Creating Operational Excellence and Being the Spark in Your Organization with Simon T. Bailey

In this interview, I am joined with none other than Simon T. Bailey, a breakthrough strategist who goes beyond feel-good content and provides real-life deliverables that truly impacts lives. He has worked with over 1800 organizations in 49 countries and has also authored 10 books, his latest being Be the Spark: Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life. Simon also has a few popular courses on LinkedIn’s educational platform, Lynda.

Simon drops a bunch of gems for us in this interview, and I’m going to highlight a few of the key concepts that come up in our conversation. There’s a lot of great information in this conversation though, so I encourage you to listen!

Ensure Emotional Congruence 

To be an elevated company in the marketplace, Simon talks about having emotional congruence. He says, “Companies put purpose before profit, thus becoming more profitable. Because purpose is not just about making money. It’s about making meaning. And when you become a meaningful company, you hire meaningful employees, and immerse them into meaningful work that brings customers who want to be a part of a meaningful existence in the world.” 

Simon further expounds on this idea, discussing the importance of investing in your people. He tells us: Your people are your asset. Hire people who want to be there and go the extra mile. 

Purpose is not just about making money. It's about making meaning. —@SimonTBailey #bethespark #leadership Click To Tweet

Create Operational Excellence

Simon shares his thoughts on operational excellence: “Leaders can only lead people to a place that they’ve been themselves. So many leaders want people to give better service, but they themselves they are the brilliance blocker, they’re blocking good service, because their ego is in the way because they’re concerned about their number and their bottom line.”

“So when you talk about operational excellence, everything starts with a leader. Then you move it down to a team because the fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree, a team can never give what they don’t receive; the team can never become who they’ve not been, because they’re learning from that leader. But then you get to the customer and the customer, once they feel the love the value that they matter. That team now lifts that leader up because the leader understands, “It’s not about me, it’s about we. It’s a ‘we-ness.’ That’s how operational excellence sticks.”

Be the Spark

According to Simon, ‘be the spark’ is about recognizing that anyone has the ability to transform their experience at that moment. “They recognize, ‘I’m not waiting for the tap on the shoulder for my leader. I have the ability to be the spark for this customer,’” says Simon about people who take charge of being the spark. I love how Simon mentions this can be a simple act of replacing someone’s ice cream that just fell on the floor or spontaneously paying for someone else’s groceries. You can be the spark both at work and in your personal life.

The meaning behind Simon’s ‘be the spark’ reminds me of my saying for employees and employers to ‘kill the stupid rule.’ Too often, employees are restricted in helping customers to their highest capacity because they’re limited by restrictions. As leaders, it’s your job to help your employees deliver true value to the customer. Sometimes, this may look like helping a customer with an issue even though their warranty expired in the past two days.

I'm not waiting for the tap on the shoulder for my leader. I have the ability to be the spark for this customer. — @SimonTBailey, #BeTheSpark #leadership Click To Tweet

What Do You Know Now That You Wish You Knew Then? 

Simon says:

“I wish I would have understood when I was being interviewed by Ritz-Carlton before I joined Disney, that when they say ‘we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,’ that it wasn’t just a cutesy phrase, but it’s something that lives in the heart of the Ritz-Carlton culture. I wish somebody would have told me that that is the essence of amazing service. Because when you come from that disposition, you recognize it’s not about me, but I make it about you.”

About Simon T. Bailey

Simon T BaileyWith more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including serving as sales director for Disney Institute, Simon has engaged and inspired leaders and team members through his keynotes, workshops, books, and online courses. He has personally worked with over 1,000 different organizations in 48 countries.

Simon has been named one of the top 25 people who will help you reach your business and life goals by SUCCESS magazine, joining a list that includes Brene Brown, Tony Robbins and Oprah Winfrey. He is the author of ten books including his most recent release, Be the SPARK: Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life. His courses on Lynda.com, Building Business Relationships, Finding a Sponsor, and Leading Through Relationships, have been viewed by thousands of people worldwide. His Goalcast video has over 87+ million views.

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