Transformational Leadership with Joseph Michelli

Written by Jamie Hunter

February 24, 2022

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Joseph Michelli is an expert in customer loyalty, client experience design, employee engagement and leadership. He also happens to be a sought-after speaker and New York Times bestselling author, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

He has spent decades pulling back the curtain on some of world’s most well-known companies (Airbnb, Mercedes-Benz, Starbucks, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Zappos), to see what works — and colossally fails — when it comes to customer service practices.

“Lately, we’re seeing the trend toward convenience — make it easier for me,” Joseph said on the Leading With Nice Interview Series. “If I were running a dry cleaner or a flower shop or whatever it might be, I would be thinking about how do I make this easier for my consumer each and every single day? What can I do to automate as many touch points as possible for people who want to opt to convenience of automation? How do I make sure that I have people available who are warm, loving and extremely knowledgeable when either the technology fails or in cases where people opt human?”

Opt human? Yes, you read that correctly.

“I love that phrase,” he said. “I love to opt human. I love the idea that we are human-powered and technology-aided. We should try to drive experiences that are uniquely human but are aided by the magic of technology.”

Joseph has written numerous books, including The Starbucks Experience: Five Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary, The Airbnb Way: 5 Leadership Lessons for Igniting Growth Through Loyalty, Community, and Belonging, and his latest release, Stronger Through Adversity: World-Class Leaders Share Pandemic-Tested Lessons on Thriving During the Toughest Challenges.

He stopped by the podcast to discuss leadership strategies from some of his books, business practices that develop joyful and productive workplaces, and ways the he encourages leaders to grow and invest passionately in all aspects of their lives. Check out our conversation with Joseph below.

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