You can have a box full of beads, but when you find the right thread that connects the beads, you have a bracelet that everyone wants. When a guest walks into your business, they experience tons of micro-experience elements. It starts with the first impression and ends with the grand finale when the guest leaves. Of course, each one of the elements leaves an impact on the guest’s mind. But when all elements are connected with a common thread, the guest feels the true heartbeat of the business, and that will make them go “WOW”. A business can have a series of amazing guest experience elements, but without a thread, guests will leave with a feeling of “Hmm, something is missing; I wonder what it is!”   The Thread in Leadership The concept of the thread is equally important in leadership. You can have a team of amazing individuals, but only when they are connected with a common purpose and vision, the net impact of the team exceeds the sum of individual efforts. Superstar leaders are the thread, as they create the roadmap to winning and build the right team around the path. Starting with a team of individual stars and then finding a consensus path can be risky as that encourages individual wins and not team wins. A strong thread defines the path for a team to win. To hear more about threads from leaders of all walks of life, tune in to the Secrets to Win Big podcast.   4 Steps to Identify Your Thread START WITH THE THREAD: It is important to start with the thread, as it is the authentic core of your business. FIND THE BEADS: Once you have the right thread, it is easier to find the right beads. CONNECT THE BEADS USING THE THREAD: Think of the overall experience to be bigger than each bead and clearly see the role of each bead in delivering the experience. CHANGE THE BEADS BUT NEVER THE THREAD: Brands need refreshing and updates. Find new beads that enhance specific elements of the guest experience. But please make sure that the thread is the same, as the consistency of the thread builds the trust over time, and without trust, there is no brand.   Please Listen, Subscribe, Review, and Share the Secrets to Win Big® Podcast where each week I talk to leaders from all walks of life. [podcast_subscribe id="11930"]...

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Secrets to Win Big with Arjun Sen

Working with top business professionals and sports personalities, I have observed that the Best never stop investing in getting better. That desire to continuously invest to get better puts us on the path to sustained wins. Every time I have met leaders from any field, I always wanted to learn what uniquely makes them successful. This podcast is a direct outcome of that learning and inspiration over the years. Welcome to Secrets to Win Big. Winning is fun but winning big will put you on the path to long term sustained success. I am really excited to share the first three episodes of the podcast to you. They are: Episode 1: Build a Breakthrough Innovation Culture with VIP Guest Blaine Hurst (Part 1) Blaine Hurst, Former President & CEO, Panera Bread Episode 2: Run the Race with Joy with VIP Guest Blaine Hurst (Part 2) Blaine Hurst, Former President & CEO, Panera Bread Episode 3: Drive and Thrive. Not Just Survive. with VIP Guest Jeffrey Hayzlett Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chairman & CEO. C-Suite Network Episode 4: Building a Memorable Brand Voice with VIP Guest William Espey (Coming Thursday 7/23, subscribe below) William Espey, Brand voice of Chipotle for first 19 years   Please be ONE OF THE FIRST to Subscribe, Review, and Share the Secrets to Win Big® Podcast (Takes less than 30 seconds):  [podcast_subscribe id="11930"]   Below are my favorite soundbites from the first set of VIP guests. Please do not forget to like, comment, share, and subscribe to my podcast. Your participation is my true reward for this journey. Please email me at arjun@zenmango.com if you want to recommend someone to be a VIP guest on the podcast. Please note it is totally OK to recommend yourself too. "Leadership is creating a true culture of dissatisfaction. Always feel "We ain’t good enough"” – Blaine Hurst, Former President & CEO, Panera Bread “Be in the mindset of drive & thrive and not just survive" – Jeffrey Hayzlett, Chairman & CEO. C-Suite Network “Seeing the big picture is a lot like using Google maps.  Zoom in to see houses and roads but zoom out to see where the roads lead to” – Lane Cardwell, President, Cardwell Hospitality Inc. “Innovation doesn’t always mean creating something new; you can get there by just stretching the old a little” – Julie Holmes, Acclaimed Global Innoventrepreneur “Don’t fall in the trap of staying in brainstorming. Instead, get rapidly to action.” – Amit Banerjee, CEO, Philanthropy Kids “Do not be satisfied with ripples that go outward. Create echoes which come back.” – John Register, Mr. Comeback who amputates fear “Always move forward however slow it may seem” – Jana Axline, Founder & Chief Project Officer, Project Genetics “Every small motion which is complicated, when you combine, becomes the overall activity”  – Agni Sen, Emerging Thought Leader “Brands start with clear values. Values lead to a culture of people. External manifestation of culture is your brand voice.” – William Espey, Brand voice of Chipotle for the first 19 years “Always ask for feedback. Never close the door to get better” – Tom Cole, Founder, Bradford Marketing & Business transformation leader “Be calm. It is the mindset that will help you see the path ahead better” – Sundi Sundaresh, Board Member, CEO, Executive Advisor “Fail forward and fail enough times to be able to grow past that” – Lucas Clarke, VP of Marketing, Ninja Nation “Live people first always; It’s not just words, but actions that matter” – Bob Bafundo, COO, Buffalo Wings & Rings “Learning what does not work is never a waste of time” – David Flanery, Former CFO Benihana & Papa John’s “For the world to take a chance on you, start by believing in yourself” – Lara Knuettel, CEO, JCC Denver   Here are four reasons that make this podcast a must listen: Hear it straight from global leaders In this podcast you will hear from leaders from around the world and all walks of life, sharing their secrets. These are leaders who have wowed me with their way of thinking and putting their thoughts into action. Secrets from leaders with different points of view We are all different, and our individual leadership journey is different for each one of us. This podcast celebrates the different paths different leaders take to win. It shows that there is not one universal profile for a leader, and one path to win. In the first fifteen episodes, you will hear secrets from leaders from all over the world, all ages, and different areas of life. The leaders share their own unique thoughts and soundbites. Importance of soundbites from leaders Often you may not have time to immediately listen to an entire podcast, but need insight nuggets to nudge you forward. Those are times the soundbites and one-liners will give you a quick “spot of inspiration.” Inside story behind the half-face graphic I have the best seat in the house to facilitate content from VIP guests and bring you unique perspectives. The half-face graphic is to stay true to the vision of the podcast; guest driven insights.   Subscribe to the Secrets to Win Podcast:  [podcast_subscribe id="11930"]...

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311 Challenge Map

For any branding project the journey starts with a clear vision of the finish line. Five years ago, on a June morning, I started dreaming of an initiative to create a global digital space where there is only good news. That journey became real only a year back when I finally saw the finish line for the initiative. The vision was about a family with kids, sitting in front of a screen and looking engrossed at a world map.  They had big smiles on their face as every few seconds a new story of kindness and good deed from some corner of the world was popping up. Today that vision has become a reality and I am excited to invite you to the 311 Challenge for a better world. All of us together are responsible for our world and the site gives all of us an opportunity to make it better. The 311 Challenge for a better a world challenges everyone to act, as every action makes a difference. The language of the website is family suitable to fulfil the vision. The site does not allow any inappropriate language as our partners at Prama integrated an AI based algorithm to prevent posts that violate the policy. The site is a zero-commercial zone. We respect everyone’s privacy 100% as a log-in is not needed to post a story. Please join me in taking the 311 Challenge by going to www.311challenge.com. Please share it with friends and family. I am personally looking forward to experiencing the magic with my family as stories of kindness and good deeds from all corners of the world pop up.   What is it? 3  CONNECT with three people. Reach out to a friend or a family member who you have not been in touch with. Share a smile, say something nice and encouraging; create a mini moment. 1  BRIGHTEN someone’s day. Go above and beyond to help someone. Take some time to do a simple act of thoughtfulness that will make a big impact in the person’s life. 1  DO SOMETHING NICE for yourself. Celebrate you. Take a moment to be proud of who you are and do something nice. Even pausing and asking for help is a great way to show you care about yourself. Then visit www.311challenge.com to celebrate and share your story with others. You can do it daily, weekly or monthly. Once you complete the 3-1-1 challenge, please share your stories of brightening the world so that others around the world feel good reading it.   JOIN TO STAY UPDATED This blog is a 100% no selling zone. Subscribe and share for Secrets to Win Big every month. Our Privacy Policy: We do not share or sell email addresses....

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The year was 1999. Yes, we used to order pizza by calling the store directly and the average hold time was 45 minutes, especially on Friday evenings. While on hold, if the call got dropped then the customer had to start all over again. Finally, when the time came to talk to the order taker, most customers did not have a menu in front of them and relied on either past orders or suggestions from the order taker. All pizza companies had similar long wait times and some were looking at how to make the wait time more “pleasant” by adding better on-hold music, some were thinking of going to a national 1-800 call center to take the orders. They were all great ideas but it only made a really bad situation a tad less bad. At Papa John’s, we drew an illustration to show how customers felt. They felt anxious, helpless and in total lack of power. It felt like the order taker had removed all the power. The illustration helped us realize that “a tad less” bad solution was not good enough as businesses cannot win by making their customers feel powerless. That realization put the team in pursuit of the big win, to replace phone ordering completely and this resulted in Papa John’s building the first ever online ordering system. A big win that resulted in a billion dollar business, and the drive came from the illustration that did not allow us to forget how customers felt. The illustration at Papa John’s helped us feel the magnitude of pain of our customers. Businesses must feel customer pains as that feeling will drive big wins. Once a business feels the magnitude of pain of the customers, there is no denial or going back; there is no stopping until you remove the pain completely. Big wins comes from turning the pain point into a wow moment.   How Do Your Customers Feel? Today in 2020, the illustration is still relevant to every business, every day. Businesses often focus simply on the highs and not the lows. Even the best experience delivered with a low point leaves a negative after taste. Businesses must have clarity of customers feelings at different points of their experience. Are there any experience points where customers feel helpless and in total lack of control? Focusing on those experience points may open the path to big wins. Just remember, behind every problem lies a big opportunity. Here are a few thought starters to help you think of what you can do in your business: Retail: Why do they have only person at the return desk while there are 15 checkout stands open? Shouldn’t they consider self-return? If customers buy using self-pay, should they not return that item at a self-return counter? That way customers can buy with more mental peace knowing how easy it is to return the product if they are not satisfied.   Medical Office: When patients walk in, they wait to check-in. Then they wait in the lobby until their name is called. Then they go to a secondary solitary wait area where the nurse takes their vitals. Then they wait again. Being a patient does not mean their patience must be tested. Why not offer patients the options to wait in the car or at the coffee shop, where they will get a text when it is their time to walk-in. Why not offer self-vital measurement stations to empower them to take charge of their own health? Why not go a step beyond where the patients can record a voice memo of their concerns at the comfort of their home and AI tools summarize it for the doctor? Imagine a world where doctors walk in totally aware of the concerns and immediately start getting into details of the problem? The patient will truly feel like a valued customer.   Big solutions come from not making the pain a tad less but finding a customer win to reverse the pain.   STEPS TO IDENTIFY HOW YOUR CUSTOMERS FEEL AT EVERY EXPERIENCE POINT: BE A CUSTOMER: Experience the path a customer takes PAUSE at every experience point DOCUMENT every feeling Next ADD everything that can go wrong scenario A day later REFLECT on all the feelings: Celebrate the positives Ask WHY NOT for every negative feeling and find the big opportunity   JOIN TO STAY UPDATED This blog is a 100% no selling zone. Subscribe and share for Secrets to Win Big every month. Our Privacy Policy: We do not share or sell email addresses....

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This current period of uncertainty was unforeseen. The layering of serious worries about health and economy is simply overwhelming. To make matters worse, none of us have a playbook to use during these times. We should not live in denial, but we must also believe that each one of us has what it takes to overcome and come out strong. To get out of the current state of shock it is important to first get into a positive and constructive mindset. (Of course, that is easier said than done). There are five evolving stages that we all must go through. This will get us ready to win big when things start becoming normal. These are just thought starters, and each of us should add our own ideas to make the perfect personal road-map. I request all of you to commit to ONE action at the end: Please reach out to a few people and help them to get through this period. It will make a big difference. I know, if you sent me any thoughts, advice, or a note; that will pump me up. The 5 stages: WORRIED & ANXIOUS: This is where most of us have been when the crisis began. It is natural to feel overwhelmed in the middle of a major uncertainty. Staying here will not help us and we need to find a way out of this. FIND SELF BELIEF: The first step out of worries and anxiety must be driven by mental strength. We must look back and think of all the difficult situations in life we have navigated through. Being proud of every past accomplishment will make us realize that all those past wins got us ready for this big challenge. It starts with believing that we will survive through this and commit to doing whatever it takes to come out a winner. When I need a little boost, I love to listen to this rendering of Pete Seeger - We shall overcome. I may be a little dated and my Facebook friends shared two more recent songs IAMLXGEND and Macklemore’s Glorious START A ROUTINE: Routines are the easiest way to get into an action mode and remain there. Our daily routine during this period should be purposeful and focused to make us best prepared for BIG success when this is over. Once we start to act regularly, the momentum will tip in each of our favor. COME OUT STRONG: When the world reopens, we must be ready to come out of the gates running. There will be a lot of competition at that point, and those who are most prepared to get a jump start, will have odds in their favor to start winning immediately. We must remember that it will take the strongest boldest effort from each one of us, but nothing to worry about as we all have it inside of us. This is my personal cheer song that gives me goosebumps every time I listen to this Des’ree song CONTINUE TO ACCELERATE: A good start is what it will take at the beginning, but that will not be enough. We will need to keep accelerating to build the momentum and sustain our wins. Once we are aware of these 5 stages, here are the three questions each one of us must answer: Which stage am I in? What one action can I take to get to the next stage? Who all can I help to move ahead in their journey?   SHARING WITH GRATITUDE: Each one of you have been amazing friends and collaborators. I am grateful to each of you for every connection, help, advice, and guidance. To celebrate our connection, I am sharing with you some ideas and resources that you might find useful and fun during this period. Thank you! PERSONAL BRANDING FREE WEBINAR (More details to come): Each one of you is a brand! It is your perception that defines you. If you do not manage your perception, external factors will manage it for you. In this 90-minute webinar, you will leave with three things you need to unleash your personal brand: A MINDSET CHANGE to see the value and benefits A FRAMEWORK to add your content and be purposeful A PROCESS to build and sustain HOW TO LOOK PROFESSIONAL ON A WEB CONFERENCE CALL: This LinkedIn post is a simple game to 'Discover the Difference'. It will open your mind to things you can do to create a professional image in your next virtual meeting. Please check the video of how Late Night hosts are taking their show virtual. RESTAURANT TAKE-OUT: 7 Ways to make your take-out offering more relevant in current times. HOW TO CORONAVIRUS-PROOF YOUR HOME By Scottie Andrew, CNN: I found this to be a very useful resource to print and share with neighbors.   JOIN TO STAY UPDATED There is no selling, just cool insights every month. Our Privacy Policy: We do not share or sell email addresses....

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