Difficult Conversations Podcast
Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician
Episode 121 | December 8, 2020
Anne Bahr Thompson
Author, Brand Citizenship Pioneer
Welcome to Difficult Conversations with Dr. Anthony Orsini. On today’s episode, my special guest is Anne Bahr Thompson, a Trust Across America 2018 Top Thought Leader and a top ten 2020 Superbrands Branding Leader who has been using the brands as a motivating source force for change, relationship building, and profitable growth for more than 25 years. She is the author of the book, Do Good: Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit. Her pioneering model of Brand Citizenship, which is a win, win, win solution mutually beneficial to people, society, and the bottom line. Anne is a former executive director of strategy and planning and the head of consulting at Interbrand and she’s the founder of Onesixtyfourth, a strategic and creative consultancy that helps integrate purpose and social responsibility into brands, business strategy, and corporate culture. She’s been interviewed on numerous podcasts, radio shows, and Fox Business, and has spoken to business schools, conferences internationally and the UN.
Anne tells us all about herself and her ground breaking book.. She defines Brand Citizenship and tells us what drove her to communications and her “5-Step Model” that balances purpose and profit. Dr. Orsini and Anne talk about the word “trust” and how trust begins with living up to your point of view. Anne discusses in depth each part of the “5-Step Model”: trust, enrichment, responsibility, community, and contribution. We learn why Apple is number one. She shares with us how citizenship is actually about ‘me and we’ and how Apple has been delivering it this way. Why is Anne not fond of the word authenticity, but prefers using the word sincere? Leadership is another one of Dr. Orsini’s favorite topics, and Anne tells us about how she overcomes the challenges when everyone is not on board with the conversations. As Anne said, “It’s being comfortable and confident to be the best version of yourself,” and that’s what a good Brand Citizen is about. Also, we hear advice from Anne on how to get people to “buy in.” We end with Anne telling us the most difficult conversation that she has on a regular basis and she shares some great advice.
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Anne Bahr Thompson (1s):
And Brand Citizenship is very much of the five step model is very much not just about communications in
that way of advertising, marketing campaigns, digital communities. It’s very much a conversation in terms of
full behavior of an organization, how a company behaves in every single action. And I think very much, I
know, as someone who goes to doctors periodically your responses very much, and based on the action of
the physician, not just his words.
Welcome to Difficult Conversations Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician with Dr. Anthony Orsini. Dr.
Orsini is a practicing physician and the President and CEO of The Orsini Way. As a frequent keynote
speaker and author, Dr. Orsini has been training healthcare professionals and business leaders how to
navigate through the most difficult dialogues. Each week, you will hear inspiring interviews with experts in
their field who tell their story and provide practical advice on how to effectively communicate. Whether you
are a doctor faced with giving a patient bad news, a business leader who wants to get the most out of his or
her team members or someone who just wants to learn to communicate better this is the podcast for you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (1m 22s):
Well, Welcome to Difficult Conversations Lessons I Learned as an ICU Physician. This is Dr. Anthony Orsini
and I will be your host again this week, today I’m very honored to have Anne Bahr Thompson as our guests
today, Anne is the author of the book “Do Good Embracing Brand Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and
Profit” a Trust Across America 2018 Top thought leader and a 2020 Superbrands Top 10 Branding Leader,
Anne Bahr Thompson has been using the Brand as a motivating force for change relationship building and
profitable growth for more than 25 years. A former executive director of strategy and planning and the head
of consulting at Interbrand, the world’s leading brand consultancy Anne is the founder of one sixty fourth, a
strategic and creative consultancy that helps integrate purpose and social responsibility into brands,
business strategy, and corporate culture.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (2m 15s):
Anne brings the knowledge and understanding that only comes from interacting with a lengthy list of the
world’s most prestigious brands. Anne is the author of Do Good. as I said before, Embracing Brand
Citizenship to Fuel Both Purpose and Profit. Her pioneering model of Brand Citizenship, which will be talking
about today is a win, win, win solution, mutually beneficial to people society and the bottom line. Anne’s
writings have been published in the top industry publications. She has been interviewed on numerous
podcasts, radio shows and Fox Business and spoken to the business schools, conferences internationally,
and the UN, but nothing as prestigious as this podcast .Anne holds an MBA from the Darden school of
business at UVA, and has been an adjunct professor at Stern NYU school of businesses, London campus.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 3s):
Anne welcome, I know you’re incredibly busy and I’m very honored to have you take some time out to talk to
my audience today. How are you today?
Anne Bahr Thompson (3m 10s):
Well, and thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (3m 13s):
So that’s quite an, an introduction and you’ve built up quite a resume. So I’m really excited that my audience
is going to get to learn all about Brand Citizenship and what you do, because I think it’s fascinating. I read
your book a few months ago and I thought it was incredible, I couldn’t put it down because I really like all the
kind of stuff that you talk about. So I want to get to the book, but first as I usually start off all my podcasts
with, I just would like my audience to get to know and Bahr Thompson and who you are. So please tell the
audience a little bit about yourself, about your book and how you came to found Onesixtyfourth consulting.
Anne Bahr Thompson (3m 48s):
Well, I’ll put myself in the context of my book since that’s why we’re here today. And I think what’s important
is I never set out to write a book or even create a model for Citizenship or Purpose or sustainability, whatever
you’d like to call it in today’s world. And what happened is very much exhibits who I am. I didn’t set out to do
this, as I said, but I actually followed the signs. I have a friend in the UK who calls it cosmic breadcrumbs,
and I followed the cosmic breadcrumbs over the course of a seven year period effectively, which culminated
in the book being published. The book is a result and my investigations into Brand Citizenship, which
actually didn’t start out as Brand Citizenship.
Anne Bahr Thompson (4m 32s):
It started out more as a business leadership, is a result of my being curious, my interest in understanding
how a cultural sentiment constantly shifts and moves forward, and my ability to connect the dots and relate
seemingly discreet things in ways other people haven’t related them.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (4m 51s):
A bit more about how you define Brand Citizenship because many people out there might not know what it is
and then we can move from there.
Anne Bahr Thompson (4m 57s):
So technically Brand Citizenship as a five Step Model that runs across something called the me too we
continuum. And I suspect will talk a little bit of more about both of those things.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (5m 6s):
Absolutely we will talk about the 5 steps.
Anne Bahr Thompson (5m 10s):
And I think what’s interesting is to deconstruct the phrase Brand Citizenship to actually understand what it is.
So technically, as I said, it’s a five-step model, but if you think of what a brand is and there’s definitions about
perceptions and how people view things, et cetera, but really the brand is a human face of a business. It’s
the thing that was, we relate to as people, as employees, as customers, as other stakeholders, the brand is
the human face. That’s the thing that causes you to have a relationship with the company in a certain
manner. So if you take brand as the human face of the business, and then you take the word Citizenship,
which is about being an active participant in society, Brand Citizenship beyond that five step model on a
technical level is very much about businesses being active participants in society and taking a role as a
Dr. Anthony Orsini (6m 8s):
So many of my audience. And I think when we spoke last month Anne you have that kind of the same
question, I looked at your face and I think you were asking the same question my audience is asking right
now, the name of this podcast is called Difficult Conversations. And I think when I was reading your face,
you were kind of had this little look like what is Brand Citizenship have to do with Podcast and how are we
gonna relate this? But the premise of this podcast is that all types of conversations that we have during our
time are really important, especially during those critical times in our lives. But the other part of the Difficult
Conversations is that there’s conversations that we have with ourselves there’s conversations that we have
with others, and that we’re not even aware of.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (6m 49s):
And if we can learn about these conversations and learn about how we communicate, that will be better off
than navigate through our professional lives and our personal lives. And as I read your book, I thought this
was really a type of conversation that companies and businesses are having with their consumers and the
public. Correct. And I think that’s how I think of this as you’re really trying to communicate with us. And that
isn’t, that what you’re teaching when you are discussing Brand Citizenship ?
Anne Bahr Thompson (7m 16s):
I would say it’s about communications and it’s about actions and aligning your words with your actions. So I
started out my life in the university, undergraduate as a biochemistry major. And one day I woke up and I
was looking at this book by Desmond Morris called man watching. And it was compelling me and it was
pulling me in and I actually started thinking, wow, this is more interesting to me. And I was in a special
molecular bio program at the time that there are a lot of people from China and India and their livelihoods
and their lives actually dependent on doing well in this program. And they would sabotage experiment
sometimes in the lab notes in the library. And I really was getting tired of all of that.
Anne Bahr Thompson (7m 56s):
And I wanted to learn more about people and the way people interact. And this book does by Desmond
Morris, man watching pulled me in, and that’s what drove me to go to communications. And in many ways,
the combination of biochemistry and communications makes me a natural anthropologist. And the first thing I
learned in communications in my very first lecture was things are not linear. You know, you say something,
you have a body movement, you have an action. It causes a reaction. You respond to how someone else is
behaving in the same way you were saying, you saw my face and say, Hey, you want it to answer that
Anne Bahr Thompson (8m 36s):
You are responding to an action, not necessarily a word. So I think what’s important to note is that
conversations are not only the words we have. They extend into the actions we have and whether your
physician having a conversation with a patient, or whether you’re a business, having a conversation with a
customer, with an employee, with a supplier, with an investor, with any range of stakeholders, what you say
and how you behave both creates that conversation. And brand Citizenship is very much, the five step model
is very much not just about communications in that way of advertising, marketing campaigns, digital
Anne Bahr Thompson (9m 24s):
It’s very much a conversation in terms of full behavior of an organization, how a company behaves in every
single action. And I think very much, I know as someone who goes to the doctor’s periodically your
responses very much, and based on the action of the physician, not just his words. And I think those two
things relate very much. I think the other thing that is very important to note, and I should’ve probably said
this before, is that I never set out to wrote a book, but I never set out to create this model either. What
happened was, is I was researching for, to come up with trends at the end of 2011.
Anne Bahr Thompson (10m 6s):
So five trends for 2012 to go out and market my business and have conversations with clients and potential
clients. And in the course of this research, two findings emerged that peaked my curiosity and led me down
this pathway to deconstruct Brand Leadership from Good Citizenship and favorite brands. So this Model
make so much sense. It resonated so much with you and others who read the book because it’s built from
the grassroots up. It wasn’t that I was in a corporate boardroom in a classroom, or even at home having a
glass of wine and saying, I want to come up with a model for Purpose or Citizenship because I think that’s
where the world is going.
Anne Bahr Thompson (10m 47s):
Actually, this was an advance of that being highlighted in spotlight it and people we’re calling for this. So the
model makes sense because it’s a five steps that will build from the grassroots up. And I think that’s very
important in relationships too, having empathy and listening to the people who are your audience, not
creating something, always in a vacuum.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (11m 10s):
And that will lead us beautifully to the five steps just this week where we’re recording this on November
fourth today’s date, November 4th, talking about just yesterday. We went live with my interview with Stephen
MR Covey, who wrote the famous book, the speed of trust. And we had a great conversation and I
encourage everyone to take a listen to that. And now this is like our 18th or 20th recorded episode may be
more. And one of the things that keeps coming up every single week, whether I’m speaking to people in
business, whether I’m speaking to patients or doctors or people in healthcare is the word trust and trust is at
the beginning of everything.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (11m 55s):
Whether it’s a marriage, a doctor, patient relationship, and how you establish that trust. And I really loved the
way you said it really is not what you said, but it’s how you say that because that’s my whole life. And that’s
what I teach. I go through hospitals and train doctors and nurses, and try to explain to them, it’s not that you
didn’t say the correct words. It’s that for some reason there was something on your face, something how you
said it’s something in your phrase, your tone inflection, that the patient looked at you and didn’t trust you.
And it doesn’t matter in medicine. I teach you one simple thing. Doctors should never use the word think,
they really don’t want a doctor that says, I think that you have that.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (12m 36s):
Now. That just means you’re stupid. And so we say, when I trained them, I say, of course you don’t always
know. We don’t always know everything, but if you find the mass or an abnormal picture on the x-ray, it, it
looks like cancer. Don’t say, I think it might be cancer. Say I’m concerned or I’m worried that this might be
cancer and that we need to work this up further. And by changing that one word you’ve really bought into
that trust. You went from a doctor who’s stupid. and doesn’t know anything to a doctor who really cares. And
so that leads us up into our five steps because here it is again, and the first step was trust, right? So can you
tell us more about that?
Anne Bahr Thompson (13m 16s):
And before I jump into that, I do want to say one thing in reaction or in response, I should say, not really in
response because they’re having a circular conversation here. Now I’m representing communication to what
you said is that it’s having a point of view. I think doesn’t represent a point of view, but I worry has a point of
view and people are looking for leadership everywhere and they are looking for guidance and having a point
of view is essential and trust begins with living up to your point of view. If you think of the word purpose,
which is a big loaded word at the moment in business, purpose is something that is the highest order reason
why your business exists is that plays on day at, in France.
Anne Bahr Thompson (14m 2s):
You know, it’s this highest order reason, but it has to be tied to what your business is about and your
industry. It’s not a social mission, but it’s a broad enough truths, a human truth. That’s broad enough and
deep enough that it fits the social mission. So once you have this point of view and this, purpose people
know how to benchmark you. And that’s the essential point of trust is knowing what to benchmark you from.
Prior to the global pandemic in the research, what happened was trust was based primarily on living up to
your product promises and commitments. So your product and services, you say, you’re going to do this. You
have to live up to it.
Anne Bahr Thompson (14m 42s):
And that’s how trust was based. In loyalty and retention work, which is a lot of my background from many
years ago. Trust used to be the end game for people in reputation management trust is the end game, but
actually, as you said, trust is the starting point for a meaningful relationship with the brand, with a business in
the same way it is for your wife or your friend, or for whomever. So you start with a living up to your product
and service promises, and then today’s world with COVID are actually living up to your claims, of your values
as a business what you say matters to you has been spotlighted and matters more. So the idea of what trust
means has grown deeper and wider in the course of the pandemic.
Anne Bahr Thompson (15m 26s):
So you move from trust, which is the me side of the equation, to enrichment, which has step two, which has
made my life better, more inspired, help me through your products and services, you know, make things just
feel more exciting. Then step three, which is the pivot point between being a me brand and a we brand is
responsibility. And it’s funny because when I was writing the book, I suddenly realized, Hey, at the middle
point, Step three is the pivot point between being a me brand and a we brand when the steps are emerged
from modeling and, and the research and the grassroots up, I didn’t even realize that the middle point was
actually a pivot point.
Anne Bahr Thompson (16m 7s):
So again, it wasn’t curated. It wasn’t contrived. It’s something that just emerged naturally through modeling
of what people told us. So responsibility is about the typical common things people associate with corporate
social responsibility, but, and this is a critical, but because it’s been highlighted more and more again with the
pandemic. Responsibility begins with treating your employees well and fairly. And what was happening is
because that started being a little bit of a given the environmental, treating the environment well was starting
to rise. And especially with climate change being highlighted, and so many people starting to acknowledge
and recognize it, and the UN SDG, sustainable development goals and companies signing on to deliver that
the environment started rising higher and higher as an important factor for people in being responsible.
Anne Bahr Thompson (16m 59s):
But then when employees health and employee’s safety started going to risk, what happens? Treating
employees fairly comes again with social justice issues. What happens treating employees equally and with
equity starts rising again. So responsibility to get credit for the good you’re doing in the world. You have to
first show people, your treating your employees well and fairly. So we have trust enrichment responsibility.
And then the We side of the equation, is community, connecting people through shared values, bringing
them together. And this is not just, you know, online communities, which is so easy to resort to, but actually
bringing people together and shared community program days in a variety of things, it’s businesses coming
together because they share our values and want to save forests or they want to save water.
Anne Bahr Thompson (17m 55s):
So it’s also business associations. So it’s multilevels of community bringing people together because you
share our values and you share our approaches to solving problems. And then contribution is make my world
better. And by my association with you, I am contributing to the world. So you are doing good and you’re
doing good on my behalf. So it’s making me feel bigger than I am when I stand on my own.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (18m 25s):
So, Anne in your research, and in your book, you mentioned a lot of different companies and one company
that you mentioned is my favorite company of all time. And that’s Apple and Apple was always at the top.
And it seems from your book, it’s a lot of people’s favorite company. And I was reading the book and I’m
trying to decide, looking at your book. Why is it that Apple is my favorite company? And I think I agree with
what you said in the book, but also a part of me was I remember that commercial many years ago, the first
Apple commercial, I think what the briefcases, you know, I was just graduating medical school. So I’m going
to say nineties ?
Anne Bahr Thompson (19m 7s):
The George Orwell commercial you mean?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (19m 12s):
Yes, yes where every day for people out there that don’t know, it was just a whole bunch of IBM like business
people in the same suits, walking like soldiers and the Apple message was be different. And I thought that
was cool and I became a big Apple fan. And there’s nothing, that’s not an Apple product in my house right
now. We don’t have any windows, any IBM. And so tell me a little bit about Apple and how are they able to
get to that point?
Anne Bahr Thompson (19m 32s):
the first thing that’s important to note is Apple actually is one of the reasons that I spent five years after the
first study investigating and deconstructing Brand Leadership from Good Citizenship and favorite brands. So
in that very first study in 2011, that was meant to come up with five easy trends to go talk to companies
about it for 2012, two interesting findings came about. We asked people which brands they thought would
exhibit leadership in the coming year, and which brands were good citizens. And within this, we also asked
why. And when you look at it, a lot of these studies that are published, what you often don’t know is many of
them don’t let you say whatever brands you want.
Anne Bahr Thompson (20m 18s):
Many of them are actually having you rank or rate or discuss a specific set of brands and that they don’t talk
to you about it. You have to have done a lot of this research to know that. So we had a completely
open-ended playing field and we had 2200 brands named as good corporate citizens, which means it was a
very fragmented market. It means that the definition of corporate citizenship was pretty vast for people.
There wasn’t a single definition that honed in on 10 great companies. And Apple came up as the number one
good corporate citizen, which normally I ask you to tell me which brand and 20 at the end of 2011, you might
think, but since you started with Apple you preempted that question.
Anne Bahr Thompson (21m 9s):
So it was curious to us at Apple was named as the number one good corporate citizen. We absolutely
expected it to be named as the number one Leadership Brand, but we never expected it to be named as the
number one good corporate citizen, especially at the end of 2011. Probably I think it was starting in 2010
Apple was in the middle of a bit of a scandal with activists and in the media because they had a chip that
was causing some problems and illnesses in China. And there was a whole lot of people on them because of
their supply chain and then not taking responsibility for the supplier’s they chose. So Apple was by no means
anyone we expected to come up in their, it didn’t even come up in conversation, but it was the number one
good corporate citizen.
Anne Bahr Thompson (21m 55s):
And why it was goes to the me to we continuum and goes to your question. So when you ask people, why
was Apple? Why did you say Apple? You know, it is number one it’s because Apple transformed the way I
communicate with other people across the globe because of the iPhone. Apple brought joy into my life by
bringing me music 24 seven, Apple changed so many things in the way we behave, communicate, and just
spend our time that’s in people’s mind that made it a good corporate citizen. So it was a very me proposition,
another brand that was a good corporate citizen that came up in the top three to five was Walmart.
Anne Bahr Thompson (22m 39s):
And this study was done in the U S and the UK, the UK, there was a comparable brand called Tesco to
Walmart that came up. And when you asked people why, because of their pricing policy, I’m afforded a better
lifestyle. Again, a me proposition, there was no way we expected this. And Ford came up because Ford had
been recovering. We are now great recession, 2008, end of 2011 Ford turned around and if Ford can turn
around that means America can turn around. And if America can turn it around, that means I can turn
Dr. Anthony Orsini (23m 17s):
And Ford didn’t take any of the money that the other companies did, so that kind of made them, I can do it
on my own kind of look at it. Yeah.
Anne Bahr Thompson (23m 26s):
That spirit of self-reliance that I can turn my life around, but all of these were me propositions and who
would’ve ever thought of good corporate citizenship as a me proposition. And each of these brands had
corporate citizenship initiatives that people didn’t know about. So it was sort of mind boggling two us. So
that’s one finding. And then the contradictory finding that came up this study was people were saying they
wanted business to step in and reform society and make things in society better because government was
unable to do so because politicians we’re so divided. And if you think back, and we are speaking to the day
after an election at the end of 2011 was a, another election year of 2012 election.
Anne Bahr Thompson (24m 7s):
So people then thought there was a huge range of partisanship and that politicians weren’t going to solve
anything. And so they were saying business faces no opposition in the way, if a politician does, although
What, they weren’t realizing. And I talk about this in the book is the business does have a bit of an opposition
and, and it has a board. It has to, to go to the shareholders. It has to go to and deliver it too, but it’s different
type of opposition then being a politician. So business needs to step in a reform society. We proposition
Apple that are in my life, me proposition. And this is what is the thing that really sort of made us step back
and pause and say, what’s going on here? This makes no sense Citizenship is supposed to be about We.
Anne Bahr Thompson (24m 49s):
But what we learned is that about me and we, and balancing those things out and Apple over time has really
bettered its performance on the We side. You know, you see Apple doing more and more to deliver on the
We side, as it delivers on the Me side. And why is Apple your favorite brand? Because it’s at step two, it’s at
enriching your life strategically. It just makes you feel better. It inspires every moment of your life, but it has
the other steps. It has elements of the other four steps. And so it slides back and forth along that continuum
of Brand Citizenship, it serves you as me and it serves you as we.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (25m 27s):
I’m going to draw some parallels to what I do at health care on everything you just said. First of all, what I
love about your model, as you said, it’s from the ground up. And when I teach physicians and other people
about communication, patient experience, as a big deal right now, where in medicine right now are finally
giving the patient a voice before they never had that voice before. And there’s very good physicians that are
struggling. They’re excellent physicians. They’re not trusted because they have that look in their eye, or
they’re just not good at communicating, or they just don’t know how to bond to their patients. And we are
often taught a look at people who are good at something and trying to learn from them. And I think that’s the
Dr. Anthony Orsini (26m 10s):
And I think you’d agree because that’s what you did. When I speak to groups, I’ll say to them, you know a
physician or a nurse or a business leader, an administrator, who walks into the room, and everybody loves
him or her. And you know, that person who, when on their patient satisfaction scores as a doctor gets a 98
percentile. And he’s awesome. That’s the person that you should be looking at. We’ll look at her and say,
what is it that she’s doing that I’m not doing? And I don’t think society has really done that, but that’s
basically what your model was. Right? You looked at, you found that Apple and Walmart we’re up there. And
then you went back and said, why.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (26m 50s):
Right. And I think that’s a good parallel to what we do when it goes back again to the trust and the
leadership. And so there are so many parallels in every day, life and personal and private life. These are
conversations that companies are having with their employees.
Anne Bahr Thompson (27m 6s):
You have to look at great examples, whether you’re a business or you’re a person, but you can’t necessarily
do what they do in the same way they do it. And so the notion of purpose or being, you know, authenticity is
a trendy word. And I’ll in a moment tell you why I actually am not so fond of the word anymore, but you have
to do it in a way that’s true to who you are, because if you completely mimic them and that doesn’t sit in your
center and it doesn’t reflect who you are or how you look or what people know as your values, it comes off
as insincere and people won’t believe it. So you have to take cues and notions from leaders, but then follows
through in a way that’s true to who you are, make it true to your purpose.
Anne Bahr Thompson (27m 54s):
So what I like to think of it as is actually, how do you feel comfortable and confident to go out there every day
and be your best self? And to me, whether you’re a business or an individual physician working with a
patient, that’s the true thing. Sit in your center, be grounded in yourself, in your true purpose and be your
best self. Yes. Learn from others, but do it in a way that’s true to who you are.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (28m 21s):
Agree. 100% in the fact that the word that we use is be genuine and you have to be genuine. And you’ll see
the best people that are able to build rapport. They have good conversations, create loyalty. Whether there
are a leader in business or their are a doctor, they are genuine people. And so, yeah, correct. You can’t copy
somebody, but you can look at them and say, what is that they’re doing? You know, wow, this person’s being
himself. He commented on baseball. Or he sat down with his patient. He wasn’t typing on the computer while
the patient was speaking and he looked in his eyes and so on, but you’re absolutely right, people will identify
fakeness if you will, in a heartbeat.
Anne Bahr Thompson (28m 58s):
Yeah. I think that’s the problem with authenticity in the social media world. Back in 2007, we have millennials
telling us that authenticity in today’s world was curated at best and contrived. The more typically and how
they spoke about that had to do with their playlists. And they would talk about how they knew their friends
weren’t listening to a lot of these things on their playlist and they couldn’t figure out why they have certain
songs pop up. And then they realized that was because they would make sure that they pick that song. So it
would come up to the top. So people wouldn’t actually know what was on their playlist and you have to go
back and remember iPods to go back to remember that was 2006, 2007.
Anne Bahr Thompson (29m 40s):
So authenticity is very much curated on social media. It is your true story, but it’s the parts of your story
you’re choosing to let people know. And with businesses, and I’m sure there’s elements of this that relate to
physicians with businesses, telling their authentic story is how they reframe who they are often. And so you
used the word genuine, which has a word I debated on using. And I ended up using the word sincere
because sincerity is speaking from the heart and people know when you speak from the heart. And that’s
how you tell when someone is quote unquote authentic in the truest manner or not in the new social media
version of authenticity,
Dr. Anthony Orsini (30m 23s):
Let’s switch that over to one of my other favorite topics is Leadership. And you have to have conversations,
companies call you in to help you with their branding, their brand Citizenship, et cetera. Do you have to have
some difficult conversations with leaders? And maybe I know when I give workshops, you can see the
people that have bought into this and the people that haven’t bought into that. And sometimes they’re in the
same room. And sometimes the bosses, you know, when I give some big workshops, you can see the doctor
in the back with his arms folded, who really doesn’t want to listen. And I get some credibility because I’m a
physician. And I usually I’m able to use my communication skills to bring them around. But how do those
Dr. Anthony Orsini (31m 3s):
When you have somebody who was really just not buying into this and they are asking for help, but not
everybody’s on board. Is that something that you run into a lot ?
Anne Bahr Thompson (31m 6s):
Everyone not being on board? Absolutely. But why are you brought in often is because they know there’s
something wrong now to your point. And I think it’s indirectly hidden underneath. What you’re saying is
people resist change. People think they want change until it means they as an individual have to change.
And when you go in and whether it was way back when doing traditional corporate identity to moving now
into how you integrate citizenship and, and diversity and inclusion and belongingness all of these things into
an organization, which are all elements of your brand all elements of brand citizenship, it’s hard for a lot of
people to grasp on, to change.
Anne Bahr Thompson (31m 52s):
So you have to do things, not in a way. That’s what I always call pulling off the white sheet. It’s not like, Oh,
here’s the answer. It’s more that you have to get people to work with a material and then understand it. And
absolutely your listeners can’t see this, but I’m smiling because I can think of so many client engagements
where someone in the room really didn’t buy in or decided that the business was going in the direction that’s
different for them. And I have an exercise that I do that has to do with the first 100 days. And people
confidentially reveal things of what they’re gonna change in their behavior. And then 100 days later, we send
them a reminder to see if they have actually lived up to what their commitment was.
Anne Bahr Thompson (32m 40s):
And undoubtedly, even in the room of executives, or, you know, if you even have 10 people that are board
level or, you know, have a C-suite on doubtedly one, person’s always has decided the direction of the
company’s moving is, not a place that they want to go. So, yes, it’s a difficult conversation. If you were to
make it just a simple, this is how you have to behave. But if you get people to interact and come and
internalize these things to themselves and start thinking about it, they usually get their, you know,
businesses are run by people and most people don’t wake up saying, I wanna be a bad person today. You
have to believe that most people wake up saying, I want to do good today.
Anne Bahr Thompson (33m 25s):
I want to get through today in a way that makes me feel good about myself. And it’s just a matter of the
things they have to balance that directs them. And you know, many ways your job is to hold their hand and
insure they don’t lose their way. Yes. And that they feel comfortable. As I said before, it’s being comfortable
and confident to be the best version of yourself, whether you’re a person or a business, that’s really what
being a good brand citizen is about. That’s what really, you know, gaining the greatest social and financial
value from your brand is about being the best version of who you are.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (34m 4s):
Convincing that person in the room that they should change is often difficult. I do this thing with conflict
resolution when we do this exercise and we, I have four pillars of conflict resolution, but the fourth one is
making them think it’s their idea. And if you lead them correctly, to the water, and they’ll say, gee, maybe I
should have a drink. And I think that’s the biggest problem. You know, in my business, that’s usually the
patient is unhappy, the medical error, the other things that are a big deal. But if you sit with them, you build
that trust and they start to trust you in the end, they’ll say, you know, Anne this brand citizenship thing, that
was really a good thing, you know? And you know, like, yeah, that’s really insightful. So I think that’s really
important to get the person who is at least buying into it to get on your side.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (34m 49s):
And I’m sure that you’ve had trouble doing that and any advice to anybody to get to do that. And when that
happens to them.
Anne Bahr Thompson (34m 56s):
Yeah. And I think it’s probably the same in what you do is that this is a journey. We are not going to step out
of the box and do everything right. And as a matter of fact, you’re probably going to do a lot of things wrong
because we’re developing new models. And then any moment you are developing a new framework and
new way of doing things, you’re going to make mistakes. But the idea is let’s commit to doing this. Let’s
commit to doing this in the best way we can in the most sincere way we can. Let’s also recognize that we
can’t make everything perfect at once. And I think one of the challenges, so many businesses face that is so
hard for them is once they do one thing right, activists are in there trying to suss out what their doing wrong.
Anne Bahr Thompson (35m 44s):
You can’t change the business models we’ve been living with for decades. If not longer overnight, it’s going
to take some time. And if they changed everything at once and made everything all about 100% sustainable
supply chains, you know, 100% raising salaries for everybody, you can’t do it all at once because you lose
your profit. And if you don’t have profit, you can’t maintain yourself as a business. And that’s why it’s about
balancing. It’s a balancing act in how you slowly gracefully make your way along this pathway in the thing
that’s, good about the five steps is it gives you small steps So you don’t get overwhelmed with this big thing.
Anne Bahr Thompson (36m 28s):
I have to go live with purpose because that’s overwhelming. You know, and how do you start? And it’s about
taking small steps, taking step one, committing to doing things better and getting on the pathway. And if you
look at the way, the five steps span out, it helps companies sort of categorize how to make changes, where
they can make changes, where they can do things better. What’s easier to do. What’s harder, what’s longer,
but you have to be committed for the long haul and not just do a check the box exercise, and then go out
there and say, we’re great. We’ve just done this. It’s about committing to changing behavior over time for the
long run and aligning yourself and keeping yourself in balance.
Anne Bahr Thompson (37m 9s):
Even us, as individuals, you know, how many people say they’re going on a diet. And after you know, two
days a week, it’s about aligning with your commitments and following through on them. You have to keep
yourself in check all the time. So you have to also have measurable benchmarks, you know, and business,
that’s what it is not measured doesn’t happen? So you need to create a new set of benchmarks, a new set of
performance management to match this up, which is why ESG on the investment side and how investment
managers evaluate companies from environment, social and governance now is going to help change the
way businesses behave.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (37m 45s):
Because it’ll be their bottom line with a patient experience. It was always considered a soft thing to have it.
It’s kind of nice, but hospital administrators, 90% of them said it was an important thing, but they weren’t
doing anything about it. And then Obamacare came along and Medicaid and Medicare started thinking, you
know what, if you have a poor patient experience score, I’m going to pay you less. All of a sudden now
patient experience is a big deal. And so that’s why people hire me now to say, you know, you need to help
me with the doctors and the communication because our patient experience scores need to get better. For
my audience this is just audio. So you can’t see Anne’s face.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (38m 26s):
But one of the things that I noticed about you when we’re speaking, which I think really helps when you’re
doing your workshops in your brand citizenship to companies, it really helps when someone’s passionate
about this. And you can see my face. When I talk about what I’m doing, people go, wow, you just light up
because this communication training and this patient experience stuff, and the stuff that I do is, and I’m
training human resources people. Now, I think the guy who’s standing in the back with his arms folded sees
the excitement on your face. And I can tell from your face that you really believe in this and you think this is
really cool. And I’m just going to make a commentary here that I believe that helps because when someone’s
up there going through the motions, it’s like a teacher or an elementary school, right?
Dr. Anthony Orsini (39m 9s):
If their just here’s the problem lists, but if you are up there and going, Hey, this was the coolest thing ever.
The students really respond to that. So I can see your face. When you talk about it, you love this so much.
So that’s really cool. I just want to tell everybody that
Anne Bahr Thompson (39m 22s):
One thing to build on that is that my intent in writing the book was actually to provoke more meaningful
discussion and spotlight and accelerate the changes that were happening. And the book was published in
2017, the end of 2017. And then the research started in 2011. And now you see how this stuff is out there
and important for businesses. And, and it’s essential with a global pandemic that so many of these principles
are lived up to. So I mean, people would say to me, after I published the book, why aren’t you working more
and more with social enterprises? And I do work with some social enterprises, but the reason my focus is
corporate is because if a corporation changes something, the impact it can have because of the scale is
Anne Bahr Thompson (40m 4s):
The impact it can have on people and how they behave, you know, on supply chains, in the developing
world, its huge that’s important. Social enterprise is essential also, but we can’t just assume we can replace
business with social enterprise. We need to bring the two of those things closer together and have each of
them embrace principles of the other.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (40m 27s):
And that was so cool about your book. I mean I’m reading your book and I’m going companies or having
conversations with me. This is what this is. And I thought it was a really cool thing. And that’s why I thought
this podcast is perfect. One final question that I ask everybody, that’s a very difficult question. So get ready. I
don’t know if I put this on to your list. What is the most difficult conversation that you have on a regular
basis? We don’t have to get too specific, but you know, for doctors is telling somebody that their child died or
that they are or have cancer etcetera, in what you do. What do you think is the most difficult conversation?
Anne Bahr Thompson (40m 59s):
I wouldn’t say it’s difficult in the sense of getting people to believe you. It’s difficult in the sense of finding the
way of approaching it and telling this story. But you know, you’re typically not brought in because a company
is doing great. You do have some amazing companies that do call you because they want to keep getting
better and better. And I love those people. I love going in there and watching transformation happen. And to
me, that’s what excites me in finding the right steps to create transformation. But to get to that, you have to
make people aware of the things they’re doing wrong. And the way back when I worked in B2B banking and I
started realizing what a lot of my job at the time I was in strategic planning and research and retention and
satisfaction and all this stuff and its B2B bank.
Anne Bahr Thompson (41m 48s):
And you know, this is big money stuff is consumed not to undermine consumer banking, but you know,
having conversations to tell them you are doing the wrong products and services is really hard. And what I
realized is my job was to dispel corporate myths and most anecdotal wisdom that runs across an
organization is rooted in some truth. And you have to surface that truth and show why it’s no longer true.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (42m 15s):
And there is a great advice right there in the
Anne Bahr Thompson (42m 18s):
First thing that you do. And when you are doing management and interviews or when you’re talking in a
briefing meeting, whatever it is, where you’re getting your bit of insight, and I’m sure you do this too, with
people with individuals, what are the sacred cows? Because if you don’t identify the sacred cows, you don’t
know how to communicate, to maneuver around those landmines because usually the sacred cows need to
be dispelled. They’re usually corporate mythology are based on anecdotal wisdom and that’s, what’s holding
you back. And, you know, fear is what prevents us from moving forward. Someone once said to me, fear is
false evidence appearing real.
Anne Bahr Thompson (42m 58s):
And I remind myself about all the time. So as you step on this pathway of doing good, you have to remember
that maybe making the mistake is not bad. And that’s your biggest fear factor. Usually
Dr. Anthony Orsini (43m 10s):
I love it. That’s fantastic advice and a great way to finish. Anne this has been amazing. I, this has been great
again, the name of her book is Do Good, it’s available on Amazon and I’m sure everywhere else. Anne
what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?
Anne Bahr Thompson (43m 26s):
Well, my Twitter is @AnneBT and then my easy to remember email address is ABT. So Anne Bahr
Thompson @ one 64th and it’s the fraction spelled it out, which may not be the easiest thing for people.com.
It’s one S I X T Y F O U R T H.com. I’m on LinkedIn. I’m on Twitter. I am on Facebook, but I don’t use it
really anymore. So there’s multiple ways of getting at me and my website’s. They all have a way to contact
Dr. Anthony Orsini (43m 58s):
Yeah, we will put all of that on our show notes. So you don’t have to remember that if you are listening in the
car or they’ll write it down and we’ll have it all in the show notes, and you’ll be able to go ahead and click on
it. This podcast is available on just about every podcast format. If you enjoyed the podcast, please go to your
favorite podcast format and hit subscribe in, download all of the previous episodes. But if you want to find out
more about the Orsini Way please go to the Orsini way.com and you can also get the podcast episodes from
there too. Anne thank you. This was a lot of fun and it’s really great to get to know you. And I hope that we
can talk to you. And again, thank you.
Dr. Anthony Orsini (44m 43s):
If you have enjoyed this podcast, please hit the subscribe button and leave a comment or review. To contact
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Dr. Anthony Orsini
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