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Podcast with Susan Ascher: Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, Soft-skills

The Socialfix Kickass Content Team

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Terry Tateossian (00:03):

I am excited to introduce our guests today. Susan Asher, Susan is the president and CEO of the Asher group, which is an award winning national consulting firm. She’s the founder of the sphere of excellence and communication and the founder of course, and culinary connections. Susan’s training and coaching programs have helped countless corporations and individuals raise the bar in communication, leadership, development, teamwork, and client relations. She has coached individuals and teams for clients ranging from the fortune 52 emerging growth companies, as well as healthcare organizations, nonprofits, and numerous nationally ranked colleges and universities. Welcome Susan. And thank you for joining us today.

Susan Ascher (01:30):

Thank you, Terry. From the, not the shores of kitschy Kumi from the green grass of Ireland, in 2014. Here we are today. Unbelievable. Leading Women Entrepreneurs are we.

Terry Tateossian (01:46):

And thank you, Linda, for bringing us together. I’ll tell you guys, the first time I ever met Susan was on a golf course in Ireland and we had all just gotten there to the, to the CA it was a castle, right? It was a castle and Susan had already gotten there before us. We were on a leading entrepreneurs, women’s strip, and I believe there were 11 of us and we were all just kind of getting our bearings and, you know, getting ready for a week in Ireland. And this woman walked in from the front door, tall, beautiful blonde woman. She had her golf bags and her one or two, you had one or two caddies or walked down with you,

Susan Ascher (02:35):

Maybe just because we were in a castle, you’re telling a fairy tale.

Terry Tateossian (02:45):

I really thought that you were like royalty walked in and you just own the place. And that is how I will always remember Susan was in that instant. I was just like, wow, who is this?

Susan Ascher (03:00):

But we had fun. Didn’t we? He had so much fun. Yep. We did. I have so many amazing stories. That should be another that’ll be another segment, another segment. So Susan, tell us about how you got started in your career. So a little history on me, cause I always think it’s, I think it’s interesting. I hope your audience does. I I’m first-generation German. I went to kindergarten speaking German. So when I went to class the first day, and of course it was a half day kindergarten after kindergarten after the class, the teacher said to my mother, Gretchen, my mother and father who both spoke English, they were bilingual. Gretchen your daughter does not understand what I’m saying. And my mother said, don’t worry, she’ll be speaking English in just a few weeks. And in fact, I, I did within six weeks because I was immersed with all the children.

Susan Ascher (03:51):

I had no choice. So from there, so I would feel like I was a first in a lot of things. I was the first in the first class of women at Lehigh university, which I’m very proud of one of the first to graduate from the business college. And then I was the first woman that the, the recruiting firm that I went to work for hired. And the reason I got there much to my father’s chagrin after spending, you know, four years in a, in a great business college, I decided to become what was then better known as an employment agent. And I met someone, I was coming home from work from a job that I hated and I was reading, you know, then we had, I mean, I don’t want to sound like a dinosaur, thank goodness. You can throw some pictures of me out there.

Susan Ascher (04:33):

But but we, I was sitting next to this guy on the bus and I’m reading the paper, looking for a job cause I hate my job. And he said, are you looking for a job? Now at that point, I was far more demure than I am today and much shyer. And I didn’t really want to talk to a stranger, but he talked me up and said, well, what do you want to do? And I said, well, I love people. And I want to make a lot of money. And he said, congratulations. You’ve just met the most successful employment agent in the state of New York. And he said, I’m not looking to hire anybody, but I always know people that are looking for recruiters, high turnover rate in that business, as there would be in financial advisors or insurance, you know, all those jobs, right.

Susan Ascher (05:15):

Where some people make it, but most don’t. So he said, let’s meet at friendlies tonight and I’ll go over. These people, give you the number. And at that time I went home to my then fiance. And I said, listen, I’m not going to be able to go to the movies tonight because I have to meet this gentleman that I met on the bus friendlies. Now we just didn’t do things like that. So of course he said he would come with me and long story short, I met four people. Three of them offered me the job. The fourth, I met up five years later and he became my partner. So that’s how I got started in the recruiting business. I loved it. I loved helping people as I always do. I love helping people get better at what they do. Find a better job be better person, which is what I’m doing now.

Susan Ascher (05:59):

And so that, that company had a few lives and the first was a contingency staffing firm. And the second was a search firm and the third was the contract staffing firm. And that’s one thing I would just as a sidebar say to anyone, you always have to be thinking that the job you’re in today is going to be looking different three to five years from now. And especially that’s especially true for millennials and gen Z. If we look at baby boomers, their expiration date was 60 generation X is 50 and likely it will be 40 or 45 for millennials simply because of technology and the pace of the way businesses is running. So one day I woke up and it was just, everything was a commodity. Everything was a smaller and smaller margin and tremendous ageism. And I just woke up one day and I said, I don’t love this anymore.

Susan Ascher (06:53):

And I had loved it for so many years. So when people talk about passion, it’s just not a word to me. It’s I just didn’t love what I was doing. So I sold my business and then I got lost, meaning I was a little bit lost. I didn’t know what to do. So what I did is I, I knew I wanted to write a book. And so I started on that. But during that time I would go to this conference and that networking and this event, and through that, I met the woman that became my coach, Patricia drain, and she just ignited something in me. And I was able to pivot to this coaching sphere that I’m in now. And she said, well, after all, you were a recruiter. So you coached people every day. You coach them on how to find a job, how to dress, what to do, et cetera, et cetera.

Susan Ascher (07:39):

And that was about 10 years ago. And with her encouragement and coaching, I not only wrote the book, I got my first big gig with a very large hospital system where I coached over 400 of their nurses and patient coordinators over two years, raising the bar in their communication, their emotional intelligence and their way of basically developing their own empathy. And then I wrote my second book and things went on and I, as you know, Terry, I do a lot of public speaking and that’s where I am today. And I just, I’m still helping people, but in a way that is a little bit different because I’m not necessarily finding them a job as I did as a recruiter, I’m either helping them figure out how to present themselves in a job or more importantly, and probably 80% of what I do is leadership coaching.

Susan Ascher (08:29):

And a lot of that has to do with helping people develop their compassion, their empathy, and in the final analysis, their emotional quotient. Very interesting. So over the years, what would you say are some things that you’ve noticed? So for example when you were working with people when you first started your company compared to how you’re working with people now, have you noticed any type of changes in the people themselves and how they responded, react and kind of manage their day to day? Or has the change come more externally? You mean the people that worked for me, are you asking me that or people that I see in corporations working in like teams and groups in general in general? Well, yes. And I think, and we are going to change and we’re going to continue to change sometimes for the better. And I’m a big change agent and I love change.

Susan Ascher (09:30):

So it’s not that I don’t, and I love transformation. I do think what’s happened in the corporate world. Is there has been way less emphasis on things like how we show up to work when we show up how we greet people, if we show up, if we show up yeah. And things like that. So I do. And you know, I’ll go right to the basic thing of how we dress today. I remember it was a big hoo ha when I said to everybody, we’re going to have a casual, a denim Fridays, you know, but if you want to wear a denim, you got to put five bucks in the jar and we’re going to give it to the YMCA. So we didn’t just do it. We always had a mission behind that. That was a big deal. And I remember at one point going out, I remember saying to one of my staff, do you think I can wear a pants suit?

Susan Ascher (10:20):

Because it was dresses and suit dresses and things like that. And of course I did do it because I figured I was the consultant and I could do what I wanted, but I still look presentable and executive and all that. I personally think a lot of this sort of lack of attention to detail. And I see it when I see it, when I’m the customer looking for something. So it CA you know, it’s like, when you, when you talk about executive presence or any of these things, it’s a package. It’s not today, I’m in the boardroom. So I act like an executive. It’s something that becomes, you know, you talk about this, you’re in the, in the industry, people say to me, well, what’s a brand. Well, the brand is, how do you show up? I mean, I would never think of leaving the house in sweat pants.

Susan Ascher (11:06):

Okay. And I would never think of, you know, wearing the ones like the woman next to me at Dunkin donuts this morning, not the ones that you wore last night, the ones that she’s worn for the last six weeks. So, so, but do you see what I’m saying? So it’s your brand. So your brand is it’s everything from your personality and how you treat people to how you show up. And, and, you know, you were talking about how you remembered me, how memorable you become and how do you distinguish and differentiate yourself, your character, your character. Yeah. Yeah. So what is the difference now, other than lack of detail and maybe potentially our, what I’m hearing you say is that our standards have lowered. We have also, however, simultaneously busier

Terry Tateossian (11:55):

And life has, I think become more demanding. So things are

Susan Ascher (12:02):

Busy with what, looking at our phone a hundred times a day, being on the alternate four hours a day because of the phone. Yeah. Yeah. But I set those boundaries with my clients. For instance, I woke up this morning and I see that somebody texted me at 10 30 at night while I’m in bed at 10 and I’m up at five. So when I got up at five and saw the text, I responded to her, but I was sleeping or going to be sleeping at 10 o’clock. So you have to set, excuse me, boundaries. But I do think that the corporate world has really taken advantage of that, but that, that has, that, that of course builds into emotional intelligence. But it’s funny when you see these behemoths and some of them are my clients, they can’t find their way out of a paper bag to make a decision for a year on something. Yet there people have to respond within a nanosecond when they have a question that doesn’t compute for me.

Terry Tateossian (12:59):

What do you envision as some of the biggest challenges that companies like that are facing?

Susan Ascher (13:05):

Well, I think, you know, people, people complain, you know, now the millennials are complaining about, okay, boomer, the boomers complained about the millennials. I don’t know, gen Z, you know, they’re just at the forefront. I don’t know what we’re going to say about them. The last generation is generation X, unfortunately, meaning they’re the quiet ones. They just do their jobs. They’re the team players. And and so we don’t hear that much about them, but I think, I think that the, the, I think that the world is changing and I actually do a lot of coaching on this, this cross-generational communication, et cetera. So back in the day, there were traditionalist old people and there were baby boomers. That was it. But now because of technology, you know, when a baby boomer put their, put their paper or their, their information in a paper file, the next generation of that, you know, started putting it in a, in a computer disc or something.

Susan Ascher (14:05):

So, and the thing about generation X is that they had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood. So they still straddle, but the generations. And that’s why they’re, they’re not as poopoo about things as maybe the millennials are. But back to your point, I think that the biggest challenge is getting people to work together. It’s always the same thing, respecting each other. I mean, we see it you know, globally, right. With different countries and how we have to deal with them and they with us and everything else. So, but we have to start that within these companies that we have respect for one another. And quite frankly, I don’t think I was saying to you when we were talking earlier that the baby boomers had romper room and gen X had mr. Rogers, what do these children have? They have video games and I’m not putting down video games.

Susan Ascher (14:59):

We now have, you know, they’re now having a athletic, you know, E video game champions. Do you know this? Yeah, yeah. So, so, but again, when you do that, when you have those kinds of things in place, you’re not really talking to people, you’re talking to machines. We’re not, even though we use machines, we need machines. We have to have systems. They make life faster and easier on so many levels. There are still people that are developing and running the systems. So how do we treat one another so that we can get to that next level?

Terry Tateossian (15:31):

So basically soft skills are one of the, those characteristics that we need to make sure that we’re harnessing and we’re, we’re talking about. And we’re ensuring that people have the opportunity to engage in, you know, what are soft skills, right? There’s a bunch of studies out there that are defining it as non technical skills. So non-computer skills, non nonfinancial skills that enable people to interact with each other harmoniously. And those types of skills, impact culture, mindset, leadership, attitudes, behaviors. I mean, you name it that the essence of an organization is inside of its soft skills capabilities.

Susan Ascher (16:17):

Gary Vaynerchuk, Chuck, I don’t know if you know him. He’s a very faint tons of military. I know you Gary hashtag interview you. Okay. Gary hashtag Gary asked Gary V so he identifies why emotional intelligence is so important to business owners and a simple quote from his book, the book called hashtag ask Gary V. And that is if I could sell a formula made up of gratitude, empathy, and self awareness, it would be my billion dollar coconut water idea. I think that says it all. And that’s why he has the followers. He has absolutely takes the moment. You know, you look at a Richard Branson, these are not arrogant people who, I mean, the real, real successful people like that. And some of them are arrogant, but the ones that really are iconically successful people are first. Yeah. Yeah.

Terry Tateossian (17:19):

See, but there there’s, there’s a, a really, in my opinion, I feel like there’s a really big problem coming towards us that most people don’t and they don’t foresee it in one sense, we are losing our soft skills because we’re so entrenched in technology. And then on the other end of it, technology is advancing an exponential rate. So we’re also losing our grip in, in actually performing our jobs. So not only are we disconnected culturally and socially, but now we’re also losing our grip on our actual technical skills. A lot of people are struggling with keeping up with all the different advancements and the changes that are happening in the, in, in the office and in, in in the technology fields and everywhere, like for example, Walmart has, and, and Walmart has a favorite case study for me as well as Amazon, because you, you can see trends that are coming just by watching Walmart and Amazon and Google. Walmart has purchased 17,000 virtual devices Oculus in order to train and help their employees on their first day. Let’s say if their first black Friday sale through virtual methods. So they’re using technology to teach soft skills and vice versa. And, and you need soft skills in order to actually do your job.

Susan Ascher (18:59):

Well, especially in a Walmart, especially in a Walmart. I wonder, is it working? I don’t know. I guess we’ll find out. We’ll find out when you have a company of that magnitude. I, I can understand, like, some of it has to be done that way. Maybe the, the 80% of the job can be taught that way, but it’s still the person in the store. It’s still the manager. I mean, are we just going to have, well, I guess we will have robots in the store someday. Yeah. Yeah. You have robots now. Physical robotics is definitely taking over. So let’s talk about soft skills. So how would you identify, you know, target people ask me this. Okay. You know, there’s no, this is not rocket science. All right. For those of your listeners out there, if you want to boil it down, it’s manners. That’s what it is.

Susan Ascher (19:52):

That’s what soft skills are. It’s the ability to be self aware, be aware of the people around you, treat people, not only the way you want to be treated. It’s not the golden rule. It’s also the way they want to be treated. It’s the ability to control your emotions. The ability to when you’re angry or upset about something, maybe you don’t answer it right away. Maybe you don’t spew something forth right away. Maybe you go home and you sleep on it. I often tell people that you’ll have a different perspective in the morning, and you’ll see, maybe you have to consider their, their feelings. What I started to say to you earlier, we were talking about different cultures. When I was coaching this very large team of, of nurses and coordinators. We did a, a trust and a exercise. And when we were done, I looked around, I said, anybody have any questions?

Susan Ascher (20:52):

And the reason, and the way we did it was to look in someone’s eyes. So you had to look in someone’s eyes. And the first person that looked away was the person who didn’t really trust, maybe. So I said, who, who, anybody uncomfortable with that? And a young woman raised her hand. And she said, yeah, I couldn’t even look in the other person’s eyes. And I said, and why was that? And she said, because I’m from Haiti and in Haiti, it’s very disrespectful to look someone in the eye. And I said to her, but now you’re in America and it’s very disrespectful not to. So if I go to Haiti, thank you for telling me, because I will make sure that I don’t look in people’s eyes. So do you see what I’m saying? You have to know the culture. You have to know the person and you have to be, again, it’s not always the golden rule.

Susan Ascher (21:40):

Sometimes it’s opposite to that. Sometimes it’s indifference to the way the person, for instance, in her case, sorry, you know, you, you felt uncomfortable, but the reality is you’re here now. And eye contact is very important. So, but in terms of soft skills, I think I said it earlier and not to be funny, but besides learning things that help. Oh, and I’m, I mean, I don’t want to pontificate cause there’s all kinds, all kinds of, well, there’s all kinds of religions. Okay. I don’t care what you are today. I don’t care if you’re Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu. I, it doesn’t matter to me. But part of where children learn or learned their mores was in their religious studies, because regardless of your religion, you’re taught respect for another person. Well, that’s sort of been our, you know, politics is our new religion now. So we really don’t.

Susan Ascher (22:36):

We don’t have time to take our kids. True. Politics is you are so, so I, I remember, you know, I remember being a Protestant and Catholics like saying you’re Protestant and me saying, you’re Catholic. You know, now it’s much bigger than that. But the point is, is that the world is so much more diverse. So, so much more broad. It’s even more important to be inclusive, not just the way we talk about it in terms of diversity in a corporation, but really inclusive. Like including people like calling them by their name, thanking them, you know, Hey, you know what? I, I love sending people. Thank you notes. I love sending people notes. They are so surprised they can’t take it. They love it. And it is old fashioned. But I will tell anyone who wants to stand out on just texted them. No. Why? So I do that.

Susan Ascher (23:27):

And then I send a thank you note, cause guess what? I get a two shot deal with them. Nice. Yeah. Or email them, you know? But I think that we are so focused on technology, but I mean, you need only go to a mall or a grocery store and you know, someone’s walking out in front of you and they let the door slam in your face. I mean, it’s just common sense. We need to build common sense in people again, because teams thrive when they work together, when they respect you, you know, you’ve seen that when the, when everybody loves each other, then everything turns out great, you know, even in a technological environment. So that’s a company utopia. Yeah. The unicorn. Yeah. That’s right. Yeah.

Terry Tateossian (24:15):

But yeah, I mean, we should all strive for that. Right. You don’t want to come to work every day and be miserable. And I say this all the time, you know, if that’s the environment that you’re in and you absolutely can’t stand it, then it’s the wrong place for you. And that’s okay. That is okay. How can, in your opinion, future leaders

Susan Ascher (24:41):

Develop these,

Terry Tateossian (24:43):

You know, shall we call it like soft skills, whether it’s initiative taking adaptability empathy?

Susan Ascher (24:51):

Well, we always talk about leading by example, which we know this for a hundred years. So then there’s the different leadership styles, which I’m not necessarily going to go into all of them, but we have the democratic leader who decides he’s going to ask everybody, or she’s going to ask everybody at the table what they think, and then they’re going to make a decision. But the leadership I like best is that of a servant leader where I serve my staff as much as they serve me. And when that happens. Okay. When, when I, and I saw this with the nurses where if a head nurse would, because one of the nurses is overwhelmed with three sick patients and the head nurse would say, okay, let me take the blood from this person. You go ahead and tend to, you know, the other patient. So as opposed to I’m the head nurse and that’s not my job.

Susan Ascher (25:36):

So a lot of leadership and emotional intelligence is based upon it is based upon treating people the way you think that they want to be treated okay. That will make them feel better. And a lot of it is stupid little things like attaboys at a girls. Hey, did a great job tear. Hey, thanks Vic. For that. I don’t hear that enough. I don’t hear that enough because I will point blank. Ask, I’ll ask some of my coachees to write down if we’re having that kind of an issue and emotional intelligence issue, I will say to them, write down five times in the last week that you thanked someone and you know, they sit there with a pen and paper and they can’t figure it out because they haven’t. So They’re, they’re niceties. Right.

Speaker 4 (26:26):


Susan Ascher (26:26):

So powerful niceties. Yeah. And I do. I see, I see corporations, my clients investing in that more so at the top, and that’s not a bad thing cause it does trickle down. But beyond that top person, the, of people that works for them, they have to be then coached in the same way. It’s because sometimes people are just too busy to impart that really, to make any real significant difference. It has to be a program. That’s it? It has to be a program. Hold that thought,

Terry Tateossian (27:03):

Let’s take a quick break. And thank our sponsors.

Speaker 1 (27:06):

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Terry Tateossian (27:39):

No matter how hard you try to abide by these principles and, and you know, your character kind of aligns with this system at the same time, I feel like people are just so busy that it’s becomes very challenging, right? Like I get a lot of comments once in a while, like, Oh yeah, I sent you an email 12 hours ago and you still haven’t responded to me. Well, no shit. Right. I’m working BZ. You have priorities to set, but I’m not going to ignore you. I will respond. I’m just not necessarily going to respond right now because I may not be in my emails or it might be dry driving for sometimes hours not going to really answer. So like, I feel like there’s that kind of expectation a lot of times, even though you’re still trying to, to meet that demand and you want to so tell me from working with a lot of different companies, what are some of the worst characteristics that you’ve encountered in company culture in general? Like what are some environments that are really just toxic?

Susan Ascher (28:55):

I mean the big, the big thing I think is that people need to learn how to listen. And you know, I’m, I’m feeling when I’m sitting with you and you’re a very good listener. Most people are there. You S you know, you’re asking someone a question and then, but they really don’t always want the answer. They would rather, they’re already thinking what they can say to speak over you. So listening, there’s a great book out. It’s called the pause principle. And I, I recommend it to a lot of the execs that I’m working with, which is like going slower to go faster. But when you say going slower to go faster, but when you, when you say, you know, these people, and I mentioned the young woman before, where they expect you to answer them in a nanosecond years ago, before we had technology, I would say to people when I met them, and I do that now with people, I will tell a client, if it’s really important, you have to text me and say emergent, okay.

Susan Ascher (29:58):

But if it’s something that can wait as this thing last night could then don’t say anything and I’ll be back to you. And I’ll be back to you between 12 and 24 hours. No more than 24. It depends. How important is it? If someone’s asking me something about an event that I’m going to be speaking at in may, and they want to ask me a question I’m not going to, that’s not a, that’s not a flag. There’s a priority to me. And that’s where we make the mistake is really tending to the things that are pre, because if we did that, those things would get off our plate very quickly. But because we’re trying to tend to all of the noise in the background, that isn’t a priority, we have problems. So I, what I do and what I would suggest to people who have clients is to actually have that discussion in your first meeting to say, listen, I’m you.

Susan Ascher (30:50):

If it’s something that you need done very quickly, you have to flag that for me beyond that, I’ll be back to you within the next 12 to 24 hours. Nothing is that emergent is. I can’t imagine we know what perspective. Well, it depends. If a client says to me, I really need that proposal tomorrow by, by 5:00 PM. Well guess what? They’re going to get it, but how often is that happening? It’s that most things are to me off the time. Well, is it okay? Okay. All right. Well then, then you, dear might need coaching in delegation. So

Terry Tateossian (31:29):

In terms of I guess motivation, that’s a really hot topic. I, I feel like lately is that people just seem to have lost that or, or they feel like motivation is something to strive for. It’s like this, this nonsense about, Oh, I just want to be happy. Or, you know, happiness is the goal. No, you’re never going to be just happy. Happiness is not the end goal that you should strive for because you’re going to fail over and over again. Right? You need to learn how to deal with life on a daily basis. Motivation comes and goes. You’re not always going to be motivated to get up, brush your teeth, go to work, grind your ass all day and go home and start all over again. Especially if you have a family, how do we motivate each other? And, and our teams to understand that?

Susan Ascher (32:27):

Well, I mean, this is not like a deep, dark secret. It’s just, it starts, it starts in the home. And unfortunately we have too many families of two working. We talked about there’s no religion, you know, politics being the new religion. So we really don’t learn the morays of sitting, still listening, being grateful. Now people are writing their gratitude journals and things, not everybody. But if you really sit down three great books by Rhonda Byrne, the secret, which most people have read the power, which is which is you driving around during the holidays in a busy shopping mall and saying, there’s no parking spot. And all of a sudden saying, I got to get one and somebody pulls out because you put the power out or you really wanted that client. You manifested that. Okay. So that’s that book is the power that she wrote.

Susan Ascher (33:20):

But the third one is the magic and the magic goes beyond that. But at the end of that book, what she has me doing, and everybody who’s read it is writing 10 gratitudes a day. Now I fall off the wagon. There are days that I am too busy, which I really shouldn’t be to write 10, but I am. And of course you can repeat them. Things like being grateful for your health, if people really, but we don’t have that. I want that, mommy. I want those sneakers. I want that video. I want, I want, I want, I want it’s. How about being in the moment? I don’t want to be too spiritual because as you know, I’m kind of like a black and white person, but I am spiritual when it comes to manifesting things and being grateful and thanking other people and going out of my way, and this is what I teach people.

Susan Ascher (34:10):

It’s the little things, and this is, you know, I know people are gonna be listening to this and going, Oh, God manners, like who cares, but manners are really what emotional intelligence is. And now I, I didn’t, I think I said it to you before we got on the air. And that is, if you want to know what emotional intelligence is, go watch Tom Hanks be mr. Rogers. Okay. Because it’s not that it’s an Academy award winning movie, but if you want to learn what emotional intelligence is, that’s what he taught children on that show. He taught them to be empathetic. He thought taught them to see that if Terry was upset about something, what were we going to do to help her feel better about that? You know, he taught them that you had to say, thank you. I mean, this is like elementary stuff that we’re talking about here, but it’s been lost.

Susan Ascher (35:04):

So how do you bring it back? It’s only going to be in companies that really see when they see a benefit. It’s tough to measure that Terry very tough to measure when you’ve trained somebody in Nemo, the ROI on that is tough to measure other than to see that people are working together better. That hospital group, they have something in the hospitals, a sector called press Ganey scores. Their scores went up 30%. And the only thing we did was them on please. Thank you. I’m sorry. Filtering yourself. Being a servant leader. It was, that was what we were training them on. And that’s a big score difference. So, but that’s very important. You know, why in that business, just like it is in the hotel business and the Ritz Carlton is a client of mine. Same thing. They want five stars from every client.

Susan Ascher (35:58):

Okay. So when you go to a Ritz Carlton, then you say to someone, even at the front desk, where’s the restaurant. They take you by the hand, they get out from behind the counter, just like Nordstrom. They get out from behind the counter and give you the bag at the Ritz Carlton. They get out from behind the counter and they say to their associate, excuse me, I’m going to walk mrs. Tuttosi and down to, and they walk you down. They don’t say, make a left, make a right under the exit. So no, they don’t do that. So, but those are the, those that’s emotional intelligence. I read a quote by Aristotle the other day. Wow. You’re very deep.

Susan Ascher (36:40):

I’m half ghetto, half glam, so it’s half and half, but I read this quote that said, we become just by performing just actions, temporary by performing temperate actions and brave by become by performing brave actions. So in other words, in today’s vernacular, if you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk. And if you want to be perceived as having a particular character with a particular set of values, you actually have to embody those and just do those things. So definition of character behaving always the same way, whether someone’s watching you or not. Okay. Character is what you build when no one’s watching you. That’s what it comes down to. So yes. Think about that. People aren’t like, Oh my gosh, I, I know we’re supposed to be an evergreen taping here, but I’m so disappointed in the Houston Astros, the cheating that went on to win the world series, I’m saying so, you know, but we couldn’t really see it.

Susan Ascher (37:57):

Okay. But no one was really watching. Okay. So they did all these shenanigans and they, they win the world series. So, but I’m saying to you, if we have an organization like that, allowing or someone’s coaching the team on that, someone is behind that. It’s not just one person. So, and that’s an example of why to break this all down, because this happens everywhere. It happened way cheating scandal in college with the caliph, with the movie stars. Right? So, but so all of this factors into emotional intelligence and character and it’s building awareness and it’s really holding people accountable.

Terry Tateossian (38:40):

So where, where do people go nowadays to find mentors and leaders that they can actually aspire to? Because I, I think one of the problems that, you know, and I hate this word, millennial, but I’m going to use it. I, I, I think one of these problems is that that generation specifically grew up with no role models, no mentorship. You know, the school systems are broken down. We don’t have any religious leaders anymore. Our political system is, you know what it is I have recently, by the way, I’m going to make a confession have recently been religiously and politically awakened because it is so crazy out there. But where do people go? Like, how do you even know that the person that you admire and the person that you’re looking at as a mentor is not actually turning around when nobody’s watching and doing something shady, creepy, and cringeworthy, because nowadays who isn’t. Right. So how do you even know that if you invest your attention and your admiration and you follow this person that they’re not going to disappoint you down the road?

Susan Ascher (40:03):

Well, it’s very, it’s very hard. It’s very hard. Look at, let’s just look at the news of any given day. And I’m not, again, I’m, I’m being, you know, I’m not going anywhere with any of these comments, but when, when you talk, because you’re a marketing digital marketing, very successful marketing company. So you know what somebody asks me of the day this client that I was telling you about, well, what, how do you get a brand? What do you do? How do you find your own brand? Well, so your brand is something that you live by every single day. Okay? Whatever that is. You know, whether it’s politeness, whether it’s the way you dress, whether it’s the way you treat, right. If you’re, if you’re the person that’s swearing all day in the office, well, that’s part of your brand.

Susan Ascher (40:54):

Then, then we know that, you know, when, when Tim walks in the room, if he’s upset about something, you know, he’s going to spew forth all these, this, these terrible terms all the time. Well, my podcast partner, Gail Miller, she says that she read a study. That the more you curse, the smarter you are, I don’t think so. But so where do they learn it? I don’t know. So is it going to be up to the companies? They don’t invest in soft skills. I mean, they do at the very top. And of course I have teams that I’m working with, but I would like to see the raised so that everybody is made aware of that. But you talked about the millennial generation. So here’s what happened there. Whenever they got upset about something, my daughter is a millennial. So I’m, you know, and however, I was not that parent, as anyone would know if she met, if they met my daughter, but for the most, for many millennials, mom and dad didn’t want them to be upset.

Susan Ascher (41:56):

Didn’t want them to get hurt. Everybody needed to get an, a, everybody needed to get a you know, a soccer trophy. It’s not the real world. It’s not the real world, dude. Okay. You have to be accountable for yourself. So in that, in that particular sphere, and of course there are always people that went to boarding school, people that come from traditional family, I mean, and even people who come from nothing whose parents, it doesn’t matter. It’s it’s across the board. It doesn’t matter what your socioeconomic background is. It matters that your parents were involved enough to know right from wrong. And to teach you, you know that this is the way you’re going to be in the world. If you want to stand out, treat people. Well, when you listen, it’s like anything else? It’s, it’s like making friends wherever you go.

Susan Ascher (42:46):

Right? I mean, I go into the dry, cleaner to young ladies. I mean, look, they were going to the dry cleaner, what are they making? 10, 12 bucks an hour. Every time I walk in there, how’s your day going? How are you doing today? But you know, you shake your head. Yes. Because you do that. But if the whole world did that, it’d be a different place. Wouldn’t it. Or to thank someone or to hold the door for it. I mean, these are so, you know, I feel like I, as Susan, Asher’s finishing school, you know, back in ms. Porter’s finished project. I liked that. But it’s like, it’s like, people don’t think it’s important, but it is because it carries over into marriages, relationships, partnerships, people want to be treated nicely. And when there’s that culture that you build, people become happy. Because like you said, that when we sat down, you love a compliment who doesn’t love a compliment then, and there, you know, I need a whole orchestra entourage following me around.

Susan Ascher (43:44):

So imagine, so imagine an entry level person who doesn’t get feedback. Who’s who’s boss, isn’t visible the top boss. So when the top, top partner in an accounting firm who maybe doesn’t see the junior accountant very often when he or she does to be able to give them an attaboy or at a girl that that’s emotional intelligence. So that’s why I say it’s emotional intelligence. It’s like common sense, which is not so common as we know. Right. So talk to me about the characteristics of AICCU so improved. Self-Awareness obviously right. Knowing where you stand emotionally can be very helpful as an entrepreneur being, being aware like, is that, does that mean being aware of your emotions and you’re your own kind of state yeah. Your own state, but it’s also, it’s also if you see something, say something, I mean, it’s, it’s the whole package.

Susan Ascher (44:41):

It’s me being on the golf course and looking down the hall and saying to my caddie, these guys are going to be slow and he hadn’t even looked whole ahead. And he said, boy, you really aware of what’s going on. So, but I am also emotionally aware. Like I said, when I when I saw this, this client this morning looking very dejected because her son potentially either broke or sprained his ankle. And of course this is going to cut into her day, cut and turn night. But I said to her, are you okay? That’s all it takes that someone cares about you, more effective communication. So you can’t have a deep conversation if you don’t empathize with people. So it’s more like, so you had a problem with a client. So tell me what happened, Terry, what exactly happened with that client? What, you know, and talking it out and controlling emotions.

Susan Ascher (45:36):

Now, we all know there are yellers in companies. They exist in every company from top to bottom. I wouldn’t say there are millions of them, you know, in one company, but I know a few. Okay. All right. So having better control over your emotions. I laugh because when I was in kindergarten, I would come home. We had grades one and two, one was excellent and two was needed improvement. And I came home with a two over exercises, self control. And my mother and father went to the teacher and said, what is she doing? Well, she gets her feelings hurt. And she starts crying. This is me right now. You know me now, but I would cry and they teach, we were taught, but not, you know, you could show emotion, but you couldn’t let, just cry every time somebody hurt your feelings because that’s the way we were taught buck up, get over it and crying you otherwise you won’t.

Susan Ascher (46:28):

Right. So anyway, but so in adults, you know, and, and crying is really anger, fear, whatever it is. So we have to be able to control our emotions, whether it’s with an investor that doesn’t want to do what you want them to do with a client, that’s telling you, no, I don’t want to do that when you know, darn well, that’s the way to do it. We’re sensitive no more, no more. But you know, and then you being able to unify your team through enhanced leadership. So what does that mean when you’re the leader people are, look at, look at, look at again, whether it’s the debates tonight or whether it’s, what’s going on in the country. We look to our leaders and we want to look up to them. We want to emulate them. So if they’re good leaders, right? So in a company, what does that mean?

Susan Ascher (47:19):

It means pitching in. It means saying thank you. It means giving a compliment. It means ordering lunch. And it means whatever those things are hypocrites, being a hypocrite, right. You know, it’s not, don’t do, as I do do, as I say, it’s, we’re both gonna here, here are the goals and we’re all going to get there together. That’s why I am horrified when I pay any attention to politics while it’s hard to, you know? But so improving your own emotional intelligence well, and good to know how crucial emotional intelligence is, but how do you go about improving it? No magic formula, right? Unfortunately, but a lot of things you can do. And we’ll talk about the books that I would recommend, but being able to read to lead, the more we read, the more intelligent we become intelligence IQ, but we’ll also maybe open up our eyes to maybe how, what another company is doing, what we should be doing, listening, listening.

Susan Ascher (48:18):

I mentioned that earlier, listening and practicing, listening, and as a coach, I have to tell you I had to really learn that as a recruiter. I was, when I say selling, I was selling and telling I was selling the client and telling the candidate what to wear, what to do, what to say. Now I’m listening because I can’t help a client. If I don’t know what the problems are. So listening and practicing empathy and treating people a, the way you want to be treated, but also the way they want to be treated. And then quite frankly, and I’m going to say it, and it’s not pitching myself because I can sell bras to men and ice to Eskimos really? Am I allowed to say that Eskimos? Okay, good. No, I’m not. I don’t know anything anymore. I don’t know, but no, but my point is that, get yourself, if your company doesn’t, if you have any of these things that you want to work on, or you should be working on and your company hasn’t found a coach for you find one for yourself and I’m talking about a mentor is great.

Susan Ascher (49:21):

A sponsor is great, but a coach, those people are great, but they do not see you every other week or every week, or have a call. You know, they’re people who were there for you to push you ahead, but a coach that you pay for, and then you invest in, then you’re going to be serious. And you really going to see that you’re going to start to make changes. It’s kind of like a personal trainer. Funny. I always say that it’s like a personal trainer, or I’ll say to, you know, some I’ll have a new client. I had a guy the other day and he said, you know, they want me to have a coach, but I really don’t. What is a coach? I said, well, let me ask you a question. Any kids play sports? Well, my son plays football and my daughter plays lacrosse.

Susan Ascher (50:06):

I said, you think they would play these games the way they play them? If they didn’t have a coach. So it’s the same thing and business athletes. Yes, exactly, exactly. But, and even weather, however you want to raise the bar in your business. So, and as you know, it’s you have to hire all the certifications in the world. They’re meaningless to me. When you look for a coach, you look at what have they accomplished in their life. That’s what you want to look at. Not what certifications and tests they passed. What have they accomplished and how do they, how do they appear to you? What is their brand? Is that something you want to align with? And there are many different people out there. So lots of different choices and, and something I always like to look at as well is what are some of the challenges that they’ve overcome?

Susan Ascher (50:55):

Because I feel like lately, if something is too hard or something is too difficult, or it doesn’t happen instantaneously within, let’s say three, four months, 12 months, 18 months, people just give up. Listen, if everything were easy, Terry, if it were easy to set up an office like this, have your own, you know, studio here, put together this, in addition to your digital media, same with me. If I, if it were easy to write books and make a podcast and have clients and go to, well, it’s not easy. It requires tenacity. It requires dedication and it requires discipline. And of course it requires emotional intelligence, right? Because that’s the final thing I’ll say on emotional intelligence is that we want to work with people. We like, okay. I tell so many of my accounting and legal coachees, well, I’m S I’m the best at this, you know, piece of tax.

Susan Ascher (51:52):

And I’m the best at marital. And I’m the best. I don’t really care because if I don’t like you, I’m not going to hire you. So you better figure out a way that people, and of course, that’s called leadership charisma, right? When you walk into a room and think about the, think about the people that we know that had Lee, Ronald, I’m going to go on both sides. Ronald Reagan, John F. Kennedy Barack Obama. So it doesn’t matter what side of the aisle you’re on. These are people that walk into a room and I don’t care if you didn’t have to like your precedent. No, you don’t have to like your president, but I’ve talked to, that’s a trigger for me. Cause I feel like I, some positions you don’t have to like them, especially when you’re not working well, that’s, I’m talking, you’re not paying, you’re not paying in a sense.

Susan Ascher (52:44):

You’re not paying your president. Charisma is different than what we’re talking about. I don’t, I’m talking about when you hire a lawyer, you better like that person. Cause you’re going to be working with them or an accountant or a coach or digital branding company. You could be the best company, but if I don’t like you or what you’re, you know, or the people that are going to be working on my account, why would I work with you? It’s not about being the best it’s being the most evolved. I like that. Yeah. Susan is on fire evolved. I think that that is such a good word because it actually exemplifies all of these characteristics. Yeah. Yeah. So what are the top three books to read? Well, you know what, I’m going to say that when I wrote my book, dude, seriously, it’s not all about you.

Susan Ascher (53:36):

That book was actually about emotional intelligence, but it was my rant on bad behavior telling people. Could you please say, please, thank you. I’m sorry. Could you please abide by the elevator rule? I mean, that makes me nuts. I’m on the elevator getting off you come in. No, I don’t think so. I need to get off and make room for you. These are, these are like common sense things, right. But anyway, so I will pitch my book, but I, I love Daniel pink. He outlines basically six fundamentally human abilities that are absolute essentials for professional success. And you know, his book is working with an emotional intelligence wired to care how companies prosper when they create widespread empathy. So this is a great book, which illuminates basically how organizations of all kinds prosper when they tap into a power. Each of us already has empathy and the ability to reach outside of ourselves and then primal leadership, which is three different authors, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee. This is like the Seminole classic that solidified EEQ in the business lexicon. So it affirms its importance as a leadership skill tool for the workplace. But there are so many, I would say to your audience, just, you know, put, must read books for emotional intelligence and then have a look at all the different books out there. Just, but just the fact that you’re looking tells me that you’re becoming emotionally aware. So I’m happy about that.

Terry Tateossian (55:14):

So how can people find you Susan?

Susan Ascher (55:14):

Okay. It’s pretty easy. My, my website is my name I’m like, I’m like a lot of the people I hear speaking these days, my phone number, you can call me (973) 919-8180. I love to listen to my constituents and hear what they have to say. And my email is So I look forward to to hearing from some of the folks out there, but I mean, I think what you’re doing is great, Terry and I love the whole premise of it. And I certainly love the name of your podcast and I’ve listened to a couple of them. So very interesting. Thank you.

Terry Tateossian (56:13):

Thanks for listening to the amplified podcast. Follow us on our social channels and subscribe on Apple and Google podcasts, Spotify pod bean, or you get your podcasts on the next step is sewed. Stay tuned for more trailblazing insights, energy and culture to help fuel your pursuit in the modern digital era.


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