Sometime after Tiger King but before The Queen’s Gambit, the show everyone was talking about was The Last Dance.
(That’s right, during the pandemic, it feels like we’re no longer measuring time by days, weeks, and months, but by streaming television phenomena.)
For me, The Last Dance checked all the boxes:
Michael Jordan memes
As a lifelong, die-hard L.A. Lakers fan (I should say defending NBA champion Lakers fan), it pains me to say it, but watching The Last Dance, it was hard not to feel like I was watching the greatest basketball team to ever play the game.
I mean, just look at this roster: Jordan, Pippen, Rodman, Kukoč, Harper.
It got me thinking: who are the ’98 Bulls of the business world?
Why should professional athletes have all the fun?
As a kid growing up in L.A. in the 90s, my dream was to one day play for the Lakers. The early 2000s team was as much of a buzzsaw as the 90s Bulls, with Kobe and Shaq winning three in a row. And I dreamed I could be — probably not the Rodman or Kukoč of that tandem — but maybe the Ron Harper?
My hoop dreams may never have materialized, but I ended up doing something even more meaningful: leading marketing teams, helping to create a new business category, and now, co-hosting a podcast.
The mission of this new podcast was inspired by The Last Dance (and by the three-peat Lakers): to search out and document the greatest teams in business. To find out what made them so special and successful, and to tell those stories to the world.
What people are doing in the marketplace is every bit as thrilling as a Michael Jordan dunk. Every bit as impactful as a Kobe Bryant fadeaway. That’s because when companies are operating at their best, they’re making massive, indelible differences in their customers’ lives.
In my years in business, I’ve seen engineering teams work overnight to solve a critical bug ahead of a company’s big event. I’ve watched marketers hide links to a domestic violence aid app inside makeup tutorials and women’s clothing tags. And now, during the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, we’ve all witnessed above-and-beyond efforts from the business community.
Pro athletes don’t need any help getting their stories out there. But pro “desk jockeys” sometimes do.
Introducing The Heart of Business
Those moments I talked about — when companies and customers intersect to create lasting impact — we call that the “heart of business.” So that’s what we decided to call our new podcast, too.
In every episode, we’ll find and interview a business leader or team who’s impacted the heart of their business in a new or innovative way. We’ll have an engaging conversation about the challenges they overcame, the strategies they employed, and the lasting impact they made.
We’ll go behind-the-scenes so you can learn how to transpose those strategies to your team, but we’ll also go beyond the pie charts and PowerPoints to get at the real, personal story of what makes each team so special.
You can listen to the first episode today, in which I interview Ally Bashir, Director of Customer Experience at SnapTravel. SnapTravel’s story this year started off a lot like any company’s in the travel and hospitality industry — with an absolutely devastating punch in the gut.
As travel restrictions and lockdowns started going into effect, SnapTravel’s phones were ringing off the hook (and whatever email does when it’s “ringing off the hook”). Not only was there almost no new business during the early stages of the pandemic, almost every customer was reaching out for a refund.
It would be enough to cause a nervous breakdown in the most seasoned CX veteran, but Ally Bashir and her team didn’t crack. In fact, the company has stronger relationships with their customers today than ever. And not only that, they grew to reach profitability during the pandemic as well.
You’ll hear from Ally how they did it and what it was like.
In search of the next business Dream Team
You’ll also hear some fun segments along the way, like Heartbeats. It’s the part of our show where my co-host LB and I react to some of the hopeful, inspiring news coming out of the business world. And you’ll also hear LB’s Last Word, where she gives a strategic perspective on how you can put your learnings in each episode into action at your company.
I hope you’ll subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen. And don’t forget to subscribe to Front Page for not only The Heart of Business, but also tons of complementary content that goes deeper on the stories and strategies we talk about on the show.
And if you think your team is the G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) of your industry, please let us know at [email protected]!
Written by Anthony Kennada
Originally Published: 8 December 2020