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How Strengths, Engagement, Customer-Centricity Come Together

How Strengths, Engagement, Customer-Centricity Come Together

Webcast Details

  • Gallup Called to Coach Webcast Series
  • Season 5, Episode 7
  • Learn from an experienced IT worker in India how CliftonStrengths and employee engagement can provide value for the customer.

On a recent Called to Coach, India edition, we spoke with Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Shantanu Sen Sharma.

Shantanu Sen Sharma has 25 years of experience working in the Information Technology field in India. Shantanu has worked for top Indian companies such as HCL and Tech Mahindra. In 2011, he started Ozone Education Consultants, a consulting business aimed at boosting employees' abilities and skills. He mainly focuses on working with postgraduate students pursuing their masters in business -- helping them develop their strengths for better placements, and coaching leaders in higher education institutions.

He also works with companies on customer-centricity for employees who are in technical or delivery roles and may not be customer facing. This is a major challenge in service industries like Information Technology. Shantanu's areas of expertise and passion include development of young talent, identifying and leveraging strengths, value-based selling, and creating customer-centric teams. He has a large amount of experience in talent acquisition and serves on the selection panel for one of India's premier management schools.

Notes from the webcast:

  • Shantanu's new consulting business started in 2011. He says the key to helping people is to light a switch in their mind, until that happens it's difficult to achieve results
  • With students you need to understand the broader perspective; not more than 25% will be employable
  • People don't choose management as a career, but they do management as a career
  • Students arrive with a low level of self-esteem and a fuzzy idea of what they want to do with their life
  • Many students come from rural areas and barely speak English, many are first people from their village to go to school
  • When you ask the right question their persona can change immediately from shy to engaged
  • Another example of student who was "all mind but no heart," basement of Analytical was really coming out, needed to start using Relator more
  • Help the students claim their talents; it gives them self-confidence
  • The aiming part is more important than naming and claiming; need to know what is in it for them at the end of the day

How much time do you spend with each student?

  • MBA is two-year program in India; usually 4 semester
  • Start working with them from the start; do a discovery interview, focus is on strengths
  • More interventions happen in the 2nd semester; then do more aiming in 3rd semester
  1. A strengths journey should not be seen in isolation, your personality is not separate from your reality
  2. Students use strengths to brand themselves
  3. Be able to answer the question -- Why should I hire you?
  • Aim it, contextualize it, look at skills the job requires; map it to your own strengths
  • Give examples of when you have exhibited the behaviors wanted

Why customer-centricity?

  • As sales become more and more intense, knowledge of the business becomes more and more important
  • Can articulate to the customer directly through experience
  • But there could be communication issues
  • Use an outside in approach
  • Look at what the customer wants, then at what you have
  • You must have powerful customer insight; then deliver value
  • Understand how customer will benefit and be able to articulate that

New concept coming out in selling -- challenger selling -- challenge the customer

  • Tell the customer well before the sale that what the customer is describing is not what they want
  • Customers are in a "fuzzy state" and asking for someone to tell them possible challenges
  1. Address both the skill and will, using CliftonStrengths
  2. Book -- Employees First
  • Customers first is too open-ended; if the employee builds up his skill, and becomes more engaged, then there is more value for the customer
  1. Mapping the personality to the reality
  2. Approach the bigger picture first -- which is Aim it
  3. It's all about making a positive change -- job change, productivity change

Shantanu Sen Sharma's Top 5 CliftonStrengths are Learner, Individualization, Input, Relator and Responsibility.

Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach Cheryl S. Pace contributed to this post.

Learn more about using CliftonStrengths to help yourself and others succeed:

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