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June 29, 2022 | 17 Mins Read

How to Prepare for the Field Service of 2025

June 29, 2022 | 17 Mins Read

How to Prepare for the Field Service of 2025


On today’s podcast, we’re sharing a session from the Paris Live Tour with Jean Claude Jobard, Vice President EMEA, Marmon Link at Marmon Foodservice Technologies. Well-versed on today’s landscape, Jean Claude’s focus is on the reality that the pace of change is only increasing, and leaders need to become more adept at anticipating what comes next. He shares his thoughts on the four major trends that will shape what field service will look like in three to five years and discusses what it will take to be not only prepared but ahead of the competition.

Sarah Nicastro: So, Jean Claude, tell everyone a little bit about yourself, and your role and your journey, and then we'll get into our topic.

Jean Claude: Okay. So I'm background is mechanical engineering. I've been working in the packaging industry for 35 years, food packaging, cans initially. And then I moved to Tetra Pak and to Sidel. And over these 35 years, I spent more than 25 years developing service, service business, and organization. Different place of the world in France than Czech Republic or east Europe, South Africa, Italy, and then China and back to France. And I said, the first time we discussed, is service is what makes my heart beat. I'm really passionate about service and what we can do in term of development for our customers, but also for the company we are supporting.

Jean Claude: Now that was up to beginning of March and the beginning of March, I've moved to a different company, Marmon Food Service Technology that is not very well known. Well, actually, it's not known at all. It's part of Marmon group, which is a large corporation from, from US. And the Marmon Food Service Technology job is to manufacture premium commercial equipment for food and beverage. To be clear, if you go for lunch or dinner outside, most probably there will be an equipment for Marmon to prepare your food or your beverage, whether it is fast food, a canteen, or an institution or 3 star restaurant, we are providing equipment for these guys. And my job is to develop service for Europe, middle east, and Africa for, for Marmon Food Service Technology.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay, great. So we heard Roel's story, and we talked a little bit about, you know, managing the needs of today's business while also thinking a bit down the road, right? And we also talked a bit about how Munters was able to react adeptly to COVID with remote service and how that sets the stage going forward. When you and I first connected, Jean Claude, you said something that I really liked. So you said, "COVID has forced companies to change, but for some it's action reaction for others, it's become embedded." So explain what you mean by that.

Jean Claude: Yeah. So probably I will start with a story. In my previous company in 2017, there was a big show for the beverage industry in Munich, Drink Tech, maybe somewhere, you know, and we presented a remote video assistance with, glasses, I mean, the old technology that was fantastic picture that was 2017. Now between September 2017 and March 2020, what happened? Nothing. We used for the show, for the C suite, maybe to show to the customers how good we can be using these glasses or this remote video assistant. But we did nothing. Not a single dollar, or euro always, we sell in services supported by remote video assistance. And then COVID, guess what? From one day to another, every everybody wanted remote video assistance, we all need it right now. And all this kind of connection, by the way, the problem of cybersecurity was not an issue anymore.

Jean Claude: We just need remote video assistance. And that was COVID, a reality that in some countries where traveling was really impossible, and that was mainly Africa and Asia. We have been developing a lot of services for remote video assistance. Surprisingly enough was not too much about troubleshooting, but that was for other kind of services, supporting installation and commissioning, upgrades, supporting volume change. This is how we support our customer during that time. And that was mainly in this region. In some other region, as FSCs, our FSCs were still able to travel. Actually, we didn't use it so much. Now, we can travel again. And what's happening? The use of remote video assistance is going down. I want to see a technician. That's what some customers are telling us, but our cell force, our management, is not offering remote video assistance. And then we are back to normal.

Jean Claude: So what I meant with action reaction, this is what happened with many company. There is an issue, we react and then back to normal, we are back to normal. Why company have been implemented remote solutions far before, and some companies have really embedded this change in the way they're delivering service. Now there is a link with the previous interview, I believe is we are not selling technology. We are not selling digital. I mean, but we should not. But actually this is what we try to do. The way we work today is our digital team telling us, you know what, this is what we have developed. Now you go and sell it, but this is not service. So what we want to sell is services supported by digital technology. I used to say, digitally announced services. This is where we really bring value to customers, not selling RVR, such is nothing is just a tool to deliver better service to our customers.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. So, you know, going back to the storylines that I put up at the beginning resilience was the first. And I think that, you know, this idea of sure, you know, the circumstances of the last couple years were things that we had never imagined. So, just surviving it is one level of resistance or resilience. But I think the companies that have done the best have realized not only that they need to embed certain changes in their business, but embed change itself into their business. Right? So they're adopting a mindset that is different than before, which is we can't just think short term quarter to quarter. Yes, we need to meet the needs of today's business, but we need to be taking a longer view. We need to think about what the business of next year, 5 years will look like. And we need to be making change a part of the company culture. When you think about organizations that you know, are doing a good job of adapting, what sets them apart from those who struggle a bit more with that mindset?

Jean Claude: So I would say probably 2 key elements, and then I would add another one that is in a different category. But the first one for me is leadership. Leadership to set the vision. And I want to elaborate a bit on that one. And the second is courage, courage to implement the change because that is, it can be a bit working role and it's not continuous improvement. It's really a change. We will not work the same way than we did in the past. Setting the vision, we had a discussion with be actually quite some time ago about setting the vision. And I said, but you know what? Setting the vision. How can I imagine? I mean, you don't know what you don't know. So this is why I believe this kind of event are very interesting because some companies are far away in term of service development.

Jean Claude: And if in your company, you want to develop a service vision. You need to talk to other people that are far above of what you do. So leadership, this is about setting the vision and you need benchmarking. You need to talk to people to see what can be done. And then you do your own objective, your own vision for your company. Courage, because what we will do tomorrow is not what we do today. And they will be, there are a lot of resistances, the resistances of using digital tools, I'm going to lose my job. I mean, some FSCs are telling us I'm going to lose my job, or if they don't lose their job, but I will stop traveling. And traveling is 30% of my revenues, what will happen to me? So, and then there are people at management level who do not believe that these kind of changes of remote tools can bring additional value to the service.

Jean Claude: So this is really courage in making this change happen, selling it to the customers, by the way. And there is a third point that I thought about is product management. As an equipment manufacturer, we are fantastic as product in product management for equipment. I would say the digital teams are usually extremely good as well as packaging or the product, the development. From service perspective. What is it that we want to sell? What is it that our customer needs? We really need to be much, much stronger in term of product management to respond customer request today and tomorrow.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah, I think the leadership point is so important because oftentimes the top level leadership, not oftentimes, but sometimes they are the deepest rooted in the legacy. And that is where I see people struggle. You know, people that are in service leadership roles that see the potential for this change, but they're, you know, faced with leadership that doesn't share that vision. And that is a really difficult position to be in.

Jean Claude: Yeah. One comment on that one. In many companies that have recognized that service can bring a lot, not only revenues, but margin is coming from service and only from service. You do not make any money with any more money with, with equipment. Everybody's saying service first, service first, service first. Now over the last 2 years in a previous company, I mean on a quarterly basis, you have the presentation of results. And then a few presentation from other people. There was not one single presentation from service. We never listen to a field service engineers, not for sales guy selling services. So this is where management needs to walk the talk. I mean, if services first, services first, but at the end of the day, when you sell equipment where you talk about still about 10, less still about technology, not so much about service. So we really need to develop this. This part is despite really walking the talk.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).That's why I said earlier, it's a significant identity change, right? And so there has to be a willingness to change, but then there's all these layers of the business that that identity is a part of that you have to start reflecting upon and changing. Okay. So Jean Claude, we're going to talk about some of your sort of, I won't say predictions, but areas of focus for service organizations in the coming years. So we have 4, the first is speed of reaction.

Jean Claude: Yeah. Well actually all this thinking process, start with a discussion with one of my colleagues and saying, well, we know how we deliver field service today. It's what it is, it's not fantastic, but how will it look like in the coming years, what are the customer needs? And then the first one is speed of reaction. Years back, 25 years back. One of my FSC told me, you know, that was great. I could really learn on the job, the equipment, I got expert learning by myself, learning by failing at customer. Because at that time, if you took a bit more time sorting an issue at customer, that was okay. Now when it's summer season, when you have a beer production line that is stopped, I mean, you cannot wait one day. I mean, it does to start back now. So speed of action is in essence, absolutely.

Jean Claude: This is a clear need. And this is where we linked to remote support because in our business, there is no way you can have all the right resources, at the right place, at the right time. It's just not possible. We're covering the world, 500 technician. It doesn't work like that. I'm talking with that's my previous job, not the new one, it's coming with other challenges. So it's not possible, but mixing probably remote support and local resources that can be your resources or resource from an agent from another supplier, one not from another manufacturer. You can probably imagine irate solution that will bring a lot of value and will help you to support very, very quickly to have good time for reaction.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, so you're talking very specifically about speed of reaction in service. I think the other aspect of this though, is speed of reaction as an organization to demand, right? So if we are in these cycles of, you know, I don't want to say product development because we're talking more about service, but development of new offerings, new value propositions, you know, those can't take years, right? Because the needs of the customer evolve and we need to become more agile at meeting those needs and pivoting to meet different needs, etc. So speed of reaction is one. The second is cost pressures.

Jean Claude: Yeah.

Jean Claude: Well, cost pressure. Guess it's a surprise for no one. I mean, customers are looking for cheapest option. And when you charge 1000 Euro for one day of FSC, you better bring value otherwise, and they will never call you back. So for sure they will want to reduce cost as well as we, as a service supplier will want to reduce cost. Now, if you think about our business model, as it was a customer is requesting FSC.

Jean Claude: So time of reaction, I mean, it will not lift today, anyway, probably will live only on set on Monday. Monday will be traveling and then you will start working at customer Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, maybe, and Friday will be traveling again. So the customer is paying one day traveling, which is not bringing any value. So we have to find ways to do that. And again, we will still need people to work on machine with banners, with screwdrivers. There is no doubt about that, but maybe if we can, again, combine local resources, I mean, average skills with high skills on the back office using a remote solution. I really believe we can have a winning solution to serve customer better and quicker and cheaper.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, it's a good point. I mean, when we talked about Munters’ use of remote service, we talked a lot about the customer facing use of that technology. And, you know, there is a real value proposition to using remote assistance or remote tools to allow some of your experience talent to maybe they're tired of traveling and they don't want to be on the road anymore. You know, and maybe one of those, you know, older experienced technicians can work from home or work from an office and assist 5, you know, green, newer technicians that are in the field. So it is, I think, part of the solution to how we navigate the talent challenge. Now, Jean Claude, so cost pressures have always been an issue, what do you think will change between now and 2025?

Jean Claude: Well, for me, that’s two elements. One we touched on in the previous discussion that's field service, engineers availability. I mean, it's not very attracting as it is today. And if we start thinking about how will the future look like from field service perspective, the resource was a key element. And from resource perspective, we say, if you, if you hire a new FSC today, our experience is after 6 to 8 years, either will be FSC forever, or you will move to a different position. This is kind of trigger. But we need people that will stay, we need people with experience. And you know what, with all these digital tools for the guy that is out of university, I mean, working with computer, with screen, with smart glasses, that is life. So what if we could support customer remotely with all the tools we have today, I'm talking about this technology, but you can measure performance. You can monitor performance remotely, you can monitor energy consumption, you can monitor predictive or condition based alert. So there is a lot you can do with a screens and a guy in the office, that will drive intervention to customers. So we believe, if we really embed this technology in our way of working, that will be a way to attract new talent, different profile than in the past, but new talent, for sure.

Sarah Nicastro: Mm-hmm (affirmative). So that, yep. Go ahead.

Question from audience: Yes. You said also that frontline would be less used and our client and one distance remote would both things would be more attractiveness of our frontline people, which is again at stake. And it's what we, because yes, we play more with digital things that we at the end of the day, and coming back to what Jean said first that they are old. They will leave us with all their right. We need, keep them as much as compliant and more and more with offline and all the sophist complex things that we are great to get. Not it's great. Cause we down them.

Jean Claude: Yeah. I think one of the difficulty for FSCs is also traveling. I mean, if you have people traveling from Monday to Friday, every single week, you know, after 20 years, that more than 50% got divorced, they have difficult life, but they will never change the work. This is what they like to do. And yes, it's difficult to find people. Now, if you look at proximity at any kind of place in the world, if you look at all the industries, there are probably many different companies, many different businesses that need the same type of skills. So what if we share resources with organization? Exactly. Either through field service, engineers, suppliers, they're big company, supplying field service engineers, but why not sharing resources with other company? Because some basic stuff, mechanical stuff, guys can work on many, many equipment, electrical as well. Automation is another story. This is why we need the backend, but for basic maintenance, I'm pretty sure we can develop this model.

Sarah Nicastro: I think, you know, depending on the business too, there's almost a segmentation that needs to happen with the work, right? The customer facing work. Because we're talking about shared resources that can do the technical aspect of the job. But when you look at the other part that we've discussed, which is more of the trusted advisor role, that's almost a different path of how to leverage the talent you have and what the relationship with the customer looks like. Right? So the next generation of field service engineers, anything else to comment on there? So we're talking about potentially shared resources, what else?

Jean Claude: I think one more point is sustainability actually didn't came to my mind actually, but then discussing with one of our field service engineers, external supplier, he said, you know what, customers start to talk about zero emission field service. What does that mean? The oil emission field service. And it means traveling. You forget it. I mean, because this is a key limit. We started a line in Japan, during the COVID period in a normal, it was a new technology for this country. So in a normal way, what we would have done, would've probably taken 10, 15 field service engineers from Europe flew them to Japan. Impossible. So what do we do? Remote support.

Jean Claude: Skills people, not with this technology, but we supported through remote tools during the installation, and it work well. So, I mean, from sustainability perspective, not even talking about cost perspective, the impact was a measure. So we need to think about all companies today have objective regarding sustainability. One day or another, field service will contribute. So we have to start thinking about it already.

So, and when you talk field service engineers, traveling is a big part. So if we can avoid flying, well, you contribute to a better world for sure. Then you will have resistance from FSC because I mean, going to some countries, it's quite nice. Actually. They love traveling for some of them.

Sarah Nicastro: Someone asked earlier about as a service and migration to that model. And I did a podcast not too long ago with Kaer from Singapore and they've transitioned entirely to cooling as a service. And it was a really interesting conversation talking about the ways that, as a service model helps sustainability. So all of the kind of intersections of how transitioning to that model helps sustainability initiatives for the company and for the customers. So it's a really interesting conversation. All right, so Jean Claude, you recently changed roles, as you mentioned, and it's different and you were in your last role for quite some time. So what has struck you so far in terms of the differences or the similarities in, you know, what you're going to be tasked with?

Jean Claude: Well, first of all, similarities, we talk about efficiency from customer perspective, efficiency, availability, and total cost of ownership. This is the same even so the players are completely different. What is very different is the level of maturity in term of service. I mean, in the past probably company, we're doing 40 to 45% of the turnover on service, here we are less than 10% probably. So the level of maturity is not the same. We are rather taking spare parts order rather than selling spare parts and not saying it's good to sell spare part by the way. But we are taking order rather than selling.

Jean Claude: And then the complexity is different because we move suddenly. Or I move suddenly from servicing multimillion euros packaging line to equipment that costs between 5 to 25,000 Euro. So you can imagine even a 10,000 Euro equipment, there is no way you will sell one hour of technician for 1000 Euro that doesn't exist. We are out of market. So you have to find other ways to do that. And then the install base is not the same. On one side, you have an install base that is pretty much monitored. Well, you know where your equipment, you know, your customers. On the other side, you have thousand, hundred of thousand of equipment in various places that you don't monitor very closely. So the challenge would be probably that one.

Sarah Nicastro: So despite the differences, what lesson did you learn in your time in your former role that you think will help you most in your new role?

Jean Claude: A few years back, one of the supply chain head of the company I worked for told us, during company meeting efficiency has no limit and externally believe this is applying to service as well. Service has no limit. And when you see the different level of maturity from one company to another, and even the one that are on top today, it's not the end. It's only the beginning. So it is so much we can do. And it's not only it's of course about making money. This is what we're paid for, but this is also about delivering service to our customers. So if you listen to your customer properly, you really embed in your development. What they need in there is no limit. There is no limit. Definitely.

Sarah Nicastro: I like that a lot. 

June 27, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

The Potential of Service Has No Limit

June 27, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

The Potential of Service Has No Limit


By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

On this week’s podcast, we’ll share our first full session from the Future of Field Service Live Tour. This session is a conversation with Jean Claude Jobard, VP of EMEA, Marmon Link at Marmon Foodservice Technologies. Jean Claude has been involved in service for more than 25 years, having formerly held roles at Tetra Pak and Sidel. 

Our session in Paris centered around Jean Claude’s views of what he thinks field service will look like in 2025 and what companies need to be doing today to be ready. You can tell as soon as you speak to Jean Claude how passionate he is about the topic of service, which is something I both admire and relate to. Toward the end of our conversation, I asked Jean Claude what lesson he learned in his former roles that he feels will help him in his relatively new role with Marmon.

I loved his answer. He said, “A few years back, a supply chain head at the company I worked for told us, ‘efficiency has no limit.’ I believe this applies to service as well. Service has no limit. When you see the different level of maturity from one company to another, even the ones that are on top today are nowhere near the end of what’s possible. We’re only at the beginning. There is so much we can do, and it's not only about making money. That’s part of it and certainly possible, but this is also about delivering value to our customers through service. If you listen to your customers properly, you really embed that into your development, there is no limit to the ways you can help them.”

What’s Holding Us Back?

I agree with Jean Claude. In my opening session at the Live Tour events, I spoke about the power of storytelling in service and one of the “stories” that I think is so compelling in service today is the wealth of potential that exists. Perhaps some companies are bound by their legacy in a way that prevents them from seeing that potential, but I believe many do see it and want to bring it to fruition.

But if that is the case, what is holding us back? Why are so many companies “stuck” in the status quo or struggling to create new services that meet different customer needs?

Well, Jean Claude pointed to a few of those reasons in our discussion.

Companies struggle with defining their modern service value proposition. “We have to understand we are not selling technology. We are not selling digital. I mean, maybe some are, but we should not,” says Jean Claude. “The way we work today is our digital team telling us, you know what, this is what we have developed. Now you go and sell it. But this is not service. So, what we want to sell – what we should be selling – are services supported by digital technology. This is where we really bring value to customers, not selling digital but by using it as a tool to better meet our customers’ needs.”

Companies lack strong leadership. “One of the biggest barriers is leadership. Leadership to set the vision. And I want to elaborate a bit on that one. Setting the vision. How can I imagine? I mean, you don't know what you don't know. If in your company you want to develop a service vision, you need to talk to other people that are far above what you do,” says Jean Claude. “Leadership has to see and set that vision and you need benchmarking. Then there are people at the management level who might not believe that in the suggested changes that can bring additional value to the service.” So whether your top-level leaders are lacking a vision for service, or they have a clear vision but middle management isn’t bought in, leadership that isn’t aligned on service strategy make it incredibly difficult for an organization to achieve its service potential. 

Companies see the potential but lack the courage to change. “This requires courage, because what we will do tomorrow is not what we do today. And there will be resistances. It takes courage to implement the change because it is a working role and it's not continuous improvement. It's really a change. You also have to consider selling the change to your customers, by the way,” adds Jean Claude. This is a topic I wrote about recently, discussing the fact that many companies want the benefit of service transformation but aren’t willing to put in the hard work required to achieve that change. There are no short cuts here that can get you to the benefit without the investment – if anything, we find companies who attempt short cuts to be set further back than they were when they began. 

Service remains siloed. “In many companies that have recognized that service can bring a lot of not only revenue, but margin, everybody's begun saying service first, service first, service first. But over the last two years in my previous company, on a quarterly basis we’d have the presentation of results. There was not one single presentation from service. This is where management needs to walk the talk,” says Jean Claude.

Despite these challenges, the future is bright for service and there is progress being made within many organizations to remove these barriers to its potential. 

Stay tuned for the full session with Jean Claude on the podcast this week!

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June 21, 2022 | 7 Mins Read

Live Tour Austin Highlights

June 21, 2022 | 7 Mins Read

Live Tour Austin Highlights


That’s a wrap! Sarah shares an overview of the final Future of Field Service Live Tour event in Austin, Texas, and tells listeners what to expect next.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Well, everyone, that is a wrap. Last week was the last of five future of field service live tour events for 2022. We ended the series in Austin, Texas and went out with the bang with another great event. So if you follow along the podcast regularly, you will know that this year is the first time we've taken the conversations we have here out into the real world to take this platform and turn it into a community. So we visited Paris, London, Frankfurt, Stockholm, and just ended in Austin.

Sarah Nicastro: So I just want to give you a little bit of a recap and talk about what you can expect next in terms of the content in the events and the future events. So we started the day with Max James. Max is an Air Force Academy graduate, pilot who was shot down twice in Vietnam, Fortune 500 entrepreneur, an author of book, The Harder I Fall, The Higher I Bounce. You might remember Max from an earlier podcast episode, 148, where he joined to talk about some of the lessons he shares in his book, and it was really fun to have Max join and hear some of those stories live.

Sarah Nicastro: He has a very interesting history and background and a lot of lessons that he's learned along the way that he's now not only put into his book, but came and talked with us about in person. So a lot of that was around resilience and talking about how resilience as an individual leader is necessary for resilience as a business. Talking about how leaders have to understand that failure is part of success. He talks about a cartoon that he shares in his book that is a knight who is very beat up, and the caption says, "Some days the dragon wins." And so we had a conversation with all the other folks in the room about how there have been plenty of days over the last few years that the dragon has won, but how we all have to keep on going and persevere to succeed.

Sarah Nicastro: So next we welcomed Sasha Ilyukhin, who is the SVP of customer service operations at Tetra Pak. And we had a conversation around Sasha's current focus on human centricity. We talked about the reasoning for that and the understanding that while customer experience is obviously incredibly important, that starts with the employee experience, employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and making sure that we understand that we're human, our employees are human, and we all need to relate to each other in a human way.

Sarah Nicastro: So Sasha talked through what that focus looks like for him now, some of the areas that he's working on, including engagement and recognition, mental health, how technology plays a role, how one-on-one communication and the impact that mid-level management has, all sorts of different things.

Sarah Nicastro: So I shared with the group that I think this is an area we'll see increasing focus on over the next few years, because I think that as we went off on our quest to provide the ultimate customer experience, sometimes we've overlooked the importance of the employee side. So that was a great conversation.

Sarah Nicastro: We then moved on to a panel discussion with Roy Dockery, who is the vice-president of field operations at Flock Safety, and Katy Chandler, who is the vice-president of learning and development at DuraServ. And we talked about everything related to tackling today's talent challenges. So again, if you follow along, you know that the talent gap is something that has come up in every city that we visited on the live tour. It comes up very regularly in podcast conversations. So we talked about the whole continuum of this, from how are we recruiting, starting with how are we clarifying exactly what we need for each role? Are we holding ourselves to outdated standards? How are we communicating what those roles look like in a way that is compelling for today's potential employees? How are we improving diversity of applicants and ultimately hires? All the way through to obviously learning and development, which is Katie's area of expertise, and talking about how, as we bring on people with more aptitude but less experience, how that evolves what we need to do in terms of training, learning, and development.

Sarah Nicastro: We talked about retention and everything that falls into that category and how sometimes when we talk about the talent gap, we focus a lot on the challenges around getting new people in, and again, can overlook the focus we need to put on keeping the good people that we do have. So it was a really interesting conversation as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Then we broke for a little bit of networking and lunch before we welcomed Sonya Roshek, who is the vice-president of field services at B+T Group. Sonya started her career in the military, then got into telecommunications, now running field services at the VP level, and has found herself often one of few if not the only woman in many male dominated spaces. So we talked a lot about the experiences she's had and what she's learned from them and what she would want folks who are focused on bringing more women into field service to think about from those experiences.

Sarah Nicastro: So I think it's a topic that is very layered and there's a lot of different things to address, but I always think that there is power in hearing an individual's story and thinking about what you can take from that and increase your perspective with.

Sarah Nicastro: We finished with Gyner Ozgul, who is the president and COO of Smart Care Equipment Solutions, talking about resilience, resurgence, and re-innovation. So we had a conversation with Gyner about his personal development as a leader over the past few years. His role has expanded significantly. Smart Care is growing very rapidly, and of course, that was all happening in the midst of the pandemic. So we talked with him from an individual leader perspective about how he navigated that. And then from a business perspective, we talked about some of the steps that Smart Care took during the pandemic to have business continuity. What the resurgence has looked like and some of the challenges that they face in that, including issues with supply chain and parts availability and how they're navigating that, and how they're resetting innovation. So how they are getting back to the longer term potential and view they have for the company that was set pre-COVID and a bit disrupted. So that was a great session as well.

Sarah Nicastro: After that, we had a group think where we came together and just talked about a variety of issues and allowed people to weigh in on one another's questions, and finished the day with some fun Texas style happy hour and networking. So it was a great day. All five were great. Someone asked me not too long ago which event was my favorite and I said, "That's a very unfair question." I do genuinely mean that. They were all different. Obviously that is the nature of having people share their individual stories. Each story is unique. So that was really a fun experience to hear so many different perspectives. And they all had different focus areas, different points of value.

Sarah Nicastro: I would say the common thread is really seeing firsthand it being reinforced how important community is. I think that service leaders tend to be very, very busy, often overworked, and sometimes overwhelmed, and taking just a day away from the day-to-day operations or the grind to sit down and engage with people that have the same challenges, that are working towards the same opportunities is not only comforting but inspiring. So it was an honor to be able to bring that to life in those five cities, and I'm very grateful for the opportunity to do so.

Sarah Nicastro: And what will happen next? So one thing is now that I am going to have at least a little break from travel, I can dig into some of the specifics of the content shared during the events and look for ways to share that with you all. So whether that's through articles or releasing some of the sessions as podcasts, I want to make sure that rather than a quick overview, you have an opportunity to get some of the detail as well. So stay tuned on the podcast and on or on LinkedIn for that.

Sarah Nicastro: And we haven't completely briefed since Austin, since everything ended, but we have connected quickly as a team. And at least at this point, we do plan to do these events again in 2023. I don't know exactly what that will look like, but as soon as I do, I will certainly share with you. So if you weren't able to join us in 2022, hopefully you'll have the opportunity to do so in 2023.

Sarah Nicastro: So thank you again so much to the speakers that came to share their insights in each city, the attendees that came and engaged and connected, the team that helped me plan these events, Polly and Joanna, for the incredible work that they did on the logistics and execution. And of course, a huge thank you to IFS for sponsoring these events and allowing us to bring this type of community and thought leadership to these five cities without having to charge a fee for folks to attend.

Sarah Nicastro: So thank you all. Stay tuned for more to come at Follow us on LinkedIn. You can also find us on Twitter, @thefutureoffs. And as always, the Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at Thank you for listening.

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June 20, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

You Want Transformation, But Are You Prepared to Change?

June 20, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

You Want Transformation, But Are You Prepared to Change?


By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

I’ve become an avid Peloton user, and the other morning instructor Jess Sims shared a message in her class that resonated with me in a few ways. She said, “everyone wants the transformation, but not everyone wants to change.”

At the end of 2021, I realized I’d gained 30 pounds during the year. Now obviously I knew I’d gained weight, but I had avoided the scale because I wasn’t ready to face the facts. This was a combination of things – in late 2020 I had Covid which took me out of my healthy routines, that led into the holidays, the holidays led into another full year of Covid stress on top of other things and it simply snowballed. Going into 2022, I knew I needed the transformation, and I was ready for the change. 

I have lost all 30 pounds since and have been reminded how much better I feel – physically and mentally – when I exercise every day. I did a Whole30 in January to reset my nutrition habits and since that ended, I’ve simply focused on being mindful of my choices but not restricting or tracking what I eat, because that doesn’t feel right for me. There have been days that I have wanted to make short term choices that don’t support my long-term goals, but I’ve kept the end game in mind and have stayed committed to the (ongoing) change. 

What does this have to do with field service? Well, I’ve seen the same concept play out often – a company wants the value of transformation but isn’t willing to put in the arduous work of change. This can happen for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they simply don’t realize the level of change required to truly transform. Other times you have pockets of the organization who embrace the change and others who resist, slowing and sometimes halting transformation. Maybe a company is stuck on a certain layer of change that is uniquely complex. Sometimes the intensity of it all causes a sort of burnout and efforts fizzle. And so on. 

In my years creating content in this space, I’ve been asked by technology vendors often: What’s the next big thing? We’ve already discussed X topic so much; we need to address something new. And I say: yes and no. There’s nothing wrong with being forward thinking and pondering what the future holds. But in service the reality is that there’s still a significant amount of quite foundational transformation that needs to be done before those companies can even consider what’s next, and that’s the case because the topics we’ve been discussing for five even 10 years seem super simple on paper but are incredibly complex to execute in the realities of the business. 

To See the Potential, You Have to Put in The Work

It’s true that there can be no transformation without change. When I ask a leader what held the business back from success or what was the #1 lesson learned, the most common answer is change management. We know change is hard, but we also know it’s necessary – so rather than avoiding it, we need to embrace it and to make it a fiber of our culture. 

Generally, I think the issues lie less in companies not being willing to put in the work than not recognizing which areas will demand focus or to what extent. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Start with clarifying the purpose of your transformation (and make sure it is crystal clear for the purpose of communicating to others)
  • Determine what success looks like and how you’ll measure progress (be realistic)
  • Involve stakeholders early to validate your thinking, surface objections, and create buy-in
  • Ensure the team you have involve is cross functional as this is one way you’ll avoid disjointedness and surprise challenges
  • Be committed to the change but not to the methods – be flexible enough to consider that the path to success may wind, but as long as you’re making forward progress you are doing it “right”
  • Communicate early and often and over and over. If you think you’ve said it a million times, say it again – and always with your audience’s “why” in mind
  • Own the fact that you must make your transformation personal for everyone in your business you expect to carry it out. Unless you can reach the finish line alone (and you can’t), it needs to matter to them as much as it matters to you. How will you achieve this? Communication is key, but so is employee engagement, recognition, incentives, input and leadership
  • Expect bumps in the road and normalize failure

There’s so much more I could add, but this is a start. Seeing the industry’s progress from a bit of a distance over more than a decade, I recognize how we’re collectively moving along the path. There are leaders who have truly successful transformed service to be a customer-centric, digitally capable profit center and who are ready to innovate above and beyond. There are some who have tried and failed because they weren’t ready for the change, who must pick themselves up and try again. And many in between. 

What excites me is the potential that I believe lies just on the other side of this hard work of transformation. Yes, the work is never done – and that’s OK. Part of evolving to be a modern business is recognizing that the change is really ongoing and that the transformation is never “complete.” Embracing that is what fuels your journey and allows you to surpass your initial objectives time and time again.

Most Recent

June 15, 2022 | 20 Mins Read

Husky’s Move to Predictive Service

June 15, 2022 | 20 Mins Read

Husky’s Move to Predictive Service


Sarah welcomes back Tony Black, President of Service at Husky Injection Molding Systems, who was this podcast’s very first guest when he was with Otis Elevator. In his new role, Tony shares with Sarah the catalysts for Husky’s move to predictive service, what’s enabled the company’s progress thus far, and what the future holds.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today we're going to be talking about Husky's move to predictive service. I'm excited to welcome back to the podcast, Tony Black, who is currently the president of service at Husky Injection Molding Systems. Tony, welcome back to the podcast.

Tony Black: Thanks, Sarah. It's great to be back. There's a lot to talk about. I'm really looking forward to a good discussion today.

Sarah Nicastro: Excellent. So, for those of you that haven't followed along since the beginning, I know we are quickly approaching 200 episodes of the podcast. But Tony was actually my very first podcast guest, so episode number one, which makes it very easy to remember. And at the time, Tony was with Otis Elevator, and has taken on a new role since, and I'm sure been up to a whole lot. So Tony, before we dig into the predictive service topic, tell us a little bit about what you've been up to the last couple of years.

Tony Black: Yeah, sure. So after a long career at the Otis Elevator Company and a successful transformation of their service business, that's what we talked about the first time, I decided to join another really great company, and also a leader in their industry, Husky Technologies. And like Otis, Husky has truly enabled the industry through technology and innovation. And it's really part of the DNA of the company.

And so, I joined here as the president of the service business. And what I found was, we're already a really good service business with talent founded on high responsiveness, really strong global infrastructure of technicians and service centers, probably the best in the industry, and really close to our global customer base. But the real opportunity was to transform our service business with more predictive and proactive solutions, and really all centered around delivering on our commitments to our customers. And not only delivering on those commitments, but then maintaining those commitments through the life cycle of our product. So, that's what I've been up to the last few years. I'm really enjoying it and looking forward to talking to you more about it.

Sarah Nicastro: Good, good. So, moving to a more predictive model. So we're going to talk a bit about that. Before we do though, can you talk a bit about the drivers for the move to predictive? So, what are the customer needs that you're witnessing? What are sort of the expectations on service that are prompting Husky to evolve into a more predictive approach?

Tony Black: Yeah, I think, let me just tell you a little bit about our customers and how they operate, some of the dynamics that are happening. Our customers operate their facilities 24/7 for the most part. And they're producing very high volumes, we're talking in the millions per day or billions per year. So any performance erosion or unplanned downtime is really unacceptable. Just can't have it. So you kind of couple that need with complex technology, there's material changes happening in our industry, there are new customers coming into the industry, and then there's a skilled talent shortage as well. So you put all that together, and our customers have really come to us and said, "We really need your help to help us maintain our performance with all these dynamics happening, but please do it in a proactive way. We can't afford to do it the old way."

Sarah Nicastro: So, the predictive service offering at Husky is called Advantage Plus Elite. So tell us some of the details about what the offering is, how it works and how this kind of changes the way that you interact with your customers and provide levels of service.

Tony Black:  Sure. So, Advantage Plus Elite, but we also call it We Call You. So actually, a lot of our customers just call it, We Call You, because that's what we do. And I'll explain how we actually do that. But it's a connected solution. It's powered by the technology I described, we call that NSM. And NSM is the analytics and the tools inside and developed by a full-time team of SMEs here at Husky. And they've identified, through their experience, the key variables to monitor, the tools to use to detect trends, and the dashboards to monitor, and then proactively see the potential issues, but also do this at scale.

And so we launched this officially about a year ago, a little over a year ago now. Since then, we've stood up monitoring centers here in Bolton, Canada, in Luxembourg, in Shanghai, Mexico, Japan and Brazil. They're all staffed with monitoring center specialists. And when those specialists, using the dashboards and the tools, detect a trend or a problem, potential problem, they issue a We Call You to the plant and they issue it in local language. And this is all done 24/7. And that We Call You, it explains the issue, and then the solution is also explained. But the ultimate solution comes in the form of, either we give the customer enough information where they can resolve it themself. That would be one use case. The second is, we actually are connected and we resolve it remotely. And then the third is, we send in an informed technician and sometimes even send the part in advance as well. In all of these cases, we then monitor the solution and verify that we've really found the root cause.

So our customers really see the value in this. In just one year now, we have over 200 service contracts across 20 countries. We've issued well over 2,000 We Call Yous, and there's a lot of value in those We Call Yous. We estimate, directionally, for every We Call You, about $10,000 of cost avoidance or of lost production capacity. Now, we balance the technology with Husky people, people power. Each contract has a dedicated program manager, and that program manager facilitates a weekly and a monthly 30 minute standup meeting with the plant to go over the prior week’s We Call Yous. They use a standard weekly performance report showing the trend of unplanned downtime, OEE, energy usage, and so on. And again, these things are critical because of the nature of the way they operate.

So with that weekly meeting, it's actually a weekly and a monthly, combined with the technology, our customers, they're hardwired into the Husky knowledge base, if you will, hardwired into our SME base 24/7. And that, combined with the technology, has really proven to be powerful, and our customers see a lot of value in it.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Okay. Just a couple points to clarify. What does NSM stand for?

Tony Black: It's new service model.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. And then second question is, so it's called, We Call You, but is it just a call or is it a video interaction? Is it an augmented reality interaction? What is the format of communication in that initial outreach?

Tony Black:  So the initial communication with the We Call You is in the form of an email, or it can be different media to get it out. But it's in that form. It's a kind of a standard format that we use that is pretty concise. But then the follow up work can be an augmented reality call. It can be a connection to their system where we're actually troubleshooting and solving the problem remotely. But the initial We Call You, it's really a one page communication explaining the problem, showing the problem actually with the trends that we see, and then the probable root causes of the problem.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. And then you mentioned that for every We Call You, you've noticed, on average, a $10,000 cost reduction. So that's a $10,000 cost reduction for the customer or for Husky?

Tony Black: For the customer. It's really a cost avoidance. So, for example, if the system, for some reason, is using excessive energy, and then there's a problem and we detect that early, that's a cost avoidance of energy cost. Or if the system is using too much material to produce the solution, just the volume, it really adds up quick, so that's a significant cost avoidance. Or if we prevent a shutdown, an unplanned shutdown, again, with those volumes, and our customers, even more so today are really at capacity, they can't make their volume and they can't sell the product that they need to sell. So they've lost that revenue, if you will, that they would be getting. So it's really significantly beneficial for our customers.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. And then I wanted to talk a little bit more about the program managers. I like your point around the balance between technology and people. I think this is something that we see people trying to land on, what's the right mix? So I was at a conference at the end of April, and there was someone on a panel there that was very honest in saying, we went way too far into automation and AI and saw our customer satisfaction scores decrease because they were missing that human connection. So we know that both are important. It's important to use the technology to work smarter and have these more sophisticated capabilities, but it's also important to customers to still have that human connection. So I think it's really fantastic that you are aware of that. And from the very beginning, Husky is working to align those things really well. So the program manager though, did they exist before this program, or is that something that is new and intended to sort of build that balance between people and technology?

Tony Black: Yeah. It's a new role, Sarah. Actually, I'm thinking about what you were saying. So there's really, I would say, three new roles in this solution. There's the program manager, there's the monitoring center specialist, and then we have connectivity specialists who are not centrally. Actually, we try to have the program managers able to speak the local language so they're around, located in different countries. Some are in the centralized, but can speak the local language. We do have the critical centers for the monitoring centers, with the monitoring center specialists. And then we have connectivity specialists who are also located closer to our customers who can help get our customers connected, that initial connection, and get the contracts up and running.

But the program manager isn't, back to your question, it's a new role. Actually, it's really nice to see because it's creating new opportunities for employees inside Husky. We have a really strong group of program managers, a complete cross section of people with different backgrounds, all have good program management skills, but a real high energy group, good with customers, but also understand how to work with the SMEs. They're really, if there's a problem, and through our initial monitoring center specialists we can't get to the root of it, then we tap into the Husky SME base. And they know how to get that done.

So again, that weekly meeting, it's part of the people factor. Our customers love that weekly meeting because it's efficient. It's 30 minutes max, because they don't have the time for meetings. So 30 minute max, but if they kind of see what's happened in the last week, we give them suggestions on ways to continue to improve. And if there's an issue or a question, they get it answered right in that meeting. So, I was concerned, could we scale that? But with the tools that our NSM technology team is building, and with the standardization, we're scaling it. That NSM is actually developing modules of technology. We're on module six now. So those modules include analytics, but also tools to help allow us to scale. And so, as we develop more, release more of these modules, we can even do it more efficiently.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. So I think it's really interesting. And I want to give you the context so you don't think I'm trying to get you to answer a question that gets layered. But the reason I think this is so interesting is because when we started talking about the technological capabilities that allow a lot of what you're doing, remote diagnosis, remote resolution, customer remote resolution, et cetera. You ultimately get to a point where you are talking about less onsite work. Now, I think this is all very positive, but there's a couple of topics here that start to make companies uncomfortable because it just requires change. One is the business model shift. So if you've always billed customers for onsite time, then how do you evolve towards something different? That's one. The second is, you start to get into technicians fearing that their jobs are going away. And I always say, there aren't enough technicians. No one can hire enough technicians right now. We don't need to worry about people being out of jobs. It just changes the way the work is done. It's not going away. It's just shifting.

And so, I just wrote an article, I think, a couple of weeks ago about one of the opinions I have is that we obviously need to let go of some of the, well, this is how we've always done it, because that's what keeps people held on these challenges. So we have to kind of let that go. I think there could be a lot of value in segmenting service and even technician work. And so, to me, it sounds somewhat like this is where you're going, which is, let's say over time as this solution scales, and you can correct me if I'm wrong. I'm not putting words in your mouth. I'm just thinking out loud. Let's say, over time, you do have significantly less onsite work. But you, at the same time, are increasing this program manager work.

These customers want to not only have the relationship but, as you mentioned that's very, very important, the knowledge. So it becomes less a transactional, we come to you, we fix X, and more a partnership of, yes, if something needs fixed on your site, we'll be there. But we're providing you all of this value in the form of information and uptime. And they want, to your point, a human being to have that relationship with. So you have program managers. And then technicians, hypothetically, if they didn't want to be that people person, some will, some won't, they could be the connectivity specialist or the remote specialist that you mentioned.

So, I just think it's such an important conversation to start looking at how companies are tackling those two big roadblocks everybody puts up, well, we can't do that because X. Well, you can, and ultimately you're going to have to. This is the future of service. The future of service is not field service, it's service. And we need to look at it more holistically in terms of what's the overall customer experience. So I just think this is a really fantastic and really important conversation to think about. If the onsite work decreases, that's fine, because these new roles are being created that allows you to take that same talent and give them different futures within the business. So that was a lot of words, but what are your thoughts?

Tony Black: No, no, I think you're spot on with that. I guess just a couple things that, for sure, I think it's a fallacy if you think you can just kind of have this magical AI and bots and automation, auto emails. Success there is going to be super limited. It's not going to work. It doesn't work. So the other thing I would say is, like you said, there is always going to be a requirement for a tech base close to our customers period. That is the reality. And so, the type of techs and the number of super techs you need, the mix is going to change, but that will always be needed. And again, what we're doing is we're creating more informed technicians. And techs like that, they like having that information. So that's one thing I would say, Sarah.

The other thing I would add again, and we're seeing it real time playing out, these new roles, they're being filled by technicians. Not just technicians, others as well, but there's a good mix of technicians who are really interested in doing this and they like it and they're enjoying it and they're growing. And this is really growing. So it's creating these nice jobs for our techs and others in Husky. But again, we still need technicians. So those that want to stay out in the field, we need them as well.

Sarah Nicastro: I just always want to put everyone at ease. It's like, okay. On the technician thing, there's ample opportunity. There's ample opportunity for onsite work, whether you call them program managers or customer success. And not just that, to your point, you mentioned three new roles that have come up as a part of this program. So I always just want to disarm everyone of, no one's taking jobs from anyone. In almost every conversation I have, there is more customer facing work to do than there are people to do it. So no one needs to be concerned that anyone's going to be out of a job. It's just a matter of being open minded about what it could look like in the future, instead of being tied to what it has looked like historically.

And then on the business model part of it, I always say that if you feel you can't sell a new business model to your customer base, you haven't defined what the value is to them. You're thinking about what the value is to your business, because if you can do it right, it benefits everyone. And I think knowledge is such an important word that you brought up, because it isn't just about delivering the service Husky's always delivered, but in a different way, it's about delivering more than what you've delivered based on the information you're gathering with analytics.

So it just seems like you really are onto the concept, which is, you're becoming a knowledge partner. You're not just having a weekly check in and saying, "Okay, well, we identified three issues. They were fixed before they became a problem, so happy days." You're also saying, "Oh, and we noticed this. Oh, and the data shows us this. And, oh, have you considered this?" That's where the big term everyone's working toward is trusted advisor. That's where that comes from. It's about thinking about not just what service can we provide, but what knowledge, what insights, what value can we share with our customers about their business?

Tony Black: Yeah. So it's truly a partnership when we kick off that first kickoff. The customer name's a champion that is a champion of this solution, they work in the factory. But those weekly meetings, a lot of times it's almost like a just in time training session, actually, very effective. More effective than any training I've ever seen, because it's really kind of point of need and very effective. And again, it's about the customer having access to the Husky genius, if you will, and the SME base. And that's why, again, as I say, it's a partnership. We do tailor the solution a little differently for a new customer versus an existing customer who's more experienced. As I said, we do have new customers in some new markets. And in those cases, we do provide more training. Even in addition to the analytics, we provide toolkits, spare part kits to get those new customers kind of end to end covered along with the commit and maintain portion.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. That makes sense. Now, Tony, how would you say that this and Husky's vision for the future aligns with industry 4.0?

Tony Black: So it's fully aligned. But what I like to explain is, it's really beyond in industry 4.0. A lot of what I've seen in 4.0 in a factory setting is about predictive around hardware, bearing life or a pump life or a motor life. The advantage plus elite solution does that. But the way I like to explain this is, we look at it like a pyramid. And if you think about the top of the pyramid, it's the product that we're making for the customer, our machine is making for the customer, and the master process on how that product is made. If you go down to the bottom of the pyramid, it's the hardware, those bearings and pumps and motors, it's the hardware that makes up our system. And then if you go up higher in the pyramid, then we have subsystems for our system. And then you go up higher, and you have controls and drives and tuning. And then eventually, at the top, is actually the product that we're making with the master process. That's the pyramid.

And then outside of the pyramid, there's a lot of external factors. There are things like shift changes that are happening, or temperature or elevation pressure, all these environmental factors that are happening. The NSM technology is built around really looking at the entire pyramid from the bottom to the top, as well as the environmental factors. So, I don't know how clear that explanation was, but that's why I think it really is unique, this solution, and really industry leading, because it's not just focused on the hardware, which is important, but there's a lot more that needs to be kind of monitored in a proactive way.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, that makes sense. I think there's a lot more discussion today around ecosystems, and not only thinking about, if you manufacture a certain thing. Like, not only thinking about that thing, but thinking about the world in which it operates. And sometimes, again, that can be scary because it can be more work to take into consideration anything outside of your own pyramid. But ultimately, that's where a lot of the increase in value comes from, because your customers have to think about everything outside of the pyramid. So if you are not thinking about those things and they are, you can only provide a certain level of value. If you share that thinking with them and can figure out how to help them with some of those external factors, or what have you, through insight, knowledge, et cetera, then you can significantly increase the potential of your own value proposition.

And it goes back to this holding tight to the legacy of the business. I mean, that's really what we all have to move beyond because the companies that are doing that intentionally or circumstantially are falling behind the companies that are willing to not stick to the way it's always been, or the good old days, or the past successes. So Tony, it's really interesting to hear the journey Husky's on. And I think there's a few points you have brought up that I think just hit the nail on the head in terms of what it takes to get this right. I'm curious if you had to share a piece of advice with listeners that have the goal of going down the predictive service path and doing it the right way, what would you tell them?

Tony Black: So I'll try to keep it really practical and pragmatic, that's usually the way I like to. I like to hear things that way. So we talked a lot about the technology and the people, I cannot emphasize that enough. That is just so important. And it is a change, so it's important to have those discussions with your organization and with your technicians to make sure that they understand that, actually, we're going to create job opportunities for them, career opportunities. We're going to give them new tools. Because our technicians, more than anything, they want to deliver on the promise to our customers. So if we can help them do that, they're happy and they're motivated and engaged. So, critical to balance that internally and externally.

The second thing is, I talked about the NSM. So my advice there to do that is to create an internal and fully dedicated advanced technology team to build those analytics and the tools that I talked about. Do it with your own SME knowledge. It'll be much more efficient. It'll move faster. It'll be much more impactful as well. Use Microsoft for your cloud, use companies who are experts in edge technology for your edge device. You don't need to go develop that. But my advice, again, is use your own. And it has to be a dedicated team of really strong SMEs. That's what we have. And really, it's instrumental. And it's been instrumental in, again, coming up with insights that really are impactful.

And then the third thing is really about just a lot of focus. As you kind of go down this path, it's really easy to start thinking about a lot of things that you want to do and can do. And what can happen is you just kind of get paralyzed and you don't really get anything done really well. So my advice here, very specifically, is just focus on several key insights. Just one good insight can provide enormous value for our customers. And it builds you. It builds a platform to expand on. So, don't worry about having 50 great insights. Have one and start. And customers will see value. It's a journey, right? It's a continuous journey. And you keep, as I talked about, we call it modules, but we keep innovating and adding insights as we go and as we learn. But we didn't wait. We started with that. Soon as we had a base, we started. So I would say, those are the three things I would recommend to someone.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. All right. And last question for today is, when you think of the journey that Husky's on with this, I know part of the next steps are to continue to scale. What else do you think will come next? If you sort of envision what the future looks like, what comes to mind?

Tony Black: Well, when I look at our business, we have to apply this proactive and predictive kind of mentality and approach across the whole business. A big part of our business, and I think every service business, is spare parts. And spare parts are truly the lifeblood of service. So what we've also been working on is kind of applying this approach, we've developed analytics to help our customers understand what they need to stock. We developed online digital tools recommending value solutions to our customers when they search for a part. We've developed proactive maintenance kits. And we're working on really even enhancing our service centers to make sure we can have parts next day anywhere in the world. So spare parts, but applying the proactive and predictive mindset and tools around that, we're all over that right now as well.

We also have a very significant install base that ranges in age. And so, there's an obsolescence challenge with that. So we've built up a strong kind of modernization, upgrade, engineering organization to help our customers. Again, maintaining that commitment through modernization and upgrade packages. So those are a few of the things that we're working on in parallel with the advantage plus elite solution.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. All right. Well, it'll be interesting to see how it progresses. I'm thankful that you came and shared your perspective and the journey thus far. There's some really important points that you've made that I'm glad that you have already taken into consideration. It'll make Husky's journey a bit better. And for those listening, hopefully it's some good food for thought. So thanks for coming back, Tony. It was a pleasure to have you again.

Tony Black: Yeah, it was great to be back. Thank you.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. You can find more by visiting us at You can also find us on LinkedIn as well as Twitter, @TheFutureOfFS. The Future of Field Service Podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at As always, thank you for listening.

Most Recent

June 13, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

Redefining “CIO” for the Modern Digital Age

June 13, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

Redefining “CIO” for the Modern Digital Age


By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

About a month ago, I came across an interview on LinkedIn that Carin Forsling, Managing Director of Boston Consulting Group, did with Mats Hultin, CIO of Ericsson on business-led digital transformation. During the interview, Mats states that he views is role as CIO not as Chief Information Office but as Chief Integration Officer. 

This point stood out to me, for a few reasons. First, surfacing in more and more conversations I’m having is the importance of a role (or roles) to coordinate, choreograph, align, or harmonize the strategic efforts within a business – particularly as it relates to both digital transformation and innovation. Second, we know that when companies see their digital transformation efforts fall short of expectations, it is very often due to organizational siloes

Mats viewing his role as one of integration is indicative of a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed in today’s digital world; it exudes an awareness that the information (i.e., technology) is only impactful if it is well integrated into the business. And, while I’ve also heard said the new role of the CIO is Chief Innovation Officer, I like Mats’ description far better – because even innovation, when siloed, cannot scale without integration.

“Not only is the CIO’s role to build bridges between the business and IT,” says Mats, “but it is also about understanding and coordinating the needs, objectives, and opinions of various stakeholders. To be impactful, it is important to have a holistic view and then create a cohesive approach that everyone is bought into. This is how you avoid the detrimental siloes.”

While I was in Stockholm for the Future of Field Service Live Tour, I had an opportunity to sit down with Mats to ask him some of my own questions about Chief Integration role. We know that historically there is often a great divide between the business and IT in many companies – the business feels IT “doesn’t get it,” and IT becomes frustrated that the business thinks it knows best. This is the first area in which the concept of integration is so powerful. “A significant part of the CIO role is coordinating efforts – working to build bridges between the business and IT,” says Mats. 

Three Key Areas of Focus

When he thinks of the integration responsibilities within his CIO role, Mats points to three major areas of focus. First is addressing the different perspectives that exist in any business. “Not only is the CIO’s role to build bridges between the business and IT,” says Mats, “but it is also about understanding and coordinating the needs, objectives, and opinions of various stakeholders. To be impactful, it is important to have a holistic view and then create a cohesive approach that everyone is bought into. This is how you avoid the detrimental siloes.”

The second area of focus is around customer journeys. While it is quite widely understood that transformation and innovation are most effective when done from the outside in, not every company takes that approach. “I see an important part of my role as the understanding of our customer journeys to ensure that we are making investment and prioritization decisions on what will benefit them most,” says Mats. 

Finally, of course Mats is responsible for the integration of technology. As the sophistication of technology increases, so too does the onus to keep centered on business value, usability, and purpose. “We need to be sure that our systems are well integrated to meet the needs of our employees, our customers, and ultimately the business,” says Mats. “We rely on core partners to deliver foundational systems, we look for opportunities to leverage the latest in AI and automation, and most importantly we focus on how all of our technology works together seamlessly.” And while each of these three areas requires its own integration, all three require overarching integration to tie customer needs to the business views and then tie strategy to execution.  

A Look to the Future

I think Mats has hit the nail on the head in how he views his role. He realizes that there can be numerous “brains” in the operation, but if wonderful ideas aren’t knit into a plan, companies spin in place. He also knows that there’s incredible potential in digital, but that it must be tied to business needs, and integrated into business practices, for that potential to come to life. 

As we look ahead, there’s no doubt in my mind that a greater focus on “integration” will help to eliminate the organization siloes that are holding many companies back not only from digital transformation ROI, but also business model evolution and broader innovation. Putting leaders like Mats in place who recognize the power of different perspectives, but feel a personal responsibility to build those bridges, is the way forward. 

Most Recent

June 8, 2022 | 24 Mins Read

The Power of Relational Intelligence

June 8, 2022 | 24 Mins Read

The Power of Relational Intelligence


Sarah welcomes back Founder & Managing Director, Bandelli & Associates and author, Dr. Adam Bandelli, to discuss his new book "Relational Intelligence: The Five Essential Skills You Need to Build Life-Changing Relationships."

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to the Future of Field Service podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today, we're going to be talking about a theme called relational intelligence. I'm welcoming back to the podcast today, Dr. Adam Bandelli, who joined us on episode 141. At that point, we were talking about Adam's last book and he just released a new book, Relational Intelligence: the Five Essential Skills You Need to Build Life Changing Relationships. So, we're going to talk a bit about that concept today and how it applies to you all in our audience. So Adam, welcome back to the Future of Field Service podcast.

Adam Bandelli: How are you, Sarah?

Sarah Nicastro: Good. Thanks for being back with me.

Adam Bandelli: No, it's my pleasure.

Sarah Nicastro: All right. So, what is relational intelligence? Let's start there.

Adam Bandelli: Yeah, it's a great place to start. So, relational intelligence is the ability to successfully connect with people and build strong, long lasting relationships. So, it's really about using five key skills that will enable you to strengthen the skills that you have with your people and teams, and really build great partnerships with your customers or your clients or the people that you work with.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. Now the book, how did you come up with the idea for the book?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah, that's a fascinating question. So, I started my research back in my undergrad years since the mid-nineties. When Daniel Goleman came out with this book, Emotional Intelligence, Why it Matters More Than IQ. And it really started me on a journey at looking at different leadership skills and behaviors that make up for strong impact that companies have on their clients and their customers. And so, did my doctoral work really at looking at what are different aspects beyond emotional intelligence that contribute to how leaders build relationships with others. Found out in my research, that there were five key skills that connect to this and that these skills are behaviors that can be practiced and learned over time. And then I really spent the next 15 years of my career, focused on practicing and refining those skills, both with colleagues and with our clients, which ultimately, culminated in writing in the book last year.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So, the research that you did to support this idea or concept of relational intelligence, what did that research look like? Obviously, part of it is, your own experience and how you've used the concept yourself at your firm and with your clients. And again, for those that didn't catch the first episode, tell them a little bit about what your firm does and how you work with clients, so that they have an idea of how this would apply.

Adam Bandelli: Yeah, absolutely. So, our work is a leadership advisory boutique, and we focus really on three areas. One, is around senior executive selection. So, we help companies identify leaders for top roles and we'll do our leadership interviews and some psychometric tools to determine if they'll be a good fit for the culture. So, we do a third of our work there. Another third of our work is around leadership development. So, we do a lot around individual coaching, team coaching, high potential development. And then the third part of our firm, we focus on executive education and training. And so, we actually just built out our flagship program, which is called the Relational Intelligence Experience, which is a two-day immersive offsite where we bring leaders together. C-suite senior teams, and we focus on those five skills. They learn about the skills, they get to practice them real time. And then we give them tools to take it back into their organizations.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. And so, going back to my first question, I'm notorious for asking two questions at once and it's such a bad habit, but going back to the first question that I had, what was the research that you did that sort of initiated this concept that you then on your own have proven out over time?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah. So, this is my doctoral dissertation back in 2006, where I initially researched, "What are the types of leadership behaviors that impact how people build relationships?" So, really how senior leaders build relationships with your people. And so, the five skills that we drew from the research, both in the academic circles and then practitioners, are establishing rapport, understanding others, embracing individual differences, developing trust, and cultivating influence. And of those five skills, we built an assessment to see what they actually measure and assess.

And then we went out and we found that those skills actually predict four real important things in organizations. One, is employee engagement. Two, is job satisfaction, so how happy are people at their job and doing their work. Three, is how committed they are to their organizations. And then four, most importantly, how can employers retain their talent? And so, we found that having good relational intelligence, or leaders who practice those five skills are able to drive those four outcomes for their business. So, that was the initial research around my dissertation. And then as I mentioned, I've put this into practice now with our clients over the last 15 or 20 years.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So, going back to the point you made about emotional intelligence, talk about how this is different, because I'm sure there are folks that would hear some of what you're saying and think, "Well, isn't that emotional intelligence?" Talk a little bit about what the differences are there.

Adam Bandelli: Yeah. So really, as I mentioned, relational intelligence, we define that as the ability to successfully connect with people and build strong, long lasting relationships. Emotional intelligence is really defined as the ability to understand your emotions, the emotions of others, and how to manage emotions effectively. So, the two concepts are really completely different. Now with EQ, the research that we've done, EQ can be used for the ability to connect with people, but it could also be used for self-serving and manipulative purposes.

So, we've all seen the type of leaders who are either narcissistic or machiavellian, who know how to use emotions to trigger other things in people, to get them to do what they want them to do or use folks as a means to an end. With relational intelligence, you cannot fake it, because it focuses on the long term sustainability of relationships with the outcome of developing the people around you. So, that's kind of the big difference between the two. Within our framework, the second skill, understanding others, you do need to understand your emotions to learn about people and be able to understand people. So, EQ has its place within relational intelligence, but the two constructs are completely different.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. Another question I was thinking, as you were sort of explaining the concept is not necessarily how they compare, but I guess your take on the relationship or not, between relational intelligence and servant leadership.

Adam Bandelli: Yeah. That's a great question. So, servant leaders, I think, really focus on three things. They have a specific mindset that's around developing people. They have a focus on growing others capabilities, the method through which they do that is relational intelligence. So, servant leaders are intentional about how they build relationships with people. They're very skilled at initially connecting and establishing rapport with others. They're very good at being curious and inquisitive and learning about the people that they work with. They value and embrace diversity. That's a very important part of relational intelligence. Can you build inclusive cultures where people feel like their opinions and perspectives matter? And then developing trust. This is the most important skill in relational intelligence. Can you make yourself vulnerable and put yourself in a place where you can learn about others and grow with them? And then ultimately, and this is what ties it back to servant leadership. The last skill of relational intelligence is cultivating influence, Sarah. And that skill in and of itself is about unleashing the full capabilities of the potential of your people. And that's what servant leaders do.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. Okay. So, can you give us an example of a leader that you think has great relational intelligence?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah. That's a great question. So, I've worked with a leader now for two years in the technology industry and this leader, before we started using the concept of relational intelligence, a lot of folks will use, "Well, he or she is a great people person, or they're a master networker. They know how to connect with people." And so, this leader is someone who started his career as an individual contributor and really made relationships the focus of how he built out his business. Was a consistent performer year over year, but it was because the connections that he built with his customers. As he started to move into management, he started to take on different roles, responsibilities over people.

And so, he was very intentional about establishing rapport with his direct reports and really investing the time and being intentional about understanding and learning about those people. He's built a team over the years that is very inclusive. So, diversity is not just something he talks about, it's something that he practices, and it really shows up into this concept of diversity of thought. Is he bringing different people into the organization that have different points of view and are comfortable sharing it? And then as I mentioned, he's been phenomenal at developing trust. He has people that worked with him for 15, 20 years over his career. So, he takes care of his people. He operates as a servant leader and he makes development a priority for all the folks around him.

So, a number of people on his teams have been promoted over the years. They've taken on roles of increased scale, scope and responsibility. And so really, it was amazing when we started our coaching work together, he didn't know that he had this skill called relational intelligence. And so, as we talked through and unpacked it for him, it's something that I think he came to understand that he could put a language around it. And now, we're going to be doing an offsite in a couple months with his team. He wants to share with his team what these skills are and how they can bring it out in their leadership. And so, this is not only something that he does, but it's something that he wants to instill in his people as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So, on the flip side of that example, when you see someone who you feel is not good at relational intelligence, is that typically because of a lack of skill or a lack of effort? To me it seems like a big part of this, is intent. Emotional intelligence can exist, but not be put to good work.

Adam Bandelli: That's right.

Sarah Nicastro: Whereas relational intelligence to me seems like the intent, the decision to build these skills and put them to work for the greater good if you will. So, I'm wondering people that are not good at this, how much of it is them struggling with the skills themselves, versus not having the intent that it would take to want to do well at this?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah. It's a great question, Sarah. So, there is a skill versus a will thing. I can give you two perfect examples. I have a leader I've been coaching for the last year who lacked the skills. He had the interest in wanting to build relationships with his colleagues and his peers, but he didn't know how to establish rapport. He didn't know how to show up and be curious and understand people. And so, in our coaching engagement, we really focused on how to help him to identify ways and behaviors and things that he could do and practice immediately. So take this second skill of relational intelligence, understanding others. It's comprised of having good EQ. So, could he understand and have the self-awareness to process his own emotions, the emotions of others? It focuses on being a good, active listener. So, could he actually sit there and let people speak and give them a time to share their points of view?

It focuses on being curious and inquisitive and showing empathy. So, putting himself in other people's shoes and asking questions versus just telling people what he thinks they need to know. And so, again, with him, it was more just giving him the skills and the toolkit. He had a desire to strengthen the relationships with the people around him. I'll give you another example of a leader, I worked with two years ago. This was more of a will thing, where he felt that he was, "the smartest person in the room," quote, unquote. He was brought into the organization to help shift an analytic strategy for the company. And when he came in, he had sharp elbows. He would go into meetings with his colleagues and peers and tell them what he wanted to do and what his agenda was. He didn't ask questions. He didn't take time to establish rapport.

And so, I was brought in to start working with him when some of his managers and folks above him said that they were getting feedback, that he wasn't partnering well with his colleagues. And so, when we sat down and started talking through the skills of relational intelligence and embracing differences of other people and developing trust, he felt like he didn't have any issues or problems. That it was his peers who had the issues and he didn't want to make the changes and stuff. So unfortunately, he ended up getting fired from the company, but it really shows you this skill versus will thing. If someone's not willing to practice and put these things into place, it could lead to detrimental relationships with your colleagues [inaudible 00:12:33].

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. That makes sense. That being said, though... so leave him aside, the gentleman that got fired, and if we go back to the first two examples, so you said there was this person you worked with that was naturally quite good at this and just didn't have the terminology around it. And then there was this other person who had some deficiencies, but had the will to want to improve. So, would you say there are people for whom this comes more naturally than others?

Adam Bandelli: Absolutely. Yeah. So, you look at certain things, certain factors. I think a desire to develop the people around you. So, natural servant leaders, I think, more than authoritative or top down leaders, they're going to be more skilled at using, developing, and honing relational intelligence without a doubt.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. All right. So, we talked about the five... you mentioned the five skills. Is there one that you feel is most critical and/or is there one that you see people struggle with most often?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah, absolutely. So, I think the one that is most critical of the entire framework, is developing trust. And we define that as the ability to be vulnerable and take a risk to be exposed to the actions or behaviors of others. Most important skill, because it really comprises different pieces. First, to develop trust of other people, Sarah, you have to now understand, and we call it in the book, the mirror test. You have to understand your own wiring. What makes you tick? Before you can go out there and start building relationships. Then, it focuses on this idea of the bank account of trust. Are you continually making deposits to grow a relationship with someone else? A withdrawal will definitely damage a relationship. A large major withdrawal will destroy a relationship and end it very quickly.

So, there's that piece. But then there're the parts that make up trust things like how competent is someone, how committed are they? How consistent? What is their character? So, those factors all come into play. That's the most important skill I think to learn. The most powerful once it's put in place, is cultivating influence. And so, this is the ability to have a positive impact on the lives of others. It's the most powerful one, because this is how servant leadership is shown. This is what takes place when leaders put people in culture first, before driving results. And what we have found is this leads to higher levels of employee engagement, retention of talent, and job satisfaction. So again, those are the two skills. You have to be able to develop trust, to really use relational intelligence. And if you do it in the right way, the outcome will be that you'll develop and grow the people around you.

Sarah Nicastro: Now, is there one that tends to be the trickiest for folks or does it just depend on the individual?

Adam Bandelli: It depends on the individual, but I think the idea of diversity, embracing individual differences, this is the third skill of relational intelligence. A lot of people view diversity in different ways. So, I can think of the analogy... we do this with our clients. The idea of diversity is like being invited to the party, where equity is more about you're being allowed to dance at the party. Where inclusion is you're being able to help plan the party. And so, how leaders view inclusion, whether it's looking at different diversity types, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, culture, whether it's that piece or whether it's, "How do we bring people to the table and make it feel like it's inclusive?" And this idea of diversity of thought that that's in place. So, this is probably the one skill in the framework that can be the most tricky, depending on how people define diversity and inclusion.

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. That makes sense. You've alluded to this a little bit, but I want to dig into it a bit more, which is the impacts relational intelligence could have on some of the challenges we're facing with the great resignation. So, can we talk about how it could help when we think about the impact it has on employee engagement, employee satisfaction, retention, and why that is?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah. So, I just wrote an article for Chief Executive Magazine about a month ago, which focuses on this specific topic. So, why are people leaving organizations? They're leaving for pay, title, promotion, and the options that are available right now, but they're also leaving because of the relationships or lack thereof that they have with their leaders. I can think of a perfect example of two of our clients right now. They're losing people consistently because folks aren't being developed. You look at Gen Z and Millennials, their needs and their kind of desires are very different from Gen X and Baby Boomers.

And so, because people are not intentionally building those partnerships with their direct reports, giving them opportunities to scale and to grow and to take on new responsibilities, you're seeing a lot of folks leave the businesses that they're in. That's part of the big contributing factor. So, relational intelligence is a solution to the great resignation in the sense that if people, these leaders who'll come from different generations, if they're intentional about building relationships and intentionality and authenticity, Sarah, is really the under threading that goes through all relational intelligence. Can you show up for your people in a genuine and authentic way? And by doing that, invest in who they are, invest in developing them, and then ultimately help them to drive those things we talked about, like engagement or retention of talent.

Sarah Nicastro: I think authenticity is a really important point, because people smell bullshit a mile away. I mean, that's just true.

Adam Bandelli: That's right.

Sarah Nicastro: It's just like you mentioned the point about diversity, equity, and inclusion. You would be hard pressed, I think, to find a leader today that would go on record saying, "Who cares?" Because they know they can't do that, so it's at least something that from a PR perspective, everyone needs to seem-

Adam Bandelli: Check the box.

Sarah Nicastro: Interested in. Yes.

Adam Bandelli: Check the box, yeah.

Sarah Nicastro: But whether or not they really care about inclusion-

Adam Bandelli: That's right.

Sarah Nicastro: Is like you said, back to the through lines of intent and authenticity. Is it an issue they actually authentically care about? Which means that they either care so much about others that altruistically, they care, period. Or they really truly understand the value to the business they're running of actual inclusion. And not just as a surface level exercise, but in reality. But I think authenticity to me is sometimes it can be scarce. I feel like I'm someone that reads people really well. And so, I kind of have like a natural filter for people who are just spewing words versus people that actually believe what they're saying. And so, to some degree, then this is something you can't fake, right?

Adam Bandelli: No. Yeah, like I mentioned at the start, this is part of the difference between emotional intelligence and relational intelligence. You can't fake relational intelligence, because it focuses on this bucket around authenticity. So, if you're not authentic in how you show up for your people and you don't... again, going back to developing trust. If you don't show a degree of vulnerability... I'm working with a leader right now, who's phenomenal at doing this. She will share stories from her history and from her background and from her experiences, to really connect with her people. She has someone stepping into a new sales opportunity. "Well, here's a time where I failed in a sales opportunity. Here's a time where I succeeded and here's what I learned from it." So again, she's authentically showing up and being vulnerable for her people, and she's enabling them to have the trust and say, "Okay, I can make mistakes or I can learn from them. And if she's coming and giving this into the relationship, I'm going to give my best for her."

Sarah Nicastro: Okay. So, I'm going to go off on a little bit of a sidebar, and hopefully it's okay to say this, but Adam asked me to take an assessment of relational intelligence, which we haven't talked about yet. So, I have no idea how I did, but what I want to bring up here is the example you just shared, because I do think, this is where some of these concepts get a little bit tricky and nuanced. Because some of the questions in the assessment were asking like, "Here's the scenario, how would you react?" And so, the example you just shared about sharing a personal story, that can be powerful. It can also be off putting, because I think before you do that, you need to have mastered the art of active listening and building trust, because otherwise your personal anecdote reads as nothing more than ego.

Adam Bandelli: That's right.

Sarah Nicastro: You know what I mean? So, that's where I struggled with using that as a response. Because as default, I don't know that someone necessarily wants to hear that, unless you've kind of built some foundational elements, but again, just taking it back to the example and the story. It gets a little bit tricky because yes, leaders who can be vulnerable and share things about themselves openly, I think that's a very powerful tool. But then you risk crossing the line of like me, me, me and, "Well, when I walked to school uphill, both ways and I lost this deal..." So, it's tricky. Obviously, that's where emotional intelligence comes in and you have to be able to kind of know your audience and all of those things…

Adam Bandelli: But there's a reason why the skills kind of go in a certain order. So, we're talking about trust and vulnerability. That's the fourth skill in relational intelligence. So authentic leaders, established rapport. They have an ability to create an initial positive connection with other people. The first couple times they're with folks, the eye contact, they make body language, how much they're leaning in, how finding common ground and similarities. Then we talked about understanding others. This is being intentional about putting in time to get to know someone on a deep level. If I'm taking time to get to know you, Sarah, I'm not going to pull examples and things that may offend you, that may be off putting. And then this idea about inclusion. I'm not just talking at you all the time. I want to hear your opinion. I want to hear your point of view. So, when I share an example from my experience, you know it's coming from a good place, and I've invested enough in the relationship where you understand, and I understand you, and we can have those kind of genuine moments.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. It's just funny because in my mind, I'm thinking of like, Joe, the authoritative leader, who's picking up your book thinking like, "Oh, I should try this out," and starts with, "Well, listen to my story." Again, it's goes back to intent. Are you sharing that story because you want to talk about yourself or are you sharing that story, because you see how contextually it could help you connect and help that person in some way? All right. So, we talked about the great resignation. The other thing I want to touch on Adam, is I had shared with you that for our audience specifically, a lot of them are in sort of a transition or an evolution with their customer base, where they're moving from more of a transactional business model to something that is more relationship based, more ongoing, more outcome focused. And so, how would relational intelligence be something that organizations can also leverage with customer relationships?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah, that's a great question. So, I wrote the article for Future of Field Service a couple weeks ago. It really focuses and dives into this, so I would encourage your audience to read it. But again, these skills are not just about applying and connecting with your colleagues. It's with people that you work with or your customers as well. So, are you taking time to learn about your customers and not just learn about what they want to buy from you, but actually learn about what matters to them? What's important to them? I think of this saying, "We don't do business with companies. We do business with people and business is always human." So again, are you really investing to know what your customers want? Are you taking time to understand their needs, understand where they're coming from?

That takes a good amount of EQ. It takes a good ability to be an active listener. It takes empathy. Do you value customers who come from different places? You have customers who are men, women, customers who are different ethnicities. Do you value that? And then do your customers know that you have their best intentions? I think that's a really difficult thing. If you go to more of a transactional model, your customers can see through that very quickly. And the work that we do at my firm, we have clients for over a decade because the clients that we work with, the people that we coach, know that we generally and authentically want to see them grow and become the best versions of themselves.

So yes, their companies or their organizations are paying for these engagements, but the people that I coach that I meet with and see every other week, they know that I'm there for them. And so again, what I would recommend or what I would say to your audience, who does that and is involved with customers is, again, it goes back to this piece around intentionality. Are you being intentional in developing relationships? And can you be strategic about them? You may try to get the quick sale today, but could you rub someone the wrong way and not get the business six months from now? Or are you really learning about what they need today, try to address that need, but also build the relationship for long term longevity as well.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, so for leaders that want to get better at relational intelligence, what do they need to think about learning or practicing? Obviously we're going to tell them where to find the book, but besides that, what do they need to have in mind to focus on this?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah. So, I think there's a couple of different things that we offer now at our firm, and people can do these on their own as well, but taking a relational intelligence test. So, you took the one for us a couple weeks ago. We're building out a whole practice now, where people can go online, take the assessment. It'll give you a kind of baseline understanding of where you are today. You can also get an executive coach or work with someone to kind of give you some self insights into how you connect with people and how you build relationships. So, I think that's kind of... get a baseline of where you are today. And then I think a lot of the other things you can do besides read a book, is go through some training on it.

So, we're developing, as I mentioned, our Relational Intelligence Experience, which is a two-day immersive program that people can go through to learn about the different skills, like developing trust, cultivating influence, but people can do that on their own too. There are a lot of different training programs you can take, that talk about things like developing trust or managing conflicts. So, I think it's really three things. It's understanding what the idea is, is being able to get a baseline of where you are today and where you might want to go, and that could be taking a test. It could be working with an executive coach or a life coach. And then the third piece, is really deepening your understanding by doing some training and development around it.

Sarah Nicastro: Now, what about organizations who want to conceptually communicate this idea to their teams and help with developing some of the five skills?

Adam Bandelli: Yeah. I think again, the big piece I would encourage outside of getting the book itself, is really they can visit our website and see some of the content we have to talk through it. We've written a number of articles about it from different angles. So, customers dealing with direct reports, dealing with mentoring, and you can find that all on our website But I think the awareness is a big piece. So, we're working with an organization right now, and they're trying to scale this down throughout the organization. And so, we're working at the top of the house to take their leaders through these behaviors, but then they're going back to their teams and they're practicing some of these skills. So, I would encourage your listeners who want to practice and learn this, to kind of get an understanding of them. They can pick up the book, they can go to our website, but then also start to model and practice these behaviors with their people.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah. It's really interesting to me, this idea that even though the world we're living in, doing business in, continues to move at a more rapid pace. I think there's this philosophical almost not regression, because that's not the right word, but like we've become so transactional, that it's going out of vogue. I think individuals and businesses are recognizing that the loop we've been in that's just quarter by quarter, short term, deal by deal, higher by higher, it's not serving us. So, we need to take a longer term view. That doesn't mean sacrificing short term results. It doesn't mean not paying attention to today's business or whatever, but-

Adam Bandelli: You can do both.

Sarah Nicastro: This idea... and you have to. I don't think that we're going to get back at least in any short term, to that focus of just boom-boom-boom. I think that investing in relationships that we have with our people, with our customers, with those that we interact with, and thinking about that longer term nurturing of those relationships is super important.

Adam Bandelli: And what we've seen with the pandemic has really exacerbated this, is that people have not been able to have that human face to face connection. And so, we're coming out of time, where we're coming out of that finally, hopefully, and people haven't been connecting, they haven't had that. We're being much more transactional. We're doing things like this through Zoom. So, it can become very kind of quick and easy, get a sale, do this or that. It's a totally different experience being in the same room as people and being able to shake hands and eye contact and engage with each other. And so, we're at a time right now where things like relational intelligence are really important. People need to be intentional and they need to be authentic. They need to embrace inclusivity.

These are all really important things that they may have not been important four or five years ago. They definitely, probably weren't as much a decade ago, but as we go forward, if we want to engage and keep our workforce, whatever generation that is, but we have the newer, younger folks coming in, that's the way to do it. You talk about hybrid work models that most companies are doing now. At our firm, we firmly believe that people should go into the office two days a week at a minimum, just to have that face to face human connection with their colleagues. And then this is the idea where we look at kind of AI and automation and things that are changing. The idea of what a good leader looks like is changing. It's no longer just managing processes, it's managing and building and developing people.

Sarah Nicastro: Yeah, for sure. Awesome. Well thank you for coming and sharing. As Adam said, you can find information on the book and some of the content and tools that go with it at And that is B-A-N-D-E-L-L-I A-N-D So thank you for joining. Thanks for sharing this with us. And I hope to see you again soon.

Adam Bandelli: Sounds great. Thank you.

Sarah Nicastro: Yes, take care. You can find more by visiting us at You can also find us on LinkedIn as well as Twitter at the future of FS. The Future of Field Service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at As always, thanks for listening.

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June 6, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

Leading Change Vs. Leading Innovation

June 6, 2022 | 4 Mins Read

Leading Change Vs. Leading Innovation


By Sarah Nicastro, Creator, Future of Field Service

I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Linda Hill, researcher, professor of business administration, and chair of the Leadership Initiative at Harvard Business School, speak in late 2019 at the IFS World Conference in Boston. I found not only her insights but her passion for her work very compelling and have been following her on social media ever since. 

Not long ago, Dr. Hill was a guest on Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead podcast – and I will pause here to tell you that reading my write-up on one of the points they discussed is no substitute for going immediately to listen to the full episode. The discussion was around “Leading with Purpose in the Digital Age,” and throughout Dr. Hill shares a wealth of perspectives she gleaned while conducting research and writing her book Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation (named one of the 20 best business books by Business Insider). 

Being a fan of both women’s content and work, it was super interesting for me to hear them become more aware of the ways in which what they each do intersect (Dr. Hill being focused on business leadership and innovation; Brené being well known for her work on vulnerability, courage, and creativity – both as individuals and as leaders). In a nutshell, they arrive early on in the conversation that success – or failure – with digital transformation and innovation has little to do with technology and a whole lot to do with people (and human interaction, communication, company culture, etc.). I was suppressing screams of “YESSSS!” while listening, because of course I hear this exact point play out on a very regular basis. 

Again, in the episode, they dig in to so many topics that are valuable to go and hear firsthand – digital literacy, power dynamics, creating a culture of change, how to fuel innovation, how to lead well in relation to all of these things, and much more. But in addition to sharing a resource that I think is an excellent listen for you all, the one point I wanted to touch on here briefly is the wisdom Dr. Hill shares on the differences between leading change and leading innovation. 

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Historically, we’ve looked at leadership as a whole. Is the leader a good leader? Are they empathetic, do they have high emotional intelligence? But in today’s business landscape, the reality is that digital transformation and immense disruption have created the need for us to better define how to lead based on what it is we’re trying to accomplish. In the episode, many of the emotional struggles Brené picks up on Dr. Hill speaking about are created by ambiguity. This ambiguity can be cleared by better defining what type of leaders we need in which areas and phases of the business, and what skills make for success based on our goals.

Dr. Hill says, “Leading innovation and leading change are different. When you lead change, you have a vision, and you are trying to inspire people to follow you to the future. When you’re trying to innovate, you don’t actually have a vision. You can’t inspire people to get there because you don’t know where you’re going. What you have is a purpose, and a purpose is why you’re going and what you’re trying to do versus where.”

Just based on this clarification, you can begin to see why there’s no universal fit for leadership. What makes a leader very strong at driving change and another successful at spawning innovation are very different, and it is highly unlikely that a leader would be skilled in both ways. 

Dr. Hill adds, “Innovation is about how you get people to co-create the future with you, not follow you to the future. It’s a very different process. So, what’s co-creation about, versus vision and followership? We need to build the capacity to collaborate, which his about diversity and difference. The other piece is can we experiment and learn together? Can we adapt and pivot when we need to? This is about culture and capabilities – being able to flex those muscles.” Dr. Hill shares that she’s working on a new book, Scaling Genius, that digs further into this topic. 

Perhaps your focus is on digital transformation, and if so, knowing how to lead change well and inspire your employees to embrace your vision is important. Or maybe you’re looking to encourage larger innovation, and if so, you need not only different leadership skills but likely different organizational structures, accounting measures, and working processes to succeed. Many companies are working simultaneously on both, and then it becomes increasingly important to know what type of leadership works best where. We know that people and culture are the crux of what makes us successful, so gaining clarity on what types of strong leaders are best suited to spearhead your goals is very important. 

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June 1, 2022 | 8 Mins Read

Live Tour Frankfurt & Stockholm Highlights

June 1, 2022 | 8 Mins Read

Live Tour Frankfurt & Stockholm Highlights


Sarah shares a synopsis of the topics discussed at Frankfurt Future of Field Service Live Tour stop on May 19th and the Stockholm stop on May 24th.

Sarah Nicastro: Welcome to The Future Of Field Service Podcast. I'm your host, Sarah Nicastro. Today, I'm going to be doing a bit of a recap of the last two of the European future of field service live tour events, which were Frankfurt and Stockholm, and happened over the last week or so. So for those of you who maybe haven't been following along, we have been doing a live tour of this podcast this spring. There's five cities that we have on our tour schedule. We started in Paris, London, Frankfurt, Stockholm, and our last event is June 14th in Austin, Texas.

Sarah Nicastro: So I just got home from a trip where I did both the Frankfurt and the Stockholm events and thought I would give a little bit of a summary of those here. Again, we have been recording the content of the live tour sessions as we've gone along. And once we have an opportunity to review all of that and get speaker approval on what we can and can't share, we'll certainly be releasing some of the content in its full form, but in the meantime, I will share with you some of the highlights. So first up was Frankfurt. That event was Thursday, May 19th.

Sarah Nicastro: And that day was in a really neat, but very, very hot venue. There was no air conditioning, and it happened to be a very warm day in Frankfurt. So it was toasty, but it was a great event. So we started the day off with top 10 global thought leader, Frank Mattes, talking about scaling innovation and some of the ways that in traditional businesses the operating structure and the way the business is set up really work against innovation.

Sarah Nicastro: Frank shared some really, really interesting insights on how companies are working past that, so that they don't sort of default to the tendency to do what they've always done because the business is set up to support that versus innovation. So it was a really interesting discussion to start the day. Next up, we had Christina from ANDRITZ join. She leads the companies smart services projects. And we talked about some of the things that come up when you're trying to take a manufacturing business with a lot of history and evolve into a service business.

Sarah Nicastro: And so, we talked about some of the vision she has for the type of smart services that ANDRITZ's customers could be interested in and how she's working on bringing those things to life but also some of the challenges that arise in doing so. We then had a session with Mark Ringwelski who's with REMA TIP TOP about their move to outcomes based service and how they're working toward delivering outcomes and uptime for their customers. And Mark talked a lot about the work they've been doing to put a foundational system using IFS in place to sort of build this future upon.

Sarah Nicastro: We talked a lot with Mark about the work that he's done in the business to spend a lot of time with frontline getting their input for not only the new technology, but the vision the company has and where it's headed and how helpful that has been for them with managing change. Next up, we had a session with Rainer Karcher of Siemens and Tiago Charréu of Atos and talked about the intersection of service, collaboration, and sustainability. So it was a really interesting conversation and one that I was thrilled that both gentlemen agreed to come and share because while field service specifically is a bit out of both of their direct wheelhouses, we chatted a bit after the event about the importance of bringing the sustainability message to pockets of folks that maybe aren't thinking primarily about that.

Sarah Nicastro: So we talked about how some of the technologies that are becoming more prevalent and enabling different ways of collaborating have a positive impact can have a positive impact on the environment. We talked about how servitization ties in with sustainability and the circular economy. And we talked about some of the overall trends in sustainability and the growing criticality of everyone paying more attention to the topic. Next up, we had Sonja Haavisto from Cimcorp and we had a session on communication and the role of the employee experience and employee engagement in meeting customer experience and customer satisfaction goals. And then we had a session with Dietmar Schmitz of Eickhoff talking about the organization's evolution and transformation of service, putting foundational technology in place to sort of evolve with what customers need and how their businesses are changing and what that means in terms of what Eickhoff needs to deliver in its service.

Sarah Nicastro: At the end of the day in Frankfurt, we actually did a really cool sort of think tank session. So we created a circle of chairs and people kind of spoke freely about their challenges and gave one another advice. And it was really, really neat to see that happen. So it was a great event. And then on Tuesday, May 24th was the event in Stockholm. And so we had a good amount of people join us there for that event. For me personally, this one was important because I've shared in a blog on future of field service that my very first day on the job at IFS, I flew to Stockholm for a user group, customer user group event, and having left a role that I was in for almost 12 years, I was a bit emotional about that.

Sarah Nicastro: I was a bit jet lagged. I was a bit overwhelmed and I felt not myself, if you will. And so for me, coming back to Stockholm these three and a half years later, and bringing the future of field service tour there was something that made me very happy to do. So the Stockholm event, we started with author Dan Toma. He has co-authored two books, the corporate startup and innovation accounting. And we had a conversation about the differences between digital transformation and innovation, some of the complexity with both, some of the things that organizations need to be thinking about as they work on either of those two things and both of those two things. And Dan shared some really great real world examples of the points that he was making. So that was excellent.

Sarah Nicastro: Then we moved on to Rafael and Kristoffer of Electrolux and had a conversation about the service transformation that is underway at Electrolux and how that affects the three points that we often talk about: people, process and technology. So we dove into each of those in some detail and talked a bit about how change in each of those three areas is coming together to evolve how Electrolux delivers service, what service means to its business, and what its customer experiences look like. After that, we had a session with Pekka Nurmi Cimcorp, who talked about modern IT, and sort of thought some of the traditional beliefs of IT that are maybe a bit outdated. So some of the things that were certainly true 10 or 15 years ago, but maybe companies are still holding onto those beliefs when in reality, the technology and the ecosystem has changed a lot. So that was a really interesting session.

Sarah Nicastro: After that I was joined by Berit Hallgren of Tetra Pak. Berit is leading a team who is working through Tetra Pak's service transformation project. And she is leading a cross-functional team that is responsible for sort of aligning various stakeholders and making sure that transformation goes smoothly, as smoothly as transformations do and delivers results for the business. Berit has been with Tetra Pak for 30 years and has had a variety of different roles. So it was a really interesting conversation to be able to ask her how she's grown within the company, how the company's perception of an approach to service has evolved, and based on a lot of experience, what her advice is for success with service transformation.

Sarah Nicastro: And then to close the day in Stockholm, we had Roel Rentmeesters of Munters join and talk about the company's servitization and remote service journeys. So that was a very interesting conversation as well. Both events were really, really great. I had someone ask me at the end of the Stockholm event if they had all been very different, and each event was different. Each event had a different feel. Obviously each event had different speakers, which meant that the topics all varied a bit, which was good for me because it kept things interesting. But there was also a lot of commonalities. I think if you are a follower of this platform, this podcast, our content, that's what we find a lot is that there are some universal challenges, some universal opportunities that are very shared, regardless of what particular industry you're in, what geography you're in.

Sarah Nicastro: And I think that was certainly reinforced through some of the common themes that came up during each of the events. I was also asked if I had a favorite, which is a very unfair question. And no, I didn't have a favorite. They were all my favorite because they were all fantastic in different ways. I think, I just feel very grateful. One to have had the opportunity to visit each of those great cities and meet some new people and see some that I've had relationships with for quite a while, and really just to see how this podcast and this platform can become the basis for a community.

Sarah Nicastro: I think that in each location, the people that joined were so very happy to be able to have these open discussions with one another and to be in person and talk about their businesses and their challenges openly with peers. So it was really, really great to see that happen. So not a favorite. They were all my favorite. And I'm looking forward to the last event, which is coming up in Austin on June 14th. And hopefully, we'll have the opportunity to do a live tour again in 2023. So if you're in the US or fancy traveling and you would like to join us in Austin, you can visit the website to find the agenda and the information for registration. Would love to see you there. Hopefully we're going to go out with a bang and have a wonderful last event.

Sarah Nicastro: So big thank you to each of the speakers that joined in Frankfurt and Stockholm and all of the people that came to be a part of the discussions and be a part of the audience. So thank you all for taking part in the future of field service live tour. If you want to find some more of our content and/or stay tuned for some additional content coming out of the events, please visit us at The future of field service podcast is published in partnership with IFS. You can learn more at and as always thank you for listening.

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