Technology has sped up the pace of life so much that our daily routines of today resemble little of our ones from yesteryear.
The Digital Age has, no doubt, helped countless industries in innumerable ways. However, it’s not without its drawbacks, especially for those who occupy sales and leadership positions.
“Getting and keeping people’s attention, being memorable in a very crowded, busy space is a difficult task,” said Christine Miles, the co-founder and chief architect of CI Squared, a global company based in suburban Philadelphia that functions as a catalyst for Leadership Development and Sales Training. “People think they know you before you walk in the room. Because of the Internet, they’re 70 percent down the sales cycle.
“Salespeople have a tendency to focus on the product, and they forsake the manner in which they tell their story.”
That’s where Miles and her staff at CI Squared – which stands for Continuous Innovation and Improvement – come into play for a client.
“We help clients change the conversation to a more meaningful one that can better drive business results,” she said. “We help people communicate more effectively throughout an organization, both internally and externally, by helping them understand themselves and others better, which is a big part of how they tell their stories.”
Miles believes that the ability to influence and communicate in a way that inspires others is the key to business and personal success. Consequently, she founded – along with John Geraci, a West Point graduate and operating executive with 35 years of experience – a company that would give clients in the leadership and sales realms the nudge they need to break through the challenging environment created by digital disruption.
Driven by a curiosity to understand what makes people tick and a desire to help others achieve maximum potential, Miles, who possesses 30 years of experience in the fields of business and behavioral psychology, has devoted her career to helping people find ways to leverage their talents.
What Miles and Geraci discovered from a three-year research project on macro trends, neuroscience, and behavioral economics is that two core principles consistently trigger enhanced performance:
- slow down to speed up
- small nudges have a huge effect
The pair then co-authored The Art of the Nudge: Unlocking Your Hidden Potential as a tool for businesses to increase revenues, margins, customer satisfaction, and employee engagement, which all leads to increased shareholder value.
“Fundamentally, the reason we chose ‘nudge’ is because no one likes to be told what to do,” said Miles. “So how do you nudge someone? We know that stories nudge.”
And a big part of her storytelling technique is the use of analogies.
“I was working with a client recently, and while trying to explain the importance of understanding in order to help people heal, I shared a story about an experience I had with a wound infection,” said Miles. “If you close a wound without getting all of the infection out, you can kill a person. The only way a wound can heal is from the inside out.
“If there are wounds in a company, leaders have to reach in far, and gut the wound in order to move forward.”
One of the myriad companies to benefit from CI Squared’s services is King of Prussia-based Tozour Energy Systems. Eleven years ago, Miles began working with Frank Rhea, Tozour’s Executive Vice President. Now, she works with the company’s entire leadership team in one-on-one and group settings.
“The benefits of having a solid company story, which Christine helped us articulate, has helped TES reach world-class growth, year after year, through increased sales,” said Rhea. “I’m a big believer that the most effective leaders know themselves and have a comprehensive understanding of your ‘why.’
“When we held our first ‘why’ training at TES, our culture of teamwork soared to new heights.”
Tozour Energy Systems has continued to invest in the power of story to help its employees grow, both professionally and personally.
“At TES, we care deeply for each other, and the power of story helps us build upon this important part of our culture,” said Rhea.
Click here for more information about CI Squared’s workshops and training.