Humans are social animals, and conversations are a key to building relationships, professionally as well. Whether its employees or clients, in a business environment, it’s important to know the right way to talk to get deals done. While this sounds archaic, it can be a daunting task when the stakes are high. Fierce Conversations is a global leadership development and training company that builds conversational skills amongst clients and employees and navigate them through business challenges. In an exclusive conversation with Edward Beltran, the CEO of Fierce Conversations, we asked him interesting questions to know more about the industry and their work.
Knowing Company’s Unique Services
Fierce Conversations is based on the best-selling book written by Susan Scott. Our company, has been training fortune 100 companies to emerging start-ups on how to have the conversations that preserve culture and drive results.
The intersection of hard and soft skills is Conversations. We quickly learned that we had to do more than “teaching communications.” We had to go beyond teaching theory, and instruct on the “how.” That’s what Fierce Conversations is all about. As an example, when it comes to corporate leaders talking about giving “feedback,” we work with them individually to script a feedback conversation. We carefully walk them through, step-by-step on the flow of the conversation, offering them proven techniques on how to conduct such conversations in effective ways that also enriches the relationship. Beyond feedback, we work with companies to script conversations addressing confrontation, delegation, accountability, coaching, and how to conduct an efficient and effective team meeting.
Inspiration Behind The Inception Of The Company
The focus of this company has always been on listening to our customers. We heavily invested in business intelligence and analytics. We immediately began integrating a robust Net Promoter Score (NPS) system to acquire feedback from our learners to measure, assess and analyze insights. We were so excited to see our scores reach 70, which is a tremendous accomplishment for our industry. There was no way we were going to stop there, sitting back on our laurels. We pressed forward. We wanted to find out why our learners were giving us those scores, and that’s when we had an epiphany. We realized that we had zeroed in on the critical issues our customers were facing. That resulted into working with our team members to push ourselves to create innovative solutions that we could invest in and grow.The secret sauce came down to leveraging technology to make having the conversations needed in people’s daily lives easier by providing the resources, reinforcement, support, and confidence when they need them at their fingertips.
Driving Transformation Through Practical Solutions
By listening to their customers, Edward realized that they could expand its training, and digital transformation was at the heart of it all. That’s where its team dove in to create 3D/VR simulations. “We wanted to go far beyond the theory about how to conduct an effective conversation. Our tools place learners in real situations in a gaming environment. They get a chance to participate in conversations based on real-life scenarios where they can experience the outcome and quickly learn how well they did”, said Edwards when asked about the technologies they offer.
As an example, he explained how over the past year, the team has been working with retailers who have been training their employees on how best to work with customers who have varying opinions about COVID-19. Fierce Conversations worked with frontline nurses to help them learn how to better delegate and provide feedback to doctors.
And with the addition of scenarios related to unconscious bias and microaggressions, the company is revolutionizing the way employees can understand how their words and actions can hurt their co-workers, and, better yet, how they can learn to avoid doing or saying the wrong thing.
Artificial Intelligence Helping Make Conversations
Fierce Conversations developed Fierce Connect, which helps employees improve the conversations they’re having in real-time. By using Artificial Intelligence to predict what conversations our learners need to have, the app then helps them with the words, approach and other resources to help them have more effective conversations with their bosses, co-workers and in their personal lives.
“The vision for these technologies is to make it easier and put at the fingertips the resources people need to have the critical conversations needed in their lives. Our job and mission at Fierce is to enable everyone in the world so they never have to walk away from a situation thinking about what they should have said, wondering why they didn’t say what was on their mind, seek clarity or take head-on a contentious issue.”
The Innovative Outlook
For a company that drives transformation, we had to ask the CEO about what drives their innovative attitude. For which he said, “We are not sitting back, resting on our laurels. I’m constantly challenging my team to think about how we can continue to build off this 20-year legacy to use digital tools and advanced technologies to improve human interaction. People have been conversing with each other for as long as we can remember. Here, at Fierce, we have a track record helping people have more effective conversations. We will continue to develop our 3D/VR simulations to include more interactivity, more customizations and using AI to anticipate scenarios and reactions. We’re just beginning. I’m excited about some of the ideas we’re discussing that we will scale in the years ahead.”
The Way A Proactive Leader Leads
With more than 20 years of experience in both finance and operations, Edward Beltran has a unique perspective in both. His education encompasses computer technology, finance, business, and entrepreneurship. Throughout his career he has continuously honed his skills, developing his passion about technology and innovation. He’s worked as the Senior Director of Finance and Analytics at Wireless Advocates and Senior Director of Finance at Car Toys. He was also the Manager of Operations Financial (Financial Planning and Analytics) at Rural/Metro Corporations.
As Fierce’s CEO, Beltran has continued to develop the company’s expertise to provide the techniques to professionals required to have effective and meaningful conversations. The company has trained conversationalists from blue-chip companies to non-profit organizations around the world. Beltran received a Bachelor of Science in Accounting and another in Computer Information Systems from Arizona State University. He earned his MBA from the University of Michigan. He has maintained an active CPA license since 2004 and received certificates from both Wharton and Harvard in Entrepreneurship.
When Hard Work Pays With Laurels
Fierce Conversations has many feathers in its cap. The company was mentioned in the Silicon Review among the 50 Best Companies To Watch in 2021, and ranked Best Place To Work by The Seattle Business Magazine, and the Puget Sound Business Journal. On a note of applause, Lisa Reynolds, VP of Talent Management, CHRISTUS Health, said about Fierce Conversations, “We needed Fierce in our organization because we needed to be better at all types of conversations, especially those awkward conversations that were important, yet they were about difficult issues.”
The Road Ahead
“We need to provide impactful solutions for different audiences within companies. Take retail employees who have the most critical touch point with customers. They need conversation techniques as much, if not more than senior leaders, and need solutions such as 3D/VR simulations that connect the dots by putting them in their environment in scenarios they will face to learn from in 15 minutes or less. We are passionate about ensuring we provide myriad of modalities at scale with practical application to better the world one conversation at a time,” Edward concluded.
Management: Edward Beltran, CEO