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Mitchell (Mitch) Watkins, Chief Experience Officer at Greenix, is a people person – you can see it in his smile when he talks about leading the team of people he truly cares about. He’s had years of experience of frontline sales and spent a career putting his communication strengths and passion for helping people together to become the leader he is today.
Greenix is a company that cares about its customers and the team loves what it does. But...Mitch acknowledges that pest control might not be everyone’s first job choice and that frontline roles aren’t always the easiest roles. He believes that as a leader, you can’t apologise for that, but he does have plenty of ideas around how to keep yourself and your team motivated…
“Work harder on yourself than you do on your job...”
Jim Rohn said this, one of Mitch’s favourite authors, and it’s a philosophy he takes very literally. Mitch’s routine starts in the morning by prioritising what’s important to him personally – a workout and time with the family helps him set up his day feeling accomplished and in control.
“We all know how easily a day can slip away when you ‘react’ to whatever comes up,” says Mitch, who also believes in being deliberate about carving out business time daily for two things that help him avoid ‘firefighter mode’:
- Time on the frontline/with customer – “You have to listen to calls every day. So I always have an hour every single day that includes listening to calls, and spending as much time out on the road as I can.”
- Moving the business forward – “This is the stuff that isn’t immediately urgent… but moves the business forward and improves KPIs and customer experience.”
“Jim Rohn also writes about why you should strive for, but not expect, perfection, which often means digging a little deeper than what’s comfortable,” says Mitch.
That’s someone else fault… isn’t it?
“You have to be willing to self-confront. It can be so easy to want to place the blame somewhere else when things aren’t going the way we want, but as the biggest influence on your team and their work, it’s always worth taking the time to see if there’s anything you can change. This is leading by example – having a growth mindset and creating an environment where it's okay for your team to make mistakes. No-one should feel like they have to be perfect. Nobody needs that type of stress.”
A constant at Greenix is the one-to-one sessions that everyone has with their leader each week, and this time is used for three-to-one feedback: three things that were done really well, and one opportunity to improve. Mitch uses this same process on himself to continue working on personal development and those self-confronting issues.
Communication is the key to success
A large proportion of Greenix’s frontline employees are college students – high energy, super smart and ambitious.
“They want to be something other than a customer service agent at a regional pest control company, right? This isn’t their dream job. And I totally get that. So we have set the Greenix experience up as a stepping stone to whatever you want to do next.”
Mitch uses an example of a tech developer (with typically not much skill when it comes to communication) vs a CTO (who will typically have great communication skills) to demonstrate how valuable working in a call centre can be.
“The number one best place to learn how to be a great communicator is on the phones. 60% of communication in non-verbal, so you're already down 40% of your toolbox. If you can be a great communicator on the phone, you can be a great communicator in any situation..and that will set you up for success in future!”
Be like Bob
Turning to the subject of team motivation, Mitch recalls a time when he received praise from Bob – his senior leader at the time – and how that one phone call left him feeling on top of the world, validated for the good work he was doing and motivated to do even more.
“Where we often think of bigger, company-wide reward programs as the key to recognising high performers, it’s good to remember how much a quick call can mean to someone.”
Going from good to great…
At Greenix, customer feedback data is also leveraged as a team motivator. “Getting that information to our frontline is key. To do that, we’ve gamified the data into a leaderboard which is a good way of letting individuals know where they’re at, but not using feedback and data as a weapon.”
There’s enough for everyone!
Finally, Mitch has some words of wisdom from Zig Ziglar that have helped him avoid picking up traits of a ‘scarcity mindset’.
“You can have everything in life you want, if you'll just help other people get what they want.”
This quote has helped Mitch create a mindset of abundance. “If we can help someone else now, that’s going to open doors down the road when we need it…”
Powerful advice from a servant leader; and the evidence of his approach speaks for itself....