Authentic Communication with Rachel Hanfling and Practical Creativity with Karyn Ross

Growing up, Rachel Hanfling found it difficult to connect with the other kids. She learned how to have authentic communication by observing people everywhere she went – what they were doing, how they were acting, and what they were saying. She also got fascinated with television and how people on it were able to connect and impact millions. When it was time to choose a career, TV was the natural place for her to go. She worked her way up from the bottom to becoming an Emmy-nominated TV Producer and international keynote speaker. She is now empowering people to find and express their unique voice, resonate with an audience, and deliver when it counts. Rachel shares being able to tell people’s stories and make an impact is incredibly meaningful and a tremendous responsibility. Helping people improve the world is what Karyn Ross always lives by. Her consulting company, Karyn Ross Consulting, was established to help businesses grow by focusing on service excellence. Karyn has taught organizations of all sizes and sectors how to use practical creativity, which is creativity combined with Toyota Way principles. She believes creating respectful, caring, kind, and compassionate ways to work are important and leads to an engaged team, better relationships with customers, and a better world.

TTL 185 | Authentic Communication

We have Rachel Hanfling and Karyn Ross with us. Rachel is a former Producer for Oprah and Anderson Cooper. She’s an Emmy-nominated TV producer, international keynote speaker, and executive presentation in media trainer. Karyn Ross is the Shingo award-winning, co-author of the Toyota Way to Service Excellence, which is about lean transformation in service organizations.

Listen to the podcast here

Authentic Communication with Rachel Hanfling

I am here with Rachel Hanfling who’s an Emmy-nominated TV producer, international keynote speaker, and executive presentation and media trainer who teaches authentic communication that gets results. Rachel has more than twenty years of producing success for big names, including Oprah and Anderson Cooper. Whether it’s one-on-one or teaching at Harvard, Rachel employs people to find and express their unique voice, resonate with an audience, and deliver when it counts. It’s so nice to have you here, Rachel.

I am thrilled to be here. Thank you so much.

I had heard about you through Stephanie Arnold. I’m so glad that she introduced us.

She was a dear friend of mine and a very intuitive person. We connected immediately and she felt the same way about you. I knew you were somebody that I wanted to talk to.

You did this a decade at the Oprah Winfrey show and you’ve nurtured serious guests. You’ve produced power players like Hillary Clinton, Julia Roberts, Vera Wang, Ryan Seacrest. You’re young and you did a lot at a very young age. How did you get interested in doing all that?

Young is relative, but I feel young. Growing up, I was a bit of an unusual kid. I was almost like an adult in a kid’s body. I was a very sensitive kid. I felt everything going on around me. In some ways, that made it more difficult to connect to the other kids. Some of the things that they thought were funny, I didn’t think were funny. Some of the things they thought were fun, I didn’t think were fun. More than anything, I just wanted to have friends. I remember going to sleep at night and literally hoping and praying that this year at school would be the year that I would have a sparkle of friends. I wanted it badly and I couldn’t quite figure out how to make that connection.

I started doing a couple of things that, at the time, were certainly not a strategy but in retrospect were strategic. I started paying attention to what other kids were doing, how they were acting, their facial expressions, their body language, what they were saying, and the way the way kids reacted when they did certain things. I was doing this with adults, too. I was observing everywhere I went. That was the first thing I did. The second thing I did is I fell in love with this box that lived in our family den. That box was the television. From an early age, I couldn’t have articulated it. Instinctively, I thought that the people on TV were doing with millions of people what I was trying to do one-on-one and in small groups, which was connect and make an impact.

Those two things work hand-in-hand. As I got older, I taught myself, through a lot of failure, how to connect. That love of television never died. It just got stronger and stronger. When it was time to choose a career, TV was a natural place for me to go. I didn’t know anybody in TV. I didn’t have any fancy connections. I worked my way up from the bottom. There were many things that drew me to television, but one was the opportunity to tell incredible stories. I was always so fascinated by what was going on around me, whether it was in my little community or in the world at large. I loved being able to tell people’s stories and make an impact based on that was something that was incredibly meaningful to me. I knew it was an honor and a tremendous responsibility, and I took that very seriously.

A lot of what you’re talking about is emotional intelligence, learning empathy, and understanding other people. I wrote my dissertation on emotional intelligence because I’m fascinated by psychological aspects of what makes people tick. In the business world, you have to understand all that. You do because now, you do all this training with clients to help them with public speaking, job interviewing, negotiation, winning customers, treating patients, excelling online. All the things you do require a serious level of emotional intelligence to understand how to reach people and the way they want to be reached.

I’m writing a book on curiosity. Since you’re a very curious person, it’s very interesting to look at what you’ve done to help people understand the media. If you want to speak or do different things based on what you’ve learned in the media, it helps because you were a producer and you know how they think. A lot of the people might want to get their message out, either they’re speakers or they’re C-level executives, and they want to get on and maybe be an expert. Can you give some of the suggestions you would give to people if they were thinking that they wanted to do that?

There is one principle that I base everything I teach on. It’s a simple concept, but it’s not that simple to execute. It’s an idea of meeting people where you are to take them where you want them to go. Most of us walk through the world thinking about what we want, what we need, what makes us feel good, our goals. This is normal. It isn’t anything to feel bad. Until we think about what the person or the millions of people that we are trying to speak to want, care about, need, are motivated by or repelled by, then we can’t take people where we want to go in the most effective way. That is the prism with which I processed everybody who comes to me, whether they tell me they want to be on TV, on a stage, to get a job, to win a negotiation, or grow sales. The question is always the same. Who’s your audience? By audience, I don’t necessarily mean people sitting in a room or behind the television. It could be one person, it could be millions, but who’s your audience? What do they care about? What drives them? What makes them feel? How do they feel? What moves them? That’s where I would start with anybody who wants to get their message out there. Who do you want to talk to? What is your goal? Once we start to marry what your goal is with who you want to talk to and what they care about, and you find those points of connection, that’s when you’re going to be successful. What is that group of people or what did that one individual care about? Once I understand what somebody cares about, what makes them tick, then I back into anything else that I’m trying to achieve. That’s what I do with my clients.

You were talking about if somebody wanted to be on television. You were saying you’ve got to understand who’s out there and how you differentiate from them as well. You’ve got to know your competition as well, right?

I feel that it’s useful to understand what other people are doing and saying around you. When you try to present yourself as the person that should be on the stage, should be on TV, whatever it is you’re trying to achieve, you’re doing that within the framework of, “I know this is what other people are doing. This is how I can truthfully show what I bring to the table in a way that is distinct.”

Everybody is so unique on each outlet. Wherever you go, you’re going to have to focus your message differently on not only the audience but how they like to deliver the content there. It’s challenging for a lot of people if they want to be seen as an expert, if they go on to television to even get to the point. Before they even get there, knowing how to get on these shows to showcase what they do, you could say, “Contact the local producers or do whatever in your town.” That’s challenging because there’s a lot of people doing that. You said a lot of the pitches go in the trash. How do you find the right people to contact if you want to be seen or known?

One of the biggest mistakes people make is putting out a blanket pitch and expecting that that is going to generate a lot of response. Not to say that they can’t, it’s possible, but in my twenty years of producing, I can’t remember a time that I booked somebody off a generic pitch. It’s very important if you want to be on TV or in any other venue to think about what venues you specifically want, then tailor whatever your pitch is to that venue. Let’s say your pitch is about golf. You want to be pitching somebody who is going to be interested in golf. You want to be asking yourself the question, if it’s a TV show, “Is this a TV show that would ever cover golf? Have I seen them cover golf? Have I seen them cover sports? Have I seen one of their anchors on the TV show ever talk about their regular golf game?”Maybe that would tell you, “I should be pitching that guy because that guy or girl really loves golf.”

People on TV are just like you and me. They are more likely to want to cover what is personally of interest to them. If they have a personal interest in golf and golf is appropriate for the show that they are a part of, they’re going to be more interested in a pitch about golf versus let’s say they have no interest in sewing and you pitch them something about sewing. That seems like a very simplistic example, but if you look at it through that prism, you eliminate a lot of the pitches that wouldn’t be appropriate for particular shows or particular anchors on a certain show. If you see an anchor is pregnant and you happened to be an OB-GYN with something to say about pregnancy, at that point in an anchor’s life, she’s probably going to be more prone to that conversation than somebody would be who isn’t at that particular time. Looking at it through that prism is going to increase your odds significantly.

A lot of it is very challenging for people because they want to have some visual element, when they go onto these shows to make it more appealing when they pitch. How do you make it visual when it’s a topic where you’re not bringing golf balls or food?

Curiosity is so important because when we make somebody feel that we are curious about them that naturally draws them to ask. People want to feel that people want to know about them. It’s a natural thing. It’s key in successful communication, which you know if you’re writing a book on it. In terms of making certain topics visual, certain things are much easier to have them be visual and certain things are much harder. Certain things necessitate visual references and certain things don’t necessitate it in the same way. For instance, if I’m a producer doing a weight loss story, you need to be able to show the before on the weight loss and you need to be able to show the after. However, when it’s something less tangible, then you are looking at more how can I turn something into an exercise? How can I turn something into something active that we might be doing on our self? How can I develop a quiz, maybe three questions to answer, to let you know your level of curiosity and what it says about you? There are other ways where you can create dynamic opportunities even if you don’t have visuals.

A lot of this is very subjective, but is there a formula for what you’d like to see in a pitch? If you were going to get something on an email or on a phone call from somebody, is it a typical three lines or do you have an example of what you consider a good pitch?

TTL 185 | Authentic Communication
Authentic Communication: When you start with a smaller audience, you have an easier time making mistakes and learning from them.

Short is important. People are busy and if you don’t get their attention early on, more likely than not, they’re not going to keep reading. You want it to be short. Visuals are great. If you do have visuals to provide that are going to make sense with the story, you want that. Knowing the audience, when a producer or anybody who is in need in any kind of media is looking at whether they want to do a story or not, the first thing they’re thinking about most likely is their audience. Is my audience going to care about this? Understanding when you get a pitch that the person who is writing the pitch or giving you a coach over the phone understands your audience and can reference, “I saw last week you covered this. I have a different angle on that. I can take that topic deeper. I can address this area.” You focus on making it clear that you know the audience. How to talk to that audience is very critical. Those are three things that must be considered in every pitch.

I was friends growing up with Mike Leonard who used to do some fun things on the Today Show and I used to watch what he did. The next segment, they do something completely more serious. Some shows are up and over and there’s such a big audience. It’s challenging when you’re or in the bigger shows.

It is, but it’s a bigger opportunity. When a huge opportunity comes your way, you don’t want to pass it up or you want to think hard before you pass it up because it might not come again. If there’s a good reason to pass it up, then yes, but you want to think hard before you pass up a big opportunity because it might not be banging on your door again. It’s a good idea to start smaller because when you start with a smaller audience, you have an easier time making mistakes and learning from them. When you get to a bigger audience, you’re able to perform at a higher level.

You’ve definitely dealt with some bigger audiences. You’re a co-producer on Anderson Cooper’s daytime show, and then you’ve managed topics including one on Gloria Vanderbilt and Angelina Jolie. You’ve dealt with some serious people. All of that has been helpful to you in helping people learn to how they come across and with speaking. Who is your customer? Who are you working with?

I was part of a great team at Anderson and TV doesn’t happen in a vacuum. There’s no one person that handled everything. I was fortunate to be a part of a great team and Anderson himself, who’s incredible. Who is my core audience about? That’s been an interesting one for me because I don’t work in a particular segment of business. I have clients across all areas of business. What I would say they have in common is that they’re all high achievers in one area or another, whether that is in technology or construction, whether they’re doctors, attorneys, PhD candidates, inventors, entrepreneurs, or whatever it is they do. They’re people that are achieving at a high level. Understanding that and enhancing their communication can take them to an even higher level. Sometimes I’m working with people on preparing for media, sometimes it’s preparing for an important speech, and sometimes it’s for sales. It all of that varies with some clients I do. They come to me for one thing and that’s where their focus is.

Are you still teaching at Harvard?

I go to the Kennedy School of Government twice a year. They have an incredible program in their communication department that I’ve been invited to teach at several times. I do a seminar with their students and I love doing it. It’s an incredible group of students.

It’s fun to be around those kids because they’re not that young. They seem like kids to me, but they have such a desire to learn. You’ve got Oprah and you’ve got Harvard, what’s next for you to conquer? You’ve done some amazing things already.

Outside of my kids who are my greatest joy in life, I get tremendous joy from helping people succeed, whether that is a win in front of a huge crowd or a huge audience or whether it is very personal or whether it’s a win in a negotiation. I love seeing people win. I don’t mean when like you’re crossing somebody. I mean ‘win’ like two people are coming together and they’re both winning. It feels like a win for whoever I’m working with because they’re getting what they want. I love that feeling. That’s what’s next for me. I want to reach people. I want to make a difference with the people I work with because I love doing that. It’s incredibly gratifying to me.

It’s inspiring to see all the work that you’ve done and how you’ve taken this to help so many people. A lot of people would probably want to know how they could hire you or find out more about you. Can you share your websites and information with everybody?

My website is can reach me at I’d love to hear from folks.

This has been so much fun, Rachel. Thank you so much for being on the show.

Thank you. I can’t wait to read your book.

Thank you.

Practical Creativity with Karyn Ross

TTL 185 | Authentic Communication
Authentic Communication: Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations

I am here with Karyn Ross who is the Shingo award-winning co-author of the Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations. She created Karyn Ross Consulting to help businesses flourish, thrive and grow by focusing on service excellence. An internationally experienced consultant, coach and lean practitioner, she’s taught organizations of all sizes in sectors as diverse as insurance, HR, transportation, and retail, and how to use creativity combined with Toyota Way Principles which she calls Practical Creativity. It’s nice to have you here.

Thanks so much for having me.

Anybody that Marcel Kuhn Bamert recommends is okay by me because I like him. He’s the nicest guy, isn’t he?

I absolutely agree. He has a great fabulous group of connections.

There are certain people you meet online, and you think, “This is the coolest connection.” Sabrina Gibson is somebody I’ve met that strikes me that way and Marcel is right on that list. He’s so interesting and he’s great about networking. I’m so glad we got to meet through him. I’m very curious to find out about what you do. I already know you have a podcast. A lot of people probably want to know a lot more about this Toyota Way. Can you give a background of how you’ve become interested in this and tell me a little bit about you?

Toyota Way is a management philosophy and sometimes known as Toyota Production System, which is the unbelievably effective, efficient and creative way that Toyota has to bring quality products to customers for the last 50 years. I am one of the few people who started learning and doing Toyota Way in services. I worked in customer service in a payroll company. I took care of 300 clients. I would manually enter their payroll into the payroll system, which is an old DOS system. I would be listening to customers who would be calling on their cell phones from the car and I was trying to type into the system 32 hours, 40 hours deduction for this person for this. People want a 100% defect-free payroll. They want to get their pay correct. Under those circumstances, how easy do you think it was for us to produce that?

It’s not very easy. Customers would be very unhappy when there was an error. Who would they call and complain to edit? Us. It wasn’t that fun. Back to the olden days when you had a red light on your phone, if we saw a red light on our phone we had that horrible feeling of dread. Who could be calling and being unhappy? Anyone who works in customer service knows that if you choose that job, the reason you do it is because what you want to do is make people happy, not unhappy. I thought, “There’s got to be a better way to do this for our customers and also for our company.”If you have unhappy customers, then probably you’re not getting as good results as you ought to be with your company.

I stumbled upon the word “Kaizen.” I read some books about Kaizen and even though it was all about manufacturing, I’m like, “This is exactly what we need to do.” I started learning myself and teaching others at the branch that I worked in. We made fabulous improvements for customers. Eventually, I met Jeff Liker who I co-authored Toyota Way To Service Excellence with. We wrote the book together on services because as of 2022 in the United States, most of our jobs, most places people work, are going to be devoted to services versus manufacturing. Helping people learn to create effective and efficient service processes that tie people to a company is something we all need to be able to do.

One of the first things I ever sold was a payroll software for school districts. Customer service has changed so much throughout the years based on innovation and how you have to keep up. If you have poor customer service, everybody’s going to know about it.

Accenture did a study in 2012 and 2013. Customers are likely to switch service companies after just one poor customer experience. Even more important to know is that sometimes we put unpleasant reviews on Twitter or Yelp but for the most part, unhappy customers don’t tell an organization that they’re going to switch. They just switch. Often companies hire me, and I asked them, “Tell me about your customer service,” and they say, “We have zero complaints, we have fabulous customer service.” The problem is they’re only getting the reports of the people who are happy. When we say, “How’s your retention doing?” they say, “The retention is terrible.” That’s because customers are voting with their feet. Fabulous customer service that’s effective and efficient for your customers, and the people who do that work for employee engagement, is another huge topic many organizations struggle with. If you want to stay in business, flourish, thrive and grow forever, this is a necessity at this point.

I was thinking when you were saying that because every doctor I haven’t liked, I don’t go back. If they’ve tortured you with some treatment or something, they don’t know. They think that everybody’s happy because they never saw you again. Everything was great. I tell my husband that a lot because he’s a doctor. We were talking about how other doctors, whether they think you’ve had successful results, they would never know, because people don’t come back if they’re not happy.

What I tell people also all the time is that, in customer service no news is not good news.

You help people with more than just customer service. Do you deal with pricing and everything else? What do you help them do?

I help people with their overall business model. It all starts with purpose. Many organizations have forgotten, or maybe they never got off on the right foot, that each organization has a purpose. It’s deeper than making money. When we think back to Henry Ford, one of America’s greatest inventors and businessman, he said, “A business that’s based only on making money is not much of a business.” Especially for service organizations, people hire a service organization to solve an underlying problem that they have, to fulfill a need. That may come out as a wand like, “I would like to hire your company to create payroll checks.” Underneath, there’s a different need. We need to make sure to keep our people happy, make sure they have roofs over their head and the ability to feed their children. Oftentimes as organizations, it becomes very easy to forget what’s our actual, deeper purpose that we fulfill in the world other than just making money. The first thing I normally help companies do is figure out exactly what that is. For myself, for Karyn Ross Consulting, my purpose is help people improve the world. When I help to teach people how to use creativity, because I’m also an artist with a master’s degree in sculpture, combined with these simple principles, then what we do is teach people at work how to solve problems.

The simple fact is problems abound in every area of our life. When we teach people at work how to create solutions, how to solve problems, how to think in different ways, and think outside of ourselves right services about putting the needs of others before our own, then they take that home. The problems in our community, problems in country, problems in the world, the thing is they take that learning into the world. Organizations have great responsibility not only to their customers, but to the people who work there, to teach them how to think, how to create, how to solve problems, which we then use everywhere else in our lives. That’s what I do. I help businesses learn how to flourish, thrive, and grow forever by solving problems they have now and creating the fabulous service experiences that customers are going to want for the future as well.

Why do you think so many companies need to go outside for consultants to help them with their problems? Do they not recognize them? Are you too close or you can’t see the forest through the trees? What is the issue do you think?

Being a consultant, I often say to people, “Why are you hiring consultants?” I go to work in organizations. They have six or eight consultants working at a time. One of the things is as human beings, we would like there to be an easy fix. We can see the problems and then we think, “Somebody else has had a solution. Let’s copy that solution and it will work here.” Hence, hire a consultant who comes to you and says, “I can solve that problem. Here’s how I’m going to do it.” The problem with that is it rarely works. As human beings, we don’t like to copy what other people are doing. We like to create and do things on our own, so we say, “This company did that. We’re going to do it here.” People dig in their heels and they say, “No, we’re not Toyota. We’re not going to do this Toyota Way.” What’s engaging for people and taps into our humanity is in looking inside and saying, “Here are the problems that we’re having. What can we do to fix those problems? What can we do that makes our company our company?” That’s what I teach people.

TTL 185 | Authentic Communication
Authentic Communication: As human beings, we don’t like to copy what other people are doing. We like to create and do things on our own.

You have all the answers inside. You have people who’ve done this work for a long time and probably know exactly what to do. We have people of all ages who worked in our organizations. Do you want to know how to attract younger millennials and the generations below that? You can ask your younger people, but we want an easier fix. We want someone to come in and tell us what to do versus teaching people how to create those solutions on our own. We don’t spend a lot of time helping people learn to be more creative. We somehow think it’s something that can’t be taught, but it is.

I’m writing a book on curiosity. How do you teach people to be more creative or how do you teach people to have more curiosity?

One of the things that I was asked to do when I was in my Master’s program was to teach classes for first year incoming students and undergraduates. I said, “I can do this as part of my graduate studies. I’m going to do it. Wouldn’t you think that that would be the class you would want the professors to teach? They said, “No, the problem is the professors say it’s frustrating to teach students because they can’t get an idea yet. They don’t have an idea.” When you think about it, I sent two children through fabulous school systems, but what did they learn? They learned to answer the one, right question, convergent thinking. They could do well on their SATs and go to fabulous colleges. As we age, our brains also tend to, from neurological science, like things that are the same versus things that are different. Since most of us enter the workforce at an older age, what we have to do and what we have to do in our schools as well is make sure that we have opportunities to teach people divergent thinking.

Divergent thinking means instead of narrowing down, we need to broaden out. That would be instead of looking, we’re teaching people to look for the one right answer. We want to teach people how to ask questions that provide many possible answers. A very simple exercise that I do with people to help them with their curiosity and creative thinking is to say, “Anytime you have the statement either/or, we could do this or that. I want you to replace the either/or with and. We’re going to do this and this.” We need to figure out how. We need to raise our customer retention and we need to lower our price. Normally, we might say we need to retain more customers, but we can’t do that without lowering the price, without raising the price. We can either have more customers or we can have a lower price. Those are differences and very simple things that I used to teach people. We need to practice more. As adults, we simply need to practice.

In elementary school, we are taught to take the test to certain curriculum. When you get into the working world, at least in the boomer generation, they didn’t want you asking questions. You do what they told you. Things are changing. Do you think that younger generations have it a little bit better to develop curiosity? Do you think it’s about the same throughout all generations?

I have a 26-year old and a 22-year old. They’re not the youngest generations, but what they are unwilling to do is sit at a desk and be told what to do. I’m not sure about generalizing to say that everybody is more curious, but oftentimes I hear younger people are not willing to work in the same paradigms. You and I are the same vintage. What young people are looking for when they say they’re looking for purpose and they’re looking for meaning is the ability to create, not just take what already is, but actually be curious, learn to ask the right questions, work in a collaborative way and co-create how we go forward, how we fulfill our purpose. They aren’t willing to work in an organization that doesn’t have a strong idea of that purpose.

They want to change the world a lot more and that’s what they get a lot of attention for that. To do that, you have to ask a lot of questions and be curious. I’d like to see more development of curiosity in school and in work and developing that creative sense. Sometimes technology can hold you back, too because it does everything for you or you’re afraid of it and you don’t know how to deal with it.

Maybe 20 or 30 years from now, how many more robots are there going to be that are doing all kinds of things for us? My husband and I were discussing, “Maybe it will end a lot of jobs. What will people do?” I worked very hard to not think to myself things were better as they used to be when I was growing up. What could the positives be then? It occurred to me, maybe if we don’t have to spend all of our time working and being in what I call a world based on money, our time will be freed up for creative pursuits. Right now in schools and in many places, people are like, “I don’t have time for art. I don’t have time for music. I don’t have time to be creative,” because all their time is devoted to earning a paycheck. Maybe when robots take over all those jobs and we don’t actually have to work for a paycheck, we can go back to being human and creating and working on solving broader problems because we are working on thinking, “This is what I need to do to support my nine to five.”

In the past, we’re always worried about jobs being replaced and that humans would lose jobs to computers. It was always the thing in the beginning. Then they found that computers needed to be run by humans and it’ll be awhile before we get to do all that. I look forward to a time where we have more time because I agree, there are so many things I would’ve loved to have taken in school. You couldn’t take anything you wanted to take because you had to take everything you had to take. Some of that glue the humanities. I always say that soft-skills are the glue of what we have in education. We should be doing more of that because people are being fired for their behaviors. They’re not getting the education about how to think critically or how to behave in teams.

In my own work, I talk to people about being human and personal human connection. Although we like to think of our organizations as well-oiled machines, we talk about them in machine language, “We’re going to change our culture. We’re going to take the old one out and replace it with the new one, like a hard drive in a computer.” Organizations are living human systems made up of human beings, thousands of human beings if you have a big organization than if you have a small one. We serve customers who are also human beings. Although we can refer to them in numerical ways sometimes, it’s important to remember that we’re all human beings and we need to treat each other humanely. We need those soft skills and we need our humanity. One of the three components of service excellence other than that you have a lean, hassle-free process, is you have what I call luxury service at coach pricing, which means you’re offering the same service and it feels luxurious. The last most important thing, especially in the computer age, is how do you do all of those things again and have a personal human connection? No matter how much technology we have, as human beings, what we want to do is be connected. It’s why it’s so much fun to speak with people like Marcel who are connecting people together.

Let’s give Marcel a huge shout-out because he’s a great guy. He’s a young guy, he’s writing a book, he’s interviewed people all over the world, and he’s introduced people like Karyn and me and others. We’ve been connected through all these amazing ways. It’s so important to have those skills. I like to see a young guy like that that embraces that.

TTL 185 | Authentic Communication
Authentic Communication: What we spend our time on is what we value.

The wonderful thing is that with all the technology we have in my own business, I actually have clients. I don’t even call them clients, I call them people I help all over the world. I connect with them through FaceTime or Skype so that we see each other. In my own practice as a coach, I talk to people three times a week. We see each other three times a week for short amounts of time, fifteen minutes. When you see someone three times a week, you start to get to know them. They became a human being. I always tell people, “Make sure you use that great video technology. We have it now. Use it because we can see each other. When we see each other and understand each other and connect together, then we would like to find ways to work in better ways together. You always want to help your friends, right?”

I am a huge fan of Zoom. I’ve had them on the show. I agree. It’s nice to interact with all the great new technologies out there. You have a radio podcast. What is your podcast about?

My podcast is very short because what people have is little time. It’s one to three-minute little pieces of content that I put out. Some of them I call Fresh Starts. They’re little thought pieces for people to think about, about working in creative ways and working in an effective and efficient ways, how to create engagement with people, how to create a real human world. They’re very short pieces that I’d like people to listen to. They often end with a question or challenge. You can listen in one to three minutes on your way to work and then apply it right away in your own life and work. Some of them are things like, “How can you ask a better question?” The last one I put up was about if you had a meeting scheduled with a team member, an employee, and your boss called you and wanted to schedule a meeting at exactly the same time, what would you do? Many people would choose their boss, but when we talk about employee engagement, why would we do that? Why would we miss that connection with our team member who needs our help just as much? What we spend our time on is what we value. How do we show people that we value them? That’s what I do in my little podcast.

People want to know how they can find your podcast. Can you share how they can reach you?

You can find my podcast on Apple Podcast under Karyn Ross Consulting. You can find me on the web at You can always find me on LinkedIn under Karyn Ross or Karyn Ross Consulting and Twitter as well.

Karyn, thank you so much for being on the show.

Thank you so much for inviting me.

You’re welcome.

I want to thank Rachel and Karyn for being my guest today. If you’ve missed any past guests, please go to At my site, you can sign up to either receive notifications of this show. There is a lot of free information there. You can go to the blog to read the show and listen to it, we have both options. I hope you take some time to explore the site. You can also find us on iTunes, Roku, iHeart, just about everywhere else. Please join us for the next episode of Take the Lead Radio.

About Rachel Hanfling

TTL 185 | Authentic CommunicationRachel Hanfling is an Emmy-nominated TV Producer, International Keynote Speaker and Executive Presentation and Media Trainer who teaches authentic communication that gets results. Rachel has 20 years of producing success for big names including Oprah and Anderson Cooper. Whether it’s one on one or teaching at Harvard, Rachel empowers people to find TTL 185 | Authentic Communication express their unique voice, resonate with an audience and deliver when it counts.


About Karyn Ross

TTL 185 | Authentic CommunicationKaryn Ross is the Shingo Award-winning coauthor of The Toyota Way to Service Excellence: Lean Transformation in Service Organizations. She created Karyn Ross Consulting to help businesses flourish, thrive and grow by focusing on service excellence. An internationally experienced consultant, coach and lean practitioner, she has taught organizations of all sizes, in sectors as diverse as insurance, HR, transportation and retail how to use creativity combined with Toyota Way principles – what she calls: Practical Creativity. This powerful combination enables organizations to deliver the peak services that each of their customers wants, now and for the future, and differentiates them from their competitors.

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