activating your ability to transform yourself and inspire courage in others.

Call to Action: Embracing opportunity both encourages others and inspires courage in yourself. By seeing transformation and change as a way to grow, you influence how you experience the challenge in a positive and less fearful way.

3rd Success Factor: The third skill, create space for conversations, is the ability to intentionally open up opportunities for feedback-rich conversations one-on-one within teams and across the organization. By opening up space for and creating Conversational Journeys, you establish an environment in which employees have room to learn, grow and be nourished by new ideas and energy.

Call to Action: Creating spaces is a call to action you need to take every day to open the space for more innovative, generative and catalytic conversations to take place in your relationships and teams. This space signals our brain that we can discover and share new ideas we’ve never talked about before.

4th Success Factor:  The fourth skill, practice Co-creating Conversations, is a core to Conversational Intelligence. In the previous steps, you learned to recognize and release old baggage filled with toxic experiences that negatively undermine and denigrate relationships, and replace them with new meanings that positively uplift and inspire relationships. This empowers a new sense of optimism and effectiveness.

As a leader, you can begin to have “co-creating conversations.” Co-creating conversations are conversations that have the ability to release the past and open space for the future with others a psychological state of being that is powerful and transforms us.

Call to Action: Co-creating conversations means opening the space for new energy for co-creation with others. This is a space where you and others are open to think about what you don’t know, what you don’t know you don’t know and to explore possibilities that you never thought about before.

5th Success Factor:  Finally, the fifth skill is shaping stories. Having moved from a place of understanding to challenging, then stepping out and releasing, and finally opening space for Co-creating Conversations, you have now mastered the most proactive and intentional skill of shaping the story of your team’s collective success. This is what visionary leaders and organizations do. It’s work you do with others, not on your own in isolation. What you co-create together are “shared stories for success” that envision and make possible the fulfillment of WE.

Call to Action: Shaping stories is a call to action that allows you to realize how you shape the stories’ impact on how the future unfolds. Reflect every day in a conscious way on how you shape stories so that they are winning, inclusive and appreciative. These conversations have the ability to re-frame your view of the world, give you and others hope for the future and enable you to see the best outcomes for all of us. Both meanings have the power to transform.

How You Label Determines How You See

Empowering your team to work in concert to achieve your organization’s goals and strategies requires flexibility of thought, agility of mind and speed of response. Most of all, it requires you to break out of old conversational habits and negative patterns of communicating and view the impact you can have on your business in totally new ways.

Use conversational intelligence as a way to break from the past and create the future. Rather than thinking about situations as problems, see them as challenges and opportunities and communicate this point of view in your conversations with others. Until you challenge yourself to change old thinking and conversational habits, you will see little change from yesterday to today. Once you do, you will find you become a catalyst for change wherever you go, and you will discover new energy appears around you for tackling big challenges and achieving the desired results and targets regardless of their size and difficulty.

Judith GlaserJudith E. Glaser is the CEO of Benchmark Communications, Inc. and the Chairman of The Creating WE Institute. She is the author of the best selling book, “Conversational Intelligence” (Bibliomotion, 2013), an Organizational Anthropologist and a consultant to Fortune 500 companies.Visit her at; or contact her at Follow Judith on Twitter @CreatingWE.

5 User Experiences All Customers Crave

by Steve Olenski


User experience, or UX, is one of the most important facets of any technology-focused product or marketing approach, including an e-commerce site or business website. Referring to the way that a customer interacts with a brand and the brand’s technology, focusing on creating a high-quality and engaging UX is essential for forming meaningful buyer relationships and long-term customers.

Here are the top five user experiences that all customers crave:

1. An Emotional Factor
Whenever a consumer uses a mobile device, an app, a computer or a website with hopes of accomplishing a task, an emotional response occurs. When the task at hand becomes difficult to navigate, confusing or boring, the emotional response is much the same: boredom or frustration. On the other hand, when systems are designed well, and with customers’ emotions being taken into consideration, a completely different experience results for the user. Animation, graphics, pictures and interface design can all be fantastic tools for creating the emotional experience for users that you’re hoping to achieve.

2. Human Memory-friendly
While the human memory is a remarkable thing — after all, most people are able to recall years’ worth of information — it also has its limitations. For the average mind, recalling more than seven pieces of information at a given time is very difficult. As such, all websites and mobile apps should be designed to be human-memory friendly, as suggested by Retalix in their study The Importance of UX in Retail. Limit the number of items on a page or on a menu’s hierarchy, allowing the users’ brains to process what’s right in front of them and ultimately leading to a more efficient system.

3. Enhanced Engagement
Perhaps the biggest component of UX is user engagement. Users who are able to use mobile shopping apps, self-checkouts, price checks and other forms of interactions when using a brand’s technology are more likely to become long-term, repeat customers. Anytime the user is taking actions to directly interact with your website or app, user engagement is occurring. A design and features that contribute to user engagement will ultimately contribute to an enhanced UX, such as that of Quora’s site.

4. Easy Controls & Great Layout
If a user can’t navigate your website or app, it’s guaranteed they’ll have a poor user experience. To prevent this from happening, always design apps or websites using layouts that make controls easy to visualize (and that won’t be obstructed by other actions), put the main display area in a place on the app or page that’s always visible, make buttons and interface menus large and seeable, use text and page colors that are easy on the eyes and never make a user work too hard to have to do something, like make a purchase.

5. Customization
Finally, the fifth key element of UX that all customers crave is customization. Customization can include everything from a customer being able to specify filters on a mobile app to being able to design custom clothing, the latter of which H.M Cole, and its co-founder Michael McConkie, have mastered. The H.M. Cole mobile app displays all options for style, and allows their reps a chance to explain why styles/features work better for some things. The app also allows clients to see what they are getting before it arrives– a novelty for truly custom or bespoke clothing

When thinking about user experience, always focus on the emotional factor for a customer, the limitations of memory, high levels of user engagement, easy-to-navigate interfaces and a customized approach.

*This blog originally appeared at Forbes.

Steve OlenskiSteve Olenski was named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Social Media Blogger by Kred. Steve is a senior creative content strategist at Responsys, a leading marketing cloud software and services company. He is a also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing and co-author of the book “StumbleUpon For Dummies.” He can be reached via LinkedInGoogle+, Twitter @steveolenski or at the nearest coffee shop.