Alex Simon dances his way to success at SYKES. Yes, dances. You thought we were just a call center business, but Alex’s background as an accomplished dancer has pirouetted him—and his team—to record-breaking achievements.
To understand the secret to Alex’s success as a team lead for one of SYKES’ major telecommunications customers, we have to start at the beginning. Alex was using a “People Serving People” approach to achieving his dreams back when he was a boy—long before joining SYKES and learning of our motto of the same name.
An important ingredient of “People Serving People” is giving the very best of ourselves. At 13, Alex started his dance career. He gave the best of himself through working very hard in dance which earned him a spot in Guys and Dolls on Broadway and then a scholarship to the prestigious University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Alex was diligent and ended up in traveling performances at the world-renowned Joffrey.
“To perfect my craft, I emulated what I saw from great dancers and then practiced and practiced in street performances,” said Alex. “That’s what I do at SYKES, too. I emulate the great characteristics I see from excellent leaders and then practice until I get it right.”
Alex came to SYKES after he closed his successful dance studio in the Virgin Islands. The economy crashed there, prices skyrocketed to five times what they were in the U.S. and thousands of people lost their jobs in a matter of months. He moved to Lakeland, Florida to try and figure out his next steps in life—and dance—and found SYKES.
“I love what I do at SYKES. Every day is a new performance and I can’t imagine leaving the team and success I’ve found here,” added Alex. “I work to emulate what I see from great leaders who are investing in me and teaching me how to provide the very best leadership possible to my team.”
Ask Alex’s team and they’ll tell you that they rely on his consistent formula of coaching, inspecting, praising and holding everyone accountable. They’ll also tell you that he starts every day with fantastic, energizing huddle, where they discuss the key points of what went well yesterday and what they’ll do even better today. Then the curtain goes up, his team is brought online for their calls and show begins.
“Every day is a performance and each caller is an important member of our audience. We talk a lot on our team about how our entrances (the call greeting) and exits (call closings) really matter. They have to be rehearsed, coached, evaluated and celebrated so that we can make sure each customer that calls receives the same high quality care.”
“Alex talks a lot about pageantry and showmanship, but he’s also very strategic,” said Thomas Pais, Alex’s manager. “He puts everything he accomplishes with his team on paper and we see a balanced approach of coaching and accountability. I believe the rapport Alex has built with his team is the largest contributor to that team’s success.”
While Alex knows each member of his team very well, their work styles, their family lives, their hopes for their career, he also builds competitions that work well to inspire the unique aspects of the personalities on his team.
For example, Alex’s Two for Tuesday competition pairs a seasoned team member with a new teammate in a buddy system competition. When the pair, together, hit the daily goal, they both receive the rewards and a dance-party celebration.
“We celebrate each and every achievement—big and small,” said Alex. “It keeps us joined together in our work and helps us dance through another day.”