The Call Center Leader: 2-2-0

2-2-0This is the distinctive unit insignia for the 2nd Infantry Division, 2nd Brigade, stationed in South Korea. This division’s incredible feats play a critical role in understanding a concept call center leaders need to embrace when developing people, promoting esprit de corps, e.g., building a culture and distilling change initiatives into organizational processes. More to the point, “Second to None” remains a challenge and easily communicated phrase upon which future action can hinge.

Being “2-2-0” is an attitude, not a position in a matrix. Being “Second to None” does not mean that you have to be first in everything or anything. The attitude of being “Second to None” means that you know who you are, what you can do, and where you want to go. Capturing and holding onto the attitude develops mental rigor to continue in the face of adversity and remain focused upon the call center’s goals, the business, and the team. Each team member striving to produce “Second to None” forms a society offering support, encouragement, and motivation to stay the course. Engaging in “2-2-0” behaviors individually and projecting “2-2-0” behaviors into the team pushes the internal and personal into action for the customer, the new, and the whole.

“2-2-0” embodies actions, inspiring to perform better, work harder, and stretch further. Again, personal action is developing into an example followed, communicated, and easily assimilated by new team members. The call center leader plays a tremendous role in people development, culture development, and organizational consistency. Without an easily assimilated motto, the call center leader cannot communicate the intent before inspiring the action that can often be described as drudgery. Call center work demands leaders who can keep team members’ attention and action-focused upon the end goal, not the next call. Hence, it remains important to communicate frequently the core values in a simple and easily remembered manner, promoting the cultural principles that form the foundation of decision-making and future action when stressed.

Being “Second to None” is all about integrity in leadership. In Basic Training, the new military member receives a lesson on integrity, or “doing the right thing when no one is looking or aware.” This same principle of leadership cannot be understated. Integrity forms the backbone of trust. Communicating the backbone and building trust requires the leader to embrace principled positions and know why those principled positions are important. Benjamin Franklin has this to say about principles and morals needed in a leader, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” Thomas Jefferson adds the following, “A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

Integrity and principles are only as good as the morals and freedom allowed to others through the individual’s understanding. As the leader comes to grasp and understand principles to which they and the society, e.g., the call center, are mutually adhering to, the individual team member can see and understand the actions and positions others take in the context of the organizational culture. Hence, communicating integrity and moral principled actions requires the call center leader to first onboard and then teach, and short axioms work better than long explanations. Hence, “Second to None” and “You are doing great” remains synonymous with short axioms that teach a powerful action to a call center agent.

© 2015 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved


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Dual service military veteran. Possess an MBA in Global Management and a Masters degree in Adult Education and Training. Pursuing a PhD in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Business professional with depth of experience in logistics, supply chain management, and call centers.

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