A couple of weeks ago I attended the CCW Winter conference in Nashville, Tennessee. With speakers from large companies like HBO, Verizon, and Subway, and with attendees in business casual attire that, for the SD crowd, tended more towards business than casual (no jeans anywhere 😀), CCW is a good fit for businesses and corporations who run large scale support operations (contact centers), and/or are interested in outsourcing their support. Here are some highlights from the week.
How to Develop a Model for Meaningful Agent Career Paths session
This talk, in which Qualfon CEO Mike Marrow said, “Most people spend more time planning their next vacation than they do planning their careers,” was the highlight of my CCW experience. Given the interest in the Support Driven community for building careers in support, I was riveted by his story of investing a year and an entire department into building a program around helping agents develop in their careers. His three takeaways for helping agents develop?
- Do it for the right reasons.
- Don’t waiver on your commitment.
- Learners must invest.
It was this third one that jumped out at me: if we want to develop in our careers, our employers can invest in us by providing coaching or professional development budgets, but we must do our part, too, of doing the self-work of figuring out where we want to go, coming up with a plan, and investing our own time into making it happen. He and his team take their part very seriously — Qualfon created and provides a 52-step workbook for helping agents plan and progress along their career-paths. Some of the steps include tasks like discovering your workplace values (step 1), exploring options by talking to people in positions you think you might want to pursue (step 6), writing a personal mission statement (step 8), completing a SWOT analysis — strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (step 15), and coming up with a short-term career plan (step 46).
Mike was kind enough to share a pdf of the 52-step workbook with me and gave me permission to share within the Support Driven community. If you’d like a copy, please email me at andrea [at] supportdriven [dot] com or ping me in the SD Slack @andreabadgley.
Interactive Discussion Groups (IDGs)
Each day of the conference, we had an opportunity to attend small discussion groups on specific topics. Each IDG included two leaders familiar with the topic and a table with about 10 chairs. I attended the Remote Agents group, which was overflowing during the session I attended — we had to bring in more seats.We introduced ourselves to each other, and the leaders got the discussion going by asking questions of the group. From there the discussion drove itself. The leaders occasionally jumped in with clarifying questions or to ask for input from the group when someone shared a particular facet of remote work they were struggling with.
At a large conference where I didn’t know anyone, I was grateful for a facilitated opportunity to meet and talk with others, on a focused topic, in a smaller, more intimate, physical space. I’m eager to iterate on this with Support Driven events.
CCWomen’s Breakfast and Women’s Track
I loved that CCW included both a women’s track and a women’s breakfast, with panels, speakers presenting research about the benefits of diversity and inclusion importance to a business’s health, and speakers sharing personal journeys as women in the workplace. Discussion in those sessions was compassionate, lively, and existed. Attendees in the CCWomen track — including the few men who attended — felt comfortable and safe enough to share thoughts and experiences. When I entered the women’s sessions, I felt myself relax. The people in the sessions were candid, attentive, and funny, and the facilitators did a great job of creating a space to build relationships, share and support each other, and foster a sense of community.
If you’re curious about CCW and want to know more about my experience there, ping me in the Support Driven Slack @andreabadgley. If you’re not a member and would like to be, you can join the Support Driven community for free here.
CCWomen photos courtesy of Sandy Ko.