Sheree Martin, is an experienced Executive with a strong result oriented focus. She has spent the last 15 years driving strategies geared towards increasing business value, known as an inspiring and strategic leader with the proven ability to establish effective teams. She has a track record of achievements in the areas of business strategy, marketing, risk management, organizational transformation and corporate innovation. After a distinguished career at The National Commercial Bank Group, Sheree decided to join The Jamaica Public Service Company Ltd. in January 2014. She was appointed to the Executive team to lead human resources, government and regulatory affairs, revenue management, customer service and communications. The company recorded significant improvements in its survey ratings, employee engagement and customer satisfaction while she headed those portfolios. During her time overseeing HR, Sheree placed an expanded focus on leadership development by spearheading a new high potential programme called JPS iLead, which exposed select employees over a 12 month period to advanced leadership competences, knowledge building, executive mentoring and targeted on the job training. Recognizing the intrinsic value of productive and well-rounded employees, Sheree also introduced the first company wide corporate wellness programme at The Jamaica Public Service. The programme, which started in 2015, has been a contributing factor to improve staff moral and reduce health care cost.
Yanique stated that you control and at the end of the day you have a choice as to what it is that you’re going to feed your mind with. In any situation, you’re not forced to go according to what’s happening around you, you can choose what it is that you want your mind to be thinking about, what you want to expose yourself to and with the age of technology, it’s right at the finger tips either through your phone or your computer. You can feed your mind with any content you choose to feed it with, whether you want to watch news everyday and hear about people being killed and the world is coming to an end and is just terrible or you want to focus on the fact that there are a lot of opportunities and positive things are still happening despite the crime and violence that exists.
Sheree agreed and stated that we need to shout that from every rooftop in Jamaica and across the world because it is that sense of empowerment that we need people to start embracing. She believes in a collective consciousness and when you have societies, towns and cities caught into a mindset of lack, a mindset of doom and gloom, it does reflect on what that city, town, and country can eventually achieve and how they continue to evolve. So we need to start telling people that they do have a choice.
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Before Jeffrey became the founder of Select ‘n’ Start on a mission to help make Jamaica, and the world a better place, he was and still is many other things. He is a Businessman, Entrepreneur, Martial Artist, Toastmaster, and Game Changer are just a few of the titles held by Mr. Azan. He possesses over 18 years of experience in the retail industry having been raised in his family’s business, Azan’s. Upon completion of his Bachelors in Business Management at Boston University, he stepped into a top tier management role as a Director for Azan’s and served in that position for 6 years. In his own right he has also been a franchise owner in Organo Gold, and Amway, a café owner under the brand Café Moments, a consultant on the Brand Profit team, General Manager of the brand solution company, It’s Pixel Perfect, and the organizer of the live music show, A Moment of Jazz. Jeffrey currently spends the majority of his time working through his passion for the development of others in an effort to see a better Jamaica and a better world. He does this by providing motivational keynote speeches, group skill training, and one-on-one coaching. He founded the self-development brand, Select ‘n’ Start back in 2013, with a vision of it becoming the number one personal development brand to be birthed out of the Caribbean. The brand has taken to titling its coaches and speakers as “Game Changers” which is a title Jeffrey holds proudly. His motto is a simple one, “Change your game, Change your life.”
Yanique stated that what she took most away from all of what Jeffrey said was that we’re all emotional beings regardless of where we are from, regardless of our background and at the end of the day, if we all look at each other as people with the same level of feelings and emotions that the customer would have, that the employee would have, that the employer would and employ that level of understanding to really see where the other person is coming from, treat them with the same level of courtesy and respect that you would treat anyone else, the quality of our relationships would improve which by default would improve customer experience.
Jeffrey stated that in Select ‘n’ Start, what they tell people they provide is motivation, inspiration and personal development and at the very root of it all, that is what it is. He stated that he cannot serve you if he’s not willing to connect with you and what you’ll recognize as humans is that we’ve grown this very disgusted outlook of a sales person because we feel like a con is coming and yet the greatest sales people in the world are some of the best humans he has ever come across. They take the time to build that relationship and in building a relationship, he has had a customer who bought nothing when they came to buy, they took 3 hours of his time and he genuinely thought it was wasted, the next time they came to the store, they came with their entire community and they only wanted to deal with him and that happened because they had a connection, he asked about the family, he asked about the home, he wasn’t just providing a product but he wanted to really understand what he needed and in understanding what he needed, he could make suggestions, in fact, there was a particular item that they had in the store at the time but based on the situation that he was in and he explained and he told him where he could get it cheaper and he couldn’t believe that he was sending him out of the store and because of that one comment in trying to help another human, he brought the whole community and he said, “What ever the prices are in here, this is where you should shop.”
Yanique shared that she did business with a company recently and the sales representative took the same approach. He said, “We don’t have that item at the moment but I know that this particular organization has it.” And he took up the phone and called them and sent her to someone specifically after calling and telling them to expect her and she thought that was really awesome because it wasn’t a branch of their business, it was a completely different company, their competition and he was willing to ensure that she got served, even if it meant her going to the competitor and she really appreciated that and she would go back again because of that experience.
Jeffrey shared that some characteristics that a person would need to truly serve. He stated that Select ‘n’ Start provide customer service training and he developed the customer service program when he had the café, so he ran the café with a partner of his for about 1 ½ years and when they got into it he was coming from the retail background and he has never done anything other than retail at the time and his partner said to him, “You’re great with people, you should train the team.” He did have a clue of what he was about to do, he knew how to sell, he knew the intrinsic knowledge but he never taught sales and what came to him through that is that the root of sales is relationships and people. He recognized that if somebody’s going to be a fantastic sales person, a great customer service person, the key of that is just to be a better person. If you’re a better person, if you have done all that you can do to keep your life in check and put it on a path of improvement, naturally you’re going to be more pleasant, naturally you’re going to want to serve more, naturally you’re going to be willing to engage with another person because you have taken care of your own problems you can now help another. You can never help another if at the forefront of your mind you’re thinking, “How is this going to benefit me.” And so what they came up with is what they call, “The Select ‘n’ Start Core” and these are things that anybody can apply and if you can work on these things and fall back on them, some people have taken it as their ethical and moral compass in life as somebody has called and told him that, is that by utilizing these things, it’s not a one size fits all but it’s a guideline to say, “Am I improving, am I getting better?” and if they do that, then everything else starts to fall into place. What those five principles are, the first one is “Real Recognizes Real”, open up yourself, be honest, he’s not telling you to go out and tell everybody your story but don’t put on a show either, people only like a show when they know they’re going to a show. Nobody likes a show spontaneously in a store, so be yourself and what will happen is, in being yourself people naturally open up to you. One of the great ways he does a motivational speech is that he shares his pain and in sharing his pain and his genuine belief, other people come and share theirs. The next logic is that “You Can Learn Anything From Anything at Anytime”, a lot of people think education is only in the book but education is around us in all sorts of interactions and stories and sharing’s and observations and if your going to be a great customer service representative then that’s what you need to do, you need to be a great observer, “What can I learn?”, you’re serving a elderly person and you’re realizing that they can’t keep up with you, get them a chair, if you’re just aware of that observation and that observation comes with the desire to learn, you’ll know that they need a chair because they can’t keep up with the pace you’re moving at. If it’s a mother with a child, he has had mothers handing him their children on a first meet basis because he engaged and he recognized and the child would even reach and the child reaches because that realness, they know it’s not a show, children are way more intuitive than we give them credit for. So by just having the desire to learn, we develop the skill of observation and if we develop the skill of observation, we’ll naturally know what to do in a situation. The third one is, “You Can Never Be Kind Enough to Somebody for Them Not to Hurt You”, so you can give the best customer service to somebody, you can take all day and sell them a $1.00 at the end of the day and anybody who’s in customer service and sales know that that’s the most frustrating sale and that person can still come back and say you gave poor service. No matter how kind you are to somebody you can never be kind enough for them not to hurt you but the flip side of the coin is that it should never stop you from being kind. In that sense, don’t worry about what the other person is going to do, don’t do it to get their reaction, don’t do it for the consequence to come from them, do it because you know you should do it and because it’s right, you don’t need a manager to tell you that but what happens is that you have 2 bad sales experiences for the day and your manager is upset with you so guess what, “I’m not serving anybody else for the day because it’s going to lead to a problem.” But the fact is that those people, no matter how good you are to them they have no reason to be kind to you. If they chose to be kind, they’ll be kind but you have that choice as well and so he always says, “You can never be kind enough for somebody not to hurt you but that shouldn’t stop you from being kind.” The last 2 points is, “Level Up”, always seek ways of improving yourself, people hate being pushed, people love being pulled, so if you stand on top of something as the expert, as the champion, people want you to pull them up, nobody wants you to be underneath them or behind them pushing them forward, so if you’re going to really serve somebody, you need to be a champion in the particular industry, you need to pull that person up to your level of understanding and expertize and anything you say, they’ll follow. Jeffrey shared that the last thing is, “Always Share What Is Uniquely Yours”, all of us have gone through life with particular stories and troubles and challenges but those stories, troubles and challenges have built a certain perspective that only we have, that only each individual has their perspective, you could have a twin and your twin can be totally different from you, same mother, same father, same school, same opportunities, same education and yet you’re 2 totally different people because of one little change, one little biochemistry and those changes create unique perspectives and it’s in unique perspectives we create unique connections, so you must always be ready to share what’s uniquely yours which goes full circle back to "Real Recognizes Real."
Jeffrey stated that once he acknowledged that...that was his calling, he has never not been able to take a step no matter how poorly, demotivated, no matter how much in the hole he is, his finances at some points are abysmal, you look at the books and go, “Jeez, how am I going to get out of this one?” and all it really is, is a challenge to say how bad do you really want it and what happens is a lot of us are pursuing goals and motivation that we don’t really want, we are not answering our true calling and the thing is, if we answer our true calling, we’re happier, we’re going to find other people interesting in it and if we do it long enough, you’ll become experts in it and people will pay for our expertize, it has been proven time and time again as abstract and as cliché as it sounds, it is not easy, if it was easy and Eric Thomas says this all the time, “If it was easy, everybody would do it.” So he’s not going to jump up and say it’s easy but he is going to say, everybody can do it, it’s can you dig into that grit to push through the challenges because life is going to consistently ask you, “How bad do you want it?" And that’s what gets him going in the morning; it’s that inspirational thought that he searched 17 years actively looking for, unfortunately many people haven’t even spent half an hour looking for it.
Jeffrey Azan Instagram - @jj.azan
Daniel Edwards is the CEO of Total One-Eighty Image Consulting, a business initiative and service tailored for the motivated, modern male professionals, which Mr. Edwards created to productively combine his three (3) passions - personal development, psychology and fashion. A trained public speaker and presenter, Mr. Edwards recently launched his series of Total One-Eighty workshops, the first being through corporate client Sagicor Life Insurance Jamaica Limited to further his holistic approach to image consultancy and personal development. With over two decades of successful experience in the sales industry, Mr. Edwards is also currently a Senior Sales Executive at Caribbean Assurance Brokers Limited. Prior to this, he was a Financial Advisor at Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited where among other things his achievements included being seated at the international acclaimed, “Million Dollar Round Table." During his time at Sagicor, Mr. Edwards also created, ran and marketed his High Street Clothing brand. An experienced performer and lover of nature, Mr. Edwards is also a proponent and practitioner of meditation and diverse self-improvement practices.
Yanique added that you want them to connect with someone who looks like them so that they can see that this possibility exists.
Yanique asked Daniel if he believes that most or all employees based on his experience are motivated financially, does motivation comes from something else as well?
Daniel Edwards shared that it is a combination; feeling like you have a vested interest doesn’t necessarily only translate to more money. Apart of the business, you’re invaluable and that your input will leave an indelible mark in the company. And if you have a system where your staff is rewarded base on merit, then they will work a little harder too, so one person is a superstar and one person is just slumming it and everybody is getting the same paycheck, after awhile the guy who is the superstar is going to take it down a few notches because there is no incentive for working so hard. There’s a motivational speaker called Max Moyan who said, “If you’re doing just enough not to loose your job, your boss is going to pay you just enough to keep it.” Also, empower your employees, put them on a plan immediately, and create a situation where they are aware of this is where they are beginning but 5 years where they should be, you should be empowering them to be on a trajectory towards success and you get a next set, it’s not a static situation.
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