007: Chuck Udzinski: I’m like a hair in a biscuit
Podcast Show Notes with Chuck Udzinski
What Chuck believed when he was given the responsibility to drive customer satisfaction as high as possible was that the rest of the organization would pay attention to the customer results. Join me as Chuck tells the story of what he and his team decided to do when the organization decided to focus somewhere else. Learn how they moved forward and obtained success.
Chuck Udzinski was born the oldest of six children and from an early age was instilled with the responsibility to protect and care for his younger siblings, which he still is dedicated to doing today.
Chuck has been working since the age of 14. Other than that job, as a paper boy, Chuck has had a career of jobs where he was responsible for helping others run their business.
Chuck says his best job was working for a decade for a McDonald’s franchisee, because he was able to get the opportunity to experience all aspects of a business, from P&L management, people management, and technology and process.
He retired from Black & Decker but he’s not done. He is currently a client success manager with Oracle, helping customers of Oracle receive the most value from the application they purchase.
Chuck is most proud of the fact that he’s been part of raising a son and daughter that are positive contributors to society and being a Pop Pop to his grandsons Corbin and Aiden.
Tweetable Quotes and Mentions
“We’re not saving babies here, it’s just stuff, let’s get to it.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“If you’re through changing, you’re through.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“If you don’t keep reinventing yourself you’ll fall to the wayside.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“You must invest in yourself in order to keep moving forward.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“It’s a constant evolving to make yourself marketable, in an ever changing marketplace.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“Until you’re dead, you’re not done.” Jim Rembach Click to Tweet
“I put my elbows out this morning and they didn’t touch wood, so I got out of bed.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“I really just want to feel like I’ve made a difference at the end of the day.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“We cannot control what’s happening above us.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“You must believe that the folks that work for you want to do a good job.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“No one gets up in the morning to come to work to do a bad job.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
“I’m like a hair in a biscuit, you just can’t get it out of there.” Chuck Udzinski Click to Tweet
Hump to Get Over
Chuck was the head of Customer Care for Black & Decker with a directive to drive customer satisfaction but was met with the challenge of trying to move the rest of the organization to be more customer-centric. After several attempts and mass frustration Chuck and his team decided to end the frustration of trying to control things that were outside of their control. That’s when Chuck and his team began to move onward and upward faster. Listen to the show to find out how Chuck and his team found a better way, so you can find your way faster.
We were going to focus on what we could control and that was the attitude of the folks that worked for me and we focused on the goals and opportunities that we could achieve on our own.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
My ability to understand that I can’t change everything I think needs changing.
Best Leadership Advice Received
To stay focused, believe what you are doing, and don’t let the noise that surrounds you get in the way of reaching your goals.
Secret to Success
I just cannot stand when someone says we can’t change that or we have always done it this way.
Via email: cudzinski [at] gmail.com
54 Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Competencies List: Emotional Intelligence has proven to be the right kind of intelligence to have if you want to move onward and upward faster. Get your free list today.Click to access edited transcript
Intro: Welcome to the Fast Leader Podcast, where we uncover the leadership like hat that help you to experience, breakout performance faster and rocket to success. And now here’s your host, customer and employee engagement expert and certified emotional intelligent practitioner, Jim Rembach.
Jim Rembach: Thanks Kimberly. Okay Fast Leader legion, the person who you’re going to get a chance to meet today is somebody that, really we all wish we had in our circle of friends, or in our family, and we’d even more blessed if it was, that’s Chuck Udzinski. Chuck is one of those folks that you become instantly connected to. He was the oldest of six kids born and lived in the Baltimore area, pretty much all of his life, and grew up with a strong set of family members. As the oldest child he is instilled with taking care of others that he still really and really does today. He was a Maryland state duckpin champion which to me is one those fun family games that I can see how that connects when you start talking about Chuck and his life and his family.
He’s also Orioles and Ravens fan, but I’m not going to hold it against him. He’s working since he was 14, but all this job since that one which was being a paperboy, led to or was part of helping others run their businesses. He says that his best job was working for almost a decade for a McDonald’s franchisee because he got the opportunity to see all aspects of a business, everything from P&L management up to the people management to the technologies and all the processes. He retired from Black & Decker but he’s not done yet. He’s currently a client success manager with Oracle but what he’s most proud of is that fact that he’s been part of raising a son and daughter that are positive contributors to society. But he’s most proud of being a Pop Pop to Aiden and Corbin. Alright, Chuck are you ready to help us get over the hump?
Chuck Udinzki: I am ready to light this candle.
Jim Rembach: Alright. We’ve given our listeners a brief introduction but could you please tell us what your current passion is, and I may have given it away, but we want to get to know you better.
Chuck Udzinski: [Laugh] My current passion truly and the reason that I get up every day in the morning is to set a great example for my two children who are grown at this point, 37 and 35, but also sharing my values and my enthusiasm for life and hard work in general with my two grandsons.
Jim Rembach: They say and I aspire to get to that point Chuck ‘cause my kids are still young, I got 11, 9 and 6 at this moment. Everybody says, it’s awesome being a parent but it is even more special and fantastic to be a grandparent.
Chuck Udzinski: Well, that’s absolutely true. I tell love young parents all the time that being a parent it’s the greatest job in the world and the worst job in the world but once you get grandkids it’s a lot more fun it’s like being a father but without all the rules.
Jim Rembach: Well Chuck, you’re one of those people who I’ve always looked to for some inspiration. You and I, oftentimes, we get in the weeds about some stuff that frustrate us but we always kind of pick each other up. You’re one of those people that when you start talking about your career you’ve always help others, you help others in a lot of ways. I know there’s got to be some inspirational quotes or passages that kind of help keep you moving forward and redirect to yourself—get out of the weeds. Could you share one of your favorite with us please?
Chuck Udzinski: What I’m going to share to you Jim what I try to remind myself every day that I’m not Dr. Ben Carson doing complex brain surgeries on pediatric patient. I often tell folks, ‘Look, we’re not saving babies here, it’s just stuff let’s just roll our sleeves up and get to it, we’ll go to bed at night and get up tomorrow morning and go at it again.” The other one is—is one that I’m very fond of—if you’re through changing your through. And I try to remind myself that every day because I am of a certain age now that I’ve had to reinvent myself. I went from working for a manufacturing operation such as Black & Decker to working for a high-tech giant like Oracle, and believe me, every step along the way of my 40+ work history I’ve had to keep reinventing myself and if you don’t do that you’re just going to fall all the wayside.
Jim Rembach: Wow. You know, I think that is so true. When start talking about savings for example, people will tell you, you always tend to pay yourself first, right? The same applies with what you just said when you start talking about reinventing, when you start talking about learning new things you have to invest in yourself.
Chuck Udzinski: I couldn’t agree more. And whether that’s through formal education or reading or just associating and learning from other individuals with like-minded goals and values you must invest in yourself in order to keep moving forward.
Jim Rembach: So, for you when you start thinking about that reinvention and having to do that, I know you haven’t had many jobs per se in your career, you’ve been long tenured with a lot of the folks or organizations that you’ve worked with, but do you find yourself, kind of I guess you’d say maybe going through a process or a systematic approach to do that reinvention?
Chuck Udzinski: It’s a constant metamorphose. Let’s just take a look some of my examples. Ten years working for the McDonald’s franchisee that we mentioned earlier, my next position after that was in a manufacturing setting working in a factory that produced steel drums. I went in on a leadership side part of the management team. I have no experience in manufacturing and now I find myself working with individuals much older than me in a unionized environment and that was a total paradigm shift that I had to learn how to cope with.
I’ll give you another one. When I’m in Black & Decker I started as a call center agent and it became apparent to me that I was just woefully unprepared from an educational standpoint to move up if that’s what I wanted to do. So, at the age of 50 I went back to school. I went back part-time at night, it took me six years going part time, but I finally did get that piece of paper that said that I had successfully jumped through all the hoops and canal claimed to be college-educated. It’s just a constant investment as we mentioned earlier and constant evolving to make yourself marketable in an ever-changing marketplace.
Jim Rembach: As I listen to your talk Chuck there’s a quote that kind of stands out for me listening to you—and that is until you’re dead, you’re not done.
Chuck Udzinski: [Laugh] I couldn’t agree with that more. You talked about favorite sayings I tell folks—you always get a question, how you are doing? So I just tell them, ‘Well I put my elbows out this morning and it didn’t touch wood so I got out of bed.
Jim Rembach: What kind of reaction do you get from that? To me I think everybody can resonate with that—no elbows hit in the box I got to go.
Chuck Udzinski: I’ll tell you what, they pause for a second or two and then it dawns on them, Yeah, that’s right, let’s get going. The reaction is always fun to watch but it does resonate with everyone.
Jim Rembach: When you start looking at what you currently do today, what really excites you about the work that you’re doing?
Chuck Udzinski: I think it applies definitely to this job with Oracle, but it applies to every job that I’ve ever had in the past and possibly even those jobs that I’ll have in the future. I really just want to feel like I’ve made a difference at the end of the day. In my current role, I call on clients that have purchased Oracle applications and my job is to go in and make sure they’re getting value out of what they purchased. And if I can help them see that values through various actions that I take then I feel like I’ve made a difference for them and I’ve made a difference for Oracle. The money is great, we all need the money to take care of ourselves and our family but, the money, the titles, really don’t matter that much to me what I’m really striving to do is be able to say, I’ve made a difference.
Jim Rembach: What goals do you have for the future?
Chuck Udzinski: Well, goals for the future—I’m not sure I’m done yet, I’m definitely not dead. I still feel I have something to offer Oracle and if not Oracle then others out in the marketplace that are looking for someone with strong leadership ability and a sense of doing what’s right. Beyond that I’ve got my, again I’m of a certain age, that I’m starting if I squint real hard and possibly retirement down the road at some point. Even in retirement, I don’t know if that’s going to be a great fit, I fancy myself teaching, perhaps at some point maybe, just at the community college level or possibly in a university or college on a part-time basis. I am always looking to spend more time with my tools and woodworking equipment that I’ve amassed over these many years. And then there’s travel and travel would include taking my grandkids with me as well.
Jim Rembach: Well Chuck, the entire Fast Leader Legion wishes you the very best. Chuck, you have such a positive outlook and attitude and you talk about constantly focusing and transitioning, however, there had to be a time where you had a hump to get over and getting over that hump to find who you were and who you are and those strong Udzinski family values, can you tell us about a time in your life when that occurred?
Chuck Udzinski: Well, I think those moments occur often throughout one’s life journey, whether they’re personal humps or perhaps career humps. I’ll talk about a career hump first and that would have occurred at Black & Decker. We were always trying to push the envelope in the contact center, by the way I mentioned I started as a contact center agent but evolved up to the position of leading that organization or the majority of my time working for that organization. The hump that was coming up at Black & Decker as the contact center leader was that—we had this directive to drive customer satisfaction as high as possible. We engaged with the company Customer Relationship Metrics to help us with that project, that was fine, that was good these guys were experts in that field definitely were the right partner for us but the hump was trying to get the rest of the organization and, as you might guess Black and Decker’s a global organization at that time 30,000 people strong, but trying to get the rest of the organization to pay attention to the results that we were seeing in the contact center. Quite frankly, the hump that I got over and the rest of my team got over was we said, “You know what, enough is enough we cannot control what’s happening above us.” So what we’re going to do is focus on making the change right here in the contact center. We’ll report the numbers up but were not going to be asking for direction, or opinion, we are going to focus on what we could control and that was the attitude of the folks who worked for me as well as the goals and opportunities that we could achieve on our own. I’m proud to say that we got over that hump but it was an Aha moment. Once we had that moment the road to success became ever clearer every day and we truly realize the value of our partners Customers Relationship Metrics.
Jim Rembach: Just be transparent to everybody, yes, I know Chuck because of my relationship and working for Customer Relationship Metrics, and Chuck thank you for that—the appreciation, and believe me, it’s mutual. It’s been a joy to get to know you and carry on, our relationship will be on your time or regardless of where we work I should say. Now when you start thinking about the advice that you would give to our Fast Leader Legion and that story, what advice would you give them?
Chuck Udinzki: The advice—the main thing, the main take away is, you must believe that the folks that are working for you want to do a good job. The big, big disconnect that I saw in my team at that time and since then in organizations that I’ve had the privilege to go in and out of in one capacity or another, is that most time the agents do not know what’s expected of them. And they have no way of figuring out what they have to do, to do a better job. It’s really about setting expectations and then holding them accountable to those expectations and leading them in a positive way to success.
I strongly believe that no one gets up in the morning gets ready for work, deals with the family issues in the morning as everyone’s trying to get out the door in our busy, busy work-a-day lives handles the commute whether you’re driving, walking, taking a bicycle, riding a train whatever it is you do to get to work, to come in sit down for eight hours and do a bad job, I don’t believe people are doing that by nature they want to do a good job. Once you understand that and then define what that good job means believe me your halfway home.
Jim Rembach: That’s great advice Chuck and thank you for sharing. Alright now it’s time to move to the fast part of our show and it’s the, Hump Day Hoedown. Okay Chuck, Hump Day Hoedown is the part of our show where you give us good insights fast. I’m going to ask you several questions and your job is to give robust yet rapid responses that are going to help us move onward and upward faster. Chuck, are you ready to hoedown?
Chuck Udzinski: I am ready to hoedown. Let’s do it.
Jim Rembach: Alright. What do you think is holding you back from being an even better leader today?
Chuck Udzinski: My ability to understand that I cannot change everything I think needs changing. That really does get in the way sometimes. It’s all about filtering out picking your battles and then going out them with a zest and commitment.
Jim Rembach: What is the best leadership advice you have ever received?
Chuck Udzinski: To stay focused, believe in what you’re doing and not let all the noise that surrounds us get in the way of reaching those goals, single-mindedness toward your ultimate goal.
Jim Rembach: What is one of your secret that you believe contributes to your success?
Chuck Udzinski: I’d say I’m like a hair in a biscuit, you just can’t get it out of there no matter what you do and I think that sums up how I approach things. I just cannot stand when someone says, “Oh, we can’t change that or we can’t do this or we’ve always done it this way,” if one thing doesn’t work then let’s drop back figure something else out and will go try that eventually will get it right.
Jim Rembach: So, for me what I heard was resilience.
Chuck Udzinski: Resilience is a great word.
Jim Rembach: What you feel is one of your best resources that helps you lead in business or life?
Chuck Udzinski: Publications by others. One of the ones that I’m particular fond of and I’ve always had it on my desk is a real fun read, it’s A Carrot a Day, a daily dose of recognition for your employees, it’s by a guy named Adrian Gostick.
Jim Rembach: Thanks for sharing that Chuck. What I will do is put a link to that book on our show notes page which you will find at fastleader.net/chuckudzinski. Alright Chuck that leads us to the final question in our Hump Day Hoedown. I want you to imagine that you woke up tomorrow morning and you were 25 years old all over again but you’ve been blessed to get to retain everything that you know, all the experiences come with you and you get to use that in order to manage a disengaged and underperforming team, now you get up, you go to work, what you do now?
Chuck Udzinski: Well, the first thing that I would need to do is to tap in to why they’re disengaged, I think I would be able to get to that point much quicker. Then I would look at what is defining a good job for them. Again I’ll come back to, most people don’t know the answer to this, and they had no ideas of the goals of the organization as a whole all the way down to the goals and objectives of the group or team that they’re working in.
Once that would be defined a process would be started to measure their performance on metrics that they control—I just have to elaborate a little bit Jim—again my background for the most part is the customer service and I can’t tell you the number of times I’ll go in and agents will be held accountable for things such as abandonment rate or average speed of answer or service-level attainment and when you think about those very, very common metrics, agents have little to nothing to do with that these are metrics that the management team is responsible for influencing not the agent.
Jim Rembach: Alright, Chuck it was an honor to spend time with you today, can you please share with the Fast Leader Legion how they can connect with you?
Chuck Udzinski: Oh, sure. You can reach out to me on Facebook, you can friend me on Facebook. I’m also on twitter@cudzinski and you can also e-mail me at email@example.com.
Jim Rembach: Chuck, thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom that Fast Leader Legion honors you and thanks you for helping us get over the hump. Woot Woot!
Thank you for joining me on the Fast Leader show today. For recaps, links from every show, special offers and access to download and subscribe, if you haven’t already, head on over the fast leader.net so we can help you onward and upward faster.
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