Leadership Competencies

Are You a CEO … ‘Chief Enchantment Officer’??

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Apple’s former “chief evangelist” (and one of the very few holders of an “Apple Fellowship”), Guy Kawasaki is a tech workforce expert and author of almost a dozen books on business and technology. Guy recently sat down with Vistage to describe how CEOs can become better “employee enchanters” to improve their work force’s attitude and productivity.

  1. How can you get employees to work beyond their job descriptions?

    Successfully inspiring an employee to branch out of his or her specific job description takes several steps. First, the employee has to see the “big picture” to more fully understand the purpose of the organization. Otherwise, it’s hard to know what to do beyond the job description.

    Second, the employee has to believe that it’s not only okay, but highly desirable to go above and beyond “the job.” And it’s the manager’s job to communicate this latitude. Finally, the employee must also understand that it’s okay to fail when you’re trying something grand.

  2. What are three motivators that aid in employee enchantment?

    There are three intrinsic motivators that aid in “employee enchantment.” In the words of Daniel Pink, these motivators are mastery, autonomy, and purpose. This means that you enable employees to master new skills while working autonomously towards a purpose that’s higher than simply making a buck.

  3. What are some internal qualities of a ‘master enchanter?’

    First, the “master enchanter” is a baker, not an eater. In other words, he doesn’t see the world as a zero-sum game where his loss is another’s gain, and his gain is another’s loss. Rather, a baker sees the world as a place of opportunity to bake big pies and more pies so that the rising tide can float all boats.

    Second, the master enchanter defaults to a “Yes” attitude. That is, she always thinks about ways to help others, and she defaults to agreeing to provide assistance. Under this mentality, people are assumed to be good, reasonable, and worth helping — until proven otherwise.

    Third, the master enchanter trusts others before he is trusted himself. He realizes that this isn’t a chicken-or-the-egg problem. There is a definite order: You trust others, and then they will trust you. The onus is upon you, the enchanter, to implement this equation.

  4. What technology tools (like social media) can managers use to aid/foster employee enchantment?

    Technology tools are not the primary way to enchant employees — customers, perhaps, but not employees. Enchanting employees is based largely on communication, so the primary tools are low-tech and analog — talking, listening, and supporting. If you can do this with technology, so much the better. But technology is merely a means to an end.

  5. As a small company, how do I bake ’employee enchantment’ into my daily operations?

    Start at the foundation of your business. If you don’t like your customers and don’t try to enchant them, then your employees won’t, either. This doesn’t refer just to what you say, but also what you do — how you treat customers. Your employees will take their cues from you.

    So try to enchant your customers, and then give your employees the freedom to enchant them, too. Your employees will come up with great ways that you’ve never considered. Let that happen; and then get out of your employees’ way!

  6. ‘Employee enchantment’ seems one-directional: Is it possible to apply these strategies horizontally, or upwards?

    Enchantment is not simply one-directional: You can enchant up, down, and sideways. We’ve already discussed down: provide mastery, autonomy, and purpose. To enchant up, you should drop everything else and immediately do what your boss asks and deliver bad news early. To enchant sideways, think of your peers as sideways bosses — that is, treat them as if you work for them and give their requests a high priority.Some of this doesn’t sound too palatable. Tough. I never said enchantment is easy.

  7. What’s the relationship between company culture and ’employee enchantment?’

    They are one and the same. “CEO” should stand for “Chief Enchantment Officer.” It’s hard to imagine disenchanted employees enchanting customers and enchanted employees disenchanting customers.

  8. How does enchanting employees differ between large and small companies?

    It’s harder to maintain enchantment in a large company because of the inevitable layers of management, geographical distance, and complexities of the business. However, it’s not impossible — look at the employees of Richard Branson’s empire, for example. Ninety percent of the battle is won or lost based on the personality of the CEO.

  9. How can I get my employees to practice enchantment with the services or products they provide to customers?

    I could write a whole book about this issue — in fact, I have! But let me provide the most important point: Create something great. It is much easier to enchant customers when you have great stuff than when you have crap. Believe me, I’ve tried it both ways.

    Great stuff is deep, intelligent, complete, empowering, and elegant. Combine great stuff with likable and trustworthy people, and you’ll change the world like Apple did.

Guy Kawasaki is the author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. He is also the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the Web, and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. Previously, he was the chief evangelist of Apple. Kawasaki is the author of nine other books; click here to read more about his work.

Category: Leadership Competencies

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Avatar About the Author: Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki is the author of Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions. He is also the co-founder of Alltop.com, an “online magazine rack” of popular topics on the Web, and a founding partner at…

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