Attitude — A positive attitude is needed in the work environment. In my latest book, The Success Playbook, I talk about the power of positivity. Your attitude determines your altitude and reflects how far you’ll go in life. Additionally, as an employer you should strive to maintain positivity. How can that be accomplished you ask? Through morale!
As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chanelle S. Reynolds.
Chanelle has worked in the sports industry for over six years and has worked for notable franchises like the Philadelphia 76ers Organization. In her most recent role with The Washington Football Team, Chanelle led a team of ambitious account executives and was promoted to become Director of Sales after just one year. The busy entrepreneur also runs a branding and marketing agency called The Reynolds Group, where she assists in inspiring entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Sure! I’ve been in the sports industry for six years now. I started as an account executive, selling tickets and eventually moved up into a leadership role where I now teach others the methodology of ticket sales and the art of sports selling.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
When I first started working in sports, I was a part of a start-up department for the G-League. The team I worked for had only been around for one season and was still in the early development stages. It was a fun experience because me and my coworkers built the team from the ground up. Some challenges that we faced included educating the buyers on our role within the organization, product offerings and developing a plan of action for ticket sales.
I’ve never considered giving up. My mentality is, “if it’s easy, let someone else do it. I’m here for the challenge, I’m here to be a change agent, I’m here to change the game.” I thrive from self-motivation and also have outside factors that contribute to my “why” or my drive. My parents are hard workers and having them as an example motivates me even more. Also, knowing that I’m one of few women in this industry and one of even fewer black women in this industry, gives me the drive to maintain my hustle.
Lastly, I want to be an example to HBCU students. Oftentimes, if you attend an HBCU (especially a small HBCU), you get caught up in thinking that you have less opportunities than those that attended larger schools. In most cases, that is true, but I’m here to break that way of thinking and change the narrative.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
It was my first week starting my job and we had an important event to attend with big clients. In the midst of me preparing for the event, I was also in the process of moving and didn’t have access to my full wardrobe. The night of the event, I decided to wear a bright colored skirt I got from Zara. The problem was that the skirt was the same color as our rival sports team. I was so embarrassed! One of my colleagues called me out for it, we laughed about it and moved past it. An important lesson I learned from that situation is to be intentional with my outfit color choices, especially for special occasions and events!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I believe that a company’s commitment to the community in which they live, work and play are crucial. Companies that value their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) are often viewed as more favorable in the eyes of the consumer. I’m proud to work for a company that understands the value of building the communities that surround them.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
One thing that I can say is that “burn out” is real, especially in the sports industry. It’s expected for sports professionals to work every home game, most weekends and long hours in season. I often advise younger individuals that are just starting their careers to connect with their “why.” Understanding your “why” can make your bad days good and your good days better. I remember a few occasions when I had to do a job that I didn’t want to do (i.e. be the sports team’s mascot — lol). Understanding that I can have good or bad moments in my career helps me overcome my burn out.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Absolutely! It took me a while to get into my desired career field. I’ve heard “no” more than I heard “yes”.
I even heard that I was “too nice” of a person. That really came as a surprise to me because I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to work with a nice person. In my career journey, I met two amazing individuals who saw my hunger and gave me my first opportunity. They held me accountable and helped me prosper in my professional career by providing me guidance and wisdom. I owe my leadership skills to them and I’m forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is “How to take your company from good to great”. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a “good” company, what does that look like? How would you define a “great” company, what does that look like?
A good company to me is one that can consistently produce results. The shareholders are happy, and the employees are paid well. A great company not only produces great results, but they value their employees in every aspect.
A great company understands that they are more than just a company. They are a community and have the responsibility of reflecting diversity within their organization and connecting with the diverse communities they serve. Although it may sound a little cliché, a great company values diversity and inclusion. Statistically, diverse companies are more innovative and when you have a diverse representation of individuals at “the table,” you implement more sound decisions.
Also, great companies evaluate the attitudes of their employees and how their employees produce. A positive attitude can catapult the culture of a company, while a negative one can drive it downhill swiftly.
Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.
Based on my experience, I learned that you don’t necessarily have to be in a leadership role like the company’s president or CEO, to lead a company. Leadership comes from your actions. With the right mindset, you can lead a company from good to great.
- Morale — The company must constantly make an effort to measure the morale of the employees and evaluate how to keep everyone engaged. When you treat your employees great, they will treat your clients even greater.
- Diversity & Inclusion — It is important for a company to make a conscious effort towards recruiting from a diverse talent pool. I strongly advise that companies take a good look into HBCUs and utilize their career services offices to recruit the best talent. As previously mentioned, diverse companies perform better. Your company should reflect the world that we live in.
- Attitude — A positive attitude is needed in the work environment. In my latest book, The Success Playbook, I talk about the power of positivity. Your attitude determines your altitude and reflects how far you’ll go in life. Additionally, as an employer you should strive to maintain positivity. How can that be accomplished you ask? Through morale!
- CSR — Having a presence in the betterment and advancement of your community and in social issues will make a positive impact on your company. Making the issues of your consumer your issues will positively distinguish your company from its competitors.
- Development — Make a conscious effort to develop your existing talent. Investing in your employees can improve their value and promote a positive attitude in the workplace. Employees that have a great attitude is what helps create a great culture in a company.
Extensive research suggests that “purpose driven businesses” are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?
Tying your company with a purpose is what gives your employees and consumers even more reason to support your business. I would advise that it is best for all companies to have a purpose attached to it.
What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill? From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost, growth and “restart their engines”?
Many companies must go through a rebrand or relaunch every few years. It’s not a bad thing, as you want to re-engage and give your customers something new to look forward to. For example, Apple launches a new product every year. Apple remains relevant because their consumers can expect innovative products from them every 12 months.
Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?
It’s important to remain true to who you are while adapting to the present day. For example, numerous companies took a hit during COVID-19 however, there were many companies that utilized their online presence and platforms which resulted in skyrocketed sales for their business.
In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?
Personal development as a leader is not emphasized enough. It’s important to constantly evolve and learn from the individuals that came before you. If you can, find a mentor that can provide you with the knowledge you need to run your business.
As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?
Increase conversion rates by actually asking for the sale! I tell aspiring entrepreneurs all the time, don’t be afraid to ask for money. Also, obtain as many referrals as you can.
Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Paint the picture of your brand. Tell the story of how and why your brand exists. If you show your consumers the behind the scenes on how you run your business, you’ll be more personable and relatable.
Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?
Take the time to listen and understand the needs of your consumers. Do not pitch a product until you do your research and learn who your target customers are, why they’re buying, what’s the occasion, etc.
What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm Distemper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Social media has given us the unique ability to connect with our consumers directly. If used the right way, social media can build a trusting relationship between your business and consumers.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
The most common mistakes I see CEOs & founders make is they lose momentum and quit too soon. For the first few years, you may breakeven or even be in the red. It’s important to stay motivated and keep going. Remind and encourage yourself that your big break is around the corner!
Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I want to show others how to take ownership of their success. You are in complete control of your life. Own it!
How can our readers further follow you online?
Readers can visit my website at www.chanellesreynolds.com and follow my social platforms @ChanelleSReynolds IG, @ChanelleSpeaks Twitter.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!
About the interviewer: Jerome Knyszewski (Kenchefski) is the CEO of HeavyShift. Jerome serves as an advisor to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies as well as entrepreneurs who disrupt their industries and therefore tend to be targets of malicious online attacks. His company builds, protects, and repairs the online presence & reputation of many celebrities, products and beloved brands.